Reviews/Interviews

Bridging Continents: An Anthology of Indo-American Poets

Bridging Continents: An Anthology of Indo-American Poets, edited by Sharmila Ray and Gopal Lahiri, veteran poets and critics with numerous anthologies to their credit is not a run off the mill anthology. It’s a carefully crafted volume comprising thirteen well-known Indian English Poets along with eleven renowned contemporary American Poets. That’s not all, it comes with a translation of these poems at the end of the book, on the reverse, in Bengali by noted poet Tanmoy Chakraborty. (Click here to read more)

My Poetic Offering

Manab Manik’s My Poetic Offering is clearly an invocation to the Divine. Manik seeks the bosom of the Eternal Lord present in all religions and poetries. In this delightful and unpretentious presentation of sonnet-styled verse, the poet reminds us that divinity is not a fruitless quest. To seek the divine is the heart of poetry itself and the poet in these verses makes it abundantly obvious that he is presented with divinity in his soul. Edgar Allan Poe writes in The Veil of the Soul that the definition of art is “the reproduction of what the Senses perceive in Nature through the veil of the soul”. (Click here to read more)

Interview with Dustin Pickering

He talks of love and religion and writes poetry that is often critiqued by some as similar to verses from the past. And his role model is from the Renaissance — Michelangelo. To some, he is a loyal friend in need, a person who whips up essays and articles on demand. He is often published within India, which could well be his second literary home. He is prolific with his writing and publishing. He also does paintings and sings songs with a guitar on you tube. Some might have guessed by now — he is Dustin Pickering. (Click here to read more)

Pearls of a Strawberry Moon

Monalisa Dash Dwibedy’s Pearls of a Strawberry Moon is not an ordinary collection of poems that only records the mundane realities of our times, our successes and failures, or our memories and hopes for the future. The poet meditates on the world around her, grows, and allows her awakened self to introspect objectively. She provides us with a yogic view of the world; not renunciation but an evaluation of the self and makes herself a witness to the demolition of her own ego. (Click here to read more)

Unbecoming – A Memoir of Disobedience

Unbecoming – A Memoir of Disobedience by Anuradha Bhagwati is a rare and indefatigable memoir by a former US Marine Captain. She chronicles her journey — from a dutiful daughter of immigrants to a radical activist affecting historic policy reforms. ( Click here to read more>)

Interview with Mutiu Olawiyu

He is a maker of dreams for writers – a man who believes in dreams that are woven in words and multimedia across the world. He connects writing with multimedia, not just by writing and YouTube screenings but also by putting upcoming writers on his television show to battle out challenging questions about how literary development affects the world. (Click here to read more)

The Dictionary of Foreign Dream

Slovakian poet, dramatist, prose writer, translator, publicist Pavol Janik is a typical example of this phenomenon, a wonderful voice from the little country Slovakia who seems to find its place beyond its border. His book The Dictionary of Foreign Dreams is a collection of his poems in English translation. This poetry speaks of ordinary and mundane with an extraordinary poetic twist. It has a strong sense of regionalism yet at the same time it appeals to the readers who are not familiar to it. (Click here to read)

The Silence of Motherhood (Movie: Hazaar Chaurasia ki Ma)

Bengal, long considered to be the literary, artistic and social fuel for India’s colonial and post- colonial demeanours, has particularly fascinated cinema’s conscious annals. Satyajit Ray, Aparna Sen, Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen, Gautam Ghose, Tapan Sinha and their likes all found a level playing field here to sound timely sirens and orchestrate photoplays celebrating its collective regional character, with finesse of the highest caliber. (Click here to read)

Suralakshmi Villa

Suralakshmi Villa (2020) is a novel based on a short story in a previous collection of short stories by Aruna Chakravarti. In the afterword to the novel, the author explains how the novel came about: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, on whose fiction Chakravarti had done her Ph.D thesis many years ago, commented how the short story had possibilities of being extended into a novel. In doing so, the author’s redoubtable skills have come to the fore yet again. (Click here to read more)

Aruna Chakravarti & Sunil Gangopadhyay on Tagore

Today to jubilate this great writer on his one hundred and fifty ninth birth anniversary, we have a conversation by two greats of our era. They, like Tagore, are from Bengal — both Sahitya Akademi award winners; Aruna Chakravarti , a writer who has translated his famed Gitabitaan, and she talks about the great poet with Sunil Gangopadhayay (1934-2012), a renowned Bengali author who authored a novel on Tagore in Bengali, Prothom Alo or First Light.  Aruna Chakravarti has translated Gangopadhyay’s novel too and she also has her own novel on the Tagore family women, Jorasanko, which has been a best seller in India. (Click here to read more)

Rabindranath Tagore

Almost even eighty years after his death, Rabindranath Tagore continues to be written about. Any biographical account of Tagore’s life and works — whether it is in Bengali, English or any other language — is attention-grabbing and is received with awe and admiration. Indeed, for the bard whose immortal lines echo even today – Jodi tor daak shune keyo na ashe, tobe aakla cholo re (If no one answers to your call, walk alone) — no number of books is enough to have another look at his great mind, make another study of his brilliance. (Click here to read more)

An Interview with a COVID 19 virus

Covid-19: I don’t know exactly. Some say I was created by Zionists to reduce the world population. There is also an opinion that CIA has launched me to destroy Chinese economy, whereas USA blames that a Chinese lab has fathered me as a biological weapon. Muslims believe that Allah has created me to punish their enemies. Some vegans are of the view that I am an incarnation of God assigned to eradicate omnivores from the Earth. Really, not sure who I am? ( Click here to read)

Nalini Priadarshni interviews Anu Mahadevan:

An abuse victim in the past, Anu Mahadev is a poet based in New Jersey. She is a 2016 MFA graduate of the Drew University’s MFA program in Madison, NJ. With two poetry collections to her credit, Myriad (2013) and Neem Leaves (2015) Anu is a curious reader and lifelong learner. She is passionate and outspoken about issues such as domestic violence, girls’ education and independence, and depression/bipolar disorder. She loves music, languages, animals and long walks. (Click here to read more)

Sita under the Crescent Moon

Sita Under the Crescent Moon – A Woman’s Search for Faith in Pakistan is a dazzling account of a tradition purely for the reason that it combines spirituality with travel. The blurb says it all: “In present-day Pakistan, in the far corners of Lyari in Karachi, or Hingol in Balochistan, or Thatta in Sindh, tightly knit groups of women keep alive the folklore, songs, and legends of Sati—their name for Sita in the Ramayana.” (Click here to read more)

Movie review: Shankhachil

In the surging ripples of the meandering river one is most likely to hear the symphony of the universe. Does the river understand the definition of state or country borders? Can any force stop the flow of the river or refuse to accept the waters of the river because it flowed in from the other side of the border? (Click here to read)

The Speaking Stone

The Speaking Stone by Pravat Kumar Padhy is a poetry collection that makes you ponder and reanalyse everything around us including all that we have taken for granted till now – the environment, nature, our planet Earth and most importantly our lives. Spread across forty-two poems, Padhy manages to string together various emotions and brings forth the magic of the enigma called life, beautifully. (Click here to read)

Nalini Priadarshni interviews K. Sridhar

K. Sridhar is a Professor of Theoretical Particle Physics and has published a book Particle Physics of Brane Worlds and Extra Dimensions published by Cambridge University Press. He has an edited volume on Integrated Science Education and more than a hundred research papers in physics. He is also a writer of literary fiction, has published a work of fiction called Twice Written, a critical edition of which has also been published more recently. ( Click here to read)

Lines Across Oceans

A few days before this Valentine’s Day, Nalini Priyadarshni urged her friends on Facebook to  “consider getting a book of love verses for your sweetheart this Valentine”. The book is Lines Across Oceans: Intercontinental Love Verses which she has co-written with the late poet D. Russel Micnhimer, also a winner of Poet Laureate award in India. To those who love poetry and those who have been in love, Priyadarshni’s mischievous call to action invoked nothing less than a gleeful sentiment of “ooooh… another one” tinged with “oh no – not again!” It is a sentiment that gushes out of a lover/beloved every time a note of pleasure comes close enough to unfold aspects of loving. (Click here to read)

The Plague

Camus’ La Peste has never been out of print. In the wake of pandemic that now sweeps the entire world, its sale has seen a surge quite unlike at any other time since its publication in 1947. What else can be a greater proof of the relevance of a work that seems to be an ageless parable of human condition. (Click here to read)

The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz

One of the passages from a thriller that has been  circulating the social media circles during COVID 19 is how the Wuhan virus was evolved in a lab in the United States with a  Chinese refugee’s help, one who had defected to US “carrying a diskette record of China’s most important and dangerous biological weapon in a decade.” The book, The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz, is listed as a thriller, mystery, suspense and horror. It has been republished with a few changes in 1996, post-Glasnost and post-Tiananmen incident. (Click here to read more)

How will the World Look after COVID 19? — An interview

What is new and positive is that human beings everywhere are shedding their illusions about the current arrangement of the world. They now clearly see that the gangrenous face of the Western system, of imperialism. COVID-19 is a symbol, not just a disease. After dust settles, after the epidemy is defeated, inhabitants of our Planet will never want to be governed by the European and North American “culture”. (Click here to read more)

Truck de India

The one image that I have always associated with the thought of truck/ goods carrier on Indian roads is a boisterous Punjabi driver driving the truck in abandon while singing this song full throttle. Part of the reason lies in my spending my early childhood years in Punjab and part in being enamoured by the bitter sweet song which is as much about love as it is about lamenting the distance between lovers. (Click here to read)

The Forever Abode

I’d not read a lot of Dustin Pickering before reading a draft copy of The Forever Abode. Pickering had mentioned this was a collection of poetry about a long-term relationship and thus, I found the idea intriguing. Poetry and love going so well together. (Click here to read)

Silence Between the Notes: An Anthology of Partition Poetry

Silence between the Notes is an anthology of Partition poetry which includes contributions from Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, English, Hindi, Bengali and Kashmiri languages. It is a unique collection as this is the first book which is extensive, representative and inclusive of it all. Selected, edited and introduced by Aftab Husain and Sarita Jenamani, this anthology promises to bring forward the voices which had perhaps got lost somewhere in all the noise that followed Partition. (Click here to read more.)