Categories
Index

Borderless, May 2021

Editorial

And this too shall pass… Click here to read

Translations

Songs of Seasons: Translated by Fakrul Alam

Bangla Academy literary award winning translator, Dr Fakrul Alam, translates six seasonal songs of Tagore. Click here to read.

Temples and Mosques

Kazi Nazrul Islam’s fiery essay translated by Sohana Manzoor. Click here to read.

Purify My Life

Kazi Nazrul Islam’s poem, Purify my Life, translated by Shahriyer Hossain Shetu. Click here to read.

Waiting for Godot by Akbar Barakzai

Akbar Barakzai’s poem translated by Fazal Baloch. Click here to read.

Solus

Aditya Shankar translates a poem by Sujith Kumar. Click here to read.

The Last Boat

Tagore’s Diner Sheshe Ghoomer Deshe translated by Mitali Chakravarty with an interpretation in pastels by Sohana Manzoor. Click here to read.

Poetry

Anasuya Bhar, Scott Thomas Outlar, Saranyan BV, Matthew James Friday, Nitya Mariam John, RJ Kaimal, Jay Nicholls, Tasneem Hossain, Rhys Hughes, Vatsala Radhakeesoon, Ihlwha Choi, Himadri Lahiri, Sunil Sharma, Mike Smith, Jared Carter

Nature’s Musings

Photo-Poetry by Penny & Michael Wilkes. Click here to read.

Poets, Poetry & Rhys Hughes

Lear and Far

As a tribute to the 209th anniversary of Edward Lear, Rhys Hughes writes of his famous poem, ‘Owl and the Pussycat’, and writes a funny ending for it rooted in the modern day. Click here to read.

Stories

If at all

Shobha Nandavar, a physician in Bangalore, depicts the trauma of Covid 19 in India with compassion. Click here to read.

First Lady

Rituparna Khan gives us a brief vignette from the life of one of the first women doctors in India, Dr Kadambari Ganguly. Click here to read.

Mr Dutta’s Dream

Atreyo Chowdhury takes us into the world of unquenchable wanderlust. Click here to read.

Neemboo Ka Achaar or Maa’s Lemon Pickle

A compelling flash fiction by Suyasha Singh hovering around food and a mother’s love. Click here to read.

The Literary Fictionist

In A Lunch Hour Crisis, Sunil Sharma raises humanitarian concerns that though raised in a pandemic-free world, have become more relevant and concerning given our current predicament. Click here to read.

Musings/Slices from Life

Serve the People

Danielle Legault Kurihara, a Quebecker in Japan, writes of differences in rituals. Click here to read.

Why I write?
Basudhara Roy tells us how writing lingers longer than oral communications. Click here to read more.

The Quiet Governance of Instinct

Candice Louisa Daquin, a psychotherapist, talks of the importance of trusting our instincts. Click here to read more.

Musings of a Copywriter

In Nations without NobelDevraj Singh Kalsi takes a fresh look at national pride with a soupçon of sarcasm and humour. Click here to read.

Adventures of the Backpacking Granny

In Visit to Rural BaoyingSybil Pretious travels to spend a night with a local family in rural China in a ‘hundred-year-old home’.Click here to read.

Essays

Four Seasons and an Indian Summer

Keith Lyons talks of his experiences of seasons in different places, including Antarctica. Click here to read.

Rabindranath and the Etchings of His Mind

Anasuya Bhar explores the various lives given to a publication through the different edited versions, translations and films, using Tagore as a case study and the work done to provide these online. Click here to read.

My Experiments with Identity

Tejas Yadav explores identity from the context Heraclitus, Rumi down to his own. Click here to read.

Can Songs be the Musical Conscience of a Film?

Prithvijeet Sinha uses Gaman (Departure), a Hindi movie around the pain of migrant workers, as a case study to highlight his contention that lyrics and songs convey much in Indian films. Click here to read.

Bhaskar’s Corner

In Manoj Das – The Master Storyteller, Bhaskar Parichha pays a tribute to one of the greatest storytellers from the state of Odisha, India, Manoj Das( 1934-2021). Click here to read.

Book Excerpt

Excerpted from A Bengali Lady in England (1885): Annotated Translation with Critical Introduction to Krishnabhabini Das’ Englandey Bangamahila by Nabanita Sengupta. Click here to read.

Book Reviews

A review of Feisal Alkazi‘s memoir, Enter Stage Right: The Alkazi Padamsee Family Memoir by Rakhi Dalal. Click here to read.

A review of Shakti Ghosal‘s The Chronicler of the Hooghly and Other Stories by Gracy Samjetsabam. Click here to read.

Bhaskar Parichha reviews Raising a Humanist by Manisha Pathak-Shelat‘s and Kiran Vinod Bhatia. Click here to read.

Interviews

Communication scholars and authors, Manisha Pathak-Shelat and Kiran Vinod Bhatia, discuss how to bring up children in these troubled times, based on their book, Raising a Humanist, which has just been released. Click here to read.

Sonya J Nair of Samyukta Poetry talks about the Samyukta Research Foundation and its affiliates and its festival, Anantha. Click here to read.

Sara’s Selections, May 2021

A selection of young person’s writings from Bookosmia. Click here to read.

Categories
Interview

Samyukta & Sonya

Sonya J Nair

Sonya J Nair and Samyukta Poetry were suddenly making waves in social media with a festival of poetry called Anantha. An academic and writer, Nair spoke to Borderless Journal about their venture and their work and a bit about her own writing which flickers to life every now and then with a searing brilliance, much like the short intrusions she made during the Anantha sessions — are well-informed and apt rising to the situation. As Samyukta Poetry seems to be associated with the name of the two decades old Samyukta Journal of Gender and Culture, is it only for academics or is it for all of us? Venture into this interview to uncover the intricate workings of the Samyukta Research Foundation, its various associations, new projects that will evolve under its banner and Samyukta Poetry, which homes many poets.

Tell us how Samyukta Poetry came about. It started in April, 2020, during the pandemic lockdown. So, what made you start this venture?

Samyukta Poetry was the result of a thought that came barrelling across a long time ago. I always had the idea of starting a vlog that featured the latest in fiction. But like with everything else, I was taking my own time and in the interim, Samyukta Research Foundation, of which I am the Director of Research, asked me if I would look at poetry instead. As I do write poetry myself, the offer was too good to pass-up. And thus, was born samyuktapoetry.com. Interestingly, we started off with a laptop and a friend whose brother who handled all the initial tech matters. And now the whole enterprise has grown, there have been a lot of people who have come in on a voluntary basis, on the basis of goodwill and lent us their creative and technical know-how and made subtle-yet-strong differences in the way we look and come across today.

What is the link between you and the Samyukta Journal of Gender and Culture, which is a peer reviewed journal?

The Samyukta Journal of Gender and Culture, founded in 2001 by Prof. G. S Jayasree, is a journal that comes with quarter of a century worth of legacy behind it. In fact, Samyukta Poetry draws on a lot of goodwill thanks to the journal. There has been some cutting-edge research on Women’s Studies that the journal has presented over the years. And there have been some great collaborations with names such as Dr. Malashri Lal, Ritu Menon, Leela Gulati, Sanjukta Dasgupta, Uma Chakravarti, Sneja Gunew and Margot Badran.

You will soon be launching another off shoot of the journal. What will this one be? When will it be launched?

The Samyukta Research Foundation is the organisation that has the overall responsibility of the academic, creative and publishing wings. There are a lot of journals that are in the offing in the coming years. As of now, there is a journal of Film Studies and another one on Sexuality studies that are being readied for launch in the current year. There is a very good team in place at the Samyukta Research Foundation that helms these initiatives, and it is their vision that drives us forward. In the coming years, there are going to be serious endeavours to place before people, quality research that is rooted in integrity. Which is the benchmark of the Foundation. The publishing wing, Samyukta India Press, is a very vital agency in helping us realise these aims.

What are the kind of writers you hope to attract at Samyukta Poetry?

Samyukta Poetry does not work with a clear mandate regarding the people we want to feature. The only ground rule is that it must be honest poetry that speaks fearlessly. We look for the human…for that primordial connection that comes through and forms extraordinary narratives of everydays, of the everywhere in the nowhere…of places that are real in the imagined and vice-versa. For us, the story of the poem, where it comes from– the histories it contains is as important as the art, the craft and the technique.

Our readership is for everyone who loves poetry, who loves the intricate mesh of narratives that govern our lives. Its for everyone who would like to understand the majesty of the universe. It is not a grandiose statement that I make here. If you read our features, you will understand that we draw the poet from the many circumstances that they may not have visited, but are ever-present in. We are all about discovering the joys of that relatability of these experiences.

You just hosted a huge online festival, Anantha, to commemorate your first anniversary. Was that for Samyukta Poetry solely or for the journal. How did that go? Tell us a bit about it.

Anantha was initially conceptualised to mark the first anniversary of Samyukta Poetry. But looking at the response we got in terms of participation and the conversations that we had going on; it was decided mid-stream that we would make it an annual affair. We had tremendous goodwill and cooperation from all the people we approached when we were planning the festival. There was a lot of thought that had been put into the panels of poetry readings — my idea was to mix it up, have seemingly dissonant voices in some panels, have poets with vastly different styles and approaches in some other panels, focus groups in certain slots… it was a very trying initial time, curating the names in terms of who went where…but it worked. The poets connected, their voices rang out, there was tremendous energy, and the viewers loved the vibe.

The book launches were another thing we were particular about, we had six books released at Anantha and each of them was unique in terms of their subject and treatment. We went all out to ensure that it was an event to remember for the poets.

Our panels were moderated by some of the best-known names in Indian poetry. Menka Shivdasani, Gayatri Majumdar, Ra Sh, Jaydeep Sarangi, Ashwani Kumar, Amit Shankar Saha, Kashiana Singh, Sanket Mhatre responded brilliantly to our requests to moderate our panels and to bring in their voices to weigh and contemplate.  To have more than seventy poets zooming in and out of our portals at various times of the day for seven days was both exhilarating and at the same time nerve wracking — the electricity, connectivity and the looming miasma of the second wave of the pandemic making it a very trying time- emotionally and otherwise.

Anantha was a festival with a clear vision, to discuss the majesty of poetry with all its polyphony and to understand the beauty of the creative process. Our panels on translating Kashmir, Tagore, Multilingual poetry, Bhasha poetry were all eagerly anticipated and well received.

The In Conversation sessions with Priya Sarukkai Chabria, Arjun Rajendran, K. Satchidanandan, Anju Makhija, Anupama Raju, K. Srilata, Ranjit Hoskote and Arundhathi Subramaniam crossed frontiers in terms of the ways the poets spoke about how they see writing and the architectonics of their writings.

Now, your own journey. Since when have you been writing poetry?

Ah well, I have been writing poetry since childhood…the usual, initial rhyming ones about flowers and cats gave way to non-rhyming ones about angst and then love and then life.

Do you think publishing poetry/ prose gives the same fulfilment as the process of writing? You are planning a book. What is your forthcoming collection about?

Those are very deep questions. I think each of these processes gives a special sort of joy. Different, albeit special.

When I write, I am very happy because I always think the previous poem might have been my last. I am very aware of the mortality of my poetry. The idea that I may never write again. So each poem, is a personal testimony of being able to be moved, to be inspired, to want to feel alive and accountable.

Seeing your name in print is a very different sort of experience. It is a sort of permanent praise. An engraving of the acknowledgement that someone out there thinks you have something worth listening to and feels that others ought to hear it too. At that point, a part of you crosses over to immortality. A little part. But still.

I am in the middle of writing a biography of a transperson from Kerala. A truly inspirational figure ad it will be a book with a very different narratorial voice and very different things to say.

And yes, I am also putting together a collection of my poems. It’s an exploration of the many ways we can view the world. There are flatbed trucks, there are polaroids strung along roads, there are the places I grew up in and the people I fell in love with. It is also about people, places, trains, tunnels and the vast unknown that is the Mind.

And there is a plan evolving for an anthology of poems by Samyukta Poetry. So chaotic times ahead!

You are an academic. How do you shuffle the multiple tasks of writing, running a journal and teaching?

By not thinking about it. Honestly! I keep these worlds apart — or atleast, I think I do and trust my instincts and ensure I’m not crowded out. Also, I believe in the elasticity of Time. So, I stretch it. Thankfully, it all works out in the end. It is not for nothing that Lucky Jim is one my all-time favourite works. That’s who I identify with.

What is the future you see for yourself as a writer, an academic and for Samyukta Poetry?

My future as a writer is only as good as my next poem or prose piece. That and whatever the readers allow me. I like that edgy feel.

The academic in me and the Samyukta Journal of Sexuality Studies are going to live symbiotically. We have a fantastic network of scholars across the world who are working in tandem. So great things are expected.

Samyukta Poetry is branching into reviews and taking on a more vocal role in promoting different, organic voices and building a community of people who realise that though they are hungry, there is enough space under the sun for everyone. That graciousness is what Samyukta Poetry wants to stand for. The recognition that there is no I without a WE.

(This was an online interview conducted by Mitali Chakravarty on behalf of Borderless Journal.)

PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL. 

Categories
Poetry

Poems of Hurt

By Sonya J Nair

1.
 
Fury 
 
Slow burn.
 
A screw  	
coiling, coiling, coiling 
A watch  
 	wound, wound, wound 
 
A screw to the heart  
 	wōund, wōund, wōund 
the sound of acid pumping 
 
 	a spring 		a snap  
 	 	 	recoil 	 	 			recoiling  	
re-coiling. 





Tangibility
The day you died, I forgot
— to fret over the numbness that resided
at the tip of my left little toe.
— and how annoyed I had been
 with you for refusing to believe 
the existence of
such a mustard seed of an anomaly.

"Totally in the extreme," you howled,
while I contemplated blue murder.
— how I once woke to find you 
nibbling away at my hypothesis, 
your face impishly inching closer, 
making me want to love you
in ten shades of tangibility.

It was only by night,
after they had buried you,
that I wondered — if
loss could send feeling
flooding into frozen digits —
the cascades of pain, a twinge?
the keening in my soul, a twitch?

I touched the spot.
Still cold.
As cold as you had gone.

Sonya J. Nair is the editor of samyuktapoetry.com. She is working on her first collection of poems. She has been published in the Shimmer Spring Anthology and Rewriting Human Imagination- an anthology published by IASE and the Centre for Digital Humanities.