Category Archives: Anthology

Two questions to the Editor-in-Chief, Stephen L. Wilson

Stephen is extremely busy nowadays. He is editing a charitable anthology to help the survivors of the recent earthquake in Nepal. The anthology is named: Magnitude – The Awakening Of Nepal. Read his answers to grasp the benevolent soul of the chief editor.

Kiriti: Stephen, with Magnitude you would be crossing the borders of your country and aiming to help a cause in a foreign land. How does it feel to reach out to them who are not your native countrymen?

Stephen L Wilson: I am honored and happy to reach out across borders to help. As always, it is a great feeling to be able to work with so many talented people from across the globe, in so many capacities.

Kiriti: I am not being negative towards your hard work and motivation. Magnitude – The Awakening Of Nepal bears more poetry than prose-pieces. Aren’t you afraid of being not-so-successful commercially this time around? Your other works Twist Of Fate and Angels Cried have been appealing even to the general readers of literature. With more poems appearing in Magnitude, aren’t you confining your work to a definite group of readers?

Stephen L Wilson: My intent is never to be commercially successful. From the beginning, the anthologies are a creative outlet for artists and poets who would like to help out with a cause, but who may not be able to otherwise do so. In the process, we stand to raise a bit of money for charity. At no point in the process do I ever pay much attention to commercial success. I feel that if IIA* can offer a quality book at an affordable price, people will buy it rather than make a straight cash donation, so that they may have something tangible to show for their charity.

[IIA stands for Indies In Action, a virtual group of like-minded people, and functions on Facebook.]

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A Marvel! — A review of “Poem Continuous” by Chitra Banerjee

I am an extremely subtle entity — yet an ardent lover of poetry and an untiring seeker of ‘beauty’ everywhere.  To write even a few words about a renowned poetic personality as Bibhas Roy Chowdhury is a Herculean task, however, I have dared to enter the zone!

As I did enter, the collection captivated me bit by bit and the enlivening juice filled me in drop by drop. “…Better I keep some wound /Beside the coming tune…”— the ending lines of “The People” startled me at the outset  and the superb lines  in “The Weather Bulletins”— “…That a life has gathered as it saved the manuscript…”   as if glittered the lives of the ‘men of letters’ and imparted  immortality and worth-liveliness in them as never before . Here I salute Mr. Roy Chowdhury.

One of the masterpieces, according to my likings is “Lunatic.” (p 28) Only a person who has undergone or is currently passing through this delicate phase of life as well as its day-to-day existence, can gauge the depth of this poem. Conceiving the whole is only an exclusive area earmarked for the poet himself — a churning experience indeed!  The second is “Ma And Her Eldest Son” (p 46) — the last stanza is so touching — touching a paradox at the same breath. The third one “The Sun -burnt Ashes” (p 52) the penultimate poem in this collection is simply a marvel.  “…I burn, I receive the light and my fingers become exhausted / Readers, are you aware this is only my future and my present?”— The lines are self-jerking and elicit a soliloquy, so far as I can explain them.

Some of the short yet stirring poems claim special mention. In “The Small Boat,” “Bhatiali — Song Of The Boatmen” – “…I keep awake in the day and night, / I write my eye in the poetry…” these lines smoothly touch the soft reality and in “I Can Leave But Why” I discovered the strange assimilation of thoughts coinciding between two distant but thinking and creative souls, though I very humbly admit my insignificance in comparison to the likes of Bibhas. “…I have planted a few trees / They will survive even after my death / I’m happy that they will shade the earth / After I leave the world…” “…চলার পথে চিহ্ন রাখ / রেখে রেখে যাও গো চলে, / পথ ফুরোব, গাছটি তবু রইবে ভরে ফলে-ফুলে…” “When will Winter come” (“…Wait, let us first understand and estimate! / Hands were there, and nothing adjacent / Even space can read and interpret.”), “Eternal” (“…Lift your face for once… / I’m not here, my absence … this is the other sky / And, there is no humiliation before the sky…”) — These particular lines bear the purported meanings if a person can place or identify himself with the poet’s sentiments.  “The Odor Of Being Upset” and “Death By Will” are two commendable creations gifted to us by the poet. The concluding lines in “Speaking With The Self” and “My Darling” exhume the whole gist and flavor of his mindset. “The Connector,” “The Poetry Of A Hibiscus Flower,” and “The Debt” are three dazzling pieces of Kohinoor, to say the least!

Turning to the front pages, as Kiriti (who has been the translator) has written in his notes, “The Tie Of Brotherhood” and “Bhatiali — Song Of The Boatmen” exhibit the deep oozing wound in the poet’s heart for the political Partition of Bengal by the British ( 1905 ) — the anguish, pang and yearnings for the re-union are still freshly alive. “The Light-House” is self-portraying … really we are in large majority, candle-shy and blind!

A few poems in the book get a bit difficult to be pursued within the horizon of senses sometimes and seem beyond the interpretation of the right spirit of the poet at that given moment.  I do definitely realize the truth that the world of poems and poetry is in most instances ambiguous and synonymous to different connotations and realizations by separate entities, choices and of course, the moods / moments of a reader.

To talk about Kiriti as a translator will be “beating about the bush,” for I have earlier said, commented and written a lot in this regard. About his work, labor and effort in this particular sphere, I will repeat the same vernaculars. An utmost tough job has been performed so easy and an almost in transmittable ray of light made to pierce through the rose-hearts of the poetry-lovers of this world! His rich English including strong vocabulary is a special asset for him.  I acknowledge his qualities and I will never lag behind in words in his praise.  Kudos!

In conclusion, I won’t fail to say that Bibhas is a poet belonging to this world now and to the second one the next moment; his expression is easy to understand yet paranormal, beyond the perception at times. The paragon in its true color and conception very deceptive at some conditions or other! The poems are subject to manifold reflections through the prism of one’s own view-points and that of the poet himself.  I wish him a sunny future and I hope his pen will continue to give immense pleasure, support and solace to many aching hearts for days to come. Poem Continuous – Reincarnated Expressions has only enhanced my thirst more.

Chitra Banerjee

Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

India

chit.banerjee@gmail.com

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Filed under Anthology, Bengali poetry, Poetry, Reviews, Translation

The Reciting Pens reviewed by noted academician Subhoday Dasgupta

 

Book Review

 

The Reciting Pens

 

Author: Kiriti Sengupta

Publisher: Inner Child Press Limited (USA)

ISBN: 978-0615861869

Price Rs. 270/- (INR)

 

Reviewed by: Subhoday Dasgupta [A.P.C. College, Calcutta University]

 

 

The book is based on interviews of three poets, taken by the author Kiriti Sengupta who claims in his preface that he has kept the sentences mostly as they were uttered by the poets themselves.

This work is in fact a journey through the ‘inward eyes’ of three poets with three different frames of mind. Kiriti Sengupta found it a difficult task to accommodate different time frames of these three poets. But then the job was challenging and enriching too. “Reciting Pens” is not just a collection of interviews. The book is in fact a project on poetry as a genre with three case studies. Kiriti has also painstakingly translated few poems of all three poets in this project. He has realized that each language has some unique features in language, culture and nuances which is extremely difficult to be translated to any after language. In the introduction of the book the author expresses his concern for the acute dearth of efficient translators in Bengali poetry. This according to Kiriti, is one of the reasons why most of the English-Speaking readers are not aware of the rich heritage of Bengali poetry.

W.F.Lantry, noted American poet from the United States laments in the foreword of this book “…we don’t know enough about contemporary Bengali poets, and we should. Yes, we all love Tagore, and may be we have read a little of Kazi Nazrul Islam, if we’ve been lucky, we have sampled Shanka Ghosh.”

The first contributor to Kiriti’s project Joya Mitra an accomplished Bengali author and also a social and political activist. However, Joya Mitra herself would rather call herself “…merely a student of this society”. Actively engaged in the Naxalite movement that broke out in West Bengal in 1970’s and consequently imprisoned for four and one half years Joya started writing poems quite early in her life. She finds no contradiction in a person being a poet and a revolutionary at the same time.

Kiriti’s next poet in the project Ranadeb Dasupta too is a believer of Marxist ideology. In Ranadeb’s opinion writing poems is an exercise which is nothing but catching and penning down the “waves and rays of running life and surroundings” that continuously enters the mind of the poet and get refracted with various colours. Though a communist by conviction Ranadeb thinks that a poet is essentially lonely. The poetic soul should withstand the pain of injuries sustained in the journey of life. This pain in the long run attains wisdom.

Suddhasattya Ghsoh is the last but not the least among the three poets included in this case study by Kiriti. Suddhasattya, also like two other poets, has strong association with leftist politics. He hails from a family which suffered a lot for having fought for the cause of the have not’s. No wonder in his early poetic career he was influenced by Bengali poet Sukanta Bhattacharya who is noted for his poems on social reality especially on the perspective of the exploited people. Later however, Jibananda had been a major influence on Suddhasattya. This influence was so immense that at one point of time he realized that he must evolve his own style and content free from the influence of other poets. He gradually developed a style of his own with his mastery of words.

Going through the pages of this book where three noted Bengali poets are speaking their minds is definitely a pleasant experience. Kiriti in this project has blazed a new trend in research on contemporary Bengali poetry. An added attraction is translations of few selected poems of all three poets.

 

Subhoday Dasgupta

subhodaydasgupta@gmail.com

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Lahiri speaks in silence

Lahiri speaks in silence

 

 

Silent Steps

Author: Gopal Lahiri
Binding: Paperback

Page count: 79
ISBN: 978-8182531970
Publisher: Cyberwit.net
Pub. Date: 2010

Reviewed by: Dr. Kiriti Sengupta, Calcutta.

 

 

I have seen critics quoting varied definitions of poetry whilst reviewing poetry books. Many of them tend to hypothesize poetry in a different light, which is exclusively their own. I have often wondered: What is the exact purpose of defining poetry? Until now I have not found a single definition which is universally accepted. Hence, mentioning the definition of poetry in the review bears no additional importance. As I was personally requested by the author to critique the poetry anthology Silent Steps, I made my conditions visibly clear. My first and foremost condition was: I will not just highlight its positive sides, if I find something that pains me being a reader I will quote it as well. The author of the said book, Gopal Lahiri was more than willing to have my honest and straight views. Let me start with this poetry collection now.

 Silent Steps was published in the year 2010 by Cyberwit.net. The book has no formal introduction written by the poet himself, nor has there been any foreword by a guest author. The cover seriously lacks a professional touch, and does not gel smooth with the title of the book. The price has been set on a higher side given the number of pages the book carries. These were my initial reactions as I tried to turn the pages in order to taste the poetry contained in the said anthology. Silent Steps carries seventy neatly composed poems by the seasoned poet, Gopal Lahiri. I will share excerpts of the selected few that I found extremely invigorating:

 My dear readers, what exactly do you expect from a poetry book, or from a poet to be precise ? I am aware that expectations may vary from a reader to another reader. Expectations are obviously on a higher side if the reader happens to be a poet him/herself. But, from a general perspective a poet is expected to deliver finer nuances of the worldly existence. Even if the poet attempts to deliver something that has a supernatural presence, the readers try to locate their imaginative sphere within the poetic rendition. The fact remains: poets rarely receive their due recognition. I have seen quite a few poets who consider them being looked down upon by the rest of the literary world. Lahiri murmured, he was probably ‘In Exile’ as he wrote:

 

“No one looks at me

As if I am not worth it.

Not even a cursory glance

That may put smile in my lips

While trampling grass and tearing flower

The cold looks and the wicked smile

Pierce through the flesh and bone

In every hour, in every minute

In the street, in the movie hall

In the crowded lane, in the park

The eyes filled with hatred and sarcasm

Take the light out of my life…”

 

Lahiri stayed honest to his observations as a general human. In ‘All that I have seen’ he wrote concisely what only poets can successfully deliver on behalf of the population:

 

“As I come back again and again

To my words, to my mind’s closet

The emotion flows into every pore

Cleanse the endless sins that committed.

Should I turn away from life?

………………………………….

Let the flame of fire spreads far and wide

Let the starlight oozes into my own world.”

 

 Like other individuals a poet has the right to air his/her desires. Lahiri has put up his wants remarkably:

 

“I want to value

The gift of freedom

To delight in

The face of winsome.

 

I want to visit

The untutored path

Show in time of need

The meanings of love.

 

………………………..

………………………..

 

I want to address

What I feel inside

Not the shame and fear

The beauty of life.”

 

 Lahiri wanted to traverse the untutored path. He wished to walk anywhere, and everywhere. As a poet and as an artiste he invited his fellow mates:

 

“… A breeze of love blowing

Open your arms to welcome all

To inhale the smell of spring

To walk anywhere everywhere.”

 

 A poet’s love to the civilization can, hopefully, be termed universal. Poets ceaselessly love the components of the earth, of the existence as a whole! Lahiri’s rendition mesmerized me actually. Dear readers, come on, face his endless love to all concerned:

 

“I do not love birds I do not love bees

I do not love clouds I do not love trees

 

I ask the little bird

Am I so cruel?

The bird gives her food from the beak

And fly away.

 

I ask the tiny bee

Am I so selfish?

The bee hums a sweet song to my ears

And move away

 

I ask the cloud

Am I so wicked?

The rain clouds gather in a moment

And drench my body.

 

I ask the tree

Am I so indifferent?

The tree shakes his head to shed leaves

And the breeze sooths my soul.

 

Come on all the birds Come on all the bees

I love you all I love you all.

 

Come on all the clouds Come on all the trees

I love you all I love you all.”

 

 Gopal Lahiri is indeed a seasoned poet who minds his words. He has demonstrated an adorable style of writing English poetry in Silent Steps. His words were simple yet elegant, his expressions were transparent yet so intrinsic! Lahiri evidently made his way to the hearts of the readers:

 

“…Before I reach you

Give me some more time

From your heart.”

 

I don’t know if Silent Steps is available in any leading book store across the country. Not all the readers feel safe to buy books from the virtual chains. It is now the responsibility of the publisher to distribute the anthology amongst all viable retailers. A poetry collection of such caliber should never go unnoticed. Silent Steps is truly a collector’s edition; not only for the poetry lovers, but it is indeed appealing to the general readers of literature.

 

 

 

 

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My Editors and I

God has made me an author. It was merely incidental, and I turned out to be an author of a few books. Two of my titles were in Bengali, my native language, and the rest two were in English, an international language commonly used by the people all across the globe. You may have a different take on my observation and an inference, for every single individual is entitled to his/her own version of thought! I am actually a writer, and I will prefer to be referred to only as a writer. One who writes is a writer, and if I adhere to this definition, a poet, a novelist, an essayist, and even a journalist is a writer. The term ‘writer’ includes a wide range of professionals, and an editor, I think, perfectly fits in this broad category of literary workers. In all of my English titles I had the opportunity to work with certain extremely talented editors, who are truly professionals with adequate knowledge of the work they remain associated with. In this article I will write about the editors who took the pain and invested their time towards the production of my books. Before I proceed any further let me confess: I’m an Indian. I had my schooling that encouraged the British style of English, otherwise called the Queen’s English. Most of the Indian schools are equipped with this age-old pattern of teaching English. Incidentally, until now, all of my editors have been Americans, but honestly speaking, they never posed a trouble against my decision towards adhering to this particular style of writing English.

I’ll start with Donald Randolph Martin, a known writer-cum-editor-cum-reviewer, who is popularly known as Don Martin. I worked with Don for my book titled The Unheard I. It was nonfiction with some good amount of poetry in it. Prior to editing my work Don asked me right away, “Do you want to Americanise your work?” My answer was: No. My aim was to popularise Indian nonfiction amongst the Western readers, under the competent guidance of an American editor. Don was the one who edited almost every line which bore punctuation errors. He actually taught me to be careful with punctuations. Don is a man of fewer words, and he started his career as a poetry editor. He remained extremely considerate towards the translated poetry that I included in my book. Although he edited a few lines of the poetry, but that was strictly limited only to the areas of punctuation. I was blessed with a note from his desk, and I included the editor’s note as the front matter of The Unheard I. Don’s words construct his real account of working with me, an Indian author. My heartfelt gratitude to you, dear Don! You taught me the finer nuances of the language and its presentation. Trust me, until now I have not used the word ‘imbibe’ since the moment you gave me a different meaning that is common amongst the Americans! Don, you would be glad to know that copies of the first edition (paperback) of The Unheard I are soon to be exhausted, and I owe my success to you and to Prof. (Dr.) Hulya Yilmaz, Senior Lecturer, College of the Liberal Arts, Penn State, who wrote the exclusive foreword. Another good news here again: the Inner Child Press, limited is on their way to publish the U.S. edition of The Unheard I.

Next in my list is a publisher-writer-editor Stephen L. Wilson. Stephen and I are very good friends, and he is one of my older brothers I have in the U.S. Although we have our share of differences, whenever we worked together we created some thoroughly professional products. It all started with my association with Indies In Action (IIA), a virtual group that is dedicated to support the victims of the natural calamities by producing literary anthologies. Stephen was the chief editor of the international charitable anthology, Twist of Fate (ToF), which carried a few of my submissions. During the making of ToF I got an opportunity to interview other contributors from all across the world. It had truly been an experience of my life time! As Stephen agreed to edit The Reciting Pens, he was curious: “Would you like me to do copy editing or proof editing or both?” I failed to answer readily, for I was not aware of these terms, quite frankly. Stephen made me understand of these things, and remarked: “Never refer my edits as suggestions…this is so unprofessional!” Finally, I came to realise that editors offer/propose edits that are not mere suggestions. Stephen, I am indeed grateful to you for all your hard work, which polished The Reciting Pens. Stephen Wilson not only edited my work, he made me aware of a few lazy words as well, as he urged. A few examples: basically, that, etc. With every movement Stephen made me take special attentions towards the final product, the paperback of The Reciting Pens. Being a Dental Surgeon, who was once engaged in research publications, the word ‘substantivity’ holds great importance! It may not readily be found in the common dictionaries. Substantivity refers to the ability of a material/compound to adhere to the surface of another material. Similarly, I will mark Stephen with a high grade of substantivity with reference to the job called ‘editing.’

If Stephen L Wilson edited and polished The Reciting Pens, it was Kate Lantry who was solely responsible towards the finishing. Kate is the wife of the noted poet W. F. Lantry (Washington, DC), who wrote the fundamental foreword of my book. I was in regular touch with Kate as she was the one who facilitated my interactions with W. F. Lantry. I never planned of Kate as the contributing editor of The Reciting Pens, nor did she want to be acknowledged as one! It was Kate’s spontaneity that she came forward with some valuable edits, which she found important to be implemented. If I remember quickly, Kate was so particular towards a definitive style of presentation, for my anthology was essentially based on the interviews that I held with three published Bengali poets from Calcutta, India. I am so proud of you, Kate! You are the one who worked much towards the stylisation. No amount of appreciation can ever pay for the load of work I had put on you.

My dear friends, fellow authors, and aspiring writers: Please get in touch with Don Martin, Stephen Wilson and Kate Lantry if you are seriously looking forward professional editing of international quality!

Don Martin: https://www.facebook.com/don.martin.969?fref=ts

Stephen Wilson: https://www.facebook.com/StephenLWilson?fref=ts

Kate Lantry: https://www.facebook.com/kate.lantry?fref=ts

 

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Filed under Anthology, Article, Indian Heritage, Interview, Nonfiction, Poet, Reviews, Spiritual, The Unheard I, Twist of Fate, Writer

The Unheard I … pre-release glimpse

I am really short of words. I just don’t know how to express my thanks and gratitude to those personalities who have been so active and prompt towards the publication of my upcoming nonfiction, “The Unheard I.” Those are:

Don Martin, for the tedious edits
Hulya N Yilmaz, for the wonderful foreword
Senjuti Dasgupta, for the awesome covers
ধানসিড়ি প্রকাশন, for supporting such an endeavour

Heartfelt love goes to the translators who have contributed towards the second chapter, ‘Yogic poetry; the Indian heritage.’ They are:

Shishir Roy, for the poetry ‘The Stairs’
Ranadeb Dasgupta, for the poem ‘Red and Blue’
Gopal Lahiri, for the poem ‘The unheard’Image

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Filed under Anthology, Indian Heritage, Interview, Nonfiction, Poet, Poetry, Spiritual, Story, Twist of Fate, Writer, Yoga, Yogic Poetry

Liberty L Wilson delivers on his father, Stephen, the chief editor of Twist of Fate

Hello Liberty. Greetings from India, this is Kiriti. I remained eager for this interview, for I wanted to capture the man, Stephen L Wilson, your father. I know Stephen from a writer’s perspective, knowing him as a family person is important, as you know, “Charity begins at home”. Before that I would like to hear your details. Tell me something about yourself.

Liberty: I’m 14 in 9 days! I am very unique and full of life. I love making people laugh. I dream bigger than my eyes can see. I have a rambunctious dog. She is really sweet. My family is always first, but my friends are VERY important to me. I’m a short blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl who always has a smile on my face. I am a Hip-Hop dancer. It has been my career and passion for 11 years. I can’t live without music!

Kiriti: How many brothers and sisters you have ? What is the role of your father in your lives ?

Liberty: I have 2 siblings. One older sister named Brittainy who is 21 in 8 days! Yes our birthdays are very close. She is really tall, blonde, and a role model to me. I have an older brother named Tanner who is 16. He is tall as well, and very athletic. He is sometimes sweet to me. I am the youngest.

Kiriti: Stephen is a strict professional, how is he at the home front ?

Liberty: My dad can be strict, but most of the time he’s trying to make everyone laugh. He has his opinions and isn’t afraid to say them. He is loud, also! He is always supportive when it comes to the family. He is super-dad! When we need something from him, he will most likely do it. All in all, he’s a great dad!

Kiriti: This is obvious that dedicating so much of his time in charity works, Stephen can hardly spend quality hours with his family. Don’t you feel irritated at times ?

Liberty: Honestly… not really! I know what he is doing is for the best. He has such a big heart. Sometimes I do wish he would step away from editing and maybe take the family somewhere, but if he’s happy helping needy families, I will be proud of him!

Kiriti: Stephen told me the other day, “I have taught my daughter not to speak with strangers”. Is it right ? Are you an obedient daughter ?

Liberty: It’s true! My father is very protective when it comes to people I’m not used to, and boys! I remember my dad would always carry me everywhere we would go when I was younger all the way until I was about 6 or 7. Maybe not because I was small and fragile, but because he’s protective! I am an obedient daughter, but I have moments were I’m a normal teenager, and I back-talk and argue. After all that’s done, I try to follow my father’s rules.

Kiriti: What are your future plans ? Do you aspire to become a publisher like your father ? It really makes sense, for you would enjoy a dressed garden if you follow Stephen’s footsteps.

Liberty: Well, being a publisher is not my top goal. I would love to be a Hip-Hop dancer and travel to different states and teach workshops! I always have a backup plan. If the dance dream does not work out, I would like to be a marine biologist and study sea animals. Yet again, modelling is a hobby of mine, I’m pretty good at. That would be fun to do as a living! Writing is fun; I do it a lot in my free time. My father says I’m good. Not sure if I would choose that as my career.

Kiriti: It is said that practice makes a man perfect. Being perfectionist attracts frustrations at times. What is your take on this ?

Liberty: If you want to know does my dad get frustrated, then at moments we quarrel only because he is working and I’m talking to him about something and he gets short-tempered. He soon tells me to go away in the nicest way! I know it’s not because he doesn’t want me here, but because he is working and needs his attention on editing. It’s all out of love!

 

Thank you so much Liberty for answering me. I wish you all the best in your future endeavours. God bless you.

Thank you so much, Kiriti! This was a great experience!

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