On the inaugural issue (2020-2021) of the Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English, edited by Sukrita Paul Kumar and Vinita Agrawal A lecture delivered on June 25, 2021, at the online event hosted by India International Centre (IIC), Delhi. Thank you, India International Centre, for inviting me to this event on the Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English. I’m a contributor to this collection, representing Hawakal, the publisher of this book. Before I say about the book or its making or Hawkal, let me tell you, IIC is an organization that dwells in my heart. Back in 2018, when we had no pandemic to be scared of, I visited IIC in April. I was [...]
How do we perceive light? How do we intuit its source? It can be cockcrow, it can be the candle we float in the river, it can reasonably be the lantern Ma placed at my study when there was a power cut, or it can reasonably be literature that illumines our faculties. It is imperative to recognize the light that allows a respite from prevailing darkness. Respite isn't the right word, I guess. Radiance liberates us from the murk. One must remember, it's the shimmer that sustains lucency. Let me clarify it further: reading down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code has brightened the LGBT rights in India. Think of Manoranjan Byapari. He upholds the [...]
As I began working on Hibiscus, I advised my co-editors, Anu Majumdar and Dustin Pickering, to send me a few verses on the chosen theme. To maintain ethical standards, I didn’t publish them, nor did I include mine in this collection. But I liked their works and discussed them in the introductory passage. In the last few days, I’ve critiqued briefly four poems. I won’t write a critical analysis as I conclude the session. I’ll let you peruse their poetry instead. Happy reading! — Kiriti Sengupta Falling Away | Anu Majumdar when shadows fall from your face hummingbirds sing outside. when doubt falls away from your mind beavers sleep together in deep moonlight. when darkness leaves [...]
All great poets succeed in creating euphony; Sanjeev Sethi isn’t an exception. He is an exceptional wordsmith with a profound consciousness of letters. The following poem opens with the title itself: a practice Sethi commonly employs, and integral to the stylistics of his works. Inducement | Sanjeev Sethi Instructions are installed in our core: there’s no toggle to turn. Happiness is a wallet I left at a lover’s vault. Cheerlessness is my chaperon. What’s my catalyst to keep on truckin’? His omnipresence. He erases the offensive. Source: Hibiscus: poems that heal and empower Edited by Kiriti Sengupta | Anu Majumdar | Dustin Pickering Hawakal May 2020 The first stanza is dark, embellished with sequins: “Happiness is [...]
A COVID TALE | ANJU MAKHIJA Once, in time of the deadly virus, humans disappeared from Mumbai, animals appeared out of nowhere! The puffed-up peacock danced, the la-di-da hornbill claimed his kingdom, flamingos spread like cherry blossoms... reminding of those days when Mumbai was Bombay, and we played on the streets. While the present stifles, the past delights. Now past is becoming present and I pray for it to become our future. Source: Hibiscus: poems that heal and empower Edited by Kiriti Sengupta | Anu Majumdar | Dustin Pickering Hawakal May 2020 Professor Chris Fitzpatrick, a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist, writes in The Irish Times, “In time, we will need poets and writers of the imagination [...]
Peace Prayer | Michael R. Burch Be calm. Be still. Be silent, content. Be one with the buffalo cropping the grass to a safer height. Seek the composure of the great depths, barely moved by exterior storms. Lift your face to the dawning light; feel how it warms. And be calm. Be still. Be silent, content. Source: Hibiscus: poems that heal and empower Edited by Kiriti Sengupta | Anu Majumdar | Dustin Pickering Hawakal May 2020 American poet Michael R. Burch plays well with symbolism. With great humility, or perhaps to criticize the modern world for its neglect of contemporary poets, he claims to be “unknown” to the fraternity despite his over 5000 publications. His “Peace [...]
Morphie | Michele Mekel Claws. Paws. Whiskers. Purrs. He destroyed the furniture. But he healed my heart. Source: Hibiscus: poems that heal and empower Edited by Kiriti Sengupta | Anu Majumdar | Dustin Pickering Hawakal May 2020 hen shack? He digs the earth, collects abundant of her flesh, and smears it across the frame of straws and bamboo sticks. He lives in the lap of Nature. If you ask whether she is hurt, she will say, “Come on, I’m his mother!” Mothers heal themselves: they are ever-forgiving and find solace in their bundles of joy. How do children make their world of artistry? They paint the walls that surround them. Parents take pride in the representation [...]
SELECTED POETS AND POEMS Among one hundred and fifty-three poets, we have selected one hundred and three. It's an exhausting job, tricky as well. Barring a few exceptions, we have adhered to the guidelines. You will be glad to know that among the selected contributors, the youngest one is a student of eighth grade in a school located in the suburb of Calcutta. The rest, for you to see. Congratulations to all poets for trusting our vision. ADITYA SHANKAR EARTH GAZING AJANTA PAUL SURVIVAL REBIRTH ALEXANDER SCHIEFFER LIFE NEVER DIE PULSE AMIT SHANKAR SAHA AN IMAGINED WALK WINTER BLOOM ANANYA S GUHA SILENCE ANEEK CHATTERJEE THE FLAME MIDDAY SUN ANJANA BASU GOING VIRAL ANJU MAKHIJA [...]
How will Hibiscus work in the time of Corona? Is it just another anthology of poems? Kiriti Sengupta, the chief editor, shares his take on the collection and its contribution to healing and empowerment.
Apni ki adrsha markin nagarik hote chan (Do you want to be an ideal American Citizen?) is one of the most famous poems by distinguished Bengali poet Joydeb Basu.