The Best Asian Poetry 2021-22 – Sudeep Sen (Editor)
This first-of-its-kind anthology showcases an array of the top poets (130 contributors) of this vast Asian region. The book contains the stylistically diverse Chinese poets Lian Yang, Liu Hongbin, Wang Ping and others who share a perspective on their homeland; the oriental touch of the Korean Chung Hee Moon and the Japanese Yosuke Tanaka; Maram al-Masri’s Franco- Syrian metaphors; Sholeh Wolpe’s Iranian-Americanisms, Rosa Jamali’s postcolonial lens on the Middle East; Nese Yasin’s bipolar/ binary Cypriot-Turk registers; politically urgent poetry from the Israeli-Palestinian region by Amir Or, Hava Pinhas-Cohen, Gili Haimovich and others; Paul Hetherington and Cassandra Atherton’s supple art of prose poetry lending a unique Australian colour and diction; the exploration of the rich American and British South Asian diaspora by Moniza Alvi, Vidyan Ravinthiran, Indran Amirthanayagam and Ahilan Packiyanathan; the irony of Kaiser Haq and romanticism of Aminur Rahman from Bangladesh; the magic of the Urdu/Hindustani cadence by India’s Gulzar and Javed Akhtar; Kunwar Narain’s wise philosophical Hindi diction; Adil Jussawalla’s ironic and sparse Mumbai cosmopolitanism and Jayanta Mahapatra deeply-rooted Oriyan metaphors. The signposts are just the tip of the iceberg, acting as a teaser and taste of what you will find inside this volume — in addition to the new/upcoming voices that make the book balanced and truly contemporary. Enjoy the rich and vibrant poetic landscape of Asia.
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About the Editor
Sudeep Sen’s prize-winning books include Postmarked India: New & Selected Poems (HarperCollins), Rain, Aria (A. K. Ramanujan Translation Award), The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry (editor), Fractals: New & Selected Poems | Translations 1980-2015 (London Magazine Editions) and EroText (Vintage: Penguin Random House). Blue Nude: New Poems & Ekphrasis (Jorge Zalamea International Poetry Prize) is forthcoming. Sen’s works have been translated into over 25 languages. His words have appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, Newsweek, Guardian, Observer, Independent, Telegraph, Financial Times, Herald, Poetry Review, Literary Review, Harvard Review, Hindu, Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express, Outlook, India Today, and broadcast on BBC, PBS, CNN IBN, NDTV, AIR & Doordarshan. Sen’s newer work appears in New Writing 15 (Granta), Language for a New Century (Norton), Leela: An Erotic Play of Verse and Art (Collins), Indian Love Poems (Knopf/Random House/Everyman), Out of Bounds (Bloodaxe), and Initiate: Oxford New Writing (Blackwell). He is the editorial director of AARK ARTS and the editor of Atlas. Sen is the first Asian honoured to speak and read at the Nobel Laureate Festival. The Government of India awarded him the senior fellowship for “outstanding persons in the field of culture/literature.”
The Mask under My Face – Somasundrum Mithran
Attiya’s cheating husband is murdered in a Bangkok nightclub, leaving her to raise their ten year old son, Den, alone. The killer, Surapat Wongsuphan, is a member of the country’s “elite”, who expects his father’s wealth to once again get him out of trouble. But this time it’s different. As Thailand’s Old Money families rally against the Wongsuphan’s, Attiya, Den and Surapat’s lives will change in the most unexpected ways — even as fate binds them together. Set in Bangkok, Vientiane and London, “The Mask Under My Face” is about what happens when those above the law fall within the reach of the powerless.
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About the Author
Mithran Somasundrum was born in Colombo and grew up in London. He has lived and worked in Bangkok for almost twenty years. His short fiction has been published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, The Sun, The Minnesota Review, Natural Bridge, and Best Asian Short Stories 2017, among others. He has written on Thai politics for The Guardian (UK).
Money Business – Mark Tan
In the green heartland of central India, washed by mighty rivers like the Narmada and wrapped by dense primeval forests, a troop of tufted gray langurs chance upon a shiny cellphone. The advent of this gizmo of the Tailless is the first in a series of encounters with human civilisation, which transforms the peaceful simian way of life into a resource intensive economy of langur traders, gamblers, plastic money and the nouveau riche. Soon a scheming golden langur emerges as the prophet of this new order which, driven by greed, inevitably leads to inequality and ecological stress. Matters come to a head as tree markings, which are signs of ownership, begin to disappear, the currency exchange collapses and disgruntled langur traders and rebels challenge the power of their prophet. Will the pristine forest habitat and its simian community survive these challenges or will it descend into a tailspin of chaos? Weaving careful research into a quicksilver plot, this satire-laced tale is a modern-day fable about environmental damage and the pipe dream of limitless growth. Monkey Business hopes to inspire our generation to ask the right questions and take concrete actions to address fundamental and controversial issues, reform outdated and unsustainable systems and chart a true course that will allow this and future generations to hand over a better Earth to the next.
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About the author
Mark Tan lives in Singapore, where he runs a successful communications consultancy. The idea for this book came about when he was travelling to India in a previous job. Captivated by its rich culture and charmed by the warm hospitality of its people, Mark has used India’s vibrant tapestry of life to weave a short and intricate tale that tells of the pressing and perilous situation that the world has gotten itself into.