Monday, 14 August 2017

NABINA DAS - Featured Poet

No Country, No Names


The young girl in a sari was
Off to the library, her hands
Clasping books, she didn’t see
The truck crawl up behind her
Stuffed with soldiers wearing
Leafy helmets, false implants in
The heart of that shell-shocked
Macadamized Bengal town

Her face a sorry storybook
Quite a few pages torn
When they found her by
A garbage dump, stared at
By the ancient panhandler
The poor bastard refused arrest
Shouted abuses, got suitably
Thrashed by the police

A young man had whispered
The night before: show your palm
The red henna peacock from
The evening’s merry festivities
And she read him a poem
About crocodiles in snare
Until they fell asleep in
Each other’s arms, dreaming

There was a river, grass and
Flowers shrouding its banks
Its depth unknown, but easy
For the rebels who could swim
The same night Yahya Khan
Made quick plans to strike
Universities where students
Danced to songs of Tagore

That was a night when nervous
Sirens screamed on and on, his
Would-be bride was picked up
And thrown. Folding up
Maps that fooled, didn’t show
A country of hearts, he left
A peacock mourned for her
And him. No country yet for them.

(Published in Into the Migrant City, Kolkata: Writers Workshop India, 2014)

Bio:
Nabina Das is a Hyderabad-based poet and writer who has authored four books. She is a Commonwealth Writers correspondent 2016, a Charles Wallace fellowship winner 2012 and a Sangam House fiction fellowship winner 2012.

Friday, 4 August 2017

ANDREW BELLON - Featured Poet (Tribute)

(Love Evolves) Love evolves; colors my troublous quarks. I lie in the shadows of our tangled light as under sleeping trees. Silence has a place here as the continuance of a holy text. We are dazzled matter; the silence spins in the shadows. Waves, particles, hieroglyphs, whatever we are, we are part of the gliding night's adornments; of the night that holds like memory airy relicts of the known and rising light of my emptiness filling. Long have I discarded my physics books and indulged in poetry until I came across an Andrew Bellon untitled poem that spoke of the physics of love and I found all the quarks and gluons and quanta and all other hypothetical fundamental particles striking back at the interface of my consciousness where hieroglyphs form and theories evolve. Love evolves too coloring the agitation of the elements of matter that make my being. Or was it Andrew’s being? Something jumps orbit and enters my shell. There is something uncanny in the imagery of someone lying in the shadows of “tangled light/ as under sleeping trees.” It is the poet but it could very well be me. Everything is so elementary here that there is a smooth flow of nascent identification. When the Babel of sound ceases it is the same silence that remains with everyone like “the continuance of a holy text” – any holy text. The trope of physics continues in the second stanza when the poet says, “We are dazzled matter.” Perhaps it is the dazzling that brings the stupefying silence that “spins in the shadows.” The speculations – “Waves, particles, hieroglyphs” – from the intangible to the hypothetical to the decipherable become “gliding night’s adornments.” The night, slipping by and yet not eliding from its grip all that has survived from primitive periods, fills like the impalpable air of memory the poet’s emptiness. The “rising light” and “emptiness filling” almost depict a convection current as if the Brownian motion of the “troublous quarks” in the first stanza has attained a cosmic pattern in the second stanza as love evolved. The trajectory of the poem traces a curve that brings within its loop the spinning subatomic particles as well as the spinning cosmos. This is love in its everlasting, primeval, pure state. Who will not identify with it in this poem? This is not only the poet’s poem; this is the reader’s too. (A New Earth) With heavily hanging leaves and open-handed fronds, the little path through your flower garden hides, in its unexpected turns, a new earth. It's there sounding in bird song, making a restless peace for itself in the living air. Shall we enter and grace that radiance with human arms? Let's wait at the inward door to those fields of light. To find our way we must first be lost. Whatever empties there refills. The moment of discovery has in its essence both the element of euphoria and a contradictory element of relaxation. Especially if the place discovered has been hidden by “heavily hanging leaves,” “open-handed fronds” and a shrouded garden path of “unexpected turns” then that moment of discovery is a moment of paradox. This “new earth” is a place where the bird song has a “restless peace.” It is this sound that makes the air living. It is thereby a discovery of life. It is also a moment of hesitation where you question yourself as if you have apprehended your own self as an intruder – “Shall we enter…?” The new earth is no longer a space it is a moment in time, a “radiance,” the incorporeal that you have qualms at touching with “human arms.” So you decide to wait. Now vice-versa, time yields to place and waiting begets “the inward door/ to those fields of light.” The conundrum of first getting lost in order to find the way and experience that moment of discovery where paradoxes meet, where contradictions emanate from each other and yet co-exist, and where relationships unearth new meanings, this new earth is perhaps self-realization. In this new earth whatever empties gets refilled, whatever is lost is found, whatever is not understood understood. Perhaps it is love for love too reconciles opposites and hence it is also grace, radiance, and a hint of perpetuity, infinity, and eternity. Andrew Bellon’s poem gives us a glimpse of something that is inside us and yet is elusive. It needs to be discovered and waited upon at that “inward door” to experience the “fields of light” that the soul bestows on us.

- Amit Shankar Saha

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

2017 - 3

Rhythm Divine Poets conducted a poetry workshop at The Future Foundation School on 20th July 2017. The guest poet at the event was Sonnet Mondal.






Rhythm Divine Poets were in collaboration with Kaafiya for the city-based "Kaafiya Milao" session for the city Kolkata. The winners of the week-long session were Nikita Parik, Yitzak Gate and Moinak Dutta for their poems on Kolkata.


Rhythm Divine Poets were the creative partner of Soul Sutra, organized by Rotaract Club of Central Calcutta at Doodle Room on 1st July 2017. The event saw special performance by the group as well as judging the Prose and Poetry slams.









Rhythm Divine Poets hosted Mumbai-based performance artist Vibha Rani at Wabi Sabi on 17th June for a session of Poetry and Performance. Glimpses from the event.









Event - Kolkata - 29th July 2017


Thursday, 20 July 2017

PHILIP NIKOLAYEV - Featured Poet

CALCUTTA FLOWERS The bard addressing with his weightless quill the human will in its futility observes the florist with bunched and garlanded conflorescences who supplies his goods to dozens of local cults and is quite the worshipful man himself. The sorry samsara-swathed dusty sun reemerges among the clouds and the micromonsoon wrung out of a nowhere pit by Indra's unknowable hand is over. Magic is the name of oblivion and the reed pen and flowers now are merely methods of forgetting even the unforgivable. For the continuous self must forget itself in time where everything reduces to its opposite in the end and the end is merely the other side of a fixed beginning. Here the marigolds in their January loveliness and buckets on the sidewalk seem to know their fate. They silently belong to a caste; they are on the wrong, the chantless end of sacrifice. But here, here in their flimsy present they seem reconciled to their route of migration. The sidewalk enshrines many-handed anonymity. This marigold was a poet long ago.

(Published in Dusk Raga, Writers Workshop, Kolkata, 1998)

Bio:
Philip Nikolayev is a Russo-American poet living in Boston. He is editor of FULCRUM, a serial anthology of poetry and criticism. His poetry collections include Monkey Time (2003) and Letters from Aldenderry (2006). A collection of his Indian poems, Dusk Raga, was published by the Writers Workshop in Kolkata in 1998. New volumes are forthcoming from MadHat and Poetrywala.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

AMPAT KOSHY - Featured Poet

The Real Meaning of Reincarnation

The day I was born my father and mother loved each other The day I was born was the day I was born The day I was born was the day I met Jesus The day I was born was the day I was married The days on which I was born were the days on which my daughters and son were born The day I was born was the day my son was discovered as having autism The day I was born was the day on which I fell in love The day I died was when my sister died The days on which I died were when my father and mother died The day I died was when I realized that original sin is not a myth The day I died was when I realized my daughters were girls in a world that is against women The day I died was when i realized my son being autistic would not ensure better treatment for him from many in the world but worse The day I died was the day I learned that it also meant worse treatment even from some who knew it to me and my wife and daughters and surprisingly enough they were not my enemies but usually said they were my friends The day I died was the day i realized I loved those who did not love me back enough and was loved by those I did not love back enough The day I died was the day I realized the story about Eve and Adam was not a myth The day I died was the day I lost my innocence in understanding that love is not enough The day I died was the day on which I realized I had failed more than anyone else on earth The day I died was the day I realized that it was love that was a myth, and (wo)man, not God. Between being born and dying is the silence of the lamb the wordlessness of my son is the space between the words on the printed page is the gap between the teeth the one between the lips the gash or wound between a woman's legs the pause between the spoken words Between being born and dying is the purity of the truth that each man and woman should be crucified I, being the chief of sinners but only one was Between being born and dying is the period of living waxing and waning to reach fullness and then fading into nothing sinner or saint man or woman into ashes or dust.

Bio
Dr Koshy A. V. is an Assistant Professor at the Department of English at the College for Arts and Humanities for Men, Jazan University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He has written, co-written or co-edited sixteen books of criticism, fiction and poetry to his credit with authors like A.V. Varghese, Gorakhnath Gangane, Angel Meredith, Dr Madhumita Ghosh, Dr Zeenath Ibrahim, Dr Rukhaya MK and Dr Bina Biswas and one of them 'A Treatise on Poetry for Beginners' was reprinted as 'Art of Poetry.' He is a Pushcart Poetry Prize nominee (2012) and twice Highly Commended Poet in Destiny Poets UK ICOP (2013, 2014) and he was thrice featured in Camel Saloon’s The Hump for best poem/editor’s pick and once for best poem in Destiny Poets UK Website. Even as a child he won the Shankar's international award for writing. He is a reputed critic and expert on Samuel Beckett besides being a fiction writer and theoretician.. He has edited or co-edited many books including A Man Outside History by Naseer Ahmed Nasir and Inklinks: An Anthology by Poets Corner and also novels for Lifi. He co-edited Inklinks:An Anthology and Umbilical Chords: An Anthology on Parents Remembered. He instituted the Reuel International Literary Prize in 2014 and runs an autism NPO with his wife Anna Gabriel. He administers with the help of other many literary groups and pages on Facebook. His poems have been studied in a research paper by Dr Zeenath Ibrahim and Kiriti Sengupta in My Dazzling Bards and also translated into Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati, German, Portugese, Spanish and Malayalam. He won World Bank’s Urgent Evoke and participated in European Union’s Edgeryders. He has been interviewed extensively. He has other degrees, diplomas and certificates to his credit besides his doctorate on Beckett. His latest books are Allusions to Simplicity , Scream and other Urbane Legends and Silhouette 1 and 2 and other short fiction edited with Reena Prasad and Michele Baron with whom he also co-edited the Significant Anthology.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

MICHAEL ROTHENBERG - Featured Poet

SERENITY SPRING

One day the story changed
And those people who want to help out

They’re incompetent. All of them!
Breeding little dogs to carry around

In a purse. A conspiracy of blue jays
Indecipherable spider webs

Surveillance in every corner of the forest
You can only imagine

What the clouds say
Suspicious signals from the sun

A revolt of hurricanes!

                        *

“What have we done to the earth?”

            For years Industry told us
            About “Better living through chemistry”

            And now that we don’t like what Industry
            does we pretend they never said it

Listen to squirrel chatter
Militant moles message underground

Agitate the atmosphere
Until there’s nothing left of hope

                    (Only holes and shelled nuts)

            Fracking, fracking, fracking, cracking

The Great American Optimism!
Corporate Venture Cyclops!


                        *


            There is no peace
            The Buddha

            Buried
            Buried and unearthed
           

            Buried and unearthed
            Ashes to ashes

            Vanity to vanity

                                    Greetings Serenity!

                        *

I spoke to myself on the deck last night
We reconciled beneath the stars

Waltzed to a raccoon love song
While all the fools in paradise watched

Today the silent sun grows
And burns and burns

I remember pink towels on the garden chair
My mother’s cool gardenia hand

On my fevered head. A difficult breath
Still hidden in the leaves . . .

                        *

There are two worlds I know
The one I run from and the one I hold on to

For dear life. I don’t own either
Beware of the purple doppelganger!

Serenity loiters in fern hollow . . .
So I watch the red geraniums grow

And help them along the best I can
Sweet Serenity Spring.


First published in Wake Up and Dream (MadHat Press, 2017)

Bio:
Michael Rothenberg is editor of BigBridge.org and co-founder of 100 Thousand Poets for Change. His most recent books of poetry include Drawing The Shade (Dos Madres Press, 2016) and Wake Up and Dream (MadHat Press, 2017). A bi-lingual edition of Indefinite Detention: A Dog Story is due out from Varasek Ediciones, Madrid, Spain in Fall 2017.  He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

RIJUREKH CHAKRAVARTY - Featured Poet

LETHE 

Memories are blank!
Dreams crisscross to be fulfilled with perplexity.
Infinity doesn’t care to put a mark on the pages.
When the craft of language, learned, is wasted,
Such nights come back
Amidst the sound of the crickets,
In the imagery of a palpable moon,
In the passionate urge for art,  
And the birds, I see, switch nests
Carrying dreams on their wings -
The dreams that would be wiped out
By the first rays of daylight.
That’s the rule of Lethe,
You know, Dorian,
Don’t you?
And if someday,
In a gloom as profound as sin,
I fail to recall even the oblivion,
Tell me, Achilles,
Should I be grateful to you?
Should I?

Translation: Dipankar Mukhopadhyay

TO BE PUBLISHED SHORTLY IN THE PEN INDIA JOURNAL

Bio

Born and brought up in Kolkata, Rijurekh Chakravarty started his writing career with Bengali poems in his college days. His first poem was published in the DESH magazine when he has 19. His first book of poem got published in the year 1992. Till now he has six books of poems under his belt. He has been awarded with as many as five literary prizes and honours. He has also penned three novels in Bengali, one of which, published during the Kolkata International Book Fair this year, is a crime thriller. Another novel by him, written 22 years back, is going to be published in book form in August this year.