Poem in Crannog 37

Okay, this was published last month in Crannog 37, one of my favourite magazines. Things got in the way, and then I forgot to post it!

crannog 37 cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The poem – Midnight Moonlight Sonata – is literally about an experience, standing at my window in the middle of a moonlit night and literally watching the poem happen and unfold. And, yes, I noticed; that’s two “literally-s” in one sentence! ;)

Midnight Moonlight Sonata in Crannog 37

Midnight Moonlight Sonata in Crannog 37

The issue (37) of Crannog where it appeared is still current, and you can buy it here: http://www.crannogmagazine.com/buy.htm

I’ve already received my contributor’s copy and enjoyed the many fine stories and poems in it. Proud to be among such talented writers and poets. I love Crannog!

:-)

The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective – Are You Joining?

To be very honest, I hadn’t quite understood what The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective was really all about, despite Shikha’s clear explanation  during The Prakriti Foundation’s Poetry festival last year, when I’d met her, Ellen and Minal (All three by the way, are accomplished poets) there. I listened to their wonderful poetry and when they spoke about this new venture, I came away thinking, “ok, so they are going to publish poetry books; that’s marvellous. “

Of course, I was off the mark. The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective is a lot more than just publishing poetry books. It’s a movement, a dialogue about poetry with society, a communion among poets and poetry lovers, a commitment, and a great new poetic adventure that invites everyone to join in. But let me not try to explain. Listen to Shikha Malaviya, Minal Hajratwala and Ellen Kombiyil talk about the collective : https://greatindianpoetrycollective.wordpress.com/

And read about it in their blogs/sites.

Shikha – http://shikhamalaviya.wordpress.com/tgipp/

Minal –  http://minalhajratwala.com/wp-content/uploads/BountifulPressRelease.pdf

And, in Jaggery – http://jaggerylit.com/2014/11/14/the-great-indian-poetry-collective-indiegogo-campaign/

Their Facebook Page too! – https://www.facebook.com/indianpoetrycollective – go “like” it, join in the support!

It is an ambitious project and certainly will impact the  Indian poetry scene. But for all good things to flower and flourish, one needs to be supportive. You can do just that by joining in, even if it’s in a small way, to help them give Indian poetry a boost.  In order to realise their goals, Shikha, Minal and Ellen are running an Indigogo campaign . There are twelve more days to go. So do help see this project through.

Details are in the site: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-great-indian-poetry-collective

Remember there are just twelve more days to go, so hurry!

Short Story Published in Kitaab Asia+n Writing in English

This is a good way to start the new week. I have a short story published in Kitaab.

Go here to read Man on the Move

For those who are unfamiliar with Kitaab, do go through the site. It is an exciting new place for Asian voices from around the globe, and more. Much more. For  weekly bulletins, subscribe to their newsletter here

I hope you enjoy my story about a man who keeps moving, but….

:-)

 

Dilli – A Review in Spark Magazine’s October Issue and a Conversation with the Publisher

First things first, and yes I am late again. Where did October go?! My review of Dilli, an Anthology of Women Poets of Delhi, was published in Spark Magazine’s October issue.

I felt that a review of the anthology wouldn’t be complete without telling people about the man behind it  – Dr Amitabh Mitra – and his publishing house Poets’ Printery!

Dr Mitra is a South African of Bengali origin. An orthopaedic and trauma surgeon at the Accident and Emergency unit of Cecilia Makiwane Hospital, Mdantsane, South Africa, he is also a poet, painter, publisher and deep inside, a Gwalior boy at heart. Among the many books (on art and/or poetry) that he has either written/created himself or edited or published are Ritual Silences, A Slow Train to Gwalior, Mdantsane Breathing,  ‘Splinters of a Mirage Dawn, Anthology of Migrant Poetry from South Africa,’  Tonight – an Anthology of Love Poetry and Dilli to name a few. You can learn more about him at his website.  Get details about his publishing house  here - Poets Printery . Read an interview of him here by Sola Osofisan.

I first read Dr Amitabh Mitra’s poetry in the erstwhile magazine Poems Niederngasse. That was more than a decade ago, closer to two decades actually! Dr Mitra’s poem was a love poem set in Gwalior. I remember being particularly enamoured of an image in that poem (I think it was titled Zubaida, if I remember correctly), an image of grave stones pegging the sky. The poem was short but haunting. I tried to dig it out from the archives of Poems Niederngasse, but alas they no longer exist. Only the very last issue is still online, which ironically carries a poem by me. I remember scouring the net, in those days we used Netscape, for Dr Mitra’s  poetry, and felt a childlike delight when ever I found one. It was only after I began living in Chennai, that I “met” him through an online writers group, and then Facebook made interaction more face to face! In all these years, Dr Mitra’s talented children have grown – his daughter and son, and his poetry initiative – Poets Printery. Dr Mitra has published many poets from Africa and the subcontinent , hosted his paintings in galleries, written and published many more poems. Here we discuss the latest book published by him, Dilli, and the dil or heart behind it. :)

dili poetry bk pix 3

 

Me: What inspire you to do this anthology on Dilli? You are a Gwalior boy, why Dilli?

Dr Mitra: Delhi or Dilli is so close to Gwalior. One has to be in Delhi before coming to Gwalior. During the eighties, so much was happening at Delhi. I needed to be there at the centre of these movements. Poetry, Music, New Political Thoughts and above all fusing them to Love, that I believe is the core of our very existence. I was madly in love with some or other girl during those times. Loving at strangertimes, especially in Dilli was wonderful.

Me: Tell us a bit about the process of putting together this anthology

Dr Mitra: It all happened after encountering, William Dalrymple’s, City of Djinns. Everything came rushing back. It was like being there, the history of Delhi which is wrapped on to each one of us who witnessed those beautiful tumultuous years. I knew, I had to do something. The idea was Dilli. I requested Semeen Ali to edit and Susmit Bose to give a Foreword. It took more than two years to compile the anthology.

Me: Dilli is also a love anthology, addressing a city in this case. You have produced other love anthologies and collections as well. Are you a die-hard romantic in spite of dealing with trauma patients all the time? Your views on this subject

Dr Mitra: Laughing

Medicine is such a straight line; it hardly allows one to think of galaxies and life beyond. I am presently involved  in MPhil in Emergency Medicine from the University of Cape Town. I don’t know when I will be able to complete it.  Being in love is the greatest feeling, it just happens. Loving doesn’t end abruptly. Living and loving continue in an endless stream, like stranger-dreams weaving familiarity in many rude Chambal summers.Dr Mitra and Dilli

Me: Tell us something about your own journey as a poet and artist

Dr Mitra: There is no real journey; it’s just eyes catching thoughts everyday. Something really happened, when I penned down my first words in 1980. Since then, there has been no turning back. It’s just this awareness that is the unexplainable.

Me: Tell us about your current home in South Africa and your involvement with the poetry and art scene there

Dr Mitra: From my unpublished book of poems and drawings, Stranger than a Sun -

To be free is all we ever need. The age-old streets at Johannesburg are the same as in Delhi. One reflected its own reflection of the conqueror and the vanquished and the other spoke of once rusted rivers now barely an overcrowded thread. Each in its own way remembered their ancient strife; season in layers resented the estrangement of evenings and darkness. Today as I stand on a Dutch sounding street in Johannesburg, evenings of Jacaranda flower reminds me of its age and many such lost livings. Like me, you too might have been on an endangered street; saturday reasoning at dusk might even have the aroma of Karims at Chitli Qabar. We once talked about freedom here while watching pigeons fly. You said how we can have freedom when there are so many threads pulling the kites and so many skies living our lives. Brimming with tears from the hot kebab, we laughed the sunset of many such small beginnings.

Me: Who are your favourite poets and artists/painters?

Dr Mitra: Indian Poets – Arun Kolatkar, Pritish Nandy

South African Poet – Denis Brutus

Indian Painters – Arpana Caur, Vijay Mohite

Me: What are your poetic/publishing projects at hand now?

Dr Mitra: Ours is a small publishing house. Poets Printery will be publishing up and coming Southern African and Indian Poets. We are ‘booked’ until the end of 2015. I do wish to bring out a book of NYC women poets, we are still working on it.

 ***

 

Interview of William Todd Seabrook in Open Road Review’s November Issue

This is an interview via email of William Todd Seabrook in Open Road Review. I had reviewed his book – The Imagination of Lewis Carroll –  earlier in Flash Fiction Chronicles. You can read it here. Well I loved the book so much, I wanted to interview the author.

Read about the talented  Mr Seabrook in the latest issue of Open Road Review.

Don’t forget to read the rest of the magazine too! :) There are some wonderful works of fiction, poetry and nonfiction – http://www.openroadreview.in/

***

The Bombay Review’s October Issue Carried a Story by Me….

I have definitely slipped into another zone! In spite of the editor of The Bombay Review emailing me, this slipped my mind completely! And now a whole month has passed.

Anyway, it’s not too late, and so glad that it IS not too late – the magic of online magazines! The story in question is “Batul and the Rumpel,” which was first published in Enchanted Conversation, a magazine that specialised in retold fairy tales; my story appeared in their last issue, if I remember correctly.  Batul and the Rumpel was a retake on the Rumpelstiltskin story in an Indian setting with Indian characters.

Thank you Kaartikeya Bajpai and team for giving my story a new home.

I enjoyed writing Batul and the Rumpel. Hope you enjoy reading it.

The Bombay Review is a new magazine, a mere three issues old, but it has already started to make waves. Read an issue or two – Here for the current issue . And here for the archives

My Review of The Imagination of Lewis Carroll by WT Seabrook in Flash Fiction Chronicles

 

The Imagination of Lewis Carroll by William Todd Seabrook

The Imagination of Lewis Carroll by William Todd Seabrook

This is a chapbook I hugely enjoyed reading, and frankly didn’t want it to stop! Anyone who has read and loved Alice in Wonderland and other works by Lewis Carroll will, I am sure,  love this reimagining of Carroll’s mind and creativity. Read my review at Flash Fiction Chronicles for the full story!

Also posting links here where you can pick up the chapbook:

http://rosemetalpress.com/Catalog/Seabrook.html

http://421atlanta.com/?product=the-passion-of-joan-of-arc-by-william-todd-seabrook

http://firewheel-editions.org/books/ind/the-genius-of-j-robert-oppenheimer/william-todd-seabrook

http://www.dzancbooks.org/reprint-series-books/this-semi-perfect-universe-by-william-t-seabrook

 

And here is W Todd Seabrook’s own website: http://www.williamtoddseabrook.net/

 

Watch this fabulous trailer of The Imagination of Lewis Carroll :

Culling Mynahs and Crows Reviewed by Adity Chowdhury in The Four Quarters Magazine

Here is another review of Culling Mynahs and Crows. This one is by Adity Chowdhury and is published in this quarter’s issue of The Four Quarters Magazine.

Read it here: http://tfqmagazine.org/issue/august-issue-2014-big-love-small-towns/adity-choudhury/

 

Thank you Adity.  :)

Interested readers can get my book at book shops across the country and also several online portals – for the latter check my blog page which lists the sites selling CMAC.

A Review of Uddipana Goswami’s Green Tin Trunk in The Four Quarters Magazine, and why Reviewing Poetry is Necessary

I recently reviewed Uddipana Goswami’s poetry book Green Tin Trunk, published by Authorspress.

Uddipana Goswami is editor of the Northeast Review. She lives and teaches English Literature in Guwahati, Assam. Her books include an academic study Conflict and Reconciliation: The Politics of Ethnicity in Assam (Routledge 2013), a poetry collection We Called the River Red : Poetry from a Violent Homeland (Authorspress 2010) and an edited volume, Indira Goswami: Passion and the Pain (Spectrum 2012).

You can read my review in this quarter’s issue of The Four Quarters Magazine:

http://tfqmagazine.org/issue/august-issue-2014-big-love-small-towns/green-tin-trunk-uddipana-goswami/

Green Tin Trunk is available for purchase online here among other places.

***

Like many word worms, I too enjoy reading and mulling over poetry, apart from fiction. I read at least two or three new poems a day, and generally tend not to have any control over my own poetry writing efforts, writing down verses when ever and where ever, often scrawling through the pages of the sundry notebooks that lie scattered in my house for my convenience, and when I’m out, a small one stashed in my handbag does nicely, failing which scraps of paper, the backs of bills, anything at all will do. Phew! But let’s get back to Green Tin Trunk -

When I started reading it Uddipana’s poetic structuring didn’t pierce me instantaneously. I read most of the book, at times glossing over some of the lines. I had offered to review the book, I didn’t want to back down. I was of course worried that I wouldn’t be able to do justice to her work. Art, and that certainly includes poetry (how can it not?) is, to repeat a cliché, a subjective thing, giving in to the style and content preferences of the receiver/reader, and also the whims and fancies of trends. But that is not how I see myself as a reviewer. I went back to the book, and this time, pencil in hand, read each line of each poem aloud to myself, underlining the phrases and lines that caught my eye, and writing down my observations on the spot in a letter writing pad. As I immersed myself into the belly and at times underbelly of the poems, a pattern emerged, the structures revealed themselves, and Uddipana’s poetic voice  grew louder in my ear. I had begun to read with a listening ear, and could not let the book go. I could have and did indeed, write a longer review than the one I sent to The Four Quarters Magazine; I didn’t want to go over the word count, especially when reviewers tend to be more succinct these days.

When I emerged at last from Green Tin Trunk, I could almost see Uddipana’s emotions and the events that led to the poems scroll down before me. I felt enveloped in green, many shades of it, including the cool moss coloured green of water flowing over aquatic plants. I also felt as if a hard casing had fallen off me, like the shell of an animal that no longer needs it. Above all, I felt mentally alert and cleansed. While the sensation of green I attribute to her book, the other feelings – and this is something I realised only afterwards – have pulled me into their realm/s through other poetry books that I read and reviewed or just read intensely, before.

Intensity is the key here. When you set about reviewing a book of poems and even poetic flash, you have to pull yourself taut, almost shaping your mind into a spear point, and you have to plunge in. If you drown, you drown. But you will most certainly emerge, float up, feeling drained at first and then energetic in terms of creativity. Poetry and poetic flash demand a deeper commitment. Unlike novels and books of short stories, where you can  skim over a paragraph or read a page diagonally or even speed read here and there, without losing the essence of the book, you have to be wide-eyed and focussed on every line, phrase and word or risk losing the soul; you may even lose comprehension of the work and the poems may morph into word jumbles.

You have to grow gills after being dunked into the lake. It is essential, not just to the art, but also to you the artist. Reading like that gives you a newer insight into the words you see every day. Getting drunk on poetry gives you a hangover you’d rather hang on to for creativity’s sake. It’s a fabulous pre-creative writing exercise. And that apart, soul cleansing too. Which is why, I say that reviewing volumes of poetry and poetic flash is necessary, so necessary, so absolutely necessary; try it yourself, you’ll know.