Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Poems from Poetcrit, July-December 2019




Hidden from the eyes of others
I was made in secret
but I can’t remember my birth

from foetus in the womb
to severing of the cord
erased the memory

now rootless in the valley
fading sensations of years
pierce the darkling wings of
world wide web that blob my being
twisted and tangled, brushed

away like a fly hate mongers
hashtag my creation
pirouetting platitudes


Variously hued
neo-knights knock voters’ doors
search the holy grail
howling, trolling, abusing
baying for blood, lynching, rape

exposing designs
for new history, geography
and deity in mosques
set right blunders they didn’t write
reclaim rights they always had


I love the night with you
when sleepless we yield
to passions of the body
tugging the nagging divine
in the mind ageing fear melt
and dry between the sheets
for a new dawn to set in

--Ram Krishna Singh

Published in Poetcrit , Vol. 32, No.2, July-December 2019, p. 132

Friday, June 21, 2019

Florin Golban reviews GROWING WITHIN in Romanian

Monday, June 10, 2019

COMMENTS on Translations

Select Songs of Kanakadasa. Tr. Shashidhar G. Vaidya. Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 2018,  pp. 160.  ISBN 978-81-7977-635-3.

Kanakadasa, a 16th century poet of the Bhakti Cult, is a Kannada saint-poet known for his 'keertans'. Unfortunately he is little known to most Indians who do not know Kannada. His poetic stature as a saint-poet, notes Dr A V Navada, is no less than that of Guru Nanak, Tulsidas, Meerabai, Kabir, Narasi Mehta, Lalleshwari and many others recognised world-wide.

The Kannada poet is sung in various 'raga' and 'tala' for his surrender to God, pursuance of Truth, revelation of reality behind appearances, sociospiritual vision, condemnation of superstitions in a caste-ridden society, and all that disturbs the common man today. He still motivates us for awareness of human realities and following moral values in a degenerating society.

Dr Shashidhar Vaidya's bilingual and bicultural competence as translator of the Kannada poet's 102 selected 'keertans', divided into 11 sections, gives a feel of the original flavour, meaning, music and lyricism. He is helpful to readers in negotiating Kanakadasa's vision with his short summary, glossary and explanation that follows each song.

Congrats Dr Vaidya on your great achievement as a contributor to Literatures in Translation and Indian Writing in English.

Chandrakanta by Devaki Nandan Khatri. Tr. Ram Bhagwan Singh and C.L. Khatri. New Delhi: Prabhat Paperbacks, 2018, ISBN 978-93-5266-738-3.

I first read the Hindi novel as a boy. My father had its copy, which is now lost. But with hazy impressions of its first reading, and reading the work Singh and Khatri have produced in English, I can imagine how challenging their task must have been to create the flavour of the original fantasy and romance in today's English.
The challenge lies in their interlingual abilities in trying to provide with clarity and precision expressions for the almost untranslatable Hindi idioms and phrases, signs and symbols, imagery and locale, and culturally loaded metaphors and verbal ethos. One can guess how difficult the choice of vocabulary and phrasal idioms must have been to be faithful to the 19th century Hindi discourse style.
A sympathetic reader alone can sense the flow and energy of the original composition despite certain pragmatic communicative issues in the translators' use of a mix of word-for-word and sense-for sense approach.
Their book is a major contribution to the growing corpus of Indian Literatures in Translation. Kudos to Professors Ram Bhagwan Singh and C.L. Khatri.

Anastasia Dumitru. Inimii/The Gift of the Heart. Romanian/English. Constanta: Editura Celebris, 2018, ISBN 978-606-8849-56-0

The initial impression of Anastasia Dumitru's INIMII/THE GIFT OF THE HEART I had proved more than correct when I read the entire book again.

It is indeed a search for truth, for new life, for experiencing the heaven within, via divine effulgences in some very fine micro lyrics. The poet-professor’s  3-liners are meditative, contemplative, and spiritually uplifting, lyrically making the moments of silence evocative. As a truth-seeker, she turns her  soul-realization into symbols of love, hope and faith that refresh the spirit, purify the heart and illumine the mind.

It won't be exaggerating if I say that The Gift of the Heart is an epic romance in brief lyrical fragments, rather flickers, with rare fervour, vigour and faith vis-a-vis the whirlpool of longing, the hunger of spirit, the tossing in agony, and the turn of imagination to grasp eternity in a moment of awareness: "give me only a moment--/I give you all my heart/in eternity ." Such a surrender, both physical and mental, to experience liberation through prayer, contemplation, compassion and love, a genuine salvation, or even nirvana, here on earth, in this life, is possible by discovering the heaven within, by human becoming divine: "in prayer--/the clay having the wings,/becoming the spirit."

I enjoyed participating in Anastasia's inner adventure and search for spiritual emancipation.

--Dr R K Singh, Retd Professor of English, IIT-ISM, Dhanbad

Wednesday, June 05, 2019


end of May--
scorching heat follows
rain and hail
before iftaar this friday
prayer promises bliss

By Ram Krishna Singh

конец мая -
палящий зной следует
за дождём и градом
перед ифтаром в эту пятницу
молитва обещает блаженство

Ифтар -  разговение, вечерний приём

пищи во время месяца Рамадан.

Фотография Обри Бодайна

Tr. Nikolay Grankin

Monday, June 03, 2019

Five new poems published in Creation and Criticism

1. Vastu Vihar - I

Monday worshipers
invoke Shiv on loudspeaker
spoiling rainy day:

drizzles splash against 
the window panes I await
the first sentence 
to preface my memoir
cooling in the drawer

their musical noise distracts

the long cloudy day
depresses my soul

I lounge around inside
cursing cooped up in here

2. Vastu Vihar - II

Morning air
is so dark here
my breathing is choked:

they say my colleagues
from ISM cleared
the existence of 
six coking coal chimneys
for a fee
under the table

the aged earth mocks
the concaving patch
of the sky.

3. Vastu Vihar - III

My peers may not know
bu the maid knows
the holes in my vests:
I grow older
at a faster pace

it matters little
who owns the tree:
forty years in wood
now good to bottle
if one has taste

how sad it's only
the saw's drag I hear
and see dustcloud
in Vastu Vihar
florets simply die.

4. Uprooting Seeds

Growing nude
the plant sways in the field
and matures

in golden silk
drifts like a bee
in quiet rhythm

the sun wings the flight
and stars stand guard
till beauty plays harlot

with half-open heart
abuses night music
provokes hunger

in every street
the lewd shrines
pucker the lips

without payment
strangers come and go
uprooting seeds.

5. Peace in Sin

I thought I'd locate you
in the dark lonely street
but I myself got lost

mind's mazy prompts
shocked me into nakedness
I never perceived

the misleading sun
the unreal reflections
the dumb show

dazzle my eyes
shades of terror in alleys
smell of treachery

at the crossroads
the selfish gene's tarots
of my random choices

in dim blue light
smiling breasts invite
autumn breeze

I chuckle to myself
hearing raps of inverse world
and peace in sin.