Wednesday, 30 May 2018

The Orphan by Jonah Raskin



The Orphan

by


Jonah Raskin

The other day, I watched the movie, Great Expectations, which begins in a graveyard where Pip’s parents are buried. I identified with Pip,

because he’s an orphan adopted by adults who love him & who also use him to settle old scores. By the time I was seven, I had adopted

several families or maybe they adopted me. At 17, I had half-a-dozen aliases, some of which I gave to myself, and some of which teachers 

& fellow students gave me. Forty-four years ago, when I moved to California, my newfound friends assumed I was an orphan because

I never went anywhere at Thanksgiving & Christmas, so they invited me to join their families, until I felt guilty and had to tell them I

wasn’t really an orphan. I was just pretending to be one and that I actually had a mother & father, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins

& my two brothers who have followed me through life. The families who once adopted me are now gone, but I still have my brothers

who have the same memories I have & so I know I’m not crazy, but just a bit anxious & just a wee bit lonely in a world where I still

feel like an orphan, still gather aliases & still feel ashamed of the
bad things I did when I was a boy, the same age as the young Pip.

Jonah Raskin, author of 14 books, is Member, Editorial Advisory Board of Re-Markings (www.re-markings.com) and a frequent contributor to the journal.



Re-Markings - Conversation with Sampat Pal Devi (Founder Leader, Gulabi Gang)




Resurrecting Gender Roles: 
A Conversation with  Sampat Pal Devi
Reema Chowdhary,  I Watitula Longkumer &
Nirmala Menon
The post-economic-liberalization in India saw the rapid surfacing of women in socio-political milieu and their presence as leaders, activists, workers and professionals. An example of such visible activism is Sampat Pal Devi from Banda district of Uttar Pradesh, India. Sampat Pal Devi is the founder of Gulabi Gang, a group distinguished by their pink saris. The gang works against caste system, child marriage, dowry, domestic violence, and promotes women empowerment through literacy and concrete committed action in redefining stereotyped gender bias. She is the source of inspiration and strength to thousands of women associated with her in relentlessly correcting patriarchal inequalities inherent in the society we inhabit. Her popularity through films and media has brought her worldwide recognition. In this interface, conducted two years ago at her home in Banda, Uttar Pradesh, Sampat Pal Devi responds enthusiastically to the probing questions by Reema Chowdhary & I Watitula Longkumer to illuminate various dimensions of the origin, role and function of the Gulabi Gang she has been proudly leading since its inception in 2006. 
Interviewers: Thank you for this opportunity to talk and interact with you. Can you briefly tell us about your personal life? How did you see yourself moving into social activism?
Sampat Pal Devi: Before forming this organization Gulabi Gang, I was a homemaker. Within the confines of my home I was aware of the female problems that were going around in my community. After I got married at the age of twelve I began to observe and disagree with many issues such as whether women should wear a veil, if they should be permitted to talk to other men and why meals should be served first to men. Few incidents which I observed and experienced, I will share with you: 1) when we were sent to fields we faced no restriction from conversing freely with men (only because we were working), but the situation was completely reversed once we got home from work. 2) Once I was very hungry so I sat down to eat and, to my surprise, my mother-in-law came and snatched the plate from me saying that I should not eat before my husband takes his meal. I was very troubled by this incident. These incidents made me think about what I can do to change the system. The next day I repeated the same act and was again rebuked by my mother-in-law. This time I did not keep quiet and responded to her saying, “I cook, so I have every right to have the food first after which I will serve to the rest of the family members. Is it necessary to eat after the man? Whosoever is hungry they should start eating.” I often think if it is a tradition to eat the leftover food of the husband. If yes, I feel this tradition needs to be broken.
Interviewers: Is there any particular incident that motivated you to start Gulabi Gang?
Sampat Pal Devi: A woman residing near my place was beaten by her husband every day, so I asked her the reason. She answered by saying that she was accused of not working and being lazy. To help her out, I met her husband, but in return, he abused her at home for inviting an outsider (me). The harassment continued. So, one day I gathered few women who were not aware of my intentions. While returning from the field with some of the women, I saw him coming back from the field. I kicked him from behind, following which I immediately shouted and manipulated a scene pretending that he attacked me first. All the women around me gathered and started beating the man. This was the very first step I took for the welfare of women in my community and made a point from that day onwards that women must be respected in and out of their homes.
Interviewers: What was your age when you started this organization? Have you registered your organization?
Sampat Pal Devi: I was twenty-years old. I started Gulabi Gang on 14 February 2006 and it is registered under Adivasi Mahila Utthan Gram Udyog Seva Sansthan (Tribal Women and Rural Development Organization).
Interviewers: You got married at the age of twelve and started this organization at the age of twenty. How did you manage these eight years in between? Did you receive support from your husband?
Sampat Pal Devi: I kept on fighting, trying to convince people around me. I tried explaining to my in-laws the advantages and disadvantages of taking responsibility of the societal pressures. In the beginning, I did not receive any support from my family or the neighbors. I began to  self-school myself by reading whatever was available to me. Around my place, I came across some girls who were grazing cattle. I used to sit with them and tried to educate them on the importance of schooling. People complained to my husband saying that I was characterless for the acts that I was involved with and this news quickly spread over neighbouring villages. People stopped talking to me, and while I went out for fetching water they did not touch my water pot considering me an outcast. I then informed my husband who supported me. I suggested to him to move to another place. He agreed and we moved to Badausa, a town in Uttar Pradesh, where we opened a tea stall to earn our livelihood.
Interviewers: Tell us how did you decide on the name Gulabi (Pink) Gang?
Sampat Pal Devi: There is an incident which I would like to tell you. Once while travelling with my group members by train, an aged lady among us fell asleep and travelled further to another location. I got worried and we started searching for her and somehow managed to find her. After this, I decided that I give some colour to my organization for a unique identification. I collected Rs.100 from all of them and went to Kanpur where we visited a sari shop. The shopkeeper showed us a blue sari but we did not prefer that as it symbolized a particular political party. They showed us several other colours that did not work well with us. Then I saw a pink dupatta. I asked the ladies to wear them and while we were standing on the street, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate who was passing by asked us what was going on. In a sudden response, I uttered this is Gulabi Gang. Since then we named our organization as Gulabi Gang.
Interviewers: Can you tell us a little bit on how you managed to gather a large number of women as part of your gang? How did you convince them to join?
Sampat Pal Devi: Like the incident I narrated earlier of the man in the field, the women in my community saw the actions I took and began to think positively of the change that they could bring in their lives. It started with a small group that gradually increased to ten thousand. I counseled them to realize their self-worth as a woman, which further created a sense of trust between us.
Interviewers: How is your network and outreach at present?
Sampat Pal Devi: At present, our connection is strong and is spread over many places both at the national and international level. Usually, the sufferers come to us and they stay with us. Since I do good work even at the local level the police complies with my grievances knowing full well that I do not use bribes for achieving justice. My outreach also allowed me, at one point of my life, to participate in elections at various stages.
Interviewers: We heard about a fake organization with the same name that operated your website. Are you aware of it?
Sampat Pal Devi: Yes, there was a fake organization made by an ex-member of my organization. I didn’t know about it and it came to my knowledge that they were extracting donations in my name. It was then that I bought a computer, fixed the Internet and asked my son to investigate the matter. We found that the organization that formed the website had links with some bigwigs in political circles in Delhi. When we raised the question further, we were told that one Jai Prakash Tiwari was the person behind it. I immediately filed against him the case under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code for forgery. We also lodged a legal complaint in the IT cell against him. The police at the local level did not cooperate. At that point, I had a deep inclination that my son and my life could be at stake as I received several threats of murder over the phone. However, this did not bother me as I was clear about what I was doing.
Interviewers: Did this dummy organization affect your practices in any way?
Sampat Pal Devi: This did not affect me much as people who wanted to contact me managed in some or the other way to reach me. In fact, I got connected to more people through my participation in a reality show Big Boss that airs on Indian television channel. Media also supported me by putting forward my issues in popular news channels such as IBN7, Zee News, 24/7, Aaj Tak, etc.
Interviewers: Have you watched the movie Gulaab Gang directed by Soumik Sen, starring Madhuri Dixit? What is your take on that?
Sampat Pal Devi: Yes, and I have a lot of problem with the movie and the story it projects. After hearing about the film, I went to Delhi on 5th March 2014, a day before its release. The lower court allowed my appeal for a stay against the release of the movie. The filmmakers and the double bench court convinced me that the film was not based on my organization or me. However, I did not agree and questioned them why the actresses in the film wear pink saris and wield lathis and why the title of the film Gulaab Gang resembles my organization name. I demanded that they should remove these similarities. They showed me the movie on the 8th, where I found that the movie had no substantial background, as there were lots of scenes where actresses used guns and weapons to combat violence. Such scenes in the movie, to me, create a negative image to what I practice, as my group never uses such weapons to abuse or threaten men. The way Madhuri Dixit (the leading actress) has dramatized her role by using weapons and stunts informs that women can never be empowered in this way. There are few documentaries and films, where I have acted, based on my real life, which people can watch if they wish to know the real practices of Gulabi Gang.

Interviewers: We would also like to know your opinion on how the film tries to tell the stories of women?
Sampat Pal Devi: I do not deny that this movie reflects and revolves around women’s issues. However, the point where I completely disagree is the use of dangerous weapons and the practice of felony to resolve problems. Women-centric movies should be directed and produced but with more peaceful discussions and dialogues. In my organization, I do not encourage the use of violent weapons. We do use the lathi as a weapon, but that stands to serve only as a symbol of our strength and self-defense. Our fight against dowry, sexual harassment, domestic violence etc. is exercised at a very peaceful level. Madhuri’s movie projects a lot of open and violent rape, bloodshed and molestation, which also reminds me of how Phoolan Devi (a bandit in Chambal valley of Uttar Pradesh) is projected in the movie Bandit Queen, merely as a rape victim. Such kind of one-sided projection reflects our nation’s social cleavages that are very narrow and restricted in depicting women characters as sheer objects of the entertainment industry.
Interviewers: How many films have been made so far on you and your Galabi Gang?
Sampat Pal Devi: Two major documentaries, one directed by Kim Longinotto Pink Saris and the other by Nishtha Jain named Gulabi Gang besides hundreds of short films.
Interviewers: India is a nation of diverse cultures. What is your opinion on inter-caste marriages?
Sampat Pal Devi: I am not against such kind of union. I feel that if both the parties are mature and adult then I think it is absolutely fine. There is nothing called caste. I consider myself a human being first, rather than a casteist. I have intervened and made possible hundreds of such inter-caste and inter-religion marriages.
Interviewers: Do you feel there has been a positive influence in the society after you started this organization?
Sampat Pal Devi: Yes, there is a lot of positive influence around the society. I see that all the apprehensions that were there, in the beginning, have gradually subsided. Today, people around me show a lot of respect and call me Devi because they believe that with my involvement  they will definitely get justice.
Interviewers: Thank you for your time. We wish you and your organization every success in all your endeavours.
Sampat Pal Devi: Thank you too for the opportunity to share my work and views with you.


Reema Chowdhary & I Watitula Longkumer are Doctroral Research Scholars at IIT, Indore.
   Dr. Nirmala Menon is Associate Professor in the Discipline of English Language and Literature, Digital Humanities and Publishing Studies Research Group, Indian Institute of Technology,  Indore, Madhya Pradesh.
  
  Re-Markings 
  Vol 17 No.3 March 2018 
  www.re-markings.com


v


Sunday, 31 December 2017

A World Assembly of Poets: Comments by Jonah Raskin, Ethelbert Miller, Tuncay Gary, Okey Ndibe, Cyril Wong, KK Srivastava, Charles Johnson, Christopher Guerin, Fred Chappell, Tess Onwueme, Margarita Merino, Veronique Tadjo, Sushil Gupta, Urvashi Sabu, Dr. Hemlata Srivastava

A World Assembly of Poets
Comments by Jonah Raskin
If it’s laughter you want, or tears, or truth, or beauty, there’s no finer book of poetry than this one. A World Assembly of Poets offers a superlative way to start the New Year and to carry readers all through the next 12 months.

I confess, I have not read every single poem in A World Assembly of Poets, which has just been published by Re-Markings. That would take at least a week of concerted effort. After all, there are more than 150 poems by more than 80 poets from more than 30 different countries, including India, Pakistan, Russia, China, the U.S., Israel, Nigeria, Spain, Singapore, Sweden and Scotland.Still, I have read enough of the work in A World Assembly of Poets that has been ably compiled by a team of editors to know that this volume has the power to entertain, illuminate and inspire readers from Asia and Africa to Europe and the Americas.
“I have no hesitation in saying that these soulful offerings from the world’s best lyricists of the heart is a wonderful tribute to the undying human spirit of freedom, dignity and hope,” chief editor Nibir K. Ghosh writes in the “Editorial” at the front of the book.
Guest editor Tijan M. Sallah writes about specific poets such as Liu Hongbin, Pritish Nandy and Per Wastberg in the introduction to the volume, and offers overarching observations. “If American poetry is geared to the individual and the particular, the poetry of Asia is dominated by spiritual concerns,” Sallah writes.
Still, A World Assembly of Poets makes it clear that generalizations about poetry can only take us so far. At the beginning, at the end and in the middle of this volume, a reader can only engage with specific poems by individual poets who insist on adhering to their own hearts and heads and who pledge allegiance to their own aesthetics. By chance I opened A World Assembly of Poets to page 61 and the work of Sallah himself, perhaps the best-known Gambian writing poetry today who writes in “I Come From A Country,” lines that transcend national and geographical boundaries: “I come from a country where the land is small,/ But our hearts are big,/Where we greet everyone by name in the morning.”
I know this country. Perhaps you do, too. It’s the country of big hearts that exists wherever there are poets with names like Sallah, Naheed, Manhire, Fahey and Amjadi and whose work co-exists on the page. It is not necessary to start on the first page and go straight through to the last page. One can skip around and go forwards or backwards, until a poem grabs hold of you and pulls you inside, as Arun Kamal’s “I’ll Tell Lives,” which is translated from Hindi into English, did for me. Some of the poems, including Haki R. Madhubuti’s “More Powerful Than God” are very funny, indeed. If it’s laughter you want, or tears, or truth, or beauty, there’s no finer book of poetry than this one. A World Assembly of Poets offers a superlative way to start the New Year and to carry readers all through the next 12 months. There are more poems here from India than any other country in the world except for the U.S.A. That is fitting. After all the book comes from Agra not from New York, and with the unstinting cooperation of Dr. Sunita Rani Ghosh, Dr. A. Karunaker, Mr. Sudarshan Kcherry and that master of computer graphics and design, Mr. Sandeep Arora.


Jonah Raskin, a frequent contributor to Re-Markings, is the author of 14 books, including literary criticism, reporting, memoir, and biography. He has taught journalism, media law and the theory of communication at Sonoma State University, U.S.A.

                     Comments by Ethelbert Miller
My friend Tijan Sallah dropped by the house today with copies of the new anthology he edited. What a wonderful collection of poems from poets around the world. From Brazil to Spain. Pakistan to Australia. China to Nigeria. The US poets included are: Sonia Sanchez, Kevin Powell, Rita Dove, Fred Chappell and David Ray. I’m happy for 4 of my poems to be in this book. 
Congrats to Nibir Ghosh for making it all possible.


Ethelbert Miller is a writer and literary activist. He is board chair of the Institute for Policy Studies, an inductee of the 2015 Washington, DC Hall of Fame, and recipient of the AWP 2016 George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature. Translations of Miller’s poems have appeared in over nine languages. His most recent book is The Collected Poems of E. Ethelbert Miller.

                      Comments by Tuncay Gary
Dear Tijan & Nibir Ghosh,

I'm glad to be a part of the world expressed in this wonderful book. After all, it is an enormous suggestion to bundle poetry from all continents of this earth. I love to read this book. Starting with the editorial by Nibir K. Ghosh with a fantastic picture of Plato and his poetry criticism, the introduction of Tijan M. Sallah, who makes a foray into the continents and the individual countries, then stand by selected examples, the poetry of the poets for themselves allow. And another thing that makes this volume "A World Assembly of Poets" of the special edition of RE-MARKINGS clear: Poets may write in different languages of this world, but the statements, the inner essence, the mainspring itself, are very human.

Tuncay Gary is director, actor and author based in Berlin, Germany

                        

                        Comments by Okey Ndibe

My brother Tijan,
Congrats for birthing such a marvelous book. I received the fantastic volume two nights ago. I’d meant to call you to say thank you for including me in such exalted poetic company. In a world often ruled by demagogues and drawn to philistinism, it’s a treasure to find some of the world’s best poetic voices collected in this extraordinary book. This anthology is a rich harvest, bound to excite devotees of poetry—and to attract many others who, before now, were indifferent to the music and vistas that the best poetry yields. 

Okey Ndibe is a Nigerian American novelist whose most recent book is Never Look an American in the Eye, a memoir. He has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times, BBC online, The Guardian (UK), Financial Times, and D La Repubblica (Italy).

ALTITUDE ALLY
Okey Ndibe

Ensconced in a front row seat in Economy class,
Suspended thirty-eight thousand feet,
My thoughts remained earthbound.           

Shoulder bunched, I leaned to the aisle,
Aware that the blonde next seated
Would countenance no tar.

Her perfumed indifference wafted my way
In equal measure, it seemed
Then, my chivalrous ally appeared.

It rowed to and fro;
Too tiny to be named at first glance
Then it disappeared.

In that spliced moment, a row it made.
If you listened, its air spun
A song, like a protracted hiss, a quick kiss.

A flimsy stowaway, this dreaded, undocumented alien,
Perhaps a native of the West Nile
Dreaming her way, like me, to North America.

Was she a candidate for network news infamy?
A tiny monster busying the brows of doctors scurrying for antidotes.

I had no interest in the odds
Of this sly visitor, squeaking past vigilant eyes.
No interest also in the busy doctors,
Trained to screen homeland pests from foreign vectors.

My lips quivered in self-humor:
Circle back, avenger, passport-less peregrine
And steady your attention on my supercilious neighbor.

Woulda West Nile bite or two
On her pretty face,
Wipe out that sneer?          

(A World Assembly of Poets)

https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif                          
                            Comments by Cyril Wong
RE-MARKINGS: A World Assembly of Poets is a glorious anthology for daring to take risks and by including poets who aren't the expected names, like Joanna Chen from Israel (her 'Babel' poem is a perfect way to signal the anthology's conclusion) and Liu Hongbin from China (I'm thrilled in this case for how, due to "inhospitable politics" as Tijan Sallah mentions in his introduction, we are reminded of the pain of displacement and non-belonging that poetry can capture, waking us readers from any sense of political complacency). I also love it when memorable yet starkly contrasting poems that many have come to love in their different corners of the globe (like those by Rita Dove and the activist Tenzin Tsundue) are placed together in the same volume. Reading this motley curation of verse is both enriching and cathartic, as well as an overall beautiful and life-affirming experience. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of its cosmopolitan symphony. - best, Cyril 

BOATS
Cyril Wong

You and your photographs of boats;
that repeated metaphor for departure,

or simply the possibility of a voyage?
What you cannot tell me, you tell me

with a vessel and its single passenger,
eyes fixed on some skylit conclusion.

Set apart and starkly upon a canvas
of tractable waves, brought to still

by the trigger-click of your camera,
like the sound a key makes when it

releases the lock. Your heart became
that lock; these images are how you have

always articulated distance, a withdrawal.
Darling, there are just as many ways

of saying goodbye as there are ways
of letting you go. The boat is narrow

like the width of my heart after
impossible loss, cruel resignation;

this heart you ride in. Love, if this is how
you choose to leave me, let me let you.

(A World Assembly of Poets)

Cyril Wong has been called a confessional poet, according to The Oxford Companion to Modern Poetry, based on his "anxiety over the fragility of human connection and a relentless self-querying." He is the Singapore Literature Prize-winning author of poetry collections such as Unmarked Treasure and The Lover's Inventory. 

                       Comments by Charles Johnson
Recipient of National Book Award, USA, the first African American writer to win this award after Ralph Ellison.

Nibir, I just received in today's mail A World Assembly of Poets: Contemporary Poems. This hefty book---417 pages!---is simply beautiful, even breathtaking. Congratulations, old friend. This is sure to become an essential work for readers and scholars. Pranam,, Chuck



Charles Johnson with Nibir K. Ghosh at the latter's Apartment in Seattle during his 
                        Senior Fulbright tenure in the USA, 2003-2004


                OF POETS AND THEIR MUSINGS                                                                    Review by K. K. Srivastava
                                                                The Pioneer Saturday, 06 January 2018  in Oped


There is dearth neither of literary festivals nor of anthologies in India and several other countries. However, authors, not their works, hog these festivals on many occasions. Consequently, several anthologies in the last decade and half are trivial, mainly because these are guided more by personal preferences of the compilers rather than the beauty and depth of versification. This reduces it to a haphazard collection of almost deadwood fit for being consigned to dustbin. However, in dire straits, A World Assembly of Poets holds out much hope that the era of great poetry still exists.

‘                    Finally the party lets the mask fall and shows what it is…’- Tomas Transtromer

In India as in other countries, courtesy social media, there is dearth neither of literary festivals nor of poetry anthologies. There is more discussion about authors than their work; more exhibition of interest in cocktail party to follow than what precedes the cocktails. Many poetry anthologies brought out last decade and half are trivial, not lasting and uninspiring mainly because these are guided more by personal preferences and aberrations of the compilers rather than a firm yardstick to be firmly applied to gauge the beauty and depth of versification. This muzzles the very objective of constructing an anthology and reduces it to a haphazard collection of almost deadwood fit for being consigned to an impenetrable coffin. Published in 1996, the Vintage Book Of Contemporary World Poetry edited by JD McClatchy continues to be an anthology that has remained by far unmatched and peerless. Modeled on that, A World Assembly of Poets as edited by Tijan M Sallah, well-known Gambian writer and one of Africa’s most significant voices working with the World Bank, and Nibir Ghosh, a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA, is a bold and seminal effort to come closer to the Vintage anthology. We have poets and poetry from Africa, America, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Europe, Latin America, Caribbean, and the West Asia which ensure geographical representativeness and reflect variations in styles and themes. It is a zealous and committed enterprise. Why? Is it because of content or form or context? Yes all of these play their own role but most important factor is that selected poems meet some reasonable standard for versification. Also because of the range of approaches taken by various poets and lyric narratives. Personal joys or sorrows or public pronouncements about the challenges of human or natural condition within the multifarious contexts of our world form the warp and woof of this collection.
Organised alphabetically by continents, and then, within continents, alphabetically by countries, it removes any presupposition of geographical bias. It represents global voice. Pearls of both pains and pleasures across the globe hail enlightened readers. I am using the word “enlightened” for I know reading of poetry ought to be a leisurely business. You are not seeing a play to be finished within two hours. A play ought to be read slowly and fascinatingly within a time with no restrictions from you. Poets included in this volume demand only two things if you are keen to read them: your time and your propensity to be with the words written; emotions involved. In present times our minds are invaded by agitation and as James C Coleman aptly writes, “The seventeenth century has been called the Age of Enlightenment; the eighteenth the Age of Reason; the nineteenth the Age of Progress; and the twentieth the Age of Anxiety.” To add further, the twenty-first century can be called the Age of Ideologies: the age of clash among ideologies or clash within ideologies. Collective or individual agitation is a natural outcome of such clashes. But while an agitated mind might be good enough for any activity, it can never be for absorbing literature, more so poetry. With this precaution in place, let me now take the readers through this mammoth effort.
African poets, drawing inspiration from local imagery and myths, giving us much reason for optimism and rueful pleasures, find prominent place in the book. Ghanaian poet Kofi Anyidoho, who hinges his works heavily and richly on his native Ewe oral traditions, is worried about things brought from outside: things like religions and cures imported in his poem, A Harvest of Our Dreams. “There is a ghost/on guard/a Memory’s door/scaring away these pampered hopes/these spoiled children of our festive days.” His poems seem more prophetic and less individual and his is lively and inventive way to approach the theme. There is indeed ingenuity as in his poem, Among My Dreams. “Far away from Storms we left behind/among the ruins of Haunted Lives?” There is a yearning to recognise the need to alter the past.
Sarcasm is difficult to be divorced from poetry. This we learn in Nigerian poet Tanure Ojaide’s irresistible verse, The Fate of Vultures. “They ran for a pocket-lift/in the corridors of power/and shared contracts at cabals/the record produce and sales/fuelled the adolescent bonfire of fathers.”
The emotions are often times muted but the outrage out there is amply evident. Gradual loss of the erosion of hard work and traditional artisanal skills, so very characteristic of self-sufficient old Africa and its replacement by the colonial “culture of the office” and supremacy of bureaucrats over artisans, of pen-wielders over craft-makers make Ojaide uncomfortable and these culminate in icon of sullied images and voices to convey his sarcasm of the modern “rural African” — metaphorically a “king” — but whose foolish regal pride leads him to personal misery and penury.
Julia Amukoshi is a new woman writer from Namibia with a sonorous honesty in her depiction of rural life in Africa and elsewhere in the developing world. In her poem, Growing Up, she notes, “Dust used to be natural make-up, and the wind my professional hair stylist/…I never understood why my natural scent was so resented.” The beauty nature gives to the body of a woman makes the poet realise, “But eventually, I found myself growing up.” Erratic, exuberant vision marks the exquisiteness of Julia’s poems.
Coming to American poets included in the anthology, they portray that the imagist movement of English poetry in the US, Britain and the rest of the English-speaking world, at the turn of the 20th century, is alive and somber. Like the imagist poets, the included poets like Rita Dove, Christopher Guerin, Sonia Sanchez, David Ray, to name a few, broke from the metrical strictures of the sonnet and blank verse and employed free verse and the technique of the “image” as the principal device in their poetic repertoire.
Sonia Sanchez gives us a moving imagist poem, On Passing Thru Morgan Town, reflecting on a fabulous voice teeming with nostalgia when she remembers her father, “steady your hand old man do not trouble/yourself with language, stalk his wound/”. Similarly Ethelbert Miller in a compelling poem which is filled with the despair and sadness of human-caused anguish, We Are Not Alone, writes, “These are descending days/the dark nights of our own making/The despair comes from the fear/of not knowing what door to enter/and what door to lock.”
A short poem of similar imagist simplicity, but dense with meaning is Suzanne Mattson’s poem, Little Deaths, “I am imposter to/My name/ghost to/your memory/And you!/ Failing to appear in your face.” Rita Dove uses poetry as mnemonic device: recollections of trials and joys of relationships as in The Event, “he closes his eyes/He never knows when she’ll be coming/but when she leaves, he always/tips his hat.” Rita Dove poems can act as an expressive remedy for many. In Belinda’s Petition, with speculative imagery, she expected “nothing” in “all my childhood” but she accepts, “I have known of Men with Faces like the Moon/who would ride toward me steadily for twelve years.” One can wish Rita Dove could have written a poem where there is no memory: there is only fading and fading as Sean Nevin (not included in the anthology) has tried to show in A House That Falls.
As far Asian countries, it is all about public and spiritual concerns with India and China dominating the scenario. For India, it is the Hindu spiritual Sanskrit literatures of the Vedas, Upanishad, Bhagvad Gita, Mahabharata and Ramayana, while for China, it is the philosophies of Kung Fu Tzu (Confucius) and Lao Tzu that reign supreme. China, because it does not have the entrenched British colonial history that India had, did not have the cultural convulsions and soul searching that made India a far-richer terrain for poetry, especially in the English language.
Poets in the anthology such as Shiv K Kumar, Jayanta Mahapatra, and Pritish Nandy appear more passionately and stylistically more accomplished than the rest included from India. The poetry of Pritish Nandy is outcome of Nandy as an acute and passionate observer of social reality. He writes poetry that surprises all. In his sentimentally and irresistibly powerful poem, I Met Him One Evening Beside A Secret River, he treats his readers with contradictions within: “the borders have long been sealed/the village where you worked has been razed to the ground and after/all we need you here to work among the refugees/he did not answer.”
Arun Kamal comes out with his Anxiety, “I fear the night/…I am living on counting up each of my breath/ …The earth is cracking under my feet.” Kamal captures brilliantly his angst and his imagination is rich with possibilities which makes his poetry an unexpurgated witness to human suffering, “I was so terribly alone and intact/like the hills in the night.” Most remarkable poetry comes from SK Limbale, who allows himself to be confronted with the question of identity within the prevailing orthodoxy of Indian society like in his poem, Who Am I?, “What is this life?/is pitiful struggle/of surviving in burning of the hut aflame!”
Like Limbale, Aparna Lanjewar too laments miserable conditions but she is more comfortable with modernism in her critique, of the culture and society. In the poem, Dalit Power, Aparna writes, “but…/Shouldn’t we stop blaming/Stratification of society/And blame inharmonious harmony of power?... Ambedkar tabulated in groups/subgroups-species and genus.” This is poetry of honesty directed at the raw, uncovered social wounds that directly arrests our pity and compels us to compassionate action and thus this strength of the artistry.
The poetry of Chinese poet Liu Hongbin is equipped with the sad nostalgia of the involuntary émigré who wants to return but cannot because of inhospitable politics at home. In the poem, The Unfamiliar Customs House, Hongbin despairs, “When I intrude into another country, an unfamiliar customs house appears before me…/the nightmare has been detected and confiscated by the customs officer.” The upheavals within those in exile make them lonelier and isolated because no sentiments from humanity are witnessed on the borders.
Poetry in Europe as reflected in the anthology encompasses individual voices emanating from countries like Germany and Russia involving diverse poetic themes and characteristics. Inspired and influenced by symbolist poets like Baudelaire, Lorca and Rilke, poets included in the anthology deal with new experiments in terms of form, music, lyricism and content. Russian poet Adolf P Shvedehikov’s poem, Can You Hear Me, Humanity? I Am Ancient Sequoia, is a soliloquy poem: where the poet pours out tears over the ruins of humanity. “All religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam,/Promise paradise and love…/Why, then, blood is shed/Why the Dove of peace will not come to us?”
Adolf explores the failure of religion in calming down enraged raptures. Same way Swedish poet Per Wastberg sounds as if the being is seeped entirely into the unknown. See lines from his poem, Death, “Just when the party’s over, we get to know the names of the guests.” Or lines from Dream Life, “An imageless dream filled with prime numbers/nothing to remember./First despair,/then an absentmindedness that sees the day out.” The sequencing of imageless dream, first despair and absentmindedness that sees the day out is no doubt, an individual experience but it has a bearing on functioning of society. Wastberg minces no words: life and literature are simple facets of the same coin. His candidness surpasses everything else: “The simple is the part of the difficult to interpret/of a contemporary program-/as when the wick of a candle is spilt/one strand becomes quickly charred/the other burns as before.’ Is not life we live replete with contradictions and connivances? Life is a tragedy and we await that to happen. “We are all on someone’s list.” Wastberg reminds us of discrimination and divisions leaving us with a dilemma and internal upheavals as we look at “the self-analytical shadows pass/over the spirit level’s blind life.” The poet hitchhikes his readers to a zone of some of the simplest, clearest and most direct poetry.
When it comes to the poetry of South or Latin America and the Caribbean, unquestionably colonial migrations and trans-Atlantic cross-cultural influences from Europe, Africa and even Asia coupled with the indigenous cultures of the native populations of the New World; the so-called “American Indians” exercise their deep influence over the poets in the anthology. It is a hybrid of culture mixing. The feeling of loss and the desire to regain originality agitate the mind of poets equipped with self-delusion and self-questioning. Ariel Dorfman, poet from Chile, is nonplused with the questions embedded in the term Identity which is the name of his poem: “They’re all waiting together/silent, in mourning/on the riverbank/they took him out of the water/he’s naked/as the day he was born.”
Sense of indigenous rootedness and alienation filling the poem with the soul-searching marks this poem. So he ends the poem assuring “them”, “Tell them not to worry/I can bury my own dead.” Dorfman equates birth and self-sufficiency in birth with death and self-sufficiency in death. Summer Edward, poet from Trinidad & Tobago, indulges through simple language in complex concepts. It is a sort of entanglement when he pens Seamen On Land, “Young men, who wade/through their years/dragging their life/boats, shadow vessels, their tears/you do not see until you/have loved them/then too late.” We notice here healing power of language, and an engagement with efforts to restore. That is reason good enough for him to utter in Afterbirth, “now the rains have left/like a wet nurse in the night…/” highlighting physical and psychic pains that leave residual questions to the poet: the observer.
Lastly engagement with poets from the West Asia (only two poets — Maryam Ala Amjadi from Iran, and Joanna Chen from Israel — have been included) exposes us to nomadic and desert sensibility. Their poetry has been a reflection on the life people have lived and influenced each other over centuries. The woman poet from Israel, Joanna Chen, fills us with rays of despair amidst the stasis in the West Asia. So writes she in her poem By The Time You Read This, “By the time you read this/it will be late/and I will be far away…/you will be far away/and I will be here/with my dog/my cups of coffee/my fears.”
It is easy to spot shadows cast by anguish and quiet pleasures of remembrance. Readers must not miss the point that the poet’s obsession is with the pains of dispossession and the need to have dignified living. Her resorting to “language” as a means to seek unification is justified when she says in Babel, “Language has never felt this close.” In the poetry of another woman Iranian poet, Maryam Ala Ajadi, we come across voices of feminism yelling for gender equality. What Meets the Eye May Run From The Mouth is a prose poem with cadence and musical drowsiness. “A woman can never truly be naked/she wears a skin of many restless pores/… /She is always too many things in too many ways/…/she combs for the trail of a home in the wrinkles of stone-faced houses.” The poem abhors admonition; self-pity is unwelcome.
This anthology has the importance of a discovery; it involves a continuous parallel between contemporary and antiquity. The best way to round off this anthology is to quote from the massive, erudite, illuminating and subtle introduction penned by learned guest editor Tijan M Sallah, “Much is packed here from different corners of the earth to feed us with discovery and surprise. Some poets here are accomplished bards; some are developing poets. We have assembled them, like a forester assembles a verdant global nursery, hosting fully grown trees and promising plant sprouts.”
No better way to sum up; no better way to hope for a better world. No better way to have an assurance: literature is alive; it is not dead. After all, you get the drift; you drift into a certain vein of thought. Great poetry is all about that.
(The writer is a Civil Servant, currently working as Director General in the Office of Comptroller & Auditor General of India, in New Delhi. He has received global attention with his three poetry collections — Ineluctable Stillness (2005), An Armless Hand Writes (2008 and 2012), and Shadows of the Real (2012). He is a literary reviewer and columnist for The Pioneer, The Daily Star and Kitaab Singapore. His semi-autobiographical book is slotted to be out in April 2018) 

http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/oped/of-poets-and-their-musings.html


                   Comments by Christopher Guerin


Dear Nibir,

Thank you so much for including me in your glorious anthology. It is the most significant publication I have ever received of some of my works.  I’m also deeply humbled that you chose to print two poems, “The House,” in particular. It has always been one of my favorites, but has never been published before. Seeing it for the first time in this handsome volume will be a cherished memory. I also greatly appreciate being mentioned in the introduction with some many other estimable poets.  I hope you plan to sell the book on Amazon. I will be happy to promote it to all of my friends and encourage them to buy it.. Again, thank you so much, and congratulations on a marvelous achievement. Warm regards, Christopher





Christopher Guerin is Vice President of Corporate Communications, Sweetwater Sound, Inc., USA


                                            Comments by Fred Chappell

Dear Dr. Sallah,

I have read through—much through quickly---A World Assembly of Poets.   I will be returning to it many times, to reread and reassess my feelings and thoughts.  But that will happen over months and maybe years, so I’ll respond now and re-examine later. It is quite an ambitious and successful undertaking.  I admire immensely your broad acquaintance with world poetry and—as I surmise from your notes—with the poets who contributed to the volume. I am proud and honored to be included in such colorful and august company.  But if I had comprehended more closely the nature of the collection, I would have submitted different poems.  I chose the fables because Aesop and La Fontaine are globally known names. But the form of the ancient fables precludes (mostly) social change or revolutionary sentiment.  Aesop’s attitude is one of weary, sardonic, or rueful resignation to the status quo.  He will not join with Aparna Lanjewar in “The joy of living in the philosophy/of Revolt and Revolution.”  He would not dispute with Gurchuran Rampuri that the ruler made the Book Divine “a pawn in his hands”; he would only agree, wearily.  He would not fight to do away with racial or sexual injustice or the caste system.  Aesop’s forte is fatalism, alas. So I would have chosen other pieces I’ve written.

    But this is really beside the point.  I admire the fighters for truth and justice.  Mr. Chipasula stands forth courageously, as do Mr. Kgositsile (“to have a home is not a favour”), Mr. Hoelbling (“numbers don’t honor individuality”), Ms. Naheed (“those who are afraid even of little girls/How small, how insignificant they are”), LaShawna Griffith (Choose any poem, almost any line.)   And so very many poets represented here who are or have been activists for the best causes. It is also very striking to me how many of these poems are about the art—and duties, especially—of poetry itself.  At least a good half at least of these poems examine, defend, uphold, and lament the role of the poets in society, how they are ignored or insulted or chastened ore even imprisoned by tyrannical regimes.   That has been a familiar theme since the time of Hesiod, of course, but in Assembly it is voice anew and often. Even so, this Assembly has variety: voice, language, metaphor, and usage that seem to spring from the soil of the nations from which they originate.  We will not mistake a poem from Spain for one from Russia, even when the themes are similar or nearly identical.  There is even room for humor—as in your pun on “hand” in our Introduction and the pun on “aids” in a poem I can’t locate now.
    So—once more—Thank you!   A strong job you’ve done the worthiest. - Yours truly, Fred Chappell


Fred Chappell, acclaimed poet and novelist,  is author of over a dozen books of poetry, a handful of novels and short story collections, and two books of critical prose. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Bollingen Award, the Aiken Taylor Award, an award from the National Academy of Arts and Letters, and the best foreign book prize from the Academie Française. He was named North Carolina Poet Laureate in 1997, a position he held until 2002. He retired after 40 years as an English professor at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He was the Poet Laureate of North Carolina from 1997-2002.  
                
                      Comments by Frank Chipasula


Amongst the silences of restless nights/ My voice wants to break through the shell of words/ to name and sing the evidence/ of our resolve and will to live/ past the glib of noble intentions.../ .....Amongst the silences of these restless nights/ our dreams refuse the perfumed bandages/ that try to hide the depth of their wounds...--Keorapetse Kgositsile ("The King Has Arrived")

Brother Tijan: Jealous down, as we say in my part of Africa, this is a powerful document, a treasure  and nourishment (beyond comfort food) that will fortify my creative muscles for the next leg of my journey on this rocky road.  This monument will endure the test of time. Though I have not read anything else because the book finds me in the middle of a demanding project, I know that this  document belongs with such anthologies as Jerome Rothenberg's Technicians of the Sacred: A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia, Europe, and Oceania as well as Pierre Joris & Habib Tengour's Poems for the Millennium


FRANK M. CHIPASULA is a Malawian poet, editor and fiction writer. He holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from Brown University, an M.A. in Afro-American Studies from Yale University and a Ph.D. in English Literature from Brown University. His Visions and Reflections (1972) is the first published book of poetry in English by a Malawian poet. His other books are O Earth, Wait for Me (1984), Nightwatcher, Nightsong (1986) and Whispers in the Wings: New and Selected Poems (1991). 


                                        Comments by Tess Onwueme


            A WORLD ASSEMBLY OF POETS
  
In this season of unrelenting drought
The scorched human body and soul appears jinxed,
Sizzling in the ravages of toxic Leadership
With vacated (nay, non-existent!) Conscience.

How then can today’s endangered Universe  
Not gratefully applaud this timely offering
 Of a nourishing collection
 By the “World Assembly of Poets “
Daring to water the sea of famished spirits?

For inviting me into this communion,
I cannot but chant
MIGHTY FELICITATIONS!

With honor and admiration, I salute you––
Tijani Sallah, Nibir Ghosh, et al.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 Tess Onwueme, Ph.D.,
is an internationally acclaimed multiple award-winning Playwright. She holds the eminent position of University Professor of Global Letters & Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, USA, and was nominated for the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature.



                                      Comments by Margarita Merino


Dear Nibir, 

I have received the wonderful special number of Re-Markings: A World Assembly of Poets!!! It looks truly great!  Many congratulations! Thank you so much:  ¡Gracias de todocorazón!

It is an honor to be a part of it!  Please, give my warmest thanks to our Guest Editor and Editors, Dr. Tijan M.Sallah, Dr. A. Karunaker and to the beautiful and accomplished Dr. Sunita Rani Ghosh… Is she your wife?  I imagine how proud you both feel about each other!  Best wishes too to Sanddep K. Arora. A note of thanks to professor Jonah Raskin who is the person who sent my copy from Santa Rosa, CA.

My husband Steve Lindsay wants to buy two or three copies, but he told me last time he tried that the book still was not available for purchase… I want to send it at least to a couple of people who will love it!  I wish to you, to your beautiful wife, your family and country, that your compassionate and generous approach will come back to all your world with BIG gratitude, tranquility, plentitude,and well being. 

You, my dear friend, chant with your deep work and generosity the call for unity, diversity, understanding, respect, inviting all to open our minds to make us stronger in celebration of education, solidarity, life: We NEED those values in our wounded world, so I sing your name today!  

I am enjoying too your marvelousblog, and I am discovering little by little the contents of A Word Assembly of Poets!!!

 I have found the family I needed to share and feel I am part of the Earth!  I have met those who demolish boundaries, those ready to accomplish the dream of my old children poem: “Come on To Defend the Beauty of the World.”

This amazing book that you have created in company of other talented people is a blessing, an explosion of dignity and FREEDOM.  I am so happy to have the privilege to read such magical contents, its diversity, its warmth, its inspiration. ¡Muchasfelicidades!

This Special Assembly is permitting me to know poets who want to be humans first!  Yeah!  I am ready to travel no matter where to read with them.  In your blog it is so pleasant to find the wisdom of Jonah Raskin - and watch him pictured in front of my dreamed place!  Makes me happy to feel the energy of the poets, their comments!  I love to see the faces of my brothers and sisters!

I want to come back now to the book.  Opening it now (pg. 61) I find I am having a conversation with the great lady who was the mom of Tijan M. Sallah, in “a country…/ Where we greet everyone by name in the morning.” (pg. 64) 

The book, the blog... Where I should go?  : )

You, Nibir, and your friends understand the best part of knowledge: the one that heals and brings IDEALS and souls together!

Best wishes for you and Sunita.  My husband and I are dreaming one day not far away we will meet and celebrate with you both!  And with all your friends!

¡VIVA INDIA!  INDIA MOTHER OF MARVELS!  Margarita Merino Lindsay, January the 14th, 2018

Dr. Margarita Merino Lindsay was born in Spain, León “The Capital of Winter.”  She has published Viaje al inte­rior (Voyage to the Interior), Baladas del abismo (Ballads from the Abyss),  Halcón herido (Wounded Falcon), Demonio contra arcángel (Demon versus Archangel), the Italian bilingual anthology La dama della galerna (Grand Lady of the Tempest), Viaje al exterior (Voyage to the Exterior) Prof. María Cruz Rodríguez--in her  book on MM poetry -- points her "as the pioneer of Eco-Feminism in Spain” reflecting how along her poetical trip she is committed with universal love and compassion for Nature an all creatures.


                 
                     
                                         

        Comments by Veronique Tadjo
Dear Dr. TijanI have read A World Assembly of Poets with great pleasure. As you point out in your preface, it is befitting that Africa comes first. Our poetry has a long oral tradition and the African poets that you have chosen show this inspiration. It is an amazing achievement to have collected such a wealth of poems coming from voices all over the world. I have gained much inspiration from reading the anthology. So many interpretations of life! The telling of how we live and die - without borders. This publication is a testimony to the energy and determination of all those who have collaborated on the project. Congratulations to you, Dr Nibir Ghosh, Dr Karunaker and Dr Sunita Rani Ghosh! I am happy to feature in this major contribution to world poetry. Thank you for your preface and thank you again for including my work.
All the very best, Véronique

Véronique Tadjo is a writer, artist and professor of French and Francophone Literature. Born in France and raised in Côte d’Ivoire, she did most of her studies in Abidjan before earning a doctorate in Black American Literature and Civilization at the Sorbonne, Paris IV. She has written novels, poems and books for young people which she illustrates. Her work has been translated in many languagesShe shares her time between London and Abidjan. 





                     Comments by Prof. Sushil Gupta
Dear Nibir,
Thanks for a copy of this anthology of Contemporary Poems.
The sheer volume and its eclectic collection takes one's breath away. How you managed to compile it at all is a minor miracle. Tijan Sallah's introduction is all embracing and enumerates the global brotherhood of poets. I marvel at his sweep of Dalit theme in Indian poetry, plight of refugees over the world, uprootedness, migrations, holocaust, cultural hybridity, religious zealotry, middle east squabbles, all within 27 pages. My mind boggled at his recounting the names of distinguished poets from different countries and languages.
He manages to titillate the imagination through this cornucopia. My hearty congratulations!

- Sushil Gupta  

Prof. Sushil Gupta is the author of the acclaimed novel, 
The Fourth Monkey

                       Comments & Review Essay 
                                by Urvashi Sabu
Dear Prof. Ghosh,
I am delighted to receive the long awaited world poetry issue, and even more delighted to see my translations in them. Please accept my congratulations on the production of this very eminent, much needed volume that brings together world poets under one cover. Its elegant design and presentation, along with its content, are evocative of the high standards that Re-Markings is synonymous with. Thank you and best wishes for more such ventures in the future! - Urvashi

Re-Markings' Special Number: A World Assembly of Poets
Review Essay

When was the last time I saw, read or heard of the publication of an anthology of world poetry? With this question on my mind, I did a quick web search and realized to my astonishment that the last published compilation was in 2010!

Eight years down the line, there comes an ambitious volume, the brainchild of Prof. Nibir K Ghosh and celebrated Gambian poet Dr. Tijan M. Sallah, aptly titled A World Assembly of Poets. Published as a special number of the sixteen years old and still going strong literary journal ‘Re-Markings’, this issue is not only a collector’s item but an absolute must have for any serious student or lover of literature.

In a world riven  by war and strife, this special number makes a bravely unique and concentrated effort to unite, within the same cover, living poets from across all  continents; poets who are aware of, and alert towards, not just the craft of poetry but also of the dilemmas confronting humanity, nations, and cultures today. In the Editorial, Prof Ghosh quips about Plato’s aversion to having the poet in his ideal state; and moves on deftly to Shakespeare’s, Wordsworth’s and Shelley’s impassioned avowal of the craft of poetry, and the significance of poets across cultures. The contents page follows, with the sections being classified according to continents, and within that the countries, in alphabetical order. (No partiality there!) An Introduction by Dr Sallah critically traces, analyses and evaluates the evolution and growth of modern poetry, with reference to the poets included in this volume. And with that done, we come to the kernel.

The first thing that strikes one is that many of the poets are as yet comparatively lesser known; some even make their publishing debut here, in this issue! And that could possibly be the biggest achievement of this special number. This moving away from the canonical, the venerated, the Dead, to the Living, the new, and the mint fresh, reflects the concern of the editors to make this volume even more representative of the times we live in, rather than a hearkening to the ages past. It is an act of literary courage as well as honesty, of presenting to the world a new mirror to the present, a new retelling of the past, a new vision of the future. The second interesting aspect of this number is that barring a few (which appear in English translation), almost all the poems are originally written in English. While purists may deride this as not being representative of world languages, I am of the opinion that this conscious choice of one language, particularly from non English speaking countries, reflects a post colonial ‘coming of age’, a recognition, of ‘owning’ the language, so to speak. The poets under consideration are comfortable with the language, and use its tropes and nuances with refreshing expertise. The translations too are sensitive and refined.

Then there is the very interesting inclusion of the expatriate, globalised experience in the selection of poets who have relocated from their homelands to other countries. Thus, for example, Gurcharan Rampuri features in the Canadian and Meera Ekkanath Klein in the USA section.  The Indian section is eclectic, featuring legends as well as award winning poets (Arun Kamal, Gopikrishnan Kottoor, Shiv K Kumar, Jayant Mahapatra, Arundhati Subramaniam) academicians (Shankar Dutt, Ramesh C Shah) Dalit voices (Dr Aparna Lanjewar, Sharan Kumar Limbale) Journalist Pritish Nandy, senior IRS officer KK Srivastava, and, wonderfully rendered, Tibetan-Indian poet Tenzin Tsundue.

The poems in the volume speak eloquently of indigenous cultures, myth and folklore (Africa), of daily life and cultural flux, racial identities and conflicts (America), of women’s issues, caste and community, poverty and want, history and the glorious past (Asia). They are fresh, and appeal to the modern sensibility (Australia, New Zealand). They are inclusive and global, philosophical and evocative of the Classical age (Europe). They reflect the richness and pain of a mixed identity (Latin America and Caribbean). The tiny but unique section on the Middle East, featuring, (and this is surely a coup!) women poets from Israel and Iran is a fitting finale to a poetic journey through the modern world with all its conundrums and conflicts of identity, gender, class, community and nation. 

The volume is beautifully produced. Clearly a labour of love 
for its editors. This volume deserves praise not just for the ambition with which it was conceived, but for the brilliance of the final product. It could well be on the syllabus of university curricula across the world. And it should.


Dr. Urvashi Sabu is Associate Professor, Dept. of English, 
PGDAV College, Delhi University, Delhi 


      Comments in Poetic form by Dr. Hemlata Srivastava

                            If music is the food of  love...



"If music is the food of  love"
Poetry is the food for heart, 
Catering to the cravings of the mind.

It creates not only the rhythmic words,
But brings harmony to the discordant World.                                              
This brings to the need of Poets, need of Poetry.

And here comes 'A World Assembly of Poets',
Poets pouring perfect Poesy, 
Hailing from all corners of the world,

Covering all the Continents and the different shades, 
Passing through the prism of emotions,
Reflecting the serene ray of Poesy.

Appearing, as if the whole World gathered together,
To hold their hands and sharing their views, while
Voyaging through the realm of imagination and sailing through the waves of emotions.

Only Poets can do this magical charm,
And create the perfect world of calm,
That charms us with the enlightening vision

And make us cross the sea of oblivion, and
Help us reach the blissful mission
By giving a sense of unique satisfaction.

Which is beyond sharing, 
Beyond description, 
Installing the poet  
In the hearts of the readers.
Hemlata



Dr. Hemlata Srivastava is Associate Professor in the Department of English Studies & Research at Agra College, Agra, India. Here she is seen at the Shakespeare and Company, Paris
                                         
                             Re-Markings  
                             ISSN 0972-611X
                         www.re-markings.com
                         Impact Factor: 8.380