About Zalehah Turner

Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based poet, photographer, cultural journalist, and Associate Editor of Rochford Street Review (RSR). Zalehah regularly contributes articles and interviews on poetry, art, film, and new media for RSR and the UTS magazine, Vertigo. Zalehah’s poetry was projected onto the Federation Square Wall in Melbourne as part of the Overload Poetry Festivals, 2008 and 2009; exhibited at Mark and Remark ,107 Projects, Redfern in 2013; and displayed in Alice Springs and Moruya thanks to Australian Poetry Café poets, Laurie May and Janette Dadd respectively. Her poems have been published in Writing Laboratory (2013), Sotto (2013), Social Alternatives (2016), Vertigo (2016, 2017), UTS’s The Empathy Poems Project (2017) and Rochford Street Review (2017). She co-judged the New Shoots Poetry Prizes 2016 alongside, Tamryn Bennett, Artistic Director of The Red Room Company, and published the winning and highly commended poems. Zalehah is currently working on an intermedia poetry collection entitled, 'Critical condition', focused on the interstitial threshold between life and death in medical crises based on personal experience. Zalehah holds a BA in Communication with a major in writing and cultural studies from the University of Technology, Sydney where she continues to pursue pushing the boundaries of multimedia poetry in Honours (Communication- Creative Writing).

Featured Writer Fahredin Shehu: One Poem

The Crystalline Side of Time

There’s sunlight and your words like thunder split my being
there’s a flashlight in my Soul
perhaps you waited hardly– out of empty stomach to see a smile in his face
there are no tears in a full stomach you shall know this too
and I see the smile of ignorant as the most ignorant
one can be – I’m the one who stands as rock and watch with binoculars
down the lake and the swan couple I see in the pond playing the erotic game
perhaps you recall how we met in a Crystalline side of Time
and you hold now the empty shell echoing my name
the war ended roughly two decades ago and we still Love
as mad as no one can be, in here where the age of smirks rolls its dice and
in a place of serenity we call heart

– Fahredin Shehu

translated from Albanian by the author

Ana kristaline e kohës

Ka dritë dielli dhe fjalët e tua ndajnë qenien time
ka një rrufe në shpirtin tim
ndoshta kot ke pritur të shohësh buzëqeshjen nga barku bosh i tij
nuk ka lotë as në stomakun e plotë, këtë mbase e di po ashtu
dhe shoh buzëqeshjen e injorantit si askush tjetër
që mund të jetë – Unë jam ai, i cili qëndron si shkëmb dhe me dylbi shikon
atje poshtë në liqe dhe çifti i mjellmave atje në pellg lozin vallen erotike
mbase të kujtohet si u takuam në anën kristaline të kohës
e tani ti mban guaskën boshe tek jehon emrin tim
lufta mbaroi afro dy dekada më parë dhe ne ende duam
si të çmendur si askush tjetër, këtu brenda ku epoka e të vetëkënaqurve
qeshë nër buzë, hedh zarin e sajë
në vendin e rehatisë që e quajmë zemra

– Fahredin Shehu

‘Ana kristaline e kohës’ by Fahredin Shehu and English translation, ‘The Crystalline Side of Time’, were first published together during the 32nd Vilenica International Literary Festival in Slovenia in September 2017. They have been republished in Rochford Street Review with the full permission of the author.


 

Fahredin Shehu. photo by John Sellekaers

Fahredin Shehu. photograph by John Sellekaers

Fahredin Shehu was born in 1972 in the village of Rahovec in Kosovo and graduated from Oriental studies at the University in Priština. He is a poet, writer, essayist, editor, an independent researcher of the world spiritual heritage and sacral aesthetics, and a calligraphy enthusiast. He writes mystical and transcendental poetry, prose, essays, and articles in Albanian and English. Fahredin’s recent books range from a collection of poetry, Crystalline Echoes (2011) to essays and articles on culture and spirituality, Makadam i Smagradtë (Emerald Macadam, 2012), and the novel, Hojet (Honeycomb, 2013). In 2014, he released NALIVPERO (The Pen) and the epic poem, MAELSTROM – The Four Scrolls of an Illyrian Sage (Inner Child Press), in which he writes about spiritual visions and the author’s creative unrest that oscillates between Theurgy and Revelation. Fahredin’s poetry has been translated into over twenty languages, and included in many anthologies and literary journals around the world. He is a frequent guest of literary festivals. Fahredin is the director of the renowned, international poetry festival, Poetry and Wine, that takes place in his birth village. He is a founder of the fund for Cultural Education and Heritage (www.fekt.org).

 

Featured Writer Fahredin Shehu: Biographical Note

Fahredin Shehu. photo by John Sellekaers

Fahredin Shehu. photograph by John Sellekaers

 

Fahredin Shehu was born in 1972 in the village of Rahovec in Kosovo and graduated from Oriental studies at the University in Priština. He is a poet, writer, essayist, editor, an independent researcher of the world spiritual heritage and sacral aesthetics, and a calligraphy enthusiast. He writes mystical and transcendental poetry, prose, essays, and articles in Albanian and English. Fahredin’s recent books range from a collection of poetry, Crystalline Echoes (2011) to essays and articles on culture and spirituality, Makadam i Smagradtë (Emerald Macadam, 2012), and the novel, Hojet (Honeycomb, 2013). In 2014, he released NALIVPERO (The Pen) and the epic poem, MAELSTROM – The Four Scrolls of an Illyrian Sage (Inner Child Press), in which he writes about spiritual visions and the author’s creative unrest that oscillates between Theurgy and Revelation. Fahredin’s poetry has been translated into over twenty languages, and included in many anthologies and literary journals around the world. He is a frequent guest of literary festivals. Fahredin is the director of the renowned, international poetry festival, Poetry and Wine, that takes place in his birth village. He is a founder of the fund for Cultural Education and Heritage (www.fekt.org).

Featured Writer Fahredin Shehu: ‘The Crystalline Side of Time’ (‘Ana kristaline e kohës’)

 

Featured Writer Sudeep Sen: One Poem

Disembodied

1.

My body carved from abandoned bricks of a ruined temple,
.                                                           from minaret-shards of an old mosque,
.           from slate-remnants of a medieval church apse,
.                                               from soil tilled by my ancestors.

My bones don’t fit together correctly                                     as they should —
the searing ultraviolet light from Aurora Borealis
.                                               patches and etch-corrects my orientation —
magnetic pulses prove potent.

My flesh sculpted from fruits of the tropics,
.                                                           blood from coconut water,
skin coloured by brown bark of Indian teak.

My lungs fuelled by Delhi’s insidious toxic air
.                                   echo asthmatic sounds, a new vinyl dub-remix.
Our universe — where radiation germinates from human follies,
.                                                           where contamination persists from mistrust,
.                       where pleasures of sex are merely a sport —
where everything is ambition,
everything is desire,                            everything is nothing.
.                       Nothing and everything.

2.

White light everywhere,
.                                   but no one can recognize its hue,
no one knows that there is colour in it —                   all possible colours.

Body worshipped, not for its blessing,
.                                               but its contour —
.                                                           artificial shape shaped by Nautilus.
Skin moistened by L’Oreal
.                                   and not by season’s first rains —
skeleton’s strength not shaped by earthquakes
.                                               or slow-moulded by fearless forest-fires.

Ice-caps are rapidly melting — too fast to arrest glacial slide.
.           In the near future — there will be no water left
or too much water that is undrinkable,
.                                                                       excess water that will drown us all.
Disembodied floats,                afloat like Noah’s Ark —

no gps, no pole-star navigation,                                  no fossil fuel to burn away —
.                       just maps with empty grids and names of places that might exist.

Already, there is too much traffic on the road —
.           unpeopled hollow metal-shells                                   without brakes,
swerve about               directionless —                       looking for an elusive compass.

 

-Sudeep Sen

‘Disembodied’ by Sudeep Sen first appeared in the June- July issue of the London Magazine (UK) in 2017. ‘Disembodied’ has been republished in Rochford Street Review with the permission of the author.


 

!! Sudeep Sen (hands) by ARIA SEN (new)

Sudeep Sen. photograph by Aria Sen

Sudeep Sen’s prize-winning books include Postmarked India: New & Selected Poems (1997), Rain (2005), and Aria (2011), winner of the A. K. Ramanujan Translation Award. A special commemorative edition of his collected poems, Fractals: New & Selected Poems | Translations 1980-2015 (London Magazine Editions), was released by Derek Walcott. His latest book, EroText, is experimental fiction and was published by Vintage: Penguin Random House. Blue Nude: New Poems & Ekphrasis, winner of the Jorge Zalamea International Poetry Prize, is forthcoming. Sudeep’s works have been translated into over twenty-five languages. He has translated and edited poetry for numerous anthologies, including The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry by Indians (2012). He has a Masters in Journalism with articles published in the Times Literary Supplement, Newsweek, Guardian, Observer, Independent, Telegraph, Financial Times, Herald, Poetry Review, Literary Review, Harvard Review, Hindu, Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express, Outlook, and India Today. Sudeep has been recorded for, and broadcast on, BBC, PBS, CNN IBN, NDT, AIR, and Doordarshan. His poems have been included in several anthologies. His newer work appears in New Writing 15 (Granta), Language for a New Century (Norton), Leela: An Erotic Play of Verse and Art (Collins), Indian Love Poems (Knopf/ Random House/ Everyman), Out of Bounds (Bloodaxe), Initiate: Oxford New Writing (Blackwell), and Name me a Word (Yale). He is the editorial director of AARK ARTS and the editor of Atlas. Sudeep is the first Asian honoured to speak and read at the Nobel Laureate Festival. The Government of India awarded him the senior fellowship for “outstanding persons in the field of culture/literature.”

 

 

Featured Writer Sudeep Sen: Biographical Note

!! Sudeep Sen (hands) by ARIA SEN (new)

Sudeep Sen. photograph by Aria Sen

 

Sudeep Sen’s prize-winning books include Postmarked India: New & Selected Poems (1997), Rain (2005), and Aria (2011), winner of the A. K. Ramanujan Translation Award. A special commemorative edition of his collected poems, Fractals: New & Selected Poems | Translations 1980-2015 (London Magazine Editions), was released by Derek Walcott. His latest book, EroText, is experimental fiction and was published by Vintage: Penguin Random House. Blue Nude: New Poems & Ekphrasis, winner of the Jorge Zalamea International Poetry Prize, is forthcoming. Sudeep’s works have been translated into over twenty-five languages. He has translated and edited poetry for numerous anthologies, including The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry by Indians (2012). He has a Masters in Journalism with articles published in the Times Literary Supplement, Newsweek, Guardian, Observer, Independent, Telegraph, Financial Times, Herald, Poetry Review, Literary Review, Harvard Review, Hindu, Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express, Outlook, and India Today. Sudeep has been recorded for, and broadcast on, BBC, PBS, CNN, IBN, NDTV, AIR, and Doordarshan. His poems have been included in several anthologies. His newer work appears in New Writing 15 (Granta), Language for a New Century (Norton), Leela: An Erotic Play of Verse and Art (Collins), Indian Love Poems (Knopf/ Random House/ Everyman), Out of Bounds (Bloodaxe), Initiate: Oxford New Writing (Blackwell), and Name me a Word (Yale). He is the editorial director of AARK ARTS and the editor of Atlas. Sudeep is the first Asian honoured to speak and read at the Nobel Laureate Festival. The Government of India awarded him the senior fellowship for “outstanding persons in the field of culture/literature.”

Featured Writer Sudeep Sen: ‘Disembodied’

 

“Summers’ knack for nailing an image and capturing its emotional charge is sublime”: Malcolm St Hill reviews ‘straya’ by Paul Summers

straya by Paul Summers (Smokestack Books, 2017).

straya 2straya’, a bastardised version of ‘Australia’, is the title and the first and largest section of Paul Summers’ latest collection. While the term evokes Afferbeck Lauder’s ‘strine’, a droll representation of Australian language, there is little humour in Summers’ straya. The first poem in the collection, ‘obligato’, suggests an obligation on the reader to take notice. As this musical term indicates, that which follows should not be omitted.

While ‘obligato’ could be characterised as oblique, the second poem, ‘building eden / pathology’, leaves the reader in no doubt as to where Summers is heading with an acerbic, sweeping diatribe about the sunburnt country, touching on history and modernity. In his sights are, amongst other ills, racism, denial of past wrongs, hollow apologies, and the strine untouchables of ‘mateship’ and the ‘fair go’. ‘eden’ is something of a laundry list, as is ‘dear john’, which bookends this section, yielding another phalanx of issues and observations.

Some poems focus on a single explicit subject, including ‘revision’, a disturbing take on the aussie icon, ‘the man from snowy river’, and ‘8 count’, a graphic depiction of domestic violence.

.The victim,
.…hits the floor;
.drum-hollow but dense,

.like sides of meat slapped
.down on butchers’ blocks.

On balance though, Summers ‘tells it slant’. March flies and crows are metaphors for colonisation. Brahman cattle are the dispossessed and betrayed in ‘one hundred head of cattle walking to their slaughter’. In more literal poems, Summers evokes nature’s venom with cyclones and drought. There’s no escaping the undertow, ‘the soil’s dark music’, haunting this collection.

straya is published by UK publisher, Smokestack. Their manifesto is to champion ‘poets who are unfashionable, radical, left field…’ Summers fits his publisher’s bill. Originally from North East England, he has spent the last four and a half years in tropical Queensland. This residency forms the basis for his wanderings through the Australian psyche. Some may characterise him as, to use the vernacular, a ‘blow-in’, and question his right to comment. Yet often it takes an outsider to hold the mirror, or in Summers’ case, a magnifying glass, burning a hole in the accepted narrative with an incendiary eye.

‘fan ho’s vehement lens epitomises Summers’ keen vision. The title of the poem refers to Fan Ho, a renowned Chinese photographer of street scenes in Hong Kong. The poem is set in a country town, where ‘the dogs are all black’ and highlights many issues from the ‘obesity of privilege’, to the plight of the underclass and the marginalised, ‘the pensioners, / the jettisoned, / the wounded, / & the grinning mad.’ Summers’ position, while left of the mainstream, comes not from blind revisionism. It is, as the sentiments in ‘Fan Ho’ suggest, out of his humanity and concern for suffering.

In ‘epistle to a great-nephew’ Summers reveals the values underlying straya. The poet’s advice in his letter includes the noble: ‘defend the truth’, ‘declaim injustice’, as well as the small and personal things: to treasure the singing of birds and ‘the perfume of summer rain’.

The middle section of straya is titled ‘guerra’, Italian and Spanish for war. It deals with the death caused by organised conflict, including the frontier wars. In ‘bait’, death is meted out through laced flour and spiked water, conjuring the vivid images of the poisoning of Aboriginal people depicted in Kate Grenville’s The Secret River. There are also poems dealing with the sacrifice of young men during the Great War. Accounts of the death of children in Gaza provide contemporary examples of humanity’s dark side. The final poem, ‘ptsd’, is a personal one, about a fishing mate, a war veteran, who committed suicide.

‘cadenza’, might have been a stand-alone volume, such is the contrast between this and the previous sections. While ‘straya’ and ‘guerra’ are lamentations on the legacy of history, ‘cadenza’ reflects a private grief, a ‘rapacious loss’, the death of the poet’s mother. These are tender poems, traversing dying, death itself and the vacuum of the aftermath. They contemplate the physical and emotional manifestations in vignettes of the hospital, cremation and the spreading of ashes. In ‘the ferryman’, which describes the moment of his mother’s death, Summers provides an intimate and generous window into this very private experience.

Many of the poems in ‘cadenza’ are tributes to his father, reflecting a widower’s unique form of loss, as seen through a son’s compassionate eyes. In ‘& slow, the dusk’, the first part in the sequence, ‘the aftermath’:

.the men who grieve
.sit down to tea,

.dwarfed by the scale
.of lonesome rooms.

.mechanically they prod
.at half charged plates

Summers’ knack for nailing an image and capturing its emotional charge is sublime. In ‘fall’: ‘& dad is reduced; / shrunk to the size / of a songbird’s heart’.

There are reminiscences of childhood here too. ‘crucible’ sees the poet nagging his ‘mam’ to buy him a ‘red-army hat’ at an advent market. The child watches his parents feeding each other at the ‘mermaid café’, leaning into ‘…the warmth/ of the others’ space, still giddy/ on the promise of their lips’. Grief brings these memories into focus. It is the pain of happy memories as W.G. Sebald has described it.

Despite the contrasts between the first and the last sections of straya, they are unified by Summers’ skill, innate compassion and full investment in his subject. They are also stylistically unified; the dominance of the couplet, the employment of sporadic and deft rhyme and repetition of words and phrases. All techniques which sharpen focus and command the reader’s attention. He calls up hidden, unspeakable things and champions the downtrodden. He challenges our view of ourselves and our collective memory, particularly of the colonial frontier. Whether it is a portal into the public or the private, there is no escape from the ‘knowing glance / of stuttering time.’

-Malcolm St Hill


 

MSH Bio Pic (2)

Malcolm St Hill

Malcolm St Hill lives in Newcastle and is a poet and independent researcher focused on the literary memory of the Great War, particularly that of Australian soldier-poets. His recent poems have appeared in the 2016 and 2015 ‘Grieve’ anthologies. He was the winner of the Morisset Show ‘Lake Macquarie Moments’ Poetry Competition in 2016.

 

 

straya by Paul Summers is available from Smokestack Books

 

Featured Writer K. Satchidanandan: One Poem

The Girl of Thirteen

The girl of thirteen
is not the boy of thirteen.
She has died drowning in nightmares
until she forgot her butterflies.
She has passed through caverns of darkness
leaving the lullabies behind.

The girl of thirteen is forty-three.
She knows a bad touch from a good one
She knows it’s not wrong
to tell a lie in order to survive.
She knows how to fight a war,
with teeth or with songs.
You see only the rose on her body;
but it’s full of thorns

The girl of thirteen can fly.
She doesn’t want to leave the sun
and books just for men.
Her swing circles the moon
and moves from melancholy to madness.
She doesn’t dream of the prince
as you seem to think.

The girl of thirteen has her feet
in the netherworld even as she
touches the rainbow.
One day, sword in her hand, she
will come riding a white horse.
Listening to the hooves echo in the clouds
you will know, the tenth avatar in the puranas prophesy is a woman.

-K. Satchidanandan (സച്ചിദാനന്ദന്‍)
translated from Malayalam by the poet

 

പതിമൂന്നു വയസ്സുള്ള പെണ്‍കുട്ടി

പതിമൂന്നുവയസ്സുള്ള പെണ്‍കുട്ടി
പതിമൂന്നുവയസ്സുള്ള ആണ്‍കുട്ടിയല്ല.
പൂമ്പാറ്റകളെ മറക്കുവോളം അവള്‍
ദുസ്വപ്നങ്ങളില്‍ മുങ്ങി മരിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്
താരാട്ടുകളെ പിന്നിലാക്കി അവള്‍
ഇരുട്ടിന്റെ ഗുഹകളിലൂടെ കടന്നുപോയിട്ടുണ്ട്

പതിമൂന്നുവയസ്സുള്ള പെണ്‍കുട്ടിയ്ക്ക്
നാല്‍പ്പത്തിമൂന്നു വയസ്സുണ്ട്
അവള്‍ക്കു നല്ല സ്പര്‍ശവും
ചീത്ത സ്പര്‍ശവും തിരിച്ചറിയാം
അതിജീവനത്തിനായി നുണപറയുന്നത്
തെറ്റല്ലെന്ന് അവള്‍ക്കറിയാം
അവള്‍ക്കു യുദ്ധം ചെയ്യാനറിയാം,
പല്ലുകൊണ്ടും പാട്ടുകൊണ്ടും.
നിങ്ങള്‍ അവളുടെ ഉടലിലെ
പനിനീര്‍മാത്രം കാണുന്നു,
പക്ഷെ അതില്‍ നിറയെ മുള്ളുകളുണ്ട്‌.

പതിമൂന്നുവയസ്സുള്ള പെണ്‍കുട്ടിയ്ക്ക്
പറക്കാനാവും, അവള്‍
സൂര്യനെയും പുസ്തകങ്ങളെയും
പുരുഷനുമാത്രമായി വിട്ടു കൊടുക്കില്ല
അവളുടെ ഊഞ്ഞാല്‍ ചന്ദ്രനെച്ചുറ്റി
വിഷാദത്തില്‍നിന്ന് ഉന്മാദത്തിലേയ്ക്കാടുന്നു
അവള്‍ നിങ്ങള്‍ കരുതും പോലെ
രാജകുമാരനെ കിനാക്കാണുന്നില്ല

പതിമൂന്നുവയസ്സുള്ള പെണ്‍കുട്ടി
പാതാളത്തില്‍ കാല്‍ കുത്തി നിന്ന്
മഴവില്ലുകളെ സ്പര്‍ശിക്കുന്നു
ഒരു ദിവസം അവള്‍ വെളുത്ത കുതിരപ്പുറത്ത്‌
വാളുമായി പ്രത്യക്ഷപ്പെടും.
മേഘങ്ങളില്‍ കുളമ്പടികള്‍ കേള്‍ക്കുമ്പോള്‍
നിങ്ങളറിയും, പുരാണങ്ങളില്‍ പറയുന്ന പത്താമത്തെ അവതാരം പെണ്ണാണെന്ന്.

-K. Satchidanandan (സച്ചിദാനന്ദന്‍)

Rochford Street Review are proud to republish K. Satchidanandan’s poem, ‘The Girl of Thirteen’ (‘പതിമൂന്നു വയസ്സുള്ള പെണ്‍കുട്ടി’), in both English and Malayalam, with the full permission of the author. The Malayalam original, ‘Pathimoonnu Vayassulla Penkutti’, was first published in the Mathrubhumi Weekly, Calicut, Kerala, 2-8 July 2017. The English translation, ‘The Girl of Thirteen’, was first published in The Indian Quarterly, 5th Anniversary Issue, October -December 2017.


 

! K.Satchidanandan സച്ചിദാനന്ദന്‍ photo by Shikha Malavya

K. Satchidanandan (സച്ചിദാനന്ദന്‍). photograph by Shikha Malavya

K. Satchidanandan (സച്ചിദാനന്ദന്‍) is an award winning, bilingual, Indian poet, playwright, editor, literary columnist, and translator who writes in Malayalam and English. He is perhaps the most translated, contemporary, Indian poet with twenty-six collections of poetry published in nineteen different languages. In addition to all the major Indian languages, such as Tamil, Bengali and Hindi, Satchidanandan’s poetry has been translated into Chinese, English, Irish, Arabic, French, German, and Italian. K. Satchidanandan’s While I Write: New and Selected Poems was published by HarperCollins in 2011. Poetrywala, Mumbai, released his most recent book, The Missing Rib, in 2016. Three volumes of his collected poems, and four volumes of his collected translations of poetry, were published in 2006 and 2015, respectively. K. Satchidanandan writes poetry in Malayalam, the Indian language of Kerala, and prose in both Malayalam and English. He has published more than twenty collections of poetry, as well as several books of travel, plays and criticism, including five books in English on Indian literature. He has participated in many Literary Festivals and Book Fairs around the world. He has represented India in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin, Sarajevo, Moscow, Rotterdam, Beijing, Shanghai, Damascus, Dubai, Delhi, Mumbai, Lahore, Medellin, Caracas, Lima, and Havana. He was a professor of English, and later, the chief executive of the Sahitya Akademi, the Indian National Academy of Literature. He was the Director of the School of Translation Studies at Indira Gandhi Open University, Delhi, and the National Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. K. Satchidanandan is a Fellow of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi, the State Academy of Literature. He has won thirty-four literary awards, including the National Akademi award, the World Poetry Peace Prize from the UAE, the India-Poland Friendship Medal, and the Dante Medal from Ravenna. He received a Knighthood from the Government of Italy and was in the Ladbroke final shortlist of Nobel Prize for Literature probables in 2011.

 

Featured Writer K.Satchidanandan: Biographical Note

! K.Satchidanandan സച്ചിദാനന്ദന്‍ photo by Shikha Malavya

K. Satchidanandan (സച്ചിദാനന്ദന്‍). photograph by Shikha Malavya

 

K. Satchidanandan (സച്ചിദാനന്ദന്‍) is an award winning, bilingual, Indian poet, playwright, editor, literary columnist, and translator who writes in Malayalam and English. He is perhaps the most translated, contemporary, Indian poet with twenty-six collections of poetry published in nineteen different languages. In addition to all the major Indian languages, such as Tamil, Bengali and Hindi, Satchidanandan’s poetry has been translated into Chinese, English, Irish, Arabic, French, German, and Italian. K. Satchidanandan’s While I Write: New and Selected Poems was published by HarperCollins in 2011. Poetrywala, Mumbai, released his most recent book, The Missing Rib, in 2016. Three volumes of his collected poems, and four volumes of his collected translations of poetry, were published in 2006 and 2015, respectively. K. Satchidanandan writes poetry in Malayalam, the Indian language of Kerala, and prose in both Malayalam and English. He has published more than twenty collections of poetry, as well as several books of travel, plays and criticism, including five books in English on Indian literature. He has participated in many Literary Festivals and Book Fairs around the world. He has represented India in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin, Sarajevo, Moscow, Rotterdam, Beijing, Shanghai, Damascus, Dubai, Delhi, Mumbai, Lahore, Medellin, Caracas, Lima, and Havana. He was a professor of English, and later, the chief executive of the Sahitya Akademi, the Indian National Academy of Literature. He was the Director of the School of Translation Studies at Indira Gandhi Open University, Delhi, and the National Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. K. Satchidanandan is a Fellow of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi, the State Academy of Literature. He has won thirty-four literary awards, including the National Akademi award, the World Poetry Peace Prize from the UAE, the India-Poland Friendship Medal, and the Dante Medal from Ravenna. He received a Knighthood from the Government of Italy and was in the Ladbroke final shortlist of Nobel Prize for Literature probables in 2011.

Featured Writer K.Satchidanandan: ‘The Girl of Thirteen’ (‘പതിമൂന്നു വയസ്സുള്ള പെണ്‍കുട്ടി’)

Featured Writer Julie Watts: ‘The story of Julian who will never know we loved him’

The story of Julian who will never know we loved him

there’s a drunk on the train spouting Kant

Immanuel Kant
that’s the dude who changed my life.

he lurches up the aisle       woolies bag swinging
off his elbow       slips sideways through space

lands on shrinking laps       apologies       sways
on       Kant changed everything.

the man sitting next to me tries to become
invisible       plugs in his ear phones       climbs

into his computer       but the drunk spies him
and like fate       see-saws towards him

stands by his seat       holding the rail       his
weaving hips       unknotting the tight Sydney night.

ever wonder where your ideas come from?
‘not really.’

he is thrown –       sinks
into the seat opposite       chuckles

takes a swig from his goon cask
and it sways like a pendulum at his elbow.

but where do you get your meaning?
‘from my wife and children.’

again he is thrown –       and flashes a grin
like the sun coming out       its spark

lighting the dark with all its vanished
promise. he leans forward       whispers

that’s a bit old fashioned, man.
‘yeah, I know, but that’s ok with me’

and it’s done – he thrusts his hand across
the divide – friend! I’m Julian, brother

and laughs       opens his phone
a flash on the screen

my son       Jeremiah        named after a prophet
and the curtain falls.

it begins at his forehead       a crumpling
of skin       pulls his mouth into such

a contortion       we have to look away.
the man next to me       unplugs his ear

phones       puts away his computer
and offers up his attention

it’s enough to make a philosopher
weep.

when the police step in at the next station
he has slipped into a narcolepsy of grief

and booze       as they take him away we
say       ‘take care of him’

.            ‘he’s a philosopher’
.            ‘he’s in pain’

‘aren’t they all,’ they mumble.

the train rattles on without him
no Kant       no bursts of light

people get up from their seats
and ask questions about jail cells

his grazed cheek and chipped tooth.
he has gone –

and he’ll never know we loved him
on a late Sydney train last March.

-Julie Watts

 


 

Julie Watts. photograph by Andrew Burns, Imajica Photography, 2017 JPEG

Julie Watts. photograph by Andrew Burns, Imajica Photography (2017)

Julie Watts is a Western Australian writer and Counsellor/ Play Therapist who lives by the coast with her family. She has been published in various journals and anthologies including: Westerly, Cordite, Australian Poetry Anthology, Australian Love Poems 2013, and the Anthology of Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry. She was shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize 2016 and the prestigious, Montreal International Poetry Prize 2017. Julie won the 2016 Hunters Grieve Project for her poem, ‘Calvary’, and the 2017 Blake Poetry Prize forThe story of Julian who will never know we loved him’. Julie’s debut poetry collection, Honey & Hemlock, was published by Sunline Press in 2013. Her unpublished manuscript of her second book of poetry, Legacy, was recently shortlisted for The Dorothy Hewett Award 2018.

‘The story of Julian who will never know we loved him’ wins the 2017 Blake Poetry Prize.
The judges of the 2017 Blake Poetry Prize said that, “The story of Julian who will never know we loved him is a poem with a strength that fills the void of the different perspectives and understanding of the English language. It is the poem that both learned and unschooled by mainstream Australia, people who read from vastly different cultural mindsets, will share the message of this poem.”

Les Wicks reviews Honey & Hemlock by Julie Watts

 

Featured Writer Julie Watts: Biographical Note

JULIEWATTS-image 4

Julie Watts. photograph by Andrew Burns, Imajica Photography (2017)

 

Julie Watts is a Western Australian writer and Counsellor/ Play Therapist who lives by the coast with her family. She has been published in various journals and anthologies including: Westerly, Cordite, Australian Poetry Anthology, Australian Love Poems 2013, and the Anthology of Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry. She was shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize 2016 and the prestigious, Montreal International Poetry Prize 2017. Julie won the 2016 Hunters Grieve Project for her poem, ‘Calvary’, and the 2017 Blake Poetry Prize forThe story of Julian who will never know we loved him’. Julie’s debut poetry collection, Honey & Hemlock, was published by Sunline Press in 2013. Her unpublished manuscript of her second book of poetry, Legacy, was recently shortlisted for The Dorothy Hewett Award 2018.

Featured Writer Julie Watts: ‘The story of Julian who will never know we loved him’

 

Featured Writer Remi Raji: One Poem

Does the earth turn?

In cycles, in circles of turns…
The earth turns, yet it does not

The sterile never does the womb dance
Nor the eunuch celebrate songs of birth

The vulture never refuses the ritual’s entrails
As the hyena never struts with the clan of dogs

The dung beetle does not travel empty-handed
The ember-carrier catches haste homeward

The dog’s dream, lives in the dog
The wisdom of pigs rots with the pig
The bushrat may strut, it will not become the hunter

The bastard may imitate, it will remain father’s counterfeit
When my lion roars, the earth swallows the fox on prowl.

Does the world turn?
The earth turns, yet it does not…

– Remi Raji

translated from Yoruba by the author

 

Òbìrìkótó, Ayé ńyí bìrí bí?

Òbìrìkótó, ayíbírí, ayìbìrí…
Ayé ńyi ́bìrí, bẹ́ẹ̀ni kò re’bì kankan

Lákíríboto, wọn kìi ́gb’ọ́mọ jó
Ẹgbẹ́ òkóbó, wọn kìí ṣ’ayẹyẹ ìbí.

Ìran igún kan kìí d’ẹbọ nù
Ikọ̀ ìkookò kan kìí k’ẹ́gbẹ́ ajá

Yínmínyínmin kìí sán’wọ́ r’àjò
Bẹ́ẹ̀ni kò s’áfọwọ́fọnná tíí dúró ṣ’awẹ́wa

Àlá ajá, a gbé’nú ajá pẹ́ pẹ́ pẹ́…
Ọgbọ́n ẹlẹ́dẹ̀, a gbé’nú ẹlẹ́dẹ̀ rà bí ìtì ọ̀gẹ̀dẹ̀
B’ókété fẹ’sẹ̀ méjì rìn, kò lè p’adán ọdẹ

Ọmọ àlè lè f’ara jọ ni, kò lè ṣe bíi baba mi
Bí kìnìun mi búú, kọ̀lọ̀kọ̀lọ̀ a bìlà.

Òbìrìkótó, ayé ńyí bí?
Ayé ńyí bìrí, bẹ́ẹ̀ni, kò re’bì kankan…

– Remi Raji


 

Remi Raji. photograph by Humboldt Foundation David Ausserhofer

Remi Raji. photograph by Humboldt Foundation/ David Ausserhofer

Remi Raji is the pen name of the award winning, Nigerian poet and scholar, Aderemi Raji-Oyelade. He is the author of six collections of poetry, including A Harvest of Laughters (Kraftbooks, 1997), which was the joint winner of the Association of Nigerian Authors/ Cadbury Poetry Prize and the winner of the Association of West African Young Writers’ VOCA Award for Best First Published Book. His most recent collection, Sea of My Mind (Kraftbooks, 2013), was shortlisted for the NLNG Prize for Poetry. He is a Salzburg Fellow and has been a visiting professor and writer at several institutions, including Cambridge University. He has received national and international recognition. Aderemi Raji-Oyelade is the recipient of the 2017 Humboldt Alumni Award for Innovative Networking Initiatives and the 2017 Humboldt Kolleg International Conference Grant which will be hosted by University of Ibadan in 2018.
website: http://www.remiraji-nigeria.com/