Thursday, December 13, 2018

Pratik News Update by Bhuwan Thapaliya

News Update

Awards & Honors 

Distinguished British Poet, Pascale Petit, also former Guest editor of Pratik’s Special British Issue, wins the Ondaatje Prize 2018 for her poetry book Mama Amazonica (Bloodaxe Books).The Ondaatje Prize is an annual award, bestowed by The Royal Society of Literature.

Leading British poet, Robert Minhinnick’s highly acclaimed poetry collection, Diary of the Last Man (Carcanet) was named Wales Book of the Year 2018. The award is run by Literature Wales, the National Company for the development of literature in Wales. His work was featured in the Special British Issue of Pratik. The prize worth £4,000 was presented to Robert by the Chair of the Arts Council of Wales, Phil George.

The English Patient (Bloomsbury) written by Michael Ondaatje has been named the winner of the Golden Man Booker Prize. The novel is the story of an injured, anonymous English WWII pilot and his Italian nurse. The Golden Man Booker Prize is awarded to the best work of fiction previously awarded the Man Booker Prize over the last 50 years. The winner of the Golden Man Booker Prize was announced at the Man Booker 50 Festival in Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Center in London.

Recipients of the 2018 Barnes & Nobel Writers for Writers Award are Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Steve Cannon and Richard Russo.

Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer prize-winning author was awarded The Story Prize and a cash award of $20,000 for her short story collection, Anything is Possible (Random House). The 2018 Jackson Poetry Prize recipient is John Yau. The $60,000 Jackson Poetry Prize honors an American poet of exceptional talent who deserves wider recognition. It was established in 2006 with a gift from the Liana Foundation and is named for the John and Susan Jackson family. The winners of the 2018 Amy Award are Lindsay Adkins, Kiley Bense, Wendy Chen, and Carlie Hoffman. Poets & Writers presents the Amy Award each year to recognize promising women poets, age 30 and under, living in the New York City metropolitan area or on Long Island. The 2018 winners of the Pulitzer Prize are: Biography or Autobiography – Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser, Fiction – Less by Andrew Sean Greer, General Nonfiction – Locking Up Our Own by James Forman, Jr., History – The Gulf by Jack E. Davis, Poetry – Half-Light by Frank Bidart.

Kenyan writer Makena Onjerika has won the 2018 Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story entitled “Fanta Blackcurrant”, published in Wasafiri ( 2017). Cane Prize is considering to be Africa’s leading literary award. The prize is worth £10,000. The Royal Society of Literature’s Encore Award for the year 2018 for best second novel of the year is jointly awarded to Andrew Michael Hurley for Devil’s Day (John Murray) and Lisa McInerney for The Blood Miracles (John Murray). The Encore Award is worth £10,000 and The Encore Award was first presented in 1990 to celebrate the achievement of outstanding second novels. Mohsin Hamid, author of Exit West won The Aspen Words Literary Prize for the year 2018. The Aspen Words Literary Prize is a $35,000 annual award for an influential work of fiction that brings into light important contemporary issue and reveals the inherent power of literature on culture and thought.This is the first time poetry has won the Prize. The award is worth £10,000. The Inaugural SAARC Literary Award 2018 was Awarded to Najibullah Manalai. Manalai is a multilingual writer of poetry, of narrative fiction, a newspaper columnist, translator and political analyst.  He writes in Pashto, Dari (Farsi), French and English.  He is building powerful bridges between Western Philosophy and Oriental Mysticism through translations of Western and Afghan literature.  Istanbul Istanbul, a novel by Burhan Sönmez and translated from Turkish by Ümit Hussein, has won a new international literature prize launched by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).The prize, awarded at a ceremony at the Bank’s headquarters in London was created in the year 2017 by the EBRD, in partnership with the British Council and the London Book Fair. The €20,000 prize will be split between the author and translator. Mike McCormack wins €100,000 International award for his novel, Solar Bones.

Notable Literary Departures

Donald Hall (1928–2018) was a former U.S. poet laureate, writer, editor and literary critic. He was the author of over 50 books across several genres including 22 volumes of verse. Most notably, he became the first poetry editor of The Paris Review ( 1953- 1961),

Hall was a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard, and Oxford. Hall is respected for his work as an academic, having taught at Stanford University, Bennington College and the University of Michigan, and has made significant contributions to the study and craft of writing.

Philip Milton Roth (1933–2018) was an American novelist and short-story writer. Philip Roth was the prize-winning novelist and fearless narrator of sex, death, assimilation and fate, from the comic madness of Portnoy’s Complaint to the elegiac lyricism of American Pastoral,  according to the Associated Press. He was 85. He was one of the most awarded American writers of his generation. His books twice received the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle award, and three times the PEN/Faulkner Award. He received a Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 novel American Pastoral, which featured one of his best-known characters, Nathan Zuckerman, a character in many of Roth’s novels. The Human Stain (2000), another Zuckerman novel, was awarded the United Kingdom’s WH Smith Literary Award for the best book of the year. In 2001, in Prague, Roth received the inaugural Franz Kafka Prize. Roth’s fiction was often set in his birthplace of Newark, New Jersey and is widely known for its autobiographical character and for philosophically and formally concealing the distinction between reality and fiction.

Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul (1932–2018), famously known as V.S.Naipaul, a Trinidad-born British author who won the  2001 Nobel prize for Literature died at this home in London at the age of 85. In awarding him the prize, the Swedish Academy praised him “for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories”. He published more than thirty books, both of fiction and nonfiction, over some fifty years. He was best known for works including, A House for Mr. Biswas and his Man Booker Prize willing book in 1971, In A Free State. He wrote mostly on the traumas of post–colonial change. His first book was The Mystic Masseur. His other works include the three stories in In a Free State (1971), Guerrillas (1975), A Bend in the River (1979), A Way in the World (1994), The Mimic Men (1967), The Enigma of Arrival (1987), Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions among the Converted Peoples (1998), Half a Life (2001), The Writer and the World (2002), Literary Occasions (2003), the novel Magic Seeds (2004) which was a sequel to Half a Life and In The Masque of Africa (2010). He received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth in 1989.

Sergio Pitol (March 18, 1933 – April 12, 2018) was the celebrated Mexican author, essayist and translator and winner of the most prestigious award for literature in the Spanish-speaking world.

Anita Shreve (October 7, 1946 – March 29, 2018) was an American writer renowned for her novels. She was the  best-selling novelist who explored how women responded to crises past and present in her native New England in favorites such as The Pilot’s Wife, Testimony and The Weight of Water.  One of her first published stories, Past the Island, Drifting (published in 1975), was awarded an O. Henry Prize in 1976.

Emily Nasrallah (6 July 1931 – 13 March 2018) was a Lebanese writer and women’s rights activist. She died following a struggle with cancer. She was a prolific writer, publishing many novels, children’s stories and short story collections touching on themes such as family, village life, war, emigration and women’s rights

Senior Nepalese litterateur Jagadish Shamsher Rana, author of several books including noted epic poem, Narsingh Awatar,  Nepal: A Concise History of the Cultural Scenario of the Himalayan Kingdom and Seto Khyak, a novel, passed away early this year. He spent most of his life in Shimla, India but frequently traveled to his homeland, Nepal, to  influence the currents of contemporary Nepalese scenario. Similarly, another noted literary figure, Nagendra Sharma  author of Secrets of Shangri-la An Inquiry into the Lore, Legend and Culture of Nepal and translator of Sheet of Snow: An Anthology of Nepali Short Stories into English is no more. In addition, Manuj Babu Mishra, a Nepalese artist and litterateur who lived in confinement for 20 years died this year. Dahal Yagyanidhi,  the presenter of the Sahitya Sansar, a literary program, at Radio Nepal has also left for his heavenly abode.                              


-- With Input from Agencies

Bhuwan Thapaliya is a Nepalese poet and has published two books, most recent being, Safa Tempo and Other Poems.  

Monday, December 10, 2018

Stephanie Emily Dickinson reviews The Gates of Pearl by Distinguished American Poet, Jill Hoffman

Mediations between
the World of Beauty
and the Netherworld

Before opening this poetry collection, the dark jewel that Jill Hoffman calls The Gates of Pearl, the reader might pause to admire the cover painting of a seemingly carefree young woman wearing a 1940’s style bathing suit. The artist chooses to work with pastels—pinks, mauves, and turquoises—the colors of seashore outings and children’s birthday parties This is our first sight of Pearl Yuni Hoffman, looking windblown and beguiling, as painted by her daughter. The painting provides a counterpoint to the unquiet passions these pages contain and gives the reader a glimpse of Pearl in her happier days. Be forewarned this collection is not written in pastels, but in dramatically vivid colors and is dangerously explosive.

When I was bingeing 4 years ago – I would steal ice-cream from my
daughter’s fridge so they wouldn’t see the gluttony. I would
steal from me own refrig as soon as my then husband was asleep –

Hoffman names herself an amanuensis. She is transcriber of her mother’s sometimes agonized and sometimes delighted voice captured decades ago in telephone conversations, the collector of Pearl’s stream-of-consciousness Overeater’s Anonymous journals, and the writer of her own Daughter-of Pearl poems. The zeitgeist of the present moment invites the hybrid in our writing texts and so the 3 braided strands analogy (Telephone Poems, Pearly’s Journal, and Daughter-of-Pearl poems) that Hoffman uses to describe the book’s structure will find a receptive audience. The Telephone Poems are not only truly innovative—the term and concept coined by the author—but astonishing time capsules, rhythmic distillations, and rap-like in their intensity and humor.

“Leper Colony of One” is illustrative of the leaps made in these Telephone Poems, the form elastic enough to hold the mother’s impressionistic and fervent voice.  She wrote one poem that she reads to her daughter over the phone.

I bleed from the breast
I stain my blouse
My blouse offends

Her sensitive eyes,
Her sensitive eyes
My daring to exist --
                                     Not whole.

One stanza later the lines stretch across the page.

4 beat up granny apples for raw apple sauce
Samuel Johnson said whoever writes not for money is crazy—
poetry is sheer lunacy. My lunch is already late—

Maggie Nelson’s celebrated Jane, blends her poetry with her murdered aunt’s diary. Pearly’s diary, though, is of a wholly different order, as she exhibits an originality and sensuality in her journals. Her instincts are those of a lyrical poet that reach fruition in her daughter’s work.

In her highly crafted and enigmatic poems, some published in The New Yorker and Paris Review, Hoffman addresses her mother. The poems radiate love and act as mediations between the world of beauty and the netherworld.

Take this one long exquisite slender white rose.
I throw it across Central Park to you.
It is the white snow, the red carpet, the white
the plush red coach,
the white lace at his neck, your red

The poet writes of her mother, “our one soul/haggles for hours/on the phone a/golden harp.” In “Mama Pyjama,” the daughter speaks of her childhood: “You sent me out with a spoon/and your love followed me like cereal/to school.” The reader acclimates to the mother’s voice as if to a deep sea dive. Self-lacerating, she lives the metaphor of an open wound. Pearly suffers from Paget’s disease, a form of breast cancer. She speaks of the “nipple drawn to the side/where it shouldn’t be.” She divorces Stephen, her husband of forty years, and shortly after laments it. Rejecting Western medicine, she travels to a Mexican laetrile clinic, and when the treatment fails she follows another alternative protocol that includes fasting and raw vegetables. Using food as balm for her frustrations, Pearl suffers for most of her adult life from an eating disorder.

Everyone is married. Everyone I am sure will have sex when they go home. I am strangely relaxed with the food plate that has nothing on it for me. Perhaps there will be something at home for me. We try, but there is emptiness – now deep snoring – I leave the bed – I go towards an icy box -- holding out its frozen breasts and erect penis to me. I go towards its pleasures and oblivion

A mismatched couple from the start, Pearl’s husband and father of her two daughters withholds more than sex. He represses what is intimate and playful in himself. Hence, they seem never to have been true lovers. She grew to adulthood long before the sexual revolution that would come in the late 1960s. The era in which she was raised condemned a woman who desired fulfillment and Pearl was called a “nymphomaniac” by her husband.

I was hungry for sex – a juicy peach of a young woman eager to love, eager 
to be loved. On our wedding night – he told me I was tired after the huge
wedding. I was disappointed but nice brides didn’t say so – I knew I was
hungry. I did not know I was angry. Who could be angry at Rhett Butler --

A female Jeremiah who never quite curses the universe, Pearl rails against the indignities of her fate. She speaks with a blazing tongue—“A pox on his soft flaccid penis.” Her bathwater bloody from her oozing breast, her foot painfully sore, her bank account overdrawn, she soldiers on and rises to the heights of the heroic.

As she begins to explain herself to herself in the midst of self-recriminations like

—I short changed Jerry my first fiancé by breaking the engagement  I am very ashamed that I pawned his  diamond engagement ring and I gave him the pawn ticket instead of the ring —

that stretch back to her youth, there seems a desire to love herself, and then more fully love life. Often her explanations are comic, her mantra-like repetitions incantatory, and as she walks close to the edge of extinction, Pearl displays an admirable and courageous determination to be “positive.” She scolds her daughter:

“You’re full of aspirin and I’m full 
of positives that I don’t want
stolen from me!

There is so much body in The Gates of Pearl, the sexual body and Pearl’s bleeding body, as if she is a human sacrifice to a Moloch.

Julia Childs was trussing a chicken for a spit, a rotisserie. 
She had to bind the legs with a lot of white rope and it bothered me
a little – her treating the chicken as if it had never been alive.

After begging Steve to let her come home, to reconcile, and being refused she sees herself like Julie Childs’ chicken as if she had never been a bride, a mother, a grandmother, instead garbage to be thrown into her raw vegetable compost.

And yet there is compensation in the relationship between cherished mother and cherished daughter. If Pearl becomes Jeremiah, then the Daughter-of Pearl becomes Solomon in her songs. Listen to the daughter honor the mother in “Demeter.”

From you I learned joy, my middle name,
goddess of appetite, at whose touch 
Farmer’s cheese put on a bed of lettuce
or smuggled into tomatoes in a pink and
white motif reminiscent of strawberries and cream,were compositions of originality and freshness.

In the throes of excruciating self-condemnation, we envision another mother, the one “of originality and freshness,” the one who taught “joy” to her daughter.  As Hoffman explains in the Preface, “Her life is revealed in her journals, mine half hidden in my poems.”
The daughter celebrates her own sexuality in “Joy.”

You have a mate.  Quickly
the match is announced in heaven.
Dark shadows robe you.
Everyone, but the small child, knows.
But it is not like that.  The summer light
leads up-river like a raft and the breeze
blowing in all night brings the sea
in its salty net and you are Heidi on top
of a mountain, and I am there too
near your shoulders, your eyes,
on the romantic slopes.

When the daughter’s novel Jilted, a fictional treatment of her love affair with Frank Stella, is thwarted because a character threatens to sue, we hear the mother’s desire to comfort.

I must call my heartbroken daughter Jill.  Her novel, her literary baby was slaughtered – impaled by the threat of a 5 million dollar law-suit.

Both mother and daughter have sacrificed their happiness to men who find true intimacy intolerable.  The mother to her husband, Steve, and the daughter to a famous artist.

In a Telephone Poem, the mother directs them both to “get up from our coffins.”

I’m going to make it, don’t you worry
about it. We are both in 
open coffins and Frank Stella is
in the dream and we get up from
our coffins and go toward life –
and Frank Stella is my ‘little Daddy’ –

Pearl’s journal entries contain miraculous moments and range from riding on the bus with a painful foot that afternoon to early childhood remembrances. “It was a few days before my sixth birthday.” She and her pregnant mother were going to Lofts to order birthday chocolates. Her mother, pregnant with a son, got into line to pay. The man behind her set down his valise and her mother tripped and fell. “I lost my baby brother. I lost my childhood that day.”

There are comparisons that could be made to Mary Gaitskill’s Veronica, an older woman dying of AIDS given to her by her bi-sexual lover, or Jean Rhys’ vulnerable and abandoned protagonist in After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie, even to Cynthia Cruz’s opulent post-confessional How the End Begins. While there are echoes, The Gates of Pearl is an exemplar. Nothing like it has graced bookstore shelves or the Amazon marketplace.

“I cannot tolerate the lack of interest in men’s eyes,” says Pearl, our doomed heroine, our Ulysses of the piss-smelling elevator and jostling bus.

This time there will be no lack.

The Gates of Pearl 
Poems by Jill Hoffman
Box Turtle Press
Mudfish Individual Poet Series #11

 Stephanie Emily Dickinson raised on an Iowa farm now lives in New York City. Her novel Half Girl and novella Lust Series are published by Spuyten Duyvil. Other works include Corn Goddess, Road of Five Churches, and Port Authority Orchids. She and her partner Rob Cook publish Skidrow Penthouse. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Barrett Warner reviews American Poet David Daniel’s new poetry collection, Ornaments

Book Review


Asleep with Whitman, 
and Blake, 
and the Romantics 

It’s a shame that David Daniel’s Ornaments is not printed in braille. His words are best touched in order to be read, so full of intense emotion are they, yet without being “emotional,” or carrying the too much personal drama. Daniel writes to a certain core energy of feeling, full of impulse, and at times off balanced, precarious like some great stone resting on a marble. The poet doesn’t seek out this energy. He creates it out of nothing, and once he builds it, he gives that blue spark a place to go, with turns and lead changes and half passes that could rival Joan of Arc’s charismatic Percheron.
Daniel’s opening poem “Glass” sets the beat: “Once I made poems of glass, crystal pitchers / For wedding gifts, that sort of thing—very fussy. . . . / That was two hundred years ago / And also perhaps tomorrow—who knows?” Neither do we knowabout the poet’s older efforts which he still can’t break away from, but we shouldn’t try to know them. We shouldn’t even care. Almost every poem we try to write is some version of a stupid epithalamion poem and life isn’t about the marriage of this and that. Vows are not where empathy begins. And what of those crystal pitchers?

Now, though, I fill them up: You see
We’re fucking—making love I mean—all across America;
She’s on top, humming, dancing some late-Seventies
Disco thing, which is hilarious and a little scary,
And then (I write like this, too): her agonized aspect
Of ecstasy familiar from our saints, our porn—
Then a little blood, semen, a taste of iron
On my tongue. Stains everywhere. Life!

In an era of lower case, unpunctuated verse that feels more like a schematic diagram than written song, what pleasure to find m-dashes, colons, exclamation points, italics, ellipses, question marks, and commas as plain as nail holes. In “Glass,” Daniel uses these to set the energy loose, tightening the stream.

Two hundred years? Daniel is a hungry bear after such a long hibernation. He’s been asleep with Whitman, and Blake, and the Romantics who dove into nature for truth because myth and religion were too fragile. Now that we know how fragile nature is, Daniel’s plunge into instinct makes perfect sense. The physical and quantum laws which rule our reason are only speedbumps. He revs on approaching because he loves the jostle of hitting them. He is not after discovering life itself as much as he wants to find the will to be alive, the will to live.

Not everything has to be explained. Close your eyes and hear the beginning of “Crash”: “When I was a boy, angels appeared at my window. / They would open it, like a window, to my parents’ dying: / The jangling car crash, the spinning, that moment frozen, / Then the next: Such terror and beauty mixed, / The angels’ hilarity. They crept up the glass like frost. . . .” It isn’t that Daniel trusts the reader to stay with him. He cares, but he doesn’t care. As a poet, he’s a reader too. His poems are not his creations—he’s not playing God—his poems are simply voices he heard that no one else did, and he wrote them down so we could hear them too. So we could feel them. To every jaded critic who picks up this book and says, “OK, what’s my angle?” Daniel is replying, “Me. I’m your angle.”

Time only matters when you’re doing it, which is what I love about these poems, especially “The Sonnet” in which Daniel shows that once you learn heart speak you can talk and make love to anything, even a sonnet:

God how I love sonnets! I think of them every day
Just as I think of my father, who was,
In fact, a sonneteer: he wandered twelfth-century
France or Italy—wherever, grief fogs such things—
His huge head full of song: God I miss him:
But he clearly wasn’t meant for war: They say
He stood up in the trenches to recite poems
In the enemy’s direction: love, you know, love:
Then the red laser sight-light found his forehead,
Reminding his commander, for a moment,
Of a beautiful Indian woman he wished to love:
Bang Bang. Sometimes love is like that, just
As you reach for it, it runs away, or else it puts
A bullet in your head...

The hardest thing for a natural—and Daniel’s ability is about as natural as it gets—is to become a perfectionist. Perfecting an acquired skill is so much easier. With these poems in Ornaments, Daniel has perfected his natural gifts. He seamlessly enters any century and any sound and any love without its feeling overblown. Daniel doesn’t suspend our disbelief, he engages and embraces it. The long time Blake scholar doesn’t just stand with Whitman, he does so comfortably, and we feel comfortable too. He gives our disbelief the great big hug of an old friend meeting up with us again. This book is his blessing to the world.

Poems by David Daniel
University of Pittsburgh Press,
2017, 55 pages, $16.00

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Announcing Final Contents of Pratik's Summer/Fall 2018 Double Issue

Pratik Summer/Fall 2018 Double Issue

Contemporary European Poetry

Swedish Poets

Lithuanian Poets


Ukrainian Poets


More from Europe




Aishwarya Iyer
Arjun Rajendran
Arun Sagar
Guru Tshering Ladakhi
Linda Ashok
Maaz Bin Bilal
Manjiri Indurkara
Nandini Dhar
Ranjani Murali
Rohan Chhetri
Sophia Naz
Souradeep Roya
Tashi Chophel
Uttaran Das Gupta

More from India




Pankaj Singh

By  Jack Tar

Book Reviews

This Is Not Happening To You
Short Stories by Tim Tomlinson

Ornaments: Poems by David Daniel
The Gates of Pearl Poems by Jill Hoffman

Nine Dragon Island: Poems by Eleanor Goodman


The Lady on the Cover --Pratik Spring 2018 Issue:
Prollas Sindhuliya
Joni Kabana
David Austell's Cover Story-- Poetry and History:
Kiran Devinder

Bhuwan Thapaliya

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Contributors to Pratik Magazine's Current Summer/Fall Double Issue, 2018

Contributors to the Double Issue

Art by Daiva Kaireviciute

 Born in a remote parish of northern woodland Småland in southern Sweden, Per Helge has authored twenty-five books, mostly poetry.     Recipient of the 2018 Tranströmer Poetry Prize, Stockholm-based Swedish writer, Eva Runefelt has published twelve books and written about Art and collaborated with painters, composers (libretti), musicians and translators.   Swedish poet and literary critic, Arne Johnsson has worked in Lindesberg as a librarian for several years. She has published over a dozen books and lives in a small town, Lindesberg, not far from Stockholm.   Agneta Falk Hirschman is a Swedish poet, living in San Francisco, USA. She has travelled a lot in Italy and around the world together with her husband, a distinguished American poet, Jack Hirschman. She has authored several books including Here by Choice, The Long Pale Corridor, It’s not love it’s love and  Heart Muscle.   Vasa, Finland–born, Carita Nyström belongs to the Swedish-spoken minority in Finland. After years in Helsinki she lives in Korsnäs since 1981. Author of over twenty books, she has also contributed to anthologies and edited a number of books. For last five years, she has co-operated with Wildlife Vasa Nature film festival, making films with schools in the region.   Born and educated in Eastern Ukraine, Svetlana Lavochkina (Gitin) is a poet, novelist and translator of Ukrainian and Russian poetry. She was the prize-winner in the Paris Literary Prize 2013 and Tibor and Jones Pageturner Prize London, 2015. Svetlana currently lives in Germany with her husband and two sons.    Ingela Strandberg lives in Grimeton, south of Sweden. She has published several poetry collections, the latest being. Att snara en fågel (To trap a bird) and Norstedts, 2018.   Swedish poet, Bengt Berg served as a Member of the Swedish Parliament from 2010 to 2014. Since 1990, he has been running the publishing house, Heidruns Förlag, and an Art Café in his home village, Fensbol, in the Province of Värmland. He has won several Swedish Literary prizes, including some from The Swedish Academy.   Leading Israeli poet, novelist and essayist, Amir Or has published twelve volumes of poetry, most recent being, Wings. He has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for his poetry, the Bernstein Award and the Holon Award; and for his translations of poetry from ancient Greek, he has received an honorary award from the Israeli Ministry of Culture. He lives in Tel Aviv.   An outstanding Ukrainian poet, Pavlo Hirnyk is the last representative of the classic Ukrainian poetic tradition. Hirnyk taught Ukrainian at village schools and was Literary Director of Khmelnitsky Puppet Theatre.   Odessa based poet, Boris Khersonsky is widely regarded as one of Ukraine’s best Russian-language poets.   The National Shevchenko Award Laureate, Dmytro Kremin is one of the most renowned Ukrainian poets. He lives in Mykolaiv.   Olena Zadorozhna is a Ukrainian journalist, poet, social activist and winner of several national awards for literature and journalism.    Lyuba Yakimchuk  is a Ukrainian poet, screenwriter, and journalist. She is the winner of the International Slavic Poetic Award and the international “Coronation of the Word” literary contest and lives in Kiev.   Vasyl Holoborodko is a living classic, a National Shevchenko Award winner and the pioneer of blank verse in Ukrainian poetry. His work is strongly influenced by Ukrainian folklore and symbolism.    Maria Farazdel (Palitachi), an Award-winning Dominican poet was educated in the United States where she received a PhD at Fordham University.  She has authored over a dozen books most noted being, Eleven Spotlight, Infraganti and Bitácora del insomnia.   Ana Luisa Martínez is a New York-based Dominican poet. Her work includes Tatuajes and Primavera del Great O.   Kary Cerda is a Mexican poet, photographer and editor.   Verónica Aranda is a multi-lingual award-winning Spanish poet and translator with an international presence. Aranda has been awarded many notable poetry prizes including Joaquín Benito de Lucas, Antonio Carvajal de Poesía Joven, José Agustín Goytisolo, Arte Joven de la Comunidad de Madrid, Margarita Hierro, Fernando Quiñones, Antonio. In 2016, her collection, The Shell of the Tortoise Poems Written in India & Nepal appeared in Nirala Series.   Franky De Varona is an American Cuban poet, narrator and essayist. He has published Solitudes, De Azares, Laberintos y Cenizas Rotas and Las Gaviotas También vuelan en Diciembre. and edits, RACATA.   Author of The Language of Parks, a poetry collection, Marisa Russo is a New York-based Argentinean poet and cultural activist. In 2015, she created the cultural movement Turrialba Literariain Costa Rica and coordinated the I Summit de Voces de América Latina in Costa Rica, 2017, and the Festival Internacional Grito de Mujer, Sede Turrialba, Costa Rica, 2018. Currently, she teaches at Hunter College, New York.   Delhi-based Indian poet and editor, Medha Singh has published, Ecdysis, a poetry collection. A former Editor-at-Large at Coldnoon, she holds a Masters degree in English Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.  Aishwarya Iyer was raised in India and Bahrain, and studied literature at the universities of Mumbai, Jadavpur and Pennsylvania. She teaches at O. P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat.  Recipient of the 2018 Charles Wallace Fellowship in Creative Writing at The University of Stirling, Scotland.   Arjun Rajendran is the author of several books of poems, most recent being, Your Baby is Starving. He is also the poetry editor of The Bombay Literary Magazine.    Author of Anamnesia,  Arun Sagar lives and works in Sonipat at Jindal Global University.   Guru T Ladakhi was born and lives in Gangtok, Sikkim with his wife Priya Reddy and two daughters Rhea Palmo and Aria Dechen. He has taught in Sikkim University and North East Hill University. His first book of poems is called Monk on a Hill.   Linda Ashok is the 2017 Charles Wallace India Fellow in Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of Chichester, UK. She is the Founder/President of RædLeaf Foundation for Poetry & Allied Arts and sponsors the annual RL Poetry Award.   British poet Graham Burchell was the 2012 Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year, a 2013 Hawthornden Fellow and winner of the 2015 National Stanza competition. He has authored several poetry collections, most recent being, Cottage Pi.  Author poetry collection, Drift, Shehzar Doja is a Luxembourg based poet with Bangladeshi origins. He also edits, The Luxembourg Review.   Hungarian poet, Kinga Fabó’s work has been published in Modern Poetry in Translation, Numéro Cinq and The Original Van Gogh’s Ear. Her latest book, Racun/Poison was published in 2015.   Rhiannon Hooson is an award-winning Welsh poet. She studied and later taught at Lancaster University, where she completed a PhD in Poetry. Her first collection, The Other City, was shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year.    Ian Humphreys lives in West Yorkshire, England. Ian holds an MA in Creative Writing from the Manchester Writing School. In 2017, a selection of his poems was showcased in Ten: Poets of the New Generation (Bloodaxe Books).   Agnes Marton is a Hungarian-born poet, writer, librettist, Reviews Editor of The Ofi Press (Mexico), Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK). Recent publications include her collection Captain Fly’s Bucket List and an anthology she edited (Estuary: A Confluence of Art and Poetry) won the Saboteur Award.   Angela Readman’s poetry has won The Mslexia Poetry Competition, The Essex Prize, and The Charles Causey Prize. She is also a Costa Short Story Award-winning story writer. Nottingham based British poet, Andrew Taylor is a senior lecturer in English and Creative Writing at Nottingham Trent University and has published most recently a book-length sequence, 15.11.13 – 5.2.14.    Maria Taylor is a poet and reviewer of Cypriot heritage and has published several poetry collections, most recent being, Instructions for Making Me. Abigail Ardelle Zammit is from the island of Malta. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing (Lancaster)  and has published two poetry collections,  Voices from the Land of Trees  and Portrait of a Woman with Sea Urchin.   Maaz Bin Bilal is Assistant Professor for Literary Studies at Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities at O. P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, India. He earned his PhD in English from the Queen’s University of Belfast and writes poetry in English and translates from Urdu and Hindi.   Winner of the Villa Sarkia Residency, Finland, 2018, Manjiri Indurkar is a poet-writer from the small central-Indian town of Jabalpur. She is one of the founders and editors of the literary magazine AntiSerious.   Author of two full-length books of poems in English and Bangla, Nandini Dhar is the co-founder and co-editor of the independent micro-press Aainanagar, which she manages with dancer, illustrator and writer Madhushree Basu.    Author of Blind Screens, Ranjani Murali lives and teaches in suburban Chicago. She has an MFA in Poetry from George Mason University and was the recipient of the 2014 Srinivas Rayaprol Prize.   The 2016 Norman Mailer Poetry Fellow, Rohan Chhetri is the author of Slow Startle (Winner of the ‘Emerging Poets Prize 2015’) and a forthcoming chapbook of poems, Jurassic Desire (Winner of ‘Per Diem Poetry Prize 2017’).   A 2016 Pushcart Prize Nominee, a bilingual, Asian-American writer, Sophia Naz is Poetry Editor and columnist at The Sunflower Collective as well as the founder of Rekhti, a site dedicated to avant-garde Urdu poetry.   Delhi based poet and translator, Souradeep Roy was shortlisted for the Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize, and the Raedleaf Poetry Prize, and longlisted for the Toto Funds the Arts Award in Creative Writing.   Tashi Chophel is a poet based in Sikkim. His works have appeared in the Cordite Poetry Review, India International Centre Quarterly, The Sentinel, Weekend Review, Sikkim Now, Nagaland Page, Catscanned, Sikkim Midweek among others.   Author of a poetry collection,  Visceral Metropolis, Uttaran Das Gupta ’s poems and articles have appeared or are forthcoming in New England Review of Books, CITY, Fulcrum, Magnapoets, Indian Literature. He is a journalist at Business Standard, New Delhi.   An emerging author, Devanshu Mishra, lives in Delhi.    A third-generation Iranian immigrant, Sharon Irani is the assistant editor of Helter Skelter Magazine  Born to Syrian Christian parents, Anna Sujatha Mathai is a well known Indian English poet. Mother’s Veena and other Poems is her most recent book.   North Eastern India-based poet, Robin Singh Ngangom writes in English and Meiteilon. His books of poetry include Words and the Silence, Time’s Crossroads and The Desire of Roots. He was conferred with the Katha Award for Translation in 1999.    Pankaj Singh authored three books of poetry in Hindi, and won three major awards for writing, among other regional accolades.   Lithuanian poet Laurynas Katkus’ works have been translated into German, English, and other languages. He is one of the well-known poets of his generation. Giedre Kazlauskaite is the editor of a prestigious literary journal North Athens (Siaures Atenai). She received the literary award of the Vilnius Book Fair (winter of 2015).    Vytautas Stankus is a young Lithuanian poet who has published one collection of poems.   Simonas Bernotas’s poetry has been influenced by rap, modern cinema, etc. Simonas is the child of the independent, post-Soviet Lithuania.   Vilnius-based Lithuanian poet, Marius Burokas is author of three poetry collections and translator of American and English poetry (Allen Ginsberg, Ted Hughes, Charles Simic, W. C. Williams, etc.)   Laurynas Katkus studied Lithuanian and Comparative literature in Vilnius, Leipzig, and Berlin and earned a PhD on exile in modern poetry. He published three books of poetry and was a fellow of Akademie Schloss Solitude, and Junge Akademie by Berlin Academy of Arts.  New York-based poet, psychologist and translator, Anna Halberstadt has published six books, including, Vilnius Diary, Green in a Landscape with Ashes and Gloomy Sun, 2017, and two books of translations: Selected by Eileen Myles and Nocturnal Fire by Edward Hirsch, in Russian. Her work has appeared in over 60 literary journals and anthologies, she was a finalist of the 2013 Mudfish poetry contest.   Distinguished American Indian poet, Ravi Shankar published twelve books and chapbooks including The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks (University of Arkansas Press). He founded Drunken Boat, has appeared on NPR, BBC, PBS, and in The New York Times and The Paris Review. The title of his memoir-in-progress is Correctional.    Indian Poet Mandira Ghosh has authored twelve books including, Aroma, New Sun, Song in a City, The Cosmic Dance of Shiva, Folk Music of the Himalayas, Impact of Famine on Bengali Literature, Benares the Sacred City in Verses and Hymns. She is associated with The Poetry Society of India.   Claudia Routon’s work appears in numerous literary journals, including a book of poetry and music, La cité des dames (Capellas de Ministrers). She teaches Spanish literature and language at the University of North Dakota.    Kiran Devendra has taught History at Punjabi University, Patiala and worked with the legendary Indian freedom fighter, Aruna Asaf Ali. She has worked for the National Curriculum Framework 2005-History Curriculum. She lives in New Delhi.   Jack Tar is a poet and writer who chronicles environmental movements, the ageing Beat Poets, and life on the water.   Jack is a fisherman, a sailor, and an environmentalist.   Vijay Anand Gurung is a Kathmandu-based Nepali author and has published Journalism and Journeys: A book of Essays Trained originally as a research biochemist, Chris Southgate has taught theology at University of Exeter, UK  since 1993. His recent books include Theology in a Suffering World: Glory and Longing (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and two poetry collections, Rain Falling by the River and Chasing the Raven.   UK based Indian poet Azad Sharma has published a poetry collection, Against Frame.   A Brooklyn-based poet Laura Cook holds an M.A. in English from Middlebury College and has taught English in the U.S and Taiwan.   Born in Bombay, India,  Rochelle Almeida teaches at the Liberal Studies Program at NYU and has been awarded a Fulbright-Nehru Research Fellowship for Academic and Professional Excellence to Bombay, India, for the academic year 2018-19.   Bhuwan Thapaliya is a Nepalese poet and has published two books, most recent being, Safa Tempo and Other Poems.   Seth Michelson is an American poet, translator and professor of Poetry. He has won several awards including the poetry category of the International Book Awards, an NEA and an Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award.   A 2016 recipient of a Maryland Arts Council Individual Artist award, Barrett Warner is the author of Why Is It So Hard to Kill You? and My Friend Ken Harvey. He is also a recent winner of the Salamander fiction Prize, the Tucson Book Festival essay prize, and several poetry awards. He now lives in South Carolina. He edits Free State Review.    Stephanie Emily Dickinson raised on an Iowa farm now lives in New York City. Her novel Half Girl and novella Lust Series are published by Spuyten Duyvil. Other works include Corn Goddess, Road of Five Churches, and Port Authority Orchids. She and her partner Rob Cook publish Skidrow Penthouse. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

UPCOMING PRATIK MAGAZINE OBITUARY -- In Our Wanderings: Remembering Jazzman John Clarke By British Poet Maria-Heath-Beckett

   Photo by Yuyutsu Sharma

On 5th August 2018, the poet known as Jazzman John, birth name, John Robert Clarke, passed away, taking friends and fellow poets by complete surprise. Because I was in Paris at the time, no internet, this sad news first reached me a few days later from Yuyutsu Sharma, and, like Yuyu himself, and others who had known John, I felt literally knocked over with the shock. Yuyu described the feeling like this:

The ball of my breath froze in my throat as I heard my best friend, British Poet Jazzman John Robert Clarke has passed away in London, suddenly I have to sit down and rethink — how cruel can life be, after 5 years I was planning to finally meet him this year and work on his dream visit to New York City.

John, writer of the poetry collections: All the Way from Kathmandu: Selected Jazz Poems and Ghost on the Road, based on his love of jazz and the Beats,     was renowned as a vibrant, talented performer on the London poetry circuit, and for sure, he will be, and is already, sadly missed, his future potential poems only to be guessed now instead of reading or hearing.

 Life can be cruel, to deal us such blows. Not only was I faced with this loss, but a deep regret at my relative neglect of a nascent friendship that could have become still deeper, and richer had I made time, had I not been too preoccupied with the vicissitudes of a turbulent relationship to attend his birthday, or the pending lunch date we had pencilled in at the Café de Provence over the road from me, never ‘inked in’, no definite plan made. For sure, if I could make it happen this week, next week, as soon as possible, then I would because my life feels emptier without John.

Why hadn’t I found the time? I castigate myself, for not doing so, often reliving his kindness the day we had met there, the day he had delivered a box of books for me from New Delhi - several copies of the anthology, Eternal Snow, in which my long narrative poem, Parnassus to New York, had been published, a copy of David Austell’s Garuda, and Yuyutsu Sharma’s Quaking Cantos, a series of poems stimulated by the Nepalese earthquakes. I had looked forward to this delivery for days, perhaps a time when all was not so well in my life, a rift in the aforementioned relationship leaving me feeling quite isolated and desperate, then, to see any friend. My best friends have all moved to Hastings, miles away from my home on Drury Lane, and John walked into this void for me like an angel, a shaman, a companion, a man who may perhaps hold my hand.
Photo by Yuyutsu Sharma

I remember his wonderful stories over coffee that morning, his Dublin parentage evident in the detailed retellings of this raconteur, his kind offer to buy us lunch, the photographs we took together, delighted to read our poems from YuyusEternal Snow, a day that was up there with the happiest of days, like the first day we met, at Heathrow. That day, a few years ago, I was seeing Yuyu off to New York, the start of a journey of poetry readings and teaching, a meeting in a café in Queens Park over coffee and poetry books, a taxi ride to the airport together, the arrival of Jazzman John, at once as if placeless, timeless, Shamanic, defiant of fashion and context, with his anachronistic scarves and mirrored sequins, his vivid colours, velvets and longish hair, and yet so much a part of London. Quickly I began to absorb John’s encouraging words, delight in his cheerful banter, his anecdotes and stories enriched with all the wisdom distilled from a life evidently, and unusually, led with true integrity, curiosity and passion.

 Curiosity led John to discover jazz, initially in the music collection of Greenwich library, during the years he lived in Greenwich from childhood to adolescence. Later I heard that he befriended Basie band played Eddie Lockjaw Davies who ran Minton’s in New York, and developed a life-long passion for jazz, and beat poetry, his concept and delivery of sound and rhythm always inspired by jazz and earning him the name, Jazzman John Clarke. The tribute from Y Tuesday, one of the poetry nights he frequented, reads:

for many I feel, it was John's live performance for which he will be most remembered.
On stage he seemed to be inhabited by the spirit of the San Francisco Jazz poets of the late 50's and early 60's, and few will forget his live rendition of "Messages from drunken blowfish.”

       Photo by Yuyutsu Sharma

It is not only jazz that inspired John - a fusion of Dada, surrealism, psycho-geography, and Zen can be felt playing through his poetic word-play and syncopated rhythms. John loved diversity, the drawing together of styles and genres into the poetry venues he loved to attend, describing (in the Londonist):singers, musicians, dancers, poets and comedians rubbing shoulders with burlesque artists at live events. When you think about it Vaudeville and Dadaists were doing it long ago!

Meeting John, I sensed a pulling together of influences into his words, character and a persona that flowed seamlessly into his writing and his everyday demeanour, so one never really felt he had to put on a performance but he was the poet, the performer, through and through. Turning to John’s words in an interview for The Londonist about his sources of inspiration, John said:

My poetry amounts to the sum total of my inspiration… Currently, I draw enormous inspiration from the intimate juxtaposition of the multi-arts approach. Traditional routes tend to bore me rigid - I want to plough my own furrow, take chances, try to be different without being overly contrived, which I know from experience is easier said than done. For me inspiration can drop out of the sky and I find the source is infinite. Jeremy Reed (himself a prolific writer) once said that his source of inspiration was rather like switching on the electric light - it was always there.

In John’s company, I had the sense that he was always inspired. Every moment seemed it seemed as if strings of fairy lights were sparkling, his mind alive with stories of poets, musicians and club nights he had run, London an always rich seam of possibility for him in terms of performance, encounter and stimulus for his work. John threaded inspiration from journeys around London, with music and Eastern thought and psychology to create works that, in his hands, create a vibrant invitation to a way of thinking, a way of life, never vague or too abstracted but grounded in a sense of connection with other minds, an attitude so visible in the way that he interacted with me. The inspiration that saturates his work breathed through his life as a breeze through chimes. In this sense, there seems to be an indefinable spirituality in his work, which at the same time can be visceral, earthbound and sensual.

After my first meeting with John, which continued from Heathrow airport, a place suspended, that day, as if between ground and celestial spheres, into the underground as far as one of the central tube stations but I forget which, I wandered next to the River Thames, composing a narrative, Parnassus to New York, and that day I felt quite transported as if Yuyu and John were able to grant me some lightness that carried me out of whatever personal difficulty I was experiencing into a more poetic, liberated space. I get the sense that Jazzman John always wanted to ‘follow his own star.’ Not for him the life of a City banker which he pursued for some years, instead he wanted the freedom to wander, explore, write and make friends, a true bohemian and beat poet, and surely then an influence I will remember and treasure throughout my life, although the hours I have passed in his company were all too briefly, and unexpectedly ended this summertime.

London has lost unique voice and spirit, very much loved and missed. To keep that spirit alive, in my mind, I have been listening to his recorded poems on YouTube: Poems by the River, a selection of poems, some of which are set to an abstract sound collage, recorded at Enderby Studios in 2016 and displayed for the internet with a striking, psychedelic array of visuals and self portraiture. InEverlasting Contrast, John writes –

‘You are a sunshine stumbling across a rainy beach,
You are the anchor midway to lean upon…’

And I like to think of him like this, as lightness and weight, gravity and grace. I like to visualise him rather as an angel looking down, watching over me.

Angels control us, even when we cannot see or immediately recognise them.  (Angels)

Victor Hugo said, Errer est Humain, flaner est Parisien. My lack of alacrity delaying another meeting with John I regard as a mistake but I will learn from this. I don’t think to wander is specifically Parisian, but the way of poets everywhere, and I am glad that in our wanderings our paths at least crossed.

Maria Heath Beckett was born in North Yorkshire and currently lives in London, UK. Maria is finishing two novels and a memoir and collating her first poetry collections. Her writing has been published in magazines and anthologies, such as Strands, Tumbleweed Hotel, and In the Company of Poets. She has also performed at many venues in London and Paris, and staged a short drama-poem at The Royal Court Theatre Upstairs.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

From Pratik's Upcoming Issue: A Tribute to Jazzman John Clarke by American Poet, Jack Tar

Dearest, Long-Lost Brother Jazzman John Clark!

Sorry I had not heard of you
       heard of you
       heard of you
       heard of you
before I learned that we were       
        brothers, brothers, brothers

Before hearing
       London is Lost,
       New York is lost, Europe is Lost
from Kate Tempest
       and some brother in a Burger Corner in New York.
       that we are lost, we are lost,  we are lost.

I was sorry I did not know
       and argued that I had a brother like you and was sorry I did not know that it was you…
that kept alive
       the red-hot pokers of words
dripping worthless syllables
       on to the cracked lips of passing camel trains camel trains camel trains.
that kept the old poets, Dada…
      all alive on Space Cake Amsterdam

But do know that we, as Yuyu said
        will be meeting in Little Paradise Lodge,
        Paradise Lodge, Paradise Lodge
till the last tweet, tweet, tweet,
       of the last budge in the street
        a Prothonotary, warbling forever now
though dead on the street
        his first flight from the Andes to New York
books are magic  books are magic  books are magic
        as he was freeing Dada
from its early chains of
         misfortune, misfortune, misfortune 

         I thought I did not know you
before Kate Tempest, but you were here first
         With the beats, beats, beats
for our brotherhood and blurb on my works
         that we will still be meeting All the way from
          Kathmandu, Kathmandu, Kathmandu...

With Yuyu, in London,
          Old Delhi, New York,
on the lips of Arriving Camel Trains
           So all won’t be over, over,  over but found in a Little Paradise Lodge.