Here is a cafe for the writers of Indian origin living outside India. It aims to bring discussions, opportunities and comprehensive information. I aim to offer advice by published authors, journalists, poets and novelists to budding talents. Yogesh advises to buy books by the authors and poets of this blog-community to support each other. Together we can do even better, published or not.
A quarterly magazine featuring and promoting South-Asian diaspora poets.
Word Masala also acts as a non-commercial agent and helps any open-minded, supporting editors and poetsEditor: Yogesh Patel Consultant Editor: Dr Debjani Chatterjee MBE Patrons: Lord Parekh & Lord Dholakia
ISSN 2397-1878 (printed and digital)/ Issue 1/2017
The third year of success
To all editors and publishers
We can help editors and publishers in many ways. We also act as non-commercial agents in the interest of both parties.
We have helped others, we can help you. If you are interested, please contact us through our website.
To start with please send us your submission requests we can inform our poets and writers immediately - even in between issues.
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Submission now open to all non-diaspora poets for poems addressing problems and experiences of diversity, immigration or racism. We will select one for each quarter. Please submit through our website. Maximum length 25 lines with a small 30-word bio. Please send only unpublished work. If you have a collection just published, and it has a poem on this subject letus have full details, including a copy of the cover. http://www.skylarkpublications.co.uk/contact.html
We also thank the following publishers for their support. We ask others why are you not on this list? Arc Publications * Carcanet Press * Eyewear Publishing * Emma Press * Faber and Faber * HopeRoad Publishing * Limehouse Books * Nine Arches Press and Valley Press
Do you have a success story to tell us as a diaspora poet or a writer? Please let us know
Do you have an event that you will like us to include on our website? Do let us know.
CONGRATULATIONS to Usha Kishore for recently receiving the award Culture Vannin (Manx Heritage) specially to support her forthcoming collection being published by Eyewear Publishing.
As a measure of our success and the visionary approach of the publishers, Word Masala was successful in placing this work. Our special thanks to Todd Swift of Eyewear Publishing. Usha and we are also grateful to the Arts Council of Isle of Man.
While on the subject we would also like to congratulate Usha Kishore and Jaydeep Sarangifor their excellent anthology published this January. It features many of our Word Masala Award-Winning poets.
Home Thoughts: Poetry of the British Indian Diaspora ISBN 9789385945717 $14.99 Please support and order fromwww.cyberwit.net
1. If you write a short story, following opening is worth submitting to: The theme of the book is ‘change’ and the purpose of the book is to represent and celebrate diverse voices. However, the authors have been given the freedom to “interpret the theme however they are inspired to do so”, according to Stripes. Contributors will also include Tanya Byrne, Inua Ellams, Catherine Johnson, Ayisha Malik and Irfan Master, as well as unpublished and un-agented writers who can submit their stories via the website. Any BAME writers who want to submit must send a 2,000-5,000 word story to firstname.lastname@example.org by 28th February. More details can be found on the Stripes website. The entries will be judged by members of the Stripes team as well literary agent Julia Kingsford and Sarah Shaffi, online editor of The Bookseller and co-founder of the BAME in Publishing network.
Writers become employees of Disney│ABC Television Group (DATG) and will be paid a weekly salary of $961.54 ($50,000 annualized) plus any applicable benefits for which they are eligible in accordance with the then-current Company benefits. The one-year program begins in February and ends in February of the following year. Please note that time frames are subject
The primary goal for Program Writers is to staff on a DATG series as a staff writer during the one-year program; however, staffing is not guaranteed.
a Foundation, I amwith Shappi on this. We are trying with some success to place our poets with the publishers as non-commercial agents, but without a noise about the skin. Poetry publishers are commendable for doing this properly. But cannot say the same for editors of poetry magazines who need to show us how many poets they publish from this background in a year. At the moment they are at the questionable low level in accepting us. It reveals a deeper strand of dividing attitude of us and them. Maybe not consciously, perhaps more reactively. But providing opportunities looking beyond the screen of skin, names and preconceived conceptions are important for the integration and diversity. A challenge is to rise to really becoming inclusive.
Please stop being patronizing and deliver authors from this background in the mainstream without trying to get a credit for doing something about these authors. Show your credentials by action.
Not too long ago, I was having tea with Rosemarie Hudson of HopeRoad Publishing at the British Museum. On the mention of yet another anthology of the BAME authors, her reaction summed up my sentiments. 'I could scream at the mention of yet another BAME competition.' At the heart of it is a question about providing the real opportunity to accept authors from the BAME background not dished out as BAME authors. Show us how many authors you are publishing not as BAME authors, but from that background, and throwing all your muscles of marketing to promote them. Make them a success to make you a success in doing something positive about the diversity.
Modern Fragmentation Quantity we can assess. Divide we will till every Mite is chopped. Relationality We lose when microscope and Telescope we only peer.
Reality to seek, we Lotus-sit, eye closed, or stand One leg, hand raised, or lie on bed of Nails – inert, withdrawn aloof Far from what’s right or just or good or kind.
Truth: really to seek, we Want an eye alight, a mind awake, a heart that’s warmed, with other hearts in touch, a hand that works injustices to move. So: healed. So: whole.
Unlike many poets who are far better at their craft than I am, I cannot write poems to order. Rather, my poems start with a phrase that strikes me, or a rhythm which beats itself within me. Only occasionally, has a poem started as a sort of reflection on a theme or topic.
Though much of my poetry is in free verse, I know that even “free” verse must have a structure – however hidden or disguised. So, whenever readers see or hear or feel the structure of any poem of mine dissolving, they might want to alert themselves to think why structure has disappeared at that point.
Prabhu Guptara Prabhu’s first published poem was in The Illustrated Weekly of India, in the 1960s. Since then, his poetry has appeared in Indian PEN, Journal of Indian Writing in English, Kunapipi, Masala, The Redbeck Anthology of British Asian Poetry, and so on. Two volumes of his own poems, Beginnings & Continuations, were published in the 1970s by Writers’ Workshop, Calcutta. He edited An Anthology of Contemporary Indian Religious Poetry in English, as well as Selected Poems of Leela Dharmaraj; and has been Chairman of the Association for the Teaching of Caribbean, African, and Asian Literatures; Literature Advisor to the South East Arts Association; Ethnic Arts Advisor, Greater London Council; Advisor, Television South; Organizer, Greater London Literature Competition, and a Member of the Panel of Judges of the Commonwealth Poetry Prize.
Guest Editor’s Comment
Guptara's poetry addresses myriad issues, but especially spirituality and human rights.
In ‘An Alien, I...’, he powerfully and succinctly makes his point about racism. His poems are often concise, sometimes complex and demanding, but always readable. A command of language is evident in phrases like: ‘masterly dastardly’, ‘humped my suitcase from his car’ and ‘An airplane winks its way across the stars’.
Guptara’s conversational style is best seen in dialogue poems like ‘U.S. Guest, Overnight’ and the occasional monologue, e.g. ‘On a Visit, near Lucknow’. The former ends with this American hotel conversation:
"Where would you like to dine?" "Indian of course… if possible!" I said.
"My cousin comes in five minutes; she knows all the best restaurants nearby!
In the meanwhile, Water?"
The words are casual, even banal, but the undercurrent is electric. It becomes a telling poem about an Indian’s ‘outsider’ perspective on a foreign land.
In poems like ‘Between Zurich and Goa, on 3 December 2006’ and ‘An Indian in Beatenberg, Switzerland’, he writes movingly of relationships and loss. In ‘"Twelve Dead," They Said’, Guptara draws on personal experience to castigate statisticians and, by extension, an uncaring world for ignoring the damage to the lives of survivors of disaster:
Twelve? Fools! What do they understand of death, these statisticians?
Not only those who were squashed under collapsing masonry or struck by shrapnel, Parents and grandparents too died that day, and siblings and spouses and children.
Many ‘political’ poems touch on man-made issues of global warming and poverty, or the futility of war and violence. Here isGuptara’s adaptation of Austrian-Italian poet Umberto Saba’s ‘Pretesto’:
Nuclear Birds (India and Pakistan, 2000)
There is a mountain of grain at the window And the sparrows fight each other furiously
In the cage, even the two love birds that you'd think would nest peacefully.
Everywhere a cry of rage.
And there is plenty of food always left over, wasted!
Are there reasons for war? Or pretexts?
It is time for Guptara to bring out another collection. I hope his choice as Word Masala’s Poet of the Month will throw a welcoming light on his poetry.
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