Kitaab Singapore is delighted to announce that it has contributed a sum of SGD 200 (over INR 10,000) from the e-publication of Tabish Khair’s QUARANTINED SONNETS: Sex, Shakespeare and Money to a Singaporean Charity, Migrant Workers’ Centre, towards the Migrant Workers’ Assistance Fund.
The ebook was published to raise money for migrant workers. We thank all our readers and supporters for buying e-copies of the book.
Narrated by Zafar Anjum, the author of “Iqbal: The Life of a Poet, Philosopher and Politician” (Penguin Random house, 2014), this video describes the literary friendships (or some would call it literary romances) that the two great poets of the West and East, Goethe of Germany and Dr. Mohammad Iqbal (Allama Iqbal) of India, espoused in the 19th and 20th century respectively–that of Goethe and Marriane von Willemer, and of Iqbal and his German tutor, Emma Wegenast.
There was a connection between Goethe and Iqbal too. Allama Iqbal, not only a great poet but also considered to be the spiritual father of Pakistan, greatly admired Goethe.
What was the nature of these literary friendships? How did they come to be? How did they end? What impact these relationships had had on the poetic outputs of Goethe and Iqbal, especially in the context of the Goethe’s East West Divan? This video touches upon all these points.
Source: TLS and “Iqbal: The Life of a Poet, Philosopher and Politician” (Penguin Random house, 2014)
Shakespeare scholar, Dr Eleine Ng (Singapore) reads from Tabish Khair’s Quarantined Sonnets: Sex, Money and Shakespeare.
In powerfully original rewritings that combine humour and satire with acute social and political commentary, Tabish Khair uses William Shakespeare’s sonnets to paint a memorable and moving picture of the world in corona quarantine. This is arguably the first major work of literature to come out of the corona crisis. With iconoclastic humour and intelligence, it runs the readers through a gamut of emotions. It is also a clarion call for change. These 21 sonnets range from initial humorous riffs on the foibles of our age but grow progressively darker and more acerbic, while always playing with Shakespeare’s original works. A must-read for our times!
Profits from this e-book are being donated by the publisher and author to Migrant Workers Centre, Singapore, helping migrant workers to cope with the current economic crisis complicated by the Novel Coronavirus pandemic.
In a world where chaos reigns in so many forms, poetry is a solace for many. At times, compared to magic, poetry heals and comforts in strange ways. Poets conjure magic with their words and captivate the readers with their ability to capture the finer nuances of life in their poems. One of the many poets whose work continues to inspire a lot of readers is Abhay K.
Abhay K. (b.1980) is the author of a memoir and eight poetry collections including The Seduction of Delhi,The Eight-Eyed Lord of Kathmandu, The Prophecy of Brasilia and The Alphabets of Latin America. He is the editor of CAPITALS, New Brazilian Poems, The Bloomsbury Anthology of Great Indian Poems and The Bloomsbury Book of Great Indian Love Poems. His poems have been published in over 60 literary journals across the world including Poetry Salzburg Review.
“Bol ke lab azaad hai tere” is a famous poem by legendary Urdu poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Eleven artists from Singapore recited this poem to inspire others and pay homage to Faiz and his spirit of speaking up, and speaking truth to power. The artists shot their own clips at their homes using mobile devices, respecting the social distancing regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Written by 70-year old Mr. Prakash Arke and recited by his actor daughter Rachita Arke, this poem is about where we humans have brought the world to. We took nature for granted and today we are back to basics. Today humans are nothing and nature has taken its due space back. Mr. Arke’s hobby is to write poetry and he has written many but he never published them anywhere. He shared this poem especially for this platform and we are very thankful to him for giving us this soulful prayer of a poem.
Dr. Mohammad Iqbal (Allama Iqbal) is one of Urdu’s tallest poets and this poem, “Aik Shaam“, appears in his collection, “Bang-e-Dara“. The sub-heading of the poem says, “Darya-e-Neckar (Heidelberg) ke kinare par” (by the banks of the River Neckar, Heidelberg, Germany). Blogger Fawad Zakariya who visited Heidelberg (where Iqbal studied for a while), “This is a poem of ambience and conjures a lovely atmosphere in which the poet standing at the edge of the river at night experiences a calm and peaceful communion with nature. It is not until the powerful last verse when an inner turmoil and sadness is suddenly hinted at, revealing the heart of the poet at odds with his serene surroundings.”
You can read more about Iqbal’s life and times in Zafar Anjum’s biography of Dr. Iqbal, Iqbal: The Life of a Poet, Philosopher and Politician (Penguin Random House).
Aik Shaam (Darya-e-Neckar (Heidelberg) ke kinare par)
Khamosh hai chandni qamar ki
ShaakheiN haiN khmosh har shajar ki
Waadi ke nawa farosh khamosh
Kohsaar ke sabz posh khamosh
Fitrat behosh ho gai hai
Aaghosh maiN shab ke so gayee hai
Kuch aisa sakoot ka fasooN hai
Neckar ka kharam bhi sakooN hai
TaaroN ka khmosh kaarvaaN hai
Yeh kafila be dara rawaN hai
Khamosh haiN koh-o-dasht-o-darya
Qudrat hai muraqbe maiN goya
Aye dil! tu bhi khmosh ho ja
Aaghosh maiN gham ko lay ke so ja
You can find the Urdu/Roman text of the poem along with English translation HERE.
Rituparna Mahapatra in conversation with Tishani Doshi
“Girls are coming out of the woods,/ wrapped in cloaks and hoods,/ carrying iron bars and candles/ and a multitude of scars.”
“Even those girls / found naked in ditches and wells, / those forgotten in neglected attics, / and buried in riverbeds like sediments / from a different century”.
These lines from the title poem of Tishani Doshi’s book, ‘Girls are coming out of the woods‘ in 2017, came at a time when the world, India, in particular was waiting to explode & rage at the heinousness towards the ‘female’. Doshi painted an imagery about what it meant to be a woman; the dangers of being one, on a larger canvas, talking about women brutalised and murdered ; their stories refusing to be forgotten. It touched the nerve of a society attuned to not ‘speaking out’. This book went on to be shortlisted for the Ted Hughes prize in 2018.