What do we do with our ancestry? What do we do with our race, interpreted by our culture? Generally the habit of perhaps even the second generation of children of immigrants is to be stuck between the demands of an American life and the behavior of (a different culture). "Dothead" is surprising for handling this distinction so adroitly, with violence, on occasion, and to be reunited with violence.
I generally don't enjoy poetry. I didn't really enjoy Dothead, except for the one excerpt from the titular poem:
my third eye burned those schoolboys in their seats,
their flesh in little puddles underneath,
pale pools where Nataraja cooled his feet.
I also enjoy the shape of the poem, which manages to transmit some funk across these rhyming schoolboy lines. I didn't read the rest of the book.
Dothead: the term itself a slur, being modified/owned by the descendant. In general the rhyming is insufferable and the poems themselves obsessed with the conceit of as all this book generally is. All books of poems that have singular word as the title, meant to express some wondrous victimhood, tend to be this way, and I think the average consumer reacts as if each book were a wounded bird.
Maybe you nurse this bird back to life, but guess what, it's wing's broken, so it's just fly around your house and crap everywhere, but do a half-flying with one broken wing that ends up suicidal mostly. And like all animals it's just obsessed with its self. You can raise it but for slowly getting the sense that you could have just nature take care of this and have everyone, book/bird included, be better off.
I think books should generally make you feel uncomfortable, albeit as forms of entertainment, those that do might not leave the shelf. But I remember Al Columbia's The Golden Bear Days which is all violence and obscene kids and I think about how a book can summon a great terrible nonsense that your eyes seem peeled to, take in a certain patter and leave and if you want and get that patter back you return to (it).
Patter they is, great and terrible it's not, Indian- sure, and sort of diversity- writing that has at least some of that great terrible violence. I think the moment when schoolyard Amit blazes his fellow kids with the dot on his head is better for being literal.