Monday, November 23, 2020

Fatemah Tayeh translates my tanka


The sea smells

from far off leaps to the sky

I drive through

the maze of returning folks

with fresh catch on their head

صيد طازج

نسائم البحر

من بعيد تشق عباب السماء

أقود سيارتي 

خلال الناس العائدين

بصيد طازج فوق رؤوسهم

●Haiku by Ram krishna singh

●translated by Fatemah Tayeh

ترجمة :فاطمة طايع

Thursday, November 19, 2020

'Gospel' published in Oddball Magazine


Poem by R. K. Singh

Ecological Abstract Art on Covid 19 Theme” © Amefralb Ecoheal



Don’t question the lips
that wilt the tongue
licking wetness in the mouth

the mystery of delight
prophesy of the birth
by salty swallowing

make new parables
with face mask surviving
one more gospel


Ram Krishna Singh has been wiriting poetry,including haiku and tanka, for over four decades. Until 2015, he was Professor of English at IIT-ISM in Dhanbad. He has published 46 books, including the poetry collections God Too Awaits Light (2017), Growing Within/Desăvârşire lăuntrică (English/Romanian, 2017), There’s No Paradise and Other Selected Poems Tanka & Haiku (2019), and Tainted With Prayers/Contaminado con oraciones (English/Spanish, 2019).

Amefralb Ecoheal is an ecological artist living in South Boston “Before Covid time, I had been selected to exhibit my work at the Public Library Branch of South Boston for years, inside the ‘Artist of the Month’ Window. The theme of Covid 19 has intrigued my canvas with ideas, reflections and abstracting configurations.” 





Wednesday, November 18, 2020




Traducción libre de Joseph Berolo 


 corona virus--


some say it's invasion 

the barbarian without


I clear my throat 

behind the face mask

 breathe in unknown viruses

 suffer new repressions 

now lockdown

 cut off life:


Hugo said monasticism

 resisting death

 La tercera fase de la pandemia ya comenzó con el cierre total en la India. El primer ministro lo llama toque de queda público.Todos pasamos días ansiosamente. Mialergia bronquial.tos y secreción nasal / nariz asusta. Sigotomando los medicamentos recetados por el médico hace años juntocon algunos remedios caseros. Lapermanencia forzada en casa debería protegernos a todos. Mantenemosnuestros dedos cruzados. COVID-19

 The third phase of the pandemic has already started with total shut down in India. The  Prime Minister calls it Public Curfew. We are all anxiously passing days. Mybronchial allergy. cough and runny/stuffed nose at night. frightens me. I keep taking the medicines doctor prescribed years ago alongwith some home remedies. The forced stay at home should protect us all. We keep our fingers crossed.


Corona virus.



 algunos dicenes

es una invasión.


limpieza del pecho 


respirando virosis desconocidos 

sufriendo nuevas represiones

 encierro castración. 


 resistiendo la muerte


VOCES DE ESPERANZA  ANTOLOGIA, ed: Joseph Berolo. Primera Edición. Published by Naciones Unidas de las Letras, Colombia, November 2020 pp. 66-67 



Sunday, November 08, 2020

My tanshi poems published in SETU magazine, October 2020







The mask of man they paint

with so many fingers as brushes

man’s only colour now




They take away the day’s flower

husk I retain for tomorrow

nobody knows what the robbers may look for




Unable to rise beyond themselves

they worry about their colleagues’ peace

and die of selfless jealousy




Apple, snake and three-fifth of me

in bed manipulates man

inside selfish rubbles




The painted paper-god and Christ on the cross

stand on the dawn-coloured wall of my bedroom

watch sex, prayers and restlessness each night




The colour of night is the same everywhere

what if my identity is not known

let’s fuck the moment and forget the place




If passion breeds beads of sweat

in winter night the plateau is reached

too much love can run one out




Crushed heads of serpents coil along the road

green glitter of stream strikes my vision

I walk and fear the growing ripples in urinal




It needs less than a drop to procreate

but months and years of readiness to enjoy

sex sustains both life and art




Once your body was the sitar waiting for my touch

the sweet fragrance of your hair still lingers

but the cigarette that was mine is now ash




Locked in the giant Chandragupta

I fly over snow stacked stones

and defy clouds in unseen sun





Civilization hasn’t spared the caves

man suffers in the hands of parasites

here too who work often go without food






The smile you weave splits the sun

I lose my direction in clouds darkening

the white of the lake moon kissed









Here she goes in the long light

and swiftly a shadow moves with her




What if my nights are poisoned by evil spirits

they can’t corrupt my bare truth in one life




The fire broke out to retaliate

they fight with lightning




Where will I reach running with gluey feet on gashed earth

a relentless sun licks leftover of a dying day




Not to kiss my feet they rush

waves vie with waves to reach the shore







The dance of rain is good for a short

but the fall of sky is too much




Keep my cracked tongue tightly closed

lest the diseased mind is known








Bio note:


 Ram Krishna Singh, an  Indian English poet, has been writing  for about four decades. Professionally,  till December 31, 2015,  Professor of English  at IIT-ISM in Dhanbad, he has published more than 160 research articles, 175 book reviews and 46 books, including Sense and Silence: Collected Poems (2010), New and Selected Poems Tanka and Haiku (2012),  You Can’t Scent Me and Other Selected Poems (2016), God Too Awaits Light (2017), Growing Within/Desăvârşire lăuntrică  (English/Romanian, 2017),  There's No Paradise and Other Selected Poems Tanka & Haiku (2019), and Tainted With Prayers/Contaminado con oraciones (English/Spanish, 2019).   His haiku and tanka have been  internationally read and appreciated. web:   ; email:


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

FOREWORD to An Anthology of Modern Indian English Poetry




Each anthology is a marker of it’s time and trends, but this anthology, conceived as a sequel to The Golden Treasury of Indo-Anglian Poetry (1970), is an extension of poet-critic V.K. Gokak’s  work “consisting of modern and modernist poets,” as poet-professor Veeresh Badigar emphasizes.  Gokak’s anthology included selected poets and poems from 1828 to 1965, and several poets from 1965 onwards, without excluding some of the avant-garde signatures of modern Indian English Poetry, such as A K Mehrotra, P Lal, Nissim Ezekiel, R Parthasarathy, Adil Jussawalla, Dilip Chitre, Arun Kolatkar, A K Ramanujan, Pritish Nandy, to name a few, needed to be re-viewed in perspective, possibly with the same historical value and contemporary interest that prompted Gokak to make his anthology.


Through his selections poet-editor  Badigar underlines the contributions of several poets of the late 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s who were widely acclaimed for their structure and texture. He also adds newer poets who never left India and yet proved their poetic prowess and linguistic competence comparable with the native speakers of English.


Poets such as Gopal Honnalgere, P Raja, I K Sharma, R K Singh, O P Bhatnagar, T V Reddy, Smita Agarwal, P C K Prem, D C Chambial, and others are all steeped in Indian milieu, ethos and culture. In fact with their different verses they contribute to the making of, and exposure to, Indian reality which does not deny our present day norms, values, and perceptions.  Their poetic communication re-defines, too, their indigenous contexts, and personal and cultural identities, memories and inwardness, as also noticed in, say, Kamala Das, Eunice de Souza, Shiv K Kumar, Dilip Chitre etc.  Almost all of them reveal their mind and self, whatever their experimentation in terms of form and content, to divine the new Indian sensibilities.


The poet-editor of the anthology thinks with the legacy of the past and responsibility to the present as he includes a dozen living voices and accords their poems a literary status. He seeks to introduce to the new generation of readership the poets who not only developed and established the genre of Indian English Poetry but also made it internationally visible and acceptable as  distinct from native writing in English.


I feel glad to have become a part of the volume which should be noticeable for the editor’s vision, taste for the different and the bold, eye for the contemporary ways of living and thinking, and attempt to re-imagine what it means to live with each other in the 21st century literary ecosystem.  I am confident the community of  researchers and scholars the world over will find the new anthology significant , readable and useful as a record and document.


                                                                                                --R K SINGH


(Formerly Professor of English, Dept of Humanities & Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology—ISM, DHANBAD-826004)




An Anthology of Modern Indian English Poetry, ed. V R  Badiger. Agra: Current Publications, 2020. ISBN 9789390253272

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Ashwarya Jha in Conversation with Poet Professor R K Singh


INTERVIEW: Professor R K Singh

 Ashwarya Jha* in Conversation with Poet Professor R K Singh


1.Tell us more about your background and journey. 


I am now 70 years old, a retired professor of English, possibly better known as a poet, especially as an Indian haiku and tanka practitioner in English than as a practitioner of  ELT or ESP, especially for Science and Technology, which was my main academic concern for teaching  and research at Indian School of  Mines, now IIT, for about four decades.


Born, brought up and educated in Varanasi, now better known as the parliamentary constituency of  PM  Modi, I have been living in Dhanbad since February 1976.  But the mindset and culture of the narrow lanes and alleys of the ancient city I imbibed, living with parents and eight siblings in a small house near the bank of the river during the 1950s and 1960s, still  survives. I couldn’t be at home anywhere for a long. I’ve remained rather restless, maybe because of the missing freedom to think and pursue my interests, the lack of broadness and openness of mind I interacted with, and the intolerance for differences that would challenge my ‘sanskar’ or mental habits. Honestly speaking, I’ve  remained a ‘misfit’ everywhere, be it here in Dhanbad, or elsewhere—Pulgaon, Lucknow, New Delhi, or Deothang (Bhutan) where I went to work after  completing M.A. in English Literature from BHU in 1972.


I aspired for a career in journalism , but ended up in teaching, which I found more congenial . As luck would have it, I couldn’t leave Dhanbad, despite my dislike for the place. It is here, after joining ISM as faculty, that I completed my PhD on Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri (part-time, from M G Kashi Vidyapith) in 1981. Doing a PhD within five years of appointment was a necessary condition for continuing as Lecturer. Then,  I was married in 1978, and blessed with two  children—a son, who is now Colonel in the Army, and a daughter, who is a Senior Manager in a multinational pharmaceutical company.  I had to work hard  to rise to the level of Professor but I am happy I could survive innumerable problems  and  establish myself as an academic.  



2. How was your experience in ISM (Indian school of mines) as a professor ? 


Can I begin with my experience as a Lecturer, first? Honestly, my initial experience was  extremely disappointing. From February 1976 to December 2015 is a long time. I was 25 when I joined ISM. I had a reasonably good exposure to dirty politics that frustrates ambition of a young aspirant keen to do something positive, relevant and meaningful in a challenging environment.


Soon after joining the Dept of Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS)  I  realized that I was the wrong person they had selected. I was not trusted by the authorities for my purely academic views. It was a trial of sort at every stage for suggesting any changes in the syllabus (of English) or starting new courses or programmes. They attached no value to relevant teaching in areas of HSS or promoting research in the department. My career in ISM, thus, began with suffering hostility and threats of all kind, including lies and falsehood, motivated reports, warnings, harassment, court cases, and even threats  to personal life for not behaving like ‘a good boy’, or for ‘teaching me a lesson.’ 


I saw my ‘security’ in teacher activism and within a year of joining, I became Secretary of  ISM Teachers Association. My active resistance to anything wrong at institutional level made me, along with a couple of others, rather notorious. I knew I was working in an institution  which had no university or research culture. The dominating mindset was that of a polytechnic. At a stage when, as Secretary of  ISMTA,  I met the then Union Minister of Education, he regretted that ISM was one of the problem deemed universities in the country.


Subsequently, the  Administration rectified their error or misunderstanding about me, and things became normal as soon as my PhD was awarded. I could survive hostility  and opposition from the main departments because I had no vested interests to promote.


If mediocrity dominated the top hierarchy, it was visible in the totality of institute’s performance. The Dept of  HSS could not be expected to perform miracle with just two teachers! It needed overhauling, faculty addition ,   new courses, new programmes at postgraduate level, and doctoral level research.  This is what I tried to do, but with continual resistance from various bodies.


With the adoption of need-based and skills oriented ‘English for Specific Purposes’ (ESP) syllabus, I could do what no other IIT was doing. My research and publications in the area during the 1980s and 1990s  had the international visibility, even as I shifted my focus to Indian Writing in English, especially poetry, which continues even after my retirement.


The MPhil programme we started has also drawn attention of universities in the country, but unfortunately, it is now closed down.


However, I must emphasize that ISM is one institute where individual faculty is free to do whatever new they want to do. Sky is the limit for a self-motivated person, whatever area they choose to work in. There has been a considerable improvement in academics and research since the institution became an IIT.


3. Being Author of 46+ Books, how do you deal with critics.


Once a book is published, the author has no control over it. I respect the autonomy of the reader who is free to appreciate, interpret or evaluate it according to his or her own sensibility, knowledge or understanding of the subject.  So, I do not question my critics, even if they may be biased, negative or hostile at times.  A sympathetic critic, however, is always a positive influence.


4. Please recall one of your experiences as a journalist.


I still remember when as a young learner journalist, working free for a Hindi weekly in Varanasi, I wrote a letter to the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Sri C B Gupta, for helping a woman in dire need, he promptly responded and directed the local administration to help her. My regular column in the weekly had given me a sense of identity.


But I was disillusioned after joining The Press Trust of India (PTI), New Delhi as a trainee Journalist. A senior sub-editor, Mr Mukud, who happened to be my table in-charge also, had a natural dislike for me. He would always find fault with my writing/editing. I also remember how several journalists would  try to avoid putting their initials on the copies they wrote or edited for fear of being snubbed (for their mistakes) by the Chief Editor, Mr Raghavan. I also learnt how ‘hearsay’ was the only criterion of one’s future/career. I can’t forget how I had constantly suffered tremendous mental torture for the sin of joining the PTI to become a journalist. I left the organization in utter frustration and switched over to teaching. 



5. What do you think about the quality of journalism in India and how can it be improved?


I am no professional or qualified journalist to make any comments. Most reporting is motivated, be it printed or visual. As a common man, however, I must say that the quality of Hindi reporting has considerably declined, while the reporting in English in  The Hindu has continued to maintain a standard worth emulating.  About the news on TV media, the less said, the better.


6. Could you please write one or two lines of your work to inspire our readers.


I am not sure if my writing inspires. I am not didactic or moralist, but an observer, looking within and without, shunning nothing:


“in silence/one with the divine will/growing within”

“squatting/in the middle of the field/a woman with child”

“awake/alone on the housetop/a sparrow”


As a poet I am ever in search of life, getting connected with things ‘here and now’, imaging ‘momentness of a moment’, and enlarging my self to the universal sameness of human feelings.  I am also inspired by the human body which is the best picture of the human soul: I glorify it. We are flesh in sensuality and there is divinity in it.


7. Which book would you recommend to our readers and why?


It’s a difficult question to answer. One should read what one is interested in, or likes.  Unfortunately, I keep reading and forgetting.  Having said this, I recall a book Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich I read in the early 1970s. It seems relevant in our (post) Covid-19 context, for the writer’s conviction that the ethos, not just the institutions, of society need to be ‘deschooled’.  Universal education through schooling, for example, is not feasible.  We need alternative institutions to get rid of physical pollution, social polarization and psychological impotence that are the dimensions of global degradation and modernized misery.  The book may provide new insights.



8. What motivate and inspires you to keep coming up with content. Where does your inspiration lie?


As I said in the beginning, after I came to ISM, I lost my peace in the whirlwind of uncertainties of all sorts-- teacher activism, academic research, and professional concerns -- alongside my family responsibilities. The more the tension, the more the writing. Writing and publishing happened as a relief, something therapeutic, or self-healing, or restoring the inner balance, in a rather sterile environment.  And, it continues. Any small,  negligible aspect of one’s behavior or attitude, any ordinary or insignificant event, anything anywhere at any time can inspire  me and become an imagery. Even something read or heard or viewed in the past may get connected with something NOW and incite me into a poem.  Writing brief, personal lyrics, especially tanka and haiku, has become a spiritual exercise, helping me pursue what is true, fulfilling and joyous.


Thank you.


*Ashwarya Jha is Team Member, Eat My News .