Time for posting the second poem from the Guntur National Poetry Festival Anthology. It arrived in mail just this afternoon. They call it "A Posy of Poesy". Well, I don't dig the title, but it's a decently produced anthology, nicely printed on good paper and accommodates several poets from all corners of India. Nagasuseela and Gopichand, the organizers of the fest, are also the editors and they've done a good job.
I was invited to come down to Guntur and read my work with several other poets from different corners of India, but couldn't do that owing to a lot mixed up things going on in my world right then. Would have been so exciting. But I am excited to learn from the editors and newspaper coverage that the festival was a success.
I'm still flipping through the collection and am yet to sample some engaging writing. Meanwhile, I post my second poem from that collection. You remember reading my other poem in the book here: "Finding Foremothers". Now this is:
"When Langston Hughes Visited My Home"
The name was strange and the book
Was shiny dark
Thin, freckled jacket, like my angry
On the table
The title kept calling in a
Jingle-jangle Assamese refrain
I kept saying it out loud:
“Hey Xurjo Uthi Aha”!
Why it exhorted the sun to rise
Accept the challenge of a new
Dream that flamed
Brighter and purer
And why the smaller typeface said:
Poems by a dark-limbed poet, a collection,
I had no idea then
Dark limbs were not seen
On our book covers
Only limbs were, but then
Krishna is just not a word
For a god, it dawned on me
But skins and cheeks and
Strong arms of poetic force
On my table
Also the end of crowing nights
When a poet came home
Inside the covers of a book, smiling:
"That day is past!"
Postscript: This poem generated an interesting discussion among my friends. My friend and editor of Mnemosyne poetry blog Jen Pezzo-Kerowyn Rose made a very pertinent observation. Read "Discussion Generated on My Poem 'Langston...': Writing about Skin Color". Tell me what your thoughts are!
Image from the Internet: Langston Hughes
About FOOTPRINTS IN THE BAJRA (Cedar Books, New Delhi); By Nabina Das
"Fittingly for a poet, Nabina’s novel also has a strong lyrical core. 'Footprints in the Bajra' takes the homely image of the millet field as its central metaphor. ... But the novel is less a thriller about guerrilla action than a subtly colored character study of a fascinating group of individuals who intersect at various points in their lives ..." -- DEBRA CASTILLO, author, editor and distinguished professor (Cornell University, April 17, 2010).