“Aditi Rao is a poet in search of language — she looks to history and mythology, to beaches and forts and around street corners — she finds herself in this language—resurrects bones, body, but most importantly, tongue. She presents the words to us — a kind of freedom song — like the trees she writes of, who ‘wear their roots on the outside.’ She is speaking. Listen.”
— Tishani Doshi

“Aditi Rao’s poems remind us of rites of passage and survival strategies that need to be relearned time and again: how to discern ‘the smell of high school phone calls’, how not to hide vowels under consonants, how to reclaim the right to rage, to grieve, to say no and to stand still. These are poems of love, loss and recovery by a poet who understands ‘splatter’ but also learns how to find her way back to becoming that non-domesticable beast: 'a woman unafraid of regret'.”
– Arundhathi Subramaniam

“What Aditi Rao does with vulnerability will astound you. Her resolve to overcome violence with her words is a quiet, searing spectacle unfolding on every page of this book. No one 'decides her' here. Her words become meteors crashing into us, slowly. She steps out, taking on cities made of 'too many men'. She doesn't acquit, she puts in dock. Till she reaches the scorching, right note for her freedom song.”
— Akhil Katyal







Aditi Rao’s writing is imbued with the attentiveness of a lepidopterist, the tenderness of an epicurean, and the quiet unflinching fortitude one associates with surgeons on the battlefield. The frontlines are those of attrition and loss — of the body, of memory, of time, of space, and of love — where the poems themselves are acts of resistance, of survival,  and ultimately, of celebration and transcendence. A warning: The Fingers Remember can enter and occupy crannies of the reader’s mind, humming reminders that are at once unnervingly intimate and strangely new. And it stays.

-Karthika Nair

Cover+of+The+Fingers+Remember

SELECTED POEMS

Whatever inspiration is, it’s born from a continuous ‘I don’t know.’…Poets, if they’re genuine, must also keep repeating ‘I don’t know.’ Each poem marks an effort to answer this statement, but as soon as the final period hits the page, the poet begins to hesitate, starts to realize that this particular answer was pure makeshift that’s absolutely inadequate to boot. So the poets keep on trying.
— Wislawa Szymborska

Rao possesses a quality that’s easier to identify than emulate: wisdom. Her blue moods are not angst-ridden rants; they are serene even in their despondence. Her mischief seems studied, thought-over, planned to a T. She knows how to wield formal perfection but for the most part, she chooses a rhythm of her own.
— The Sunday Guardian

SELECTED ESSAYS

And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.
— Audre Lorde