1 Comment

Book Review: In the Garden of My Freedom by Rukmini Dey

By Lakshmi Menon

freedomContrary to popular belief, there is no singular language of poetry. Every writer is unique in the way that they bring words together to create feeling and emotion, and every poem is a reflection of the world that they inhabit. A book of poems, then, is often an exercise in world building at the end of which the reader is left with a new vision with which to see what is around them, the vision that the poet lent them through their verse.

Rukmini Dey’s In the Garden of My Freedom, from Writers Workshop, is a collection of poetry on subjects ranging from the spiritual to the mathematic, the latter being somewhat appropriate given that Dey is a professor of the subject, but more so as the poems in the collection combine to give us a very real, almost tangible look into Dey’s world.

The very first poem, “The Bird Watcher”, introduces the reader to the simplicity of her verse where a young boy prowls after birds in a jungle as his mother watches,

“Seeing him, a bird alighted

On my heart.”

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Chronicling the Lives of Two Noblemen-Poets in the Mughal Court

By Madhulika Liddle

In Delhi’s Nizamuddin area, just off one of the city’s busiest main roads, sits a large mausoleum. Its stark rubble dome is in sharp contrast to the impressive proportions of the building itself. Few of the thousands who traverse this stretch of Mathura Road every day would know who is buried there. Some, when told that this is the tomb of Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan, would probably recognise the name as that of one of the foremost generals and statesmen in Akbar’s court.

But mention that the occupant of this tomb is Rahim, the Rahim of Hindi poetry, and there is likely to be an immediate recall. In Delhi, and across north and central India, in all the places where Hindi is spoken and school textbooks contain the dohas of Rahim, Rahim lives on. Those who have studied his dohas may have forgotten that he was more than a poet, but they remember, in the very least, that Hindi literature counts him among its greatest.

In Attendant Lords: Bairam Khan and Abdur Rahim, Courtiers and Poets in Mughal India, T.C.A. Raghavan documents the life of Rahim, as well as that of his father, the equally illustrious Bairam Khan, known primarily as a regent to the young Akbar after the death of Humayun. Read more

Source: Thewire.in


Leave a comment

The Dust Of Andalus: A poem by Aftab Yusuf Shaikh

The Dust Of Andalus

aftabBorn and brought up in Bombay, Aftab Yusuf Shaikh teaches English to high school students. He has been writing since the age of eight and has since published his work in many anthologies and journals. He has published four volumes of poetry, Poems Twenty One (2010), Emma (2012), Daddy and Ibrahim (2014), Bachelor of Arts (2015) and a novel, The Library Girl (2017). Visit him at aftabyusufshaikh.weebly.com


Leave a comment

The Jugalbandhi – The Greater Coucal Concert: A poem by N. Kalyani

The Jugalbandhi – The Greater Coucal Concert

N. Kalyani is a freelance journalist and writer based out of New Delhi, India. She writes in the main on environment issues, though she also writes general interest articles. She has written for several publications in India – national newspapers, magazines and journals. She has also done programs for All India Radio. She composes poetry and the first collection of her poems titled “Mysteries & Musings” was published in 2011.  She has presented her poems on All India Radio too. She is also an avid philatelist and an amateur photographer.


1 Comment

A Shawl: A poem by Divjyot Singh

A Shawl

divjyot

Divjyot Singh has been writing poetry for some years now. A graduate of Lucknow University, he believes poetry to be his medium of creative expression. He has dabbled with playwriting and his radio play ‘For a piece of paradise’ received recognition at BBC international’s annual radio play contest. He lives in Lucknow.


Leave a comment

New Release: Suspected Poems by Gulzar

gulzar“He had the blue cow tattooed on his right shoulder

He would have been killed in the riots yesterday

But they were good people—

Seeing a cow, they let him go!”

Written in Gulzar’s inimitable style, the poems in his newest volume of poetry reflect and comment, sometimes elliptically through a visual image, sometimes with breathtaking immediacy and directness, on the political reality in the country today. Powerful, poignant and impossible to ignore or gloss over, the fifty-two threads that make up Suspected Poems unfold across the entire political spectrumfrom the disturbed climate in the country and the culture of intolerance to the plight of the aam aadmi, from the continued oppression of Dalits and minority communities to fluctuating Indo–Pak relations.

Published by Penguin, Suspected Poems has been translated into English by Pavan K. Varma. Suspected Poems will be available in a special keepsake bilingual edition.

About the Author:

Gulzar is one of India’s leading poets; he has published several volumes of poetry and short stories (many of which are available in translation) and is also regarded as one of the country’s finest writers for children. A greatly respected scriptwriter and film director, he is one of the most popular lyricists in mainstream Hindi cinema. He gained international fame when he won an Oscar and a Grammy for the song ‘Jai ho’. Gulzar received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2002 and the Padma Bhushan in 2004. In 2014 he was awarded the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award. He lives and works in Mumbai.

About the Translator:

Pavan K. Varma is the author of The Great Indian Middle Class, Being Indian, Becoming Indian and several other books. After a long and distinguished diplomatic career, he served as cultural adviser to the chief minister of Bihar, and was a member of the Rajya Sabha from 2014 to 2016

 


1 Comment

Book Review: Managing the Journey through Rough Terrain by Gouranga P. Chattopadhyay

By Debakanya Haldar

journey

The advent of autumn always brings with it an innate sense of solitude and the smell of the approaching winter. Such is the idea present in the autumnal season of the human life as well. This is the prevalent emotion in Gouranga P. Chattopadhyay’s second collection of poems, Managing the Journey through Rough Terrain. What is most interesting about this collection is that even though it dwells mostly on the sentiments of loss and longing that become the inevitable part and parcel of old age, this collection of poems promises to appeal to the emotional recesses of the mind, irrespective of the reader’s age.

The collection opens with a poem entitled, “Old Age Should Rave and Burn at Close of Day”, which allows the poet to make his position clear in front of his audience — he is not afraid to “rage against the dying of the light.” Thus begins the reader’s journey into a world seen through the spectacles of a matured poet enriched with experiences. The poet skillfully strikes a balance between the nostalgia of the past – “Images of those whom I loved flashed by” (“A Glass of Margarita at Hand”) –and the anticipation for an unknown future – “How many more do I have to overtake before my remains go up in smoke?!” (“Yet Another Gmail”) The poet weaves lucid and rich description of the mundane aspects of nature, thus supplementing his own personal experiences with a myriad of vivid images. My favourite of these have to be the description of the old laburnum tree in the poem “The Laburnum Tree in Madhuwanti” –

“It stands like a sentinel on the parade ground, ramrod straight,
Displaying the many coloured ribbons pinned to its chest,
Witness to past glory of years of braving Santiniketan’s
summer:”

Mr. Chattopadhyay’s journey in his second collection of poems is unabashedly personal and yet, he never fails to include the reader in this “journey through the rough terrain”, to allow the reader to make it his or her own.

 

The reviewer is a final year M.A. English student at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. She appears as a guest author with the short story “The Last Meeting” in the collection of short stories, Wrinkles in Memory, published by LiFi Publications in 2016. Debakanya is originally from Kolkata and currently lives in Delhi.


Leave a comment

Oiling The Stars: A poem by Pijush Kanti Deb

Oiling The Stars

pijushPijush Kanti Deb is a Professor of Economics and a new Indian poet. Nearly 300 of his poems and haikus have been accepted/ published in magazines (national and international), journals, and online platforms. His first poetry collection, Beneath The Shadow Of A White Pigeon is available on Amazon. He is now working on his second poetry book, The Divine Face Of Smile.


Leave a comment

Manoharrai Sardessai: The crown prince of Konkani poetry

By Gauree Malkarnekar

Celebrated lyricist Gulzar, on a visit to Goa in December 2009, said of Goan poet Manoharrai Sardessai’s literary work, “It is the saltiness of the winds that blow in Goa that give his poems flavor and the swaying palms that give his words the rhythm.”

Gulzar, in one line, described the same vivid imagery from Goa that dominated Sardessai’s poems, while also demonstrating how this Goan’s words stirred a strong longing for one’s home, irrespective of the reader’s origins.

Sardessai was born on January 18 1925, a date that happens to fall just two days after Goa celebrates ‘Goem Asmitai Dis’. It is on January 16, 1967, that Goa voted against its merger with Maharashtra, a verdict in which Sardessai’s poems played a critical role. Read more

Source: The Times of India


1 Comment

Book Review: The Remnant Glow by Meera Chakravorty and Elsa Maria Lindqvist

By Nilesh Mondal

remnant-glowIt isn’t rare for a poetry book to plunge its readers into uncertainty regarding how to perceive it. The Remnant Glow does the same, at times feeling like intriguing monologues between two strangers who’ve met at a convention or on a flight to the said convention, and then switching into an interesting back-and-forth banter between two friends who have known each other all their lives. These two voices, sturdy but distinctive, bring a much-needed balance to the book, and can be considered probably the greatest triumph of this beautiful collection.

The Remnant Glow is published by Writers Workshop, and in all respects, bears the trademark exquisiteness that comes with every WW publication. Gold embossed, hand stitched, hand-bound with handloom sari cloth, this book is a joy to possess, if only for its sheer aesthetics. The book is divided into two parts, one for each poet, with each section containing 20 poems.

The first part, which contains poems by Meera Chakravorty, manages to successfully set the tone for the collection, as well as give us a detailed insight into the poet’s perception of the city around her. The poems deal with a myriad variety of themes, but the unifying trait they all possess is the intense voice of the poet, which doesn’t falter at any point. An example of her unwavering narration is found in the poem “In Harmony”, which talks about the time when at a children’s play, the actress playing Sita decided to willingly accompany Ravana, much to the amusement of the audience. Another poem, and one of my personal favourites, is about a coconut tree which was struck by lightning and in the process, saved the poet from being the victim instead.
“That day I felt the agony of living at the cost of someone,
whose roots and tendrils I will never see again.
The tree stands still in our garden, but not solitary
totally un-green but straight
without any vile shadows ever and yet; we address ‘his’ species in neuter gender.”
Although a couple of her poems teeters on the brink of becoming pedantic, the majority of her work features minute observations, a strong sense of nostalgia, and multiple mentions of those who have influenced her, from Chinua Achebe to Sherlock Holmes.

After a strong first act, I wondered if the second act would be able to weigh up to the expectations I had subconsciously let flock into my mind. Would the transition be smooth, or would the two parts have too much distance between themselves?

Continue reading