My friend and poet colleague Srividya Sivakumar writes a weekly column for The Hindu at Coimbatore. Read her sumptuous and delightful review of my work here, following the recently conferred Gayatri GaMarsh Memorial Award:
Thank you Srividya and thanks also to Linda Ashok, RaedleafPoetry.
I'm chuffed to share that Ananda Mandir based in New Jersey , USA has conferred on me the Gayatri Memorial GaMarsh Award for 2015. When Mr. Prannoy Chatterjee, Chairperson of Ananda Mandir, called me and made the announcement, I thanked him for the honor and told him how validating it was that one's poetry was liked and appreciated. That's what gives immense satisfaction - that validation.
Gayatri GaMarsh Memorial Awards For Literary Excellence
Gayatri Memorial Awards were established in 2010 to recognize authors who have demonstrated excellence in writing through their published essays, poems, short stories or plays. The awards have been made possible through a significant contribution from Jerry GaMarsh, husband of late Gayatri GaMarsh. Gayatri was an accomplished author and artist â€“ and a key member of the editorial team of Ananda Sangbad and Anandalipi.
Two cash awards are given each year to recognize outstanding works published in North America-based literary magazines within the last five years. One award will be given to an author of Bengali works, and another will be given to an author in English. Each award will consist of $500 in cash and a certificate.
The Gayatri Memorial Awards are administered through the Awards & Recognition Subcommittee of Ananda Mandir. Deadline for nominations (with supporting documents) for the 2015 awards is July 31, 2015. Awards will be announced and presented in the Fall of 2015. For further details please contact Debajyoti Chatterji (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Guru Chakravarty (email@example.com).
Please visit www.anandamandir.org for more details.
It's always a special feeling to be published in the Open Road Review - Kuldeep Yadav's literary journal of excellent quality and content. The poetry section is edited by Pooja Garg Singh.
My poem on revisiting an old hometown is in the current issue of ORR.
Here's the link:
It was you all the way, my love.
Right from the days we dangled
on air roots of the banyan tree
till all things herbaceous died down to the ground
in the last autumn of life, it was you. Only you.
The December 2014 issue is the 60th monthly issue of the journal and thus a special occasion for the entire team and for the readers who relish the magazine month after month. To mark the occasion, Anupama and Vani - editors, Spark have put together a pearl string of interviews with the writers they cherish and who contribute regularly to their magazine. The end result is indeed an hour or two of mesmerizing reading and enrichment. I too happen to be a bead in that pearl necklace. You can read my interview here:
For the record let me tell you
that your silence has reached me.
The clusters of green pepper in the forest
dangling like earrings from ears of tall branches
slice the night air pungently
like a sword lancing silk
and I know that sound.
It is the same as the silence
convulsing noiselessly between us.
Ashes Of A Day
Already, the day is in my hands
though it's not yet broken free of the night.
Fragmented and fractured at the crack of dawn.
All of it crumpled like ash on my palm,
before it's even begun.
A day lodged whole in the oesophagus
A start slapped to the finish line like an unhedged bet.
Nothingness riding the body like a fever
Mercury rising in thermometer veins, like hysterical laughter.
Fox Chase Review has published a list of top twenty reviews on their site as voted by readers for the year 2014. My book is on the list. Pleased!
My poem titled Black Waters is the featured poem on Hour Of Writes for their contest on Treason on 4th November 2014.
Sharing the poem here for all my readers:
Pleased to note that my poem received a commendation prize in the all India poetry contest 2014. This is perhaps the most noteworthy of all contests in India and it's satisfying to be anywhere in the results. My entry is titled Peddar Road Flyover...I'll share it here soon, once the formalities are done with.
A month ago I wrote about Kusum Choppra who has compiled a book of short stories titled NIRBHAYA. The stories represent the core courage that women possess and exhibit when faced with bitter obstacles in life. As a part of the exercise to promote the book, the team Organised a contest inviting writings that portray the indomitable spirit of womanhood. I submitted my entry too - a poem titled Attracted To Sin, and it was adjudged the winner.
Proud to featured in the Earthen Lamp Journal edited by Divya Dubey. I dedicate this poem Black Lead, to all my Tibetan Friends...for their interminable struggle against oppression and exploitation and their indomitable spirit to claim their share of justice on this globe. I also dedicate it to the sweet, friendly relations that India shares with Tibet and Indians share with Tibetans at a deeply human level.
With Jayanta Mahapatra, Mumbai, August 8th 2014
With Adil Jussawala, Kitaabkhana, November 2014
With Vijay Sheshadri, Pulitzer Prize Winner 2014, Kitaabkhana, Mumbai 7th nov 2014
I submitted my entry to the WordWeaver's Contest in August, I think. Or perhaps earlier than that. My poem House For Sale was inspired by a true incident in Mumbai. Poetry is often triggered that way - by the things we see happening around us. This was one such poem.
During the selection process my entry first made it to the Longlist and then a month later to the shortlist.
The results were announced today i.e. 1st November 2014. I was pleased that my poem was chosen the winner from amongst so many wonderful entries! Yes...there's nothing quite like winning! I'm all smiles now. Thank you Escribes!
Here's the poem-
Linda Ashok or Lee as I call her is a poetry promoter with a difference. Yes she, like many others has a wonderful website to promote excellent poetry from all over the world. Yes, she also has a wonderful poetic sensibility like many other splendid poets. What sets Lee apart, is her soul. Her passionate, righteous, tender soul that bleeds like an open wound when the underprivileged suffer or when injustice is in the air and burns like a hot flame, scorching anyone trying to pass off mediocrity for real creative talent and trying to cut corners to just put their work out into the world. For Lee, poetry must be gut wrenching, sword-like, blending blood and tears together and yet flying away tenderly with your soul.
How I love this 28 year old, upright, liberated poet cum promoter of poetry! I'll have all you readers know that she chose my picture to go with the poems herself, from my Facebook album! That's Lee!
Four of my poems are up on the site.
Autumn is a season of sown miracles.
A weather-vane, bleeding red.
Starched auburn perfection.
Old spirits of heaven and earth
torching soil and sky, like love.
With turrets of blushing earth piercing air;
Plum tinted, glinting like a rooster's feathery back
celebrating something no one knows anything about
bringing alive the worn-out tyre of the earth.
Nothing prudent about autumn;
it snatches our eyes through open lips.
Nothing passive -
it forces us to listen to something other than ourselves.
Our heartfelt moans sink in it,
mottle the sienna maple leaves with treacherous tales.
The cold battles of our minds steal some warmth
from its melting ochre pyres and flow past time.