Tag Archives: poetry

Poetry: Tiananmen Square Tank Man by Dilantha Gunawardana

The bucket list for 
Courage appears like this:

Study the maps and floor plans,

Where history will be created and recreated,

The Tiananmen Squares of tomorrow,

Where you will stand in front

Of a juggernaut. Think with freedom;

That’s the only certified way you will

Not be ignorance’s poster child or

The defeated recluse.

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Book Review: The Poet as A Persevering Witness by Dion D’Souza

Dion D’souza talks about E.V. Ramakrishnan’s Tips for Living in an Expanding Universe (Poetrywala, 2018) and shows how it has acquired even more relevance today.

In Woody Allen’s Annie Hall (1977), the protagonist Alvy Singer, having found out as a child that our universe is expanding, decides to give up mundane activities like his homework. What’s the point, he demands petulantly, if it’s just going to blow up one fine day? (The universe, that is, not his homework.) And suppose one could travel into and back in cinema time (as the older and heartbroken Alvy does in the film) and slip the boy a copy of EV Ramakrishnan’s Tips for Living in an Expanding Universe, would that in any way serve to ease his anxiety? I doubt it. But what I can vouch for is the fact that Alvy’s excuses for not turning in his assignments would have been more innovative than the standard go-to of an unruly pet’s voracious appetite.

But, man of wavering faith as I may be, why, in this particular case, do I doubt? To put it simply, the vision of a capricious universe that Ramakrishnan offers us is not very reassuring: one where “nothing is permanent, only sorrows and stories” (‘Local Gods’) and “the end [is] always imminent/but the narrative, like a coroner’s/report on a mass suicide, drags on” (‘To a Writer in Exile’). Reality and identity are in a state of flux; and violence, disease or a natural calamity can at any moment rip through our fragile and illusory sense of order and stability. However, this is a vision we must face up to of necessity. (And have now been forced to…thanks, 2020!)

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Hindi Poetry # 1: Ganga by Unknown – Recited by Uma Rai

This poem titled ‘Ganga’ is a poet’s tribute to the Ganges, the civilizational font of India with divine attributes, and an earnest cry to keep the sacred river clean and free of pollution. The poet’s name is unknown and it has been recited by Singapore-based actor and wild life activist Uma Rai. The visuals for this poem have been taken from various sources and we express our gratitude to them.

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