Archive for August 7th, 2013

The Dance of the Peacock: Many Histories, Rewritten Myths and Canonized Margins

The Dance of the Peacock: Many Histories,

Rewritten Myths and Canonized Margins

 A Review by Jyothsnaphanija

The Dance of the Peacock: An Anthology of English Poetry from India Edited by Vivekanand Jha covers wide ranging perceptions, vivid experiences of myriad poets from all walks of life, all ages, and all cultures representing the diversity of India. Though they are termed under the rubric of Indian poets but their works showcase universal nature of language, responding nature and time, memory, love and loss. The contemporary poetry of Indian writers presented in this book offers a touching flavor of insightful philosophies, the craftsmanship of the experienced writers, and meticulously selected works of wide ranging themes.

Nature is one of the themes much often focused in the works of the traditional poets, and in this book too, there are number of poems on nature, as raging nature, trees wearing colourful bangles, and as Anju Makhija appreciates,

“When raw mangoes

drop on our head, we pause

to appreciate nature’s bounty.”

Nature pained these poets and painted their poetry. Arman Najmi beautifully writes,

“The dry parched river bank

Bearing the burden of deprivation

Has been tolerating the lashes of the scorching sun

On its burning breast

Neither a shade of dense tree

Nor the carpet of green grass

Who will cover its bare bosom?”

The music of the words blended with typical imagery of the landscape of the composing nature was excelled where the poets were capturing the feel of green fields, whisky whispers, huskily rustling leafs, dew of morning grass,  falling sky and bitter kisses of roses, where “Shadows of various kinds converge on the west-facing frost-glass windows,”, “Where Clouds let off wrinkled steam and the skies/ See the rocks blossom naked and wild”, with “canopy of the trees of the emerald green”, and in aquamarine rivers, sea of marijuana green, with passionate thunders whipping the carriage horses,  wrinkled boats and pastoral afternoons.

Love is another idea conceived in this book. Loveria as Vivekanand Jha writes, there are many love stories this book tells. As it is beautifully composed by Mihir Chitre in his poem Ripples, “In your eyes was/ the warmth of three winters/ The sky shivering/ And I surrendered”, love captures the pain, is like a poem, eternal and loss. As Amarendra Kathua says in Injury Time, “that love has its deepest wound etched inside our hungry togetherness”, love is an injury, is ambiguous, and musical in these lyrics.

Typical Indian culture is indicated in morning ragas, summer mangoes, angulimalas, offerings to Shiva, Deaths in Orissa, floods in Andhra Pradesh, quiet Kerala beach, The Himalayan scenery, ETC. P. K. N. Panicker’s poem Haunted tells how the poet is moved with the modern change in the country,

“A landscape,

framed in the memory

of my native village

in God’s own country,

where paddy plants listen

to the scratch of crickets

and to the bellowing of the frogs”

Feministic vision was viewed both by the poets and poetesses in this work. In a soothing language, they talked of dreams, love, hopes, motherliness, desires, old age and widowhood which injure women. Anita Nair’s Hello Lust tells how one is submitted to another in a relationship. Ambika Ananth expresses,

“Sometimes I am called archetype and archaic

When I walk few paces behind my man

That I am under machismo grip

and I have no voice no progressive thought”.

Few women poets have architected the language of their own in these verses with their own imagery. Similarly, Monika Pant’s Monsoon Blues tells the rupture of the betrayed as was written,

“Is it because behind the arches of the derelict monument,

I had stood for long

Holding my white, wispy veil

Or dupatta as we called it,

Across my tear stained face

As I waited for him

And watched the darkening sky swell

Like the belly of a pregnant woman?”

P. K. Joy’s Two Hands of a Man is a satiric poem on the double moral standards of a man who protects his wife in a crowded bus and tries to touch the other lady. This poem shows how the mail centric society treats the women as objects of sexual pleasure and does not apply the same for their own family members. Many of the poems in this book portray how feminism is seen as a different entity from women’s actual lives in the country, rape and adultery of mind, and significantly as repeatedly Ruth Vanita questions “Can you take the lesbian out of India?” While Shefali Shah Choksi’s Mirror Women talks of the invisibility of women, how they are trivialized, Sunita Jain’s Summer Magic tells how the young girls are viewed trivialized. As Usha Kishore says, “an Indian woman attempting feminist writing in a borrowed tongue,”, these women have written their own lives and lives of women around them in English as in Gopa Nayak’s I had Put Mehendi on That Evening, Hazara singh’s Glory of Woman, Tejdeep Kaur Menon’s verses, tell the tales of women’s desires, shattered and trivialized.

This book tells many histories, rewritten myths, and canonized margins.  History revealing Taj Mahal,  dust and beggars outside the Taj Mahal, new version of Parvaty’s story,  Desdemona’s story, Draupadi’s myth, retelling the story of Ravan, Gandhi’s tales, image of Madonna, and poem inspired by Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings, contribute for the imaginative flavor of the anthology. Telling Cinderella’s story till the tragic death of Nirbaya, many of the poets pinned at the society with their pen. They talked about the tribal women, street children, poverty, and caste woes.

This book in no way compromises the readers in giving unusual imaginations, expanding the limits of language and feelings for example, “love as a performing art,” “pregnancy of earth”, “drinking the sky”, “half dreamt dreams”,  and many more. As K. Satchidanandan translates,

“God too must have stammered

when He created man.

That is why all the words of man

carry different meanings.”

The imaginative space too carries the infinite interpretations besides the bewilderment of the words hived in the language, and the compositions played by the shallow piano keys.  This commendable work promises any reader to offer a simple language covered unusual thoughts, and takes the reader towards a different journey. This book tells the secrets of storms, shows the darkness of the darker nights, and takes towards the wands of irresistible beauty in bringing towards the African continent and the way of the world.

Many of the poets in this anthology wrote how poetry talks to them, how poetry pains them, and how it conjures them. For the poets in this anthology, poetry is a beautiful tree, poetry is love making, poetry is deciphering, and as Pashupati Jha asserts Poetry Makes a Lot to Happen. As C. D. Norman recites, “Words play hide and seek,” and Bipin Patsani attributes making a poem as “The voyage/ More exciting /Than the destination”, these poets sing the patchwork of happiness and sorrows. As  Syed Faizan rightly articulates, “What if each breath that every being e’er took, /Has been recorded in a library; /What if each human were a secret book, /Bound in the covers of eternity”, this anthology records the most delicate phases of life, tangential perceptions, and colourful realities.

One should take this book and read to understand the vibrant perceptions of some gifted souls, speaking directly in free verse, making everything crystal clear. Many of the poets presented in this anthology are established poets presenting their unique perceptions and experiences. This book is of perfectly designed to cater the needs of a contemporary reader who can read poems about face book and twitter, and satisfy with the traditional forms blended in modern thoughts where the poets sang odes to Mumbai, and hymns to love and nature.  It answers for feministic concerns, makes cry for the unacknowledged pain, seeps us through inevitable imagination.

Some of the metaphors and language flexibilities of this anthology shock the readers in the explored phases of literature. This commendable work is worth reading and refreshes the readers when poetry is losing readers as Jha worries, poetry is frightening as fiction. This book ends with words of Keats “None but the master shall praise us; and none but the master shall blame.” Suggesting that, this collective effort compressed in this anthology can have a critical appreciation from the readers, serving them and enlightening them.

 ********

Jyothsnaphanija is a doctoral candidate at the Department of English Literature, EFL University in Hyderabad, India. She did her Masters in English Literature from the same University. This 23 year old young writer was a gold medalist in BA English Literature. She challenged the vision loss which she was having from her birth. Her poetry has been published in Luvah, Coldnoon, Tajmahal Review, Kritya, eFiction India, Miracle, Fragrance, Induswoman Writing and are forthcoming in Skeleton’s Anthology, Kumquat Poetry and Solstice Initiative.  Her academic writings have appeared in Subalternspeak, eDhvani, Wizcraft, Barnolipi. She contributed her essays to the books Indian Women Novelists: A Critical Spectrum (2012), and Contemporary Indian Drama in English, 2013. Currently she is in the editorial team of Criterion.


Advertisements

Call for Submissions: Phenomenal Literature, A Global Journal Devoted to Language & Literature

15-Cover GJLL-F

Call for Submissions

Phenomenal Literature: A Global Journal Devoted to Language & Literature

Phenomenal Literature is a biannual print journal devoted to language, literature and creative writings. It is a publication of Authorspress, New Delhi, India. We welcome and publish extracts of novels, poetry, short stories, drama, plays, translations, book reviews, interviews, critical/academic/research articles, essays, biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, travelogues and other creative writings in English.

Our primary role and goal is to display a unique spectrum of humanity and social sciences produced by variegated colours, wavelengths and frequencies of language, literature and creative writings in English.

Phenomenal Literature has set a global stage for characterizing dynamic, vibrant and versatile authors and academicians, playing their parts in advancing the plot of literary scenes of sublime thoughts, themes and diction in front of traditional and electronic spectators.

Submission Guidelines

Phenomenal Literature welcomes unsolicited submissions from novels, poetry, short stories, drama, plays, translations, book reviews, interviews, biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, essays, travelogues and creative writing. We will only consider work that has not been previously published, whether in print or on the web.

We read submissions round the year and you are requested to wait until you receive our decision on the status of your submission before you resubmit you are requested to wait for the next submission till you receive our decision on your previous or pending submissions. The response time can fluctuate in proportion to the number of submissions we receive. Simultaneous submissions are permitted but if a work you have submitted to us is accepted elsewhere, please notify us without any delay. Remember, poems submitted for the journal, Phenomenal Literature, can also be considered for its sister journal, VerbalArt: A Journal Devoted to Poets & Poetry.

 Categories of Submissions

Poetry:A set of five poems. Each poem should be a maximum of 40 lines.

Novel:Submit a chapter from book length manuscripts of your novel. It should be a maximum of 2,500 – 4,000 words.

Short Story: Submit only one short story of maximum 2,500 – 4,000 words.

Play/Drama: Submit a scene or part of a play/drama which may fall in the word limit of 2,500 – 4,000 words.

Biography/ Autobiography/Memoir/Travelogue: Submit a piece of biography/ autobiography/memoir/travelogue of not more than 2,500 – 4,000 words.

 Interviews: You can send your interview with a celebrated author, limiting it to within 2,500 – 4,000 words. The interview should be informative and inspiring. Remember, we will not be publishing manipulated interviews, i.e., there are some authors/interviewees who approach interviewers for cheap popularity and sensationalism. Being professionals, we will examine which interview needs to be published. Though photographs are not essential yet joint photographs of both interviewee and interviewer will be preferred and appreciated.

 Book Reviews: We do not accept unsolicited book reviews. If you would like to submit a book review, please send a query to editor@phenomenalliterature.com.

Critical/Research/Academic Articles:Please read carefully to avoid the rejection of submissions:

1.    Articles should be a maximum of 2,500 – 4,000 words.

2.    Strictly written in MLA style 7th Edition (with proper citations and references).

3.    Excerpts/extracts from reference books should not be longer than your critical remarks. Begin and conclude your article with proper critical appraisal and appreciation.

4.    Every critical/research/academic article should be accompanied by a submission fee upon receipt of the acknowledgement for acceptance of publication. For details and options of pay please refer to the page of subscription.

Translations: You can submit English translations of fiction and non-fiction too. The word limit of submissions will remain the same as in the cases of original categories. If you are submitting a work in translation, please indicate whether or not you are in possession of translation rights from its original author.

 Where & How to Submit

All submissions are to be sent as an MS Word attachment at the email id: editor@phenomenalliterature.com. Don’t forget to give your brief bio, email id, postal address and contact number (optional) at the top page of the attached document.  You will receive an Auto Response.

 Copyright/ Plagiarism Alert

 Last but the most important thing is to adhere to Plagiarism Alerts. We will be checking the cases of plagiarism both electronically and manually. Electronically we have updated software to check if any content is copied and simply pasted without giving proper reference and citation. Manually we will use our vast experiences of having edited more than 500 articles. We must caution you in advance itself, that your article will be simply rejected if you are found guilty of indulging in any kind of plagiarism and copyright infringement. Along with your submission you must attach a certificate of originality mentioning that you own the copyright of the submitted piece(s).

 Disclaimer

Phenomenal Literature retains the right to use the accepted work in future online or print anthologies, as well as in the online archives. All other rights remain with the author. The journal will not be liable in any way for any sort of copyright infringements.

Compensation

 Every contributor will get a free copy of the journal in which issue his submitted piece is published.

Subscribe Phenomenal Literature

Maybe because of lack of funds, sponsors or readers, every year a host of literary journals are launched, garner bubble reputation and disappear into oblivion. There have also been journals about which one has not been aware, when they were released or ceased publication. Let us belie this truth, trend and conviction by supporting and subscribing to this journal, and let this journal touch the glory of eternity.

Subscription of Individual Issue (Including Postage)

$ 15 (US & CDN) / Rs. 300 / Euro & UK Pound 10

Annual Subscription (Including Postage) for Individuals

$ 30 (US & CDN) / Rs. 600 / Euro & UK Pound 20

    Membership for Five Years (Including Postage)

$ 125 (US & CDN) / Rs. 2,500 / Euro & UK Pound 90

Submission Fee upon Acceptance of Critical/Research/Academic Article

                For every article $ 40 (US & CDN) / Rs. 1,000 / Euro & UK Pound 25

Indian subscribers can transfer the required amount of fee or subscription through online or net banking. Bank account details are:

Name: Authorsgroup Advertisers

Name of the Bank: PNB

A/C no. 2257002100001903

IFSC code: PUNB0309300

Payable at: New Delhi

Foreign subscribers can transfer the subscription fee through PayPal, one of the most secured methods of transaction on internet. PayPal Account Id of the journal is olordsai@rediffmail.com

Subscribers are requested to also email the particulars of any payment sent/made to editor@phenomenalliterature.com. Current and past issues of the journal can be purchased anytime and from anywhere from the online estore of Authorspress at http://www.authorspressbooks.com as well through various modes of payments facilitated by EBS

Call for Submissions: VerbalArt, A Global Journal Devoted to Poets & Poetry

16-Cover GJPP final-F

Call for Submissions

VerbalArt: A Global Journal Devoted to Poets & Poetry

A publishing venture of Authorspress, VerbalArt is a biannual print version of journal devoted to poets, poetry and poems lock, stock and barrel. Our primary purpose is to set a vehicle of emotion and feelings for poets and poetry in English and poetry translated into English from any languages. The journal publishes everything pertaining to poets and poetry and it will feature poems, reviews on books of poetry, and the interviews with established poets and the research/critical/academic articles on poets and poetry. VerbalArt is committed to promote talented, amateur and young poets amid aura and ambience of established poets by browsing and exploring thought-provoking innovation and hidden talents in the cerebrum of the poetic world.

Submission Guidelines

 Please read the submission guidelines carefully and save your diligence going down the drain! VerbalArt welcomes unsolicited submissions all about poet, poetry and poems. We also publish translation in English, book reviews, interviews, biographies, autobiography, memoirs, essays, travelogue and creative writings pertaining to poets and poetry. We will only consider work that has not been previously published, whether in print or on the web. We read submissions round the year and you are requested to wait until you receive our decision on the status of your submission before you resubmit. The response time can fluctuate in proportion to the number of submissions we receive. Simultaneous submissions are permitted but if work you have submitted to us is accepted elsewhere, please notify us without any delay. Remember poems submitted for the journal, VerbalArt can also be considered for its sister journal, Phenomenal Literature: A Journal Devoted to Language & Literature.

Categories of Submission

Poetry: A set of five poems. Each poem should be a maximum of 40 lines.  

Biography/Autobiography/Memoir/Travelogue: Submit a piece of Biography/ Autobiography/Memoir/Travelogue on and by established poet only. It should be no more than 2500 – 4000 words.  

Interviews: You can send your interview with a celebrated poet and should be well within 2500 – 4000 words. The interview should be informative and inspiring. Remember, we will not be publishing manipulated interviews i.e. there are some poets/interviewees who approach to the interviewers to have an interview for cheap popularity and sensationalism. We are knowledgeable, updated and capable enough to know and examine which interview needs to be published or not. Though photographs are not essential but joint photographs of both interviewee and interviewer will be preferred and appreciated.

Book Reviews: We do not accept unsolicited book reviews. If you would like to submit a book of poetry for review, please send a query to editor@verbalart.in

Critical/Research/Academic Articles: Please read carefully to avoid the rejection of submissions:

1.      Articles should be only on poets, poetry and poems.

2.      Article should be a maximum of 2500 – 4000 words.

3.      Strictly written in MLA style 7th Edition (with proper citations and references).

4.      Excerpts/extracts from reference books should not be longer than your critical remarks. Begin and conclude your article with proper critical appraisal and appreciation.

5.    Every critical/research/academic article should be accompanied by submission fee upon receipt of the acknowledgement for acceptance of publication. For details and options of pay please refer the page of subscription.  

Translations: You can submit English translation of poetry too. The word limit of submissions will remain same as in the cases of original categories. If you are submitting work in translation, please indicate whether or not you are in possession of translation rights from its original poet.

 Where & How to Submit

 All submissions are to be sent as an MS Word attachment at an email id editor@verbalart.in. Don’t forget to mention your brief bio, email id, postal address and contact number (optional) at the top page of attached document.  You will receive Auto Response

 Copyright/ Plagiarism Alert

 Last but the most important thing is to adhere to Plagiarism Alerts. We will be checking the cases of plagiarism both electronically and manually. Electronically we have updated software to check if any content is copied and simply pasted without giving proper reference and citation. Manually we will use our vast experiences of having edited more than 500 articles. We must caution you in advance itself, your article will be simply rejected if you are found guilty of indulging in any kind of plagiarism and copyright infringement. Along with submission you must attach certificate of originality mentioning that you own the copyright of the submitted piece(s).

 Disclaimer

 VerbalArt retains the right to use the accepted work in future online or print anthologies, as well as in the online archives. All other rights remain with the author. The journal will not be liable in any way for any sort of copyright infringements.

 Compensation

Every contributor will get a free copy of the journal in which issue his submitted piece is published.

Subscribe VerbalArt

 May be because of lack of funds, sponsors or readers, every year a host of literary journals are launched, they garner bubble reputation and disappear into insignificance. There have also been journals about which some even don’t come to know when they are released and ceased publication. Let us belie this truth, trend and conviction by supporting and subscribing this journal and let this journal touch the glory of eternity as long as ever.

Subscription of Individual Issue (Including Postage): $ 15 (US & CDN) / Rs. 300 / Euro & UK Pound 10

Annual Subscription (Including Postage) for individuals: $ 30 (US & CDN) / Rs. 600 / Euro & UK Pound 20  Membership for Five Years (Including Postage): $ 125 (US & CDN) / Rs. 2500 / Euro & UK Pound 90

Submission fee upon acceptance of Critical/Research/Academic Articles: For every article $ 40 (US & CDN) / Rs. 1000 / Euro & UK Pound 25 Indian Subscriber can transfer required amount of fee or subscription through on line or net banking. Bank account details are: Name: Authorsgroup Advertisers

  • Name of the Bank: PNB
    A/C no. 2257002100001903
    IFSC code: PUNB0309300 
    Payable at: New Delhi

Foreign  subscribers can transfer  the subscription fee through PayPal,  one  of  the most secured methods of transaction on internet. PayPal Account Id of the journal is olordsai@rediffmail.com Subscribers are requested to also email the particulars of any payment sent/made to editor@verbalart.in. Current and past issues of the journal can be purchased anytime and from anywhere from the online estore of Authorspress at www.authorspressbooks.com as well through various modes of payments facilitated by EBS.

Dancing with the Peacocks…

A Review of The Dance of the Peaccok by Prof.  Vishal Bhadani

“We live only to discover beauty, all else is a form of waiting” words of Khalil Gibran kept reverberating for quite long time while flipping through pages of the new anthology of English poetry from India called The Dance of the Peacock edited by Dr. Vivekananda Jha. Significantly, such anthologies do not appear so frequently but when they appear, it is, I must say, a treat to read, relish and to be with them. While reading this anthology, you will hardly differentiate between a poem and a peacock!

The constellation of poets and poems that Dr. Jha has taken pains to chose keep surprising you by uplifting you to the wonderland of ecstasy. Characteristically these Indian poets and their imaginations are heterogeneously spread across a range of direct responses to the human experiences as they are: black and white. Poets in this collection can happily be classified into three broader classes: 1) Romantics, 2) Mystics or Philosophers, and 3) Rebels.

Fortunately, they appear magically without any introduction or so called biographical details (thanks to the editor for not colouring readers’ perception by doing so!!). Sometimes these poets, through their poems, either just say “hello” and fly away or the other time they hold you inside out that you wonder how they exactly know about your-self! Ambika Ananth is an exponent of preserving poetry the experience of Love:

I being there

is just a pretext of life

The reality is ‘you’

I have no identity..

How enticing, how soothing

is this state of ‘not being’

The ‘self’ is one those issues that so many poets in this anthology take forward to world of poeticity and philosophical dialogue. In all such poems the ‘self’ get encoded, decoded and recoded for the readers. I must indicate to those poems that speak volumes of confrontations of/to self in few-familiar words, as in Asha Viswas’

My body’s landscape

with footprints and traces from the past

is like a huge, old island

that understands the patois of the shore.

Or Aparna Kaji Shah’s sense of release after and nausea of the tough battle with the self can be felt loud and clear when she says:

Free at last, the self rises

Like an unwavering flame,

Dispelling the darkness of the mind.

Depersonalizing what it means to have a ‘self’, to realize it and to articulate emptiness that one feels every moment in/of the fragmented time sequences we call life. Poets, chosen here, are brutally honest in deconstructing the “romantic” version of life (as it was so handy with some earlier poets obsessed with natural and spiritual themes) and have audacity to represent some of those failed aspirations as engulfed by human instincts. For instance, in his “Guns and Gods” Asoke Chakravarty compulsively nullifies the pseudo-democrats of the first World when he satirizes:

We have the peace bomb.

Your bombs are not so peaceful.

In the name of democracy and justice,

Our peace bombs kill humanely.

Your bombs are not so humane.

There are plenty of such poems which stare eye-to-eye at you till the point you are internally disturbed and convinced. More gravely Samartha Vashishtha articulates those realms of Diaspora that many poets carry burden with always, alike, alone. As the poem “Escape” reads:

Burning tyres in Gujarat

brown as her eyes

my country weeps;

I dream of white women

and the firmness of their breasts.

 

Then sipping at my glass of Coke

letting the deluxe bus go

I dream of a place called New York

miles and miles from my bus-stand

cleaner than a river called Ganges.

It makes bullet holes in your eyes, there are numerous question marks floating through them, there are reminiscences of painful events that rest for a while and take shape of tears. Poems like these and many more have set, through this anthology, high standards for the poets to come from Indian English category. For example, late in the anthology, there dances a poem called “Ashamed” by Satish Verma states: The mother tongue weeps. / The masks will write a history, in exile.

Interestingly when we trace the development of symbols and metaphors across the languages and literature, we feel that something has happened to the poets of these age that there is radical, sometimes ironic either, shift in the choice of them. As in this poem “Absence” of Asha Viswas:

A verse inscribed with a red lipstick

glimmers from the looking glass

A spider leisurely walks between the lines

While the wakeful cat on the window sill still waits

for the departed one.

Verses used to be blessed by the Muses and there was a sense of piousness or elevated emotions and thoughts, but with this “red lipstick glimmering” new kind of poetry is born for which we need a different kind of poetics altogether. It is quite possible that the culmination of poetry or sublimity of the aesthetic experience we have during the poem may not happen at the end. Often you get elevated in the beginning itself and the rest is, then, just anti-climax or craftsmanship, for instance, the poem “When Without Rains” the first line speaks: As there are seasons, /I have reasons to change.

 

Ah! It is irresistible a task of talking about as many as possible provided the fatal and finite space of the words allow you to. The Dance of the Peacock is an anthology of peacocks who dance as poems. As their areas of poetic expertise, poets have almost covered all major human emotions, nature, problems of modernity, socio-political situations, dialectics of internal and external worlds, poetry writing etc. A must read for all those students, teachers and other poetry lovers who have so far read poetry for the sake poetry and I am sure you will get many more than just poetry i.e. is dance of poems. You will discover much more gems than I could while reading. Last but not the least, Sukrita Paul Kumar says in his “Parting again”:

 

Sadness sits like

a snake in my belly

turning and twisting

 

I would say, after going through this anthology The Dance of the Peacock edited by Dr. Vivekananda Jha,

Happiness leaps up like

A peacock in my heart

Dancing and dancing!!

       ***********

Prof. Vishal Bhadani, Assistant Professor in English, Department of English, Center for Education, Indian Institute of Teacher Education, Gandhinagar (Gujarat-India).