Anindita Sengupta

Voices Against Violence

For Mumbai folks, I’m speaking / reading (more reading than speaking) on Friday at the Press Club. Do come by. Here’s the official invite: VOICES AGAINST VIOLENCE Culture Beat of the Mumbai Press Club in association with 100 Thousand Poets for Change invites you to readings and a discussion on the issue of Violence Against…

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Then there were two

Three poems in two new anthologies — The Harper Collins Book of Indian Poetry and The Yellow Nib, Modern English Poetry by Indians published by The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, Queen’s University, Belfast. You can order the Harper Collins anthology here.  

Food

I’m looking at Madhu Menon’s Food Photography. This guy makes me feel interested in food in a deep sort of way and I’m not really a foodie. I mean I like different sorts of food but I can rarely eat a lot and this apparently disqualifies me. (I’m told this by good friends who are disappointed…

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Fonts & flowers

On handwriting and fonts, Nell Boechenstein at The Millions: Pens are often considered a fetish item of neurotics with disposable income, but a Mont Blanc sensibility is not my point. Despite being reliably cash-poor, writer-types are often as particular about their pens as they are about their fonts. (When Helvetica—the trend, the font, the film, the…

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Why all the silence

There is a village called Heggodu in central Karnataka, and a miraculous place called Ninasam there. I don’t want to get into why it’s miraculous but if you read the news story I’ve linked to, you’ll understand. Anyway, that’s where I was in the first part of this month. Ninasam’s annual shibeera (camp) brings together…

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The Launch

So, I wore pink. I had planned to wear black but an ironing disaster got in the way. Maybe it was a good thing because the book is black and white and it would have looked like I don’t know any other colours. The launch went as launches go–I read for about half an hour….

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Boland on Poetic Dilemma

I’ve been reading Poetry in Theory, which is an anthology of essays by poets and philosophers written between 1900 and 2000 and today, I read Eavan Boland’s essay The Woman Poet: Her Dilemma. She talks about how the Irish woman poet had to fight multiple ‘force fields’ every time she sat down to write–‘romantic heresy’…

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Leaving, comfort zones, duck

Last days in Canterbury. The sky holds its light longer each day. These last months have been both rewarding and freeing. I had burrowed into a rut and I’ve been breaking out of it, I think. It’s all the time and the poetry, the solitude, the detachment from currents. I did a reading of my…

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Poem up

My poem ‘The City of Water’ is now up at Unsplendid, an online journal of received and nonce forms. It’s a sestina. Do read if you’re interested in that kind of thing. That kind of thing being poetry, sestinas, etc. * My computer was down for six days and I suffered. I had to use computers…

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The Seductive Snowball

Given my current situation (and seductions) in life, I thought this was appropriate. It’s been a month since I got to England and barring one week of illness and a few days of being snowed in, it’s been exciting. Actually, the illness and the being snowed in were probably useful because I got some work…

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The Book

So yes, City of Water is out. It’s my first collection of poems and do write to me if you’re interested in a copy. Or you could look for it in the Sahitya Akademi shop in your city. Under the matter-of-fact tone, there’s a swell in my throat. It could be happiness and not the…

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Padel, Thematic, Cathedral

There was an element of theatre in Ruth Padel’s reading of her poems. Not only did she bring alive the narrative charge of her poems but she also did different voices for the characters in her poems, usually Darwin or his wife since she was mostly reading from Darwin: A Life in Poems. The book…

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Critique, Cruelty

Some time back, a Facebook friend posted a link to the Poetry Foundation article on the decade in poetry and commented that it should have been called a decade in American poetry since it didn’t reflect British or Irish poetry. Or Indian or African or Caribbean, I pointed out feeling a little miffed, perhaps unjustly…

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In the spirit of the season

…I’ve changed back to the camel theme which is cheery (I think) and plan to deal only in happy stuff for a while. Wait, that might mean I have nothing to write about. But we shall take that risk. Next month I leave for Canterbury where for three months I will be reading, writing, walking…

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Bhopal: 25 years

The toxic seethes. Lip wound, split bone and the blood brays at noon. A tourist walks in, opens his mouth. Like a snake swallowing frog, he can devour history whole. The children are patient as gods, watching grey noise up red, listening to metal innards clink through the night, shrill kingdoms of sound. They stitch…

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Stray (un)poem 1

Swim across this strip of sea. After all, what separates us is brief as an eyelash– only continent, only colour, only language, and a zone marked by the thin, thin fingers of a clock.

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Notes from Patiala (2): poets & poetry

Besides the talks on writing and feminism, we also had poetry readings. Because poets must, after all, do what they do best. And making speeches is not it. Highlights: Tamil poet Salma. There were many in the audience not paying attention because of the unfamiliarity of the language but they sat up when Swarnjit Savi,…

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Notes from Patiala: androgyny, social engagement, feminism

I’m back from the Sahitya Akademi Women Writers Conference in Patiala. It was one-and-a-half days of frenetic talk and poetry with about 50 women from 21 states descending on the gorgeous and formidably well-maintained campus of Punjabi University. The opening speech by Sukrita Paul Kumar was far more interesting than one expects keynote-type speeches to…

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Home is an odd place in the head

I’ve been thinking about the intense, complex energies of South Africa which were spectacularly on display at the festival. What I found most fascinating about Poetry Africa was the diversity of the types of poetry, which ranged from rap / slam to poetry with music and quieter ‘page’ poetry. It was interesting because the old…

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Hello my lovely people

I’m back and still reluctant to sink into regular life. How wonderful it would be if life was a poetry festival! But then, anything permanent loses charm, I suppose. Anyway, longer posts about Poetry Africa and Kruger National Park coming up soon but in the meantime, two bits of news that made me happy as…

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Bits and pieces

I’ve moved and almost settled in. In other words, my Internet connection is done but not all the pictures are up and the eager gardener who bounced up to the door to ask for the job, never showed up after that. Oh well. The good news is that my reading at the Sahitya Akademi Translators’…

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Interim

The weekend was full and exciting but I’ve been a bit sick for the last two days and relaxing with Neil Gaiman (have almost finished the Sandman series), and reading poetry. Also tried to get into Stephen King’s Dark Tower series but couldn’t. I’m a fan of good horror and have enjoyed quite a few…

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The Nizam’s Wives

Kuffir has very kindly translated my poem ‘The Nizam’s Wives’ into Telugu. Sadly, I can’t read the language but for those who can, it’s here at his blog Fakeeram. And here is the original: The Nizam’s Wives Four girls in brocade, tussar and stiff smiles, the slow stranglehold of gold on their hands, necks, faces….

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The women’s poetry question. Again.

I thought Courtney Queeney’s essay ‘The Kings Are Boring: Some Thoughts on Women’s Poetry’ was a confused, rambling piece, unsure of what it wanted to say. There are two questions here — ‘women’s poetry’ which would refer to a vast body of work written by numerous women from across the world, presumably quite different from…

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August already, and on my mind

Hiroshima anniversary. Bombs in general, actually. Coincidentally, I saw this production of Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen over the weekend. I liked the play (and the performance) and it took me back to poems on bombs including Yehuda Amichai’s ‘Diameter of the Bomb’ which I’ve posted earlier. Also, a few days back The Guardian featured war poetry…

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Poems

Four of my poems are in the latest issue (pdf) of Origami Condom. You’ll have to scroll down quite a bit for the poems. I’m republishing two of them here: Desire.15. Intensity had its failings that summer. We clambered over cartons in the store-room, stumbled in semi-light. Your fingers played at ineptitude. I act like…

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Nth Position

Just a quick note to say that the latest issue of Nth Position is up and two of my poems, ‘Separation’ and ‘Speaking in Tongues’ are in it. Do read. I haven’t been submitting too much recently, mainly because I got busy with my first collection. So I’m glad to see these somewhere other than…

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Okay, one more word

…on this whole Oxford Poetry fiasco, and then I’ll stop (or maybe, not). But apparently our nominee AK Mehrotra had this to say: “From India where I live, these extra-literary goings-on appear more unfortunate than amusing. I hope that some lessons are learnt from this, not least that the private lives of poets should, occasionally,…

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Walcott

The poetosphere has been abuzz with news about Derek Walcott’s dropping out of the Oxford Poetry Professor race because according to The Guardian, a  “100 academics mailed organizers missives an 1982 allegation of sexual harassment leveled against the poet.” Some poets posted notes about this on Facebook as well and some of the comments were…

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‘So that you will hear me’

April is turning out to be a dizzying whirl of a month. My trusty ThinkPad which saw me through many good times (and some really bad ones) faltered to an end last week — it was already a specialist in slowness but additionally, the screen hazed over and the adapter stopped working. I bought a…

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Poetry Notebook

Over at The Guardian, they’ve started a new series of collaborations between poets and photographers. Poems and photographs being among my favourite things, I was quite excited. But gah. I think the poem might work okay on its own but the photographs are so hopelessly literal, so dull, that they sucked all joy out of…

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Coorg diary (iii) or the most serious thing

Not snow geese, these. But beautiful all the same. Or at least, i think so. I’ve always liked geese despite their honking and their ill reputation as silly creatures. I think it’s because of ‘the ugly duckling’, one of my favourite fairy tale characters when i was little. Anyway, these were pets at one of…

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Wicked joy

Because I’m in a book which also has Sharon Olds and Margaret Atwood. The book is Not A Muse, an anthology edited by Kate Rogers and Viki Holmes and published by Haven Books. Three of my poems — ‘Medusa’, ‘The Kitchen God’s Mistress’ and ‘Homecoming’ — are in it. It is being launched in Hong Kong…

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Keep cats

This guy has been lurking on my garden wall. He can look a little scary at times but I believe he’s harmless. Unfortunately, Dobby who believes he is the lion of the neighbourhood thinks its an invasion. So I must refrain from putting out milk, making kissing sounds or doing other things that may cause…

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Poetry with Prakriti

Poetry with Prakriti is on between the 16th and 30th of December in Chennai. I will be reading on the 20th at Vastra Kala and Goethe Institute, and on the 21st at Oxford and Apparao Gallery. I don’t know the timings yet but they’ve promised that the schedule will be up on their site soon….

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Darling

The tree outside is dead. Unhand me, will you? My bones melt in the heat when I go out in the afternoon sun. Look how crows have replaced the leaves. Their silent, alert eyes fix me. They have me down as someone who fails continually to understand the simple things. That water boils. That one…

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Still Life

Peach heavy on my palm. Its hard-knot, rattling heart muffled by flesh I want to pierce. Its skin soft as felt, smooth as unshaven down on bare arms, dust on butterfly wings. Its in-between colour — less than orange not quite pink, ambiguous like brown. Apples, pears and plums are cool against the cheek, but…

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Three poems

Three of my poems have been published in the latest issue of Pratilipi. The issue also has works by Keki Daruwalla, Sridala, Meena and Sridhar/Thayil. Do read.

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Things i am liking tonight

Aravind Adiga’s White Tiger. So far. Despite the tense straining of muscles I generally feel against things hyped and vulgarly in the news. I’m trying to get over this perversity of not being able to watch, read, enjoy things when other people tell me they are so-very-enjoyable. Sometimes they really are. Anyway, I’ve just started…

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Two Things

Upcoming writers, photographers and musicians, the annual Toto Funds the Arts awards are here again and anyone below the age of 30 can apply in these categories. Here are the details on the writing awards. If you want details on the other awards, write to me and I’ll forward them you can just click here….

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You’re invited…

So, this Saturday, some of us will be reading / performing poetry. The event has been organised by Unisun to showcase the poems in their upcoming anthology. Jeet Thayil will be performing some of his poems. I will read one of Meena Kandasamy’s poems and two of my own. The Rajas will be performing some…

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Poetry and bombs

These are poetry days and I’m swimming in it. The Toto Funds the Arts (TFA) monthly poetry reading happened yesterday and Keki Daruwalla read. (For those who don’t know, TFA organises poetry readings once a month at Crossword book shop.) The other poet who was supposed to read with him, Trina Nileena Banerjee, couldn’t make…

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A poem…

of mine in the latest issue of Quay Journal. Do read.

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High in the clean blue air

So I was reading Mary Oliver again today, after a long time, and thought I’d share. Not because you haven’t read this (you probably have) but because it’s one of those rare ‘happy’ poems. For various reasons, I’ve been on a quest to find these lately and it’s hard! Poets are a gloomy lot ranging…

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Plath, English, etc

[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/v/BJbX5o2gqhM”] I’m drowning in Plath right now — again — because I have to write a paper on her and I had forgotten how exhausting and entrancing she can be at the same time. It’s like a fix. You know too much is bad for you; it’s going to leave you fatigued with your head…

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Shiny, happy things

So the Toto Awards 2008 were announced ten days back. And I was one of the two winners in the creative writing category. Quite cheered up my month. Besides a trophy and plaque, there’s a neat cash prize of 25k but what I like most is that one of the judges was Keki Daruwalla (the…

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More on Gieve Patel and poetry

Some of us had dinner with Gieve when he was in town and the discussion, predictably, revolved around poetry. Poetry is always difficult to talk about — so much of it is subjective and it’s difficult to exactly pinpoint what the elements of a good poem are. Some say sound; the words should resonate when…

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Gieve Patel and poetry with young people

Originally published in The Hindu. “Poetry may be the most misunderstood of genres among the arts.” So says poet and plawright Gieve Patel in his introduction to Poetry with Young People (Sahitya Academi, Rs 100), an anthology introduced and edited by him. Featuring over a hundred poems written during Patel’s workshops at Rishi Valley School…

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Poetry, TFA and Sridala Swami

Poetry is quite the thing in Bangalore these days. Firstly, Toto Funds the Arts (TFA) has been organizing poetry readings at Crossword every month. Their strategy is to pair a well-known poet with a newbie and provide a platform for both to present their work. I think it’s an admirable effort to encourage one of…

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