Saturday, 10 October 2015

September-October isuue

गुणाः पूजास्थानं
Good qualities are appreciated in whomsoever they are found.

Uttararaamacharitam (Bhavabhuti)

Director: Yogesh Patel
Suite 6, Riverside House, 196 Wandle Road, Morden, Surrey SM4 6AU, England
Vol 1/Issue9/2015

Please note this is a combined issue for September and October.
We publish only 10 issues per annum.
The last issue of year 2015 will be published in December 2015.
It will be a Diwali & Christmas special featuring work from our past winners.

A printed copy is available at
The Poetry Library
Level 5, Royal Festival Hall, London SE1 8XX
T: 02079210896
The library is a hub of activities engaging in readings and workshops. Join it free to support it.

To download the PDF version of this issue please click this link
or write to

Previous award winners can be found at
They are:
Dr Debjani Chatterjee, MBE
Dr Shanta Acharya
Usha Akella
Reginald Massey
Daljit Nagra
Saleem Peeradina
Usha Kishore
Meena Alexander

Poet and anthologist, Brian D'Arcy has been supporting our diaspora poets for a long time. So, it is appropriate that Word Masala invites him to guest edit this issue. His latest collection is just published by the Sixties Press. Like Seamus Heaney, he keeps his ears attuned to that special Irish music in poetry, though here they are not on the Irish landscape, but rather with an imprint on the inner landscape where  ghost horses run wild and dance. We encourage you to buy the book.


We are working on launching a poetry competition with a prize. The details will be announced in the near future. Instead of any entry fee, we will ask the participants to buy any poetry collection from a selection of books we will offer to help publishers and our poets. Publishers and poets are requested to approach us for such inclusion in the list for which there is no charge. But a special discount offer to the entrants is encouraged. An alternative to a discount for them will be to donate books from the diaspora poets in their catalogue to help Word Masala. The judges will be from our Word Masala Award Winners. At this stage we are building a list of the books to include.  Please contact me if you want to participate in this listing.


Please note, with the feedback we have received, we have reviewed our Award categories.

  •  Poet-of-the-Month remains an honour we bestow to promote the selected poet.

  • From now on, it WILL NOT AUTOMATICALLY MEAN that the poet will receive our Word Masala Award as well. The idea is not to ignore others who may have a smaller body of work or are still working towards building up a substantial reputation and a body of their acclaimed work.

Here is our transparency:

  • Word Masala Award is only conferred on the published South-Asian diaspora poets with a substantial quality of work upholding their achievements to the highest standards. It will be akin to 'Lifetime Achievement'. We will be looking for a wider range of subject matter offered as well as the poet's recognizable contribution to literature, including any special achievements. All our past winners - we are very proud to say - have made us conscious of this fact. Only these winners will be invited to contribute to the winner's collection to be published by Skylark Publications UK. These winners will also nominate and help us in our consultations for future nominations. We do hope that our winners will help fellow diaspora poets where possible, and actively take interest in this project through mentoring, reviews, helping with a preface, providing comments for blurbs, helping to judge competitions, etc. Winners are also expected to include the mention of the award in their bio-data and link their page at to their blogs, social media platforms and webpages.

  • Others may receive WMP Special Citation Certificate Awards. For example a citation can be for being an 'activist poet' or an 'emerging voice'. Our website will display such citations.

  • All the above mentioned award winners and other generally featured poets may quote our Honour bestowed on them as Poet-of-the-Month.

  • In future, we intend to add Word Masala Poetry in Translation  Award as we start featuring the translation of well-known diaspora poets writing in the mother tongue. A separate collection will be published to celebrate their work.
  • Poets are primarily nominated by our present winners, the editor, the guest editors, and patrons of Word Masala. This then leads to further consultation in the background with feedback received from a wider group. Reading their work becomes an important part of this process. The decision of the Director of Word Masala Non-Profit Project, with the agreement of the patrons Lord Parekh and Lord Dholakia is final. An invitation is then issued to the respective poet.

The first and the last bullet points are for those who have enquired for more details on the subject. The awards are not automatic as we have a responsibility to acknowledge and celebrate the extra-ordinary achievements of our featured poets. Hopefully, this will also draw urgent attention to their work from magazine editors, publishers, agents, and libraries.

The first poet in this series is
a fresh emerging voice with one collection already under her belt

We have decided to work with Mona Dash for the publication of her second collection of poems in autumn 2016, yet unnamed. (Her novel is slated for publication and will hopefully be out by the end of this year.)
Please, purchase this book at the prepublication price of £9.99 postage free worldwide (EXCLUSIVELY, ONLY IF YOU ARE OUR SUBSCRIBER FOR THIS EZINE) to support future publications of other collections by our diaspora poets. Your support is vital.
Please buy it yourself, and please recommend it to your followers in any relevant social media and blog to help this initiative.
Please order DIRECTLY FROM
Alternatively, buy at our website postage added, which allows you to enter our competition. Please order at

Congratulations to Reginald Massey
Reginald Massey awarded first prize for his poem “Existentiale”
Forward Poetry, Britain's largest publisher of poetry, recently held a competition on the theme, 'Love is in the Air'. Massey's poem Existentiale was awarded the first prize by the judges.
Dear Reggie,
I have always been an admirer of your poetry, and “Existentiale” is no exception. I loved your occasional but always well judged and well placed and effective use of rhyme, your art metaphors (“surreal,” “Constable clouds,” the night sky being an artist’s cry), the sensuousness of the imagery and the fact that the earlier image of the mist nestling in the valley’s thighs prepares us subtly for the climactic warm and urgent caress, the skillful neologisms (“hilldoms of pines”), and the way in which your alliterations, though barely noticed, add to the totality of the effect. However, did I not read the concluding lines in another of your poems nearly sixty years ago? The notion of wisely weaning that solitary but meaningful moment as a way of redeeming the world is one that you have returned to from time to time. Borrowed, I guess, from Pater, it forms a leitmotif in your work, wouldn’t you say? And that moment is often associated with an act of physical closeness.
As ever,
Brijraj Singh won a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford.
Then a Fulbright to Yale from where he took a PhD in English
He then taught at the City University of NY.

Massey's excellent interview by Debjani Chatterjee
Just prior to the announcement of this award, the September issue of online journal Episteme, Vol. 4
(2), carried Massey's excellent interview by Debjani Chatterjee. You can view it at:

Guest Editorial by Brian G D'Arcy

I felt privileged when Yogesh invited me to comment on Sweta Srivastava Vikram's latest collection Wet Silence. It is good to be welcomed back to Word Masala e-newsletter as one of the contributors to the very first Word Masala paper anthology, published in 2011 and already a collector’s item.

Immediately on first reading I found myself on an emotional rollercoaster ride. Sweta explores the glory and the pain of lost but enduring love, and the pain and darkness of love betrayed. And she does so with both a searching gaze and an unforgiving candour. As with any rollercoaster ride, it pays to keep your eyes open or, in this case, your eyes, heart and mind. The forty-five poems in three sections are individually short and powerful, and collectively commanding.

I felt inspired to use Sweta’s own words to convey the richness of this collection, and I do so in my two 'found' poems, which are offered below. These will, I hope, speak for themselves and do justice to her fine collection.


  Two Poems in Honour of our Poet-of-the-Month


My longing for you hasn’t ceased.

Solitude is my partner in bed.

I run my hands over your contours in my mind,

prowl through memories of our sweet days,

the warm memories of our togetherness

when I wasn’t forced to wear a black mask

and drape my trembling torso

in a white cotton sari.

I didn’t ask for this silence.

I am still trying to understand.


I am broken.

I don’t harbor illusions that my name was on your last breath.

You left me feeling like a

freshly dug grave

as wet silence became my friend.

I didn’t plant roses in your memory;

Some promises dissolve in the rain,

emerge as poems.

I’ll indignantly rise, and sing songs of freedom.

And I’ll come back smelling of jasmine.

Note: Both 'found' poems rely entirely on lines taken from Sweta's Wet Silence collection.

This is a collection to read, and then read again and again – and again.

Brian G D'Arcy

About the Guest Editor
Brian G D’Arcy is a prize-winning poet whose work ranges from light-hearted limericks to passionate odes and haunting villanelles and ghazals. His poetry collections are Tha Shein Ukrosh: Indeed the Hunger (Bellasis Press), Footsteps in the Dust (Sixties Press) and - hot-off-the-press this month - Ghost Horses Dancing (Sixties Press). Jointly with his wife Debjani Chatterjee, he edited two acclaimed anthologies for Frances Lincoln Children’s Books: Let’s Celebrate! Festival Poems from Around the World, which was selected Book of the Month by Paper Tigers magazine, and Let’s Play! Poems about Sports and Games from around the World. He is Treasurer of the Mini Mushaira writers and chairs the Healing Word workshops.

Ghost Horses Dancing by Brian G D'Arcy
£7.95                 ISBN 978-1-905554-28-7
To order this book at DISCOUNT please contact Yogesh at Word Masala.


A Voice of the NRI - Diasporic Poets

Editor: Yogesh Patel

Consulting Editor: Dr Debjani Chatterjee, MBE

Guest Editor: Brian G D'Arcy
 Please note, where possible, we recommend poets featured for various awards


Sweta Vikram 


Craving you 

In my eyes, a rainstorm gathers,
I write you a poem.
Your body burning on the pyre
lights a fire in my pen.

Your kiss reached
my lungs, I lost my heart.
Your touch burned
my words in the Indian summer.

How can I fill
the vacuum in my life
with anything else?

I press my fingers
against your memory—
the curse of being a poet,
feeling everything so deeply.

I miss you
for years after you are gone.

 © Sweta Srivastava Vikram

‘Craving You,’ a poem essay, originally appeared in Sweta Vikram's poetry book: Wet Silence (Modern History Press: July 1, 2015. ISBN-13: 978-1615992560).

Sweta Srivastava Vikram
Sweta Srivastava Vikram (, featured by Asian Fusion as ‘One of the most influential Asians of our time,’ is an award-winning writer, three times Pushcart Prize nominee, Amazon bestselling author of 10 books, novelist, poet, essayist, and columnist. Her latest book, Wet Silence, is a full-length collection of poems about Hindu widows. Sweta is also a certified yoga teacher who shares the love and power of yoga with trauma survivors. A graduate of Columbia University, when Sweta is not doing yoga, cooking, travelling, writing books, or posts for magazines, teaching creative writing, or giving talks on gender equality, she works as a digital and content marketing consultant. Sweta lives in New York City with her husband and can be found on Twitter [@swetavikram] and Facebook (

Books by the Poet-of-the-Month

To order please click on the name below:
Wet Silence

"Sweta Vikram captures bold raw passion, poignant reality and crafts a powerful voice for the voiceless."
--Kate Campbell Stevenson, Actor & Producer

Wet Silence bears moving accounts of Hindu widows in India. The book raises concern about the treatment of widowed women by society; lends their stories a voice; shares their unheard tales about marriage; reveals the heavy hand of patriarchy; and, addresses the lack of companionship and sensuality in their lives. This collection of poems covers a myriad of social evils such as misogyny, infidelity, gender inequality, and celibacy amongst other things. The poems in the collection are bold, unapologetic, and visceral. The collection will haunt you

To order, please click on the name below:
Bacause All is Not Lost

We have all lost a dear one at some point in our lives. Grief, depending on the relationship with the one deceased, affects us differently. I feel my Dada and Mausi's absence every single day for disparate reasons. But these two losses have taught me that their time had come. And that life is about celebrating those alive and not just mourning those who have moved on. Optimism and faith are the keys to overcoming the roadblocks life puts in our way. This book tries to state that there is always hope for anyone coping with grief. No one can tell us exactly how; the voyage has to be undertaken by each of us individually.

Learn more about the author at

The WM poetry audio archive at our website

If you are a published poet from the diaspora, and writing in English, please send us the audio file of your best poe
m, read by you. We are building up an archive that will eventually be transferred to one of the UK's prestigious institutions.
Visit us at

Please benefit from our review group

To be fair to all small presses struggling everywhere, bluntly,
if you can't spare time for other poets, why should they over you?
Word Masala has set up a review group. We want to build up this group. A practical position in the publishing world is that if you are not prepared to review books by other poets and authors, it will be wrong to expect others to review your books. It takes time and effort.
If everyone thinks it is a waste of time, then we will have a continued problem. If you are not pro-active in creating helpful conditions, then more and more publishers will ignore our diaspora writers. Quite frankly why shouldn't they? 
After all, they need to make profit, if for nothing else, to support their next publication.
So let us actively feed their marketing with what we can do. Please write to me to participate in this group.
I am spending as much time as I can to contact and find the magazines that will give us space for articles on our poets and writers, as well as reviews of their work. So please talk to your sources and contact me to take it further. Congratulations to two members here:
Reginald Massey reviews Meena Alexander's Book
These poets are commendable and unselfish in helping this review group:
Debjani Chatterjee, Shanta Acharya, Usha Akella,  Reginald Massey, Saleem Peeradina, Usha Kishore. They are great and they are humble. Join them.
And once again, may I request readers to go out of their way to encourage our diaspora poets by acquiring their books from the links provided? Even suggesting to libraries the books recently published by the poets featured in earlier issues is a help.

To libraries: Do you want a discount? LET us know.
We understand the cuts. WM is ready to work with you.
Please contact the editor to join the group and offer discounts on your books.

If you are able to encourage fellow writers in any way, then please do so.
For example, why not contact a featured poet above for an interview,
poetry reading, or a review?

Contact Sweta Vikram at
If you do something to encourage our poets featured, at your library, radio or TV station, or an organization, or a magazine, please DO NOT FORGET to let us know, so that we can tell others how you helped our poets here. Add a brief note on yourself and your project or activity too.

Required reading this period

A white author is under fire after using an Asian pen name in order to avoid rejection letters.


  Junot Díaz condemns creative writing courses for 'unbearable too-whiteness
Pulitzer-prize winning author's comments that 'the default position of reading and writing ... was white, straight and male' are backed by writers including Aminatta Forna and Daljit Nagra

Our previous award winning poet Usha Kishore's latest interview:

Which of these works would you call “immigrant fiction”?
a) Lolita
b) Heart of Darkness
c) Middlesex
d) None of the above
e) All of the above
Meena Chopra lives in Canada and writes poems in Hindi,
 but it is her paintings that will draw you in.
Please visit her blog to see some of her paintings and read her poems.


Poetry Please BBC Radio 4
Have you tried to request a poem by a published diaspora poet?
Ask the poet to send a copy to the unit to help your choice
We can help
BBC Radio 4 welcomes your suggestions for poems for possible inclusion in the programme. "Don't forget to tell us why you'd like to hear the poem... is there a special reason or memory associated with your request? Email us using the form  and also tell us whereabouts you're from. Alternatively you can write to us at Poetry Please, BBC Bristol, BS8 2LR or call 03700 100 400."  


Wednesday 14 October, 6.30 - 8.45pm
This practical workshop highlights basics such as voice production, delivery techniques, body language, and controlling nerves. Its aim is to help poets read in public with confidence and present their poems more effectively.
The workshop is led by Catherine Dell, a speaking skills coach who specialises in working with writers.
Venue: Travelling Through Bookshop, 131 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7AE
Cost: £10 per person (includes a drink)
Email: (reference: Catherine Dell's workshop)
Phone: 0207 633 9279

Contests without fee

An award of approximately $54,000 is given annually to a U.S. poet for a year of travel and study abroad. Submit two copies of either up to 40 pages of poetry or a published book and up to 20 pages of. Please click on the header to lead you to their website.
Three six-month fellowships of $1,000 each, publication in A Public Space, mentorship from an established author who has contributed to A Public Space, and optional workspace in the...
Each week, Cultured Vultures will be holding a poetry competition which is open to all comers. The winning poem will be published every Monday and will be listed here for the annals.
There’s no entrance fee, which means that there will be no prize for the winner – at least for the time being. If successful, your poem will be seen by an attentive audience of thousands. Second and third place finishers will also be published. There aren’t many better places to have your poetic voice heard.

 Submissions Requests - Without Representation by an Agent

Contemporary Verse 2


A journal named for 'truth' in Swahili invites its readers and contributors to seek for the same.”

Kweli Journal is a quarterly. The journal's reading period is September 1 through May 30.  We are now accepting online submissions through May 30. Submissions received outside this reading period will remain unread. Submit your work at any time during our reading period. We strongly encourage you to read a few issues of the journal before submitting. Kweli staff editors will determine for which guest editor a work is most appropriate.

The BookBub Blog is looking for a few great writers to become paid contributors.
They are looking for people who:
— Love to read.
— Are deeply passionate and knowledgeable about one or more of the literary genres listed below.
— Have an impressive portfolio of online writing about books.
— Want to write and produce book lists, quizzes, and other fun ways to help readers discover new books.
— Are excited about writing for BookBub’s 2.3 million passionate followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
— Are willing to commit to a minimum of two posts on the BookBub Blog each month.
— Can come up with creative new ways to engage readers.
— Are fun to work with 
They are not looking for book reviewers.
Sound like you? Then apply for one of BookBub Blog Contributor opportunities, by filling out the form below.

The Atlantis Wants Your Culture Stories: A Call for Pitches

They are looking for your smart, original pieces about arts, entertainment, and the world beyond.
The best Atlantic culture pieces examine questions people have long had but never quite identified. They aim for strong arguments and analysis, exploring the less obvious facets of film, television, books, music, theatre, art, design, media, fashion, architecture, language, food, and sports. All these things are much more than entertainment—they’re how people relate to life, and how they ask and answer questions about what it means to be human.
Why does racial diversity matter so much in pop culture? What can the tabloid chatter about a celebrity’s alleged sexual assault say about gender politics? What do a spate of works about drones say about society’s collective fears and concerns about warfare and surveillance?
Thoughtful critiques and rigorous analyses catch their attention. They are more interested in writers who’ve done research and reporting rather than those offering up half-baked personal observations. And they are particularly interested in finding writers whose experiences and opinions are underrepresented in the media.

Submissions to The Atlantic

How do I submit a piece for possible publication in The Atlantic?
The Atlantic is always interested in great nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. A general familiarity with what we have published in the past is the best guide to what we're looking for. All manuscripts should be submitted as a Word document or PDF. Succinct pitches may be submitted in the body of an e-mail.
To submit nonfiction, send your manuscript or pitch to:
To submit fiction, send your manuscript to:
To submit poetry, send your manuscript to:

Marketing your book

Learn how to promote your book with this free book from award-winning author Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Want genuine royalty free photos for your books & projects?
Be EXTREMELY careful in using any web photos. What may look on the surface as royalty free, quite often has restrictions.
SO WORD MASALA will help poets in avoiding possible legal problems.
Want a general royalty free photo for your book cover?
No problem. will help
if arranged through us.
Contact Yogesh at Skylark & WM
and be safe in using photos.

Can you help this project? WHY not?

Start with supporting us
by ordering a mug or a t-shirt with a poem:
We also have a mug available with a poem by Dr Debjani Chatterjee, MBE and another one by Saleem Peeradina. If as poet you can donate a poem for this (your rights reserved), please contact us. They have to be for an occasion.

Do you want it for other poets? No problem.

Ah, so you want your own poem on it! What is stopping you? Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, or any other world languages? To order contact me direct with your PDF of a poem in the language you want.

As this project is for all us and a non-profit venture in nature, with its constant evolution, Word Masala welcomes local poets and authors to join hands in making it a meaningful stop for all our creative talents worldwide. We are especially keen to see the poetry film genre taking on a new and exciting poetic direction. Please email Yogesh if you can spare some help. Remote help or suggestions are welcome too.
Good luck,

Yogesh Patel

Thank you once again to those who wrote back, appreciating this thankless non-revenue initiative. Please add us to your contacts and address book.
Should you think this is not a worthy endeavour, then please unsubscribe by sending a polite email indicating which email address we have used. Please note Word Masala and Skylark have no monetary interests in any suggestions here, and do not take liability for any action taken by you. You must research any suggestions contained herein, and assure yourself accordingly.
(c) Word Masala & Skylark Publications UK
This e-mail and any attachments are intended for the recipient only. The content of any attachment to this e-mail may contain software viruses, which could damage your own computer system. While Word Masala, IAFS, Skylark Publications UK, ClearanceOptics, and consultants4VAT have taken every reasonable precaution to minimise this risk, we cannot accept liability for any damage which you sustain as a result of software viruses. You should carry out your own virus checks before opening the attachment.