Math Paper Press, Singapore 2014.
First published by Chameleon Press as a gift-edition designed by Elby Chung, with silver reflective cover, folding pages and hand-bound with metal bolts. Out of print. (Hong Kong: Chameleon Press, 2003. ISBN: 988-97060-2-4.)
Allan Sealy, author of ‘The Everest Hotel‘ and ‘Brainfever Bird‘, on echolocation :
Here is a poet who works by daring – daring herself and the reader – to let go. She works in the dark with wit and knife and punch and paper scissors. She cuts and pastes, leaves gaping holes. Her work is a black masque in which parts of speech change parts, and all have the rightness of electronic rain.
In the best poems you hear and feel and watch a current — which straight prose insulates as meaning–go crackling from naked line to line, making the unrepeatable pattern that is momentary sense. It’s like watching lightning fork.
Mani Rao has a strong bleak voice. It’s the voice of the voyager: it discommodes, rattles you, shakes you down. Her poetry is sleepless and unwinking. You go to it for debriefing, for the jolt you expect from good writing. And you go back — or she pursues you. She is the hawker you thought you shook off in the square, she is your mechanic come home to spend the night. Let her in: you’ll live to regret it, but at least you’ll live.
Excerpt from review by poet, editor and critic Cyril Wong in QLRS:
“Very seldom does one come across the poet that dares to play out these uncertainties for real in the arena of her craft. Anne Carson is one. Mani Rao is another.”
“I imagine the poet like a swordswoman in a film walking in graceful leaps across the surface of a lake. Since her previous collections, Living Shadows and Salt, Rao seemed to have become more confident in her leaps from idea to idea, context to context, although the ghostly trail of a narrative thread about the dynamics of a relationship and a corollary questioning of the self is revealed under the poetically complex skin of the lines.”
“Mani Rao is ‘a poet’s poet’, and “echolocation is a collection for those of us tired of the conventional logic in reading much of contemporary poetry written today.”
Excerpts from review by Dino Mahoney, poet and playwright in Asian Review of Books
“Mani Rao’s new book of poetry, ‘echolocation’ is full of the most surprising collocations – juxtapositions of the poetic and prosaic, of the half expected and the unexpected, of close up and distance, of passion and reserve.”
“But the full impact, the violence, is mitigated by objectifying her experience into the second and third person – ‘She’ and ‘You’. This objectified passion is reminiscent of the Chinese playwright Gao Xinjiang and this poem has the same dramatic potential for live reading”
“Rao’s poetry is experimental and almost anti-poetic in form. Yet within this framework she can use classic poetic devices…”