Tuesday, May 11, 2021

 returning home 

with masks of happiness 

wearied faces 

عودة إلى الوطن_

بأقنعة السعادة نخفي

وجوهاُ مرهقة

•Haiku: R. K. Singh

•Translated by Fatima Tayeh

Friday, May 07, 2021

Setu 🌉 सेतु: Pandemic Poems: Ram Krishna Singh

Setu 🌉 सेतु: Pandemic Poems: Ram Krishna Singh

Pandemic Poems: Ram Krishna Singh

Ram Krishna Singh

Lonely December
aren’t I immune?

antibody test
before boarding

uncertainty continues
no silence helps

virus more mighty
than gods in politics

don’t know if I can meet
children before the year-end

to celebrate birthday
or continue journey

in flurry living
each day a grace


Meditation --
future uncertainties
beyond crisis

new strains, new virus
villains of the  new order
peeking from windows

create new mantras
for life to continue
envision new gods 

Bio-note: Ram Krishna Singh, an Indian English poet, has been writing  for about four decades. A retired   Professor of English  at IIT-ISM in Dhanbad, he has published 46 books, including 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), Tainted With Prayers/Contaminado con oraciones (English/Spanish, 2019), Silencio: Blanca desconfianza: Silence: White distrust (Spanish/English, 2021), and A Lone Sparrow (English/Arabic, 2021).  More details on https://pennyspoetry.fandom.com/wiki/R.K._Singh



AVALANCHE and CLAY DREAMS translated into Arabic





 Time's wrinking fingers

 trivialise the sun and snow

in a crooked land


I see history crippled

with midnight dyspnoea

the green umbrella


hosts disaster:

the avalanche waits on its shoulders

the wound opens 


--R K Singh


قصيدة للشاعر الهندي الحديث
"رام كريشنا سينغ "
"أرى حكاية كسيحة "
ترجمة مجاهد مصطفى
"أصابع الزمن تجعدنا
تجعل الشمس والثلج أكثر ابتذالا
في أرض ملتوية
ارى حكاية معطلة
مع عسر تنفس الليل
المظلة خضراء
كارثة الضيوف
انهيار ثلجي ينتظر فوق الأكتاف
جرح ينفتح "
Translated into Arabic by

Mostapha Moujahid, Casablanca, Morocco




They make my face 

ugly in my own sight


what shall I see in the mirror?


there is no beauty

or holiness left

in the naked nation:


the streams flow dark

and the hinges of doors moan

politics of corruption


I weep for its names

and the faces they deface

with clay dreams


--R K Singh


أَحلامُ الطِّينِ
رام كرشنا سينغ (شاعر من الهند)
إِنَّهمْ يجعلونَ وجهيَ قبيحًا
فِي المشهدِ الخاصِّ بِي
ماذَا سأَرى فِي المرآةِ؟
لَا يوجدُ جمالٌ
أَو قداسةٌ مأْثورةٌ
فِي الأُمَّةِ العاريةِ
تتدفَّقُ الجداولُ سوداءَ
وتئنُّ مفاصلُ الأَبوابِ
مِن سياساتِ الفسادِ
إِنَّني أَبكي لأَجلِ أَسمائها
والوجوهِ الَّتي يشوِّهونَها
بأَحلامِ الطِّينِ
ترجمةُ: د. محمَّد حِلمي الرِّيشة
Translated into Arabic by
: Dr. Mohamed Helmy Badminton, Palestine



Saturday, May 01, 2021

My Poems translated into Chinese


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

GIEWEC Poetry Evening with Bashabi Fraser, K. Srilata and R.K. Singh

Monday, April 26, 2021

Basudhara Roy interviews R K Singh in Poetcrit, July-December 2020


Basudhara Roy


Interview with Poet R.K. Singh




BR: Sir, you have had an illustrious career as an academician and poet, spanning

more than four decades. Could you please offer a summary of your career for our readers?

RKS: I am born, raised and educated in Varanasi. The free spirit of the city still flows in my blood. After completing my post-graduation from BHU in 1972, I left my  home to work in different places such as Pulgaon (Maharastra), Lucknow, New Delhi, Deothang (East Bhutan), and finally landing in Dhanbad, which became my karmabhoomi for four decades. Indian School of Mines (now IIT), Dhanbad, even if I didn’t like it nor did I expect to stay here for a long time, ultimately gave me my identity both in academics and Indian English Writing: I became ‘Dhanbad wale R.K.Singh’—as Lecturer from 1976 to Professor (Higher Academic Grade) till 31 December 2015. I think I am recognized for my contribution to English LanguageTeaching, especially for Science and Technology, and Indian English Writing, especially for poetry and haiku.

I have published more than 160 research articles, 175 book reviews, and 46 books, including 20 collections of poems. I am anthologized in over 190 books and my poems have been translated into Italian, French, Spanish, Romanian, Albanian,

Crimean Tatar, Arabic, Farsi, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Irish, Serbian, Croatian, Slovene, Bulgarian, German, Greek, Portuguese, Esperanto, Hindi, Punjabi, Kannada, Tamil, and Bangla.

About 80 critical essays on my poetry have been published by various Indian and foreign scholars. Various critics have reflected on my works in books including New Indian English Poetry: An Alternative Voice: R.K.Singh (ed. I.K.Sharma,

2004), R.K.Singh’s Mind And Art: A Symphony of Expressions (ed. Rajni Singh, 2011), Critical Perspectives on the Poetry of R.K.Singh, D.C.Chambial and I.K.Sharma (ed. K.V.Dominic, 2011), Anger in Contemporary Indian English Poetry(Vijay Vishal, 2014), and Sensitivity and Cultural Multiplicity in Recent Indian English Poetry (VVB Ramarao, 2015). Several books by P C K Prem, R S Tiwary, D C Chambial, C L Khatri, P Raja, G D Barche, Datish Kumar, Vijay Kumar Roy, Gautam Karmakar, and others have also notably discussed my poetry. Almost all my poetic work is available on the internet.


BR: What drew you to poetry, among all the varied genres of writing?

RKS: Can’t say. Poetry writing happened naturally from my boyhood. Initially I started writing in Hindi, with some encouragement in journalistic writing, short stories, and poems here and there, but it gave me no satisfaction. I started writing

Dr. Basudhara Roy, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Karim City College,Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, India. Email: basudhara.roy@gmail.com. web: https://basudhararoy.com/

Poetcrit 33.2 (July-December 2020):64 ___________________________________________________________________________________

poems in English after passing B.A. It happened when I had opportunities to read a lot and felt that I too could write poems. But it took years to become publishable. I didn’t try any other genre because I had no free time to sit quietly and

attempt something else on a sustained basis. Moreover, I had no patience for a long work. A poem would happen anytime, anywhere, from toilet to bedroom and from meeting to classroom. My passion for the genre has survived. 

BR: How do you look at or experience the relationship between poetry and language?

How do you feel the language of poetry differs from that of prose?

RKS: We all have something to say, and we say it using words that communicate. If as teachers we practice language as communication, poetry too is communication. As poets we seek to communicate whatever incites us, or moves us to say. Our individual difference lies in saying it, in our way of saying, in our style of communicating, in our language form and contexts, in the pragmatics of our poetic communication. We negotiate our shared contexts as well as contextual disparitiesembedded in our awareness and attitude.

We use language differently in poetry and prose. Poets have a unique verbal pattern, rhythm, and way of making meaning in poetry. The liberty they take with language cannot be taken in prose.


For instance, when we explore our ‘self’, or reflect on who we are, or what it means to us as men, women or ungendered souls, we become aware of our constant tussle between the outer and the inner, the social and the individual, the public and

the private. Sometimes we may have clarity with precision, and sometimes we may be confused with a variety of options. One may raise an issue, or ask a question, but refrain from answering or providing a solution. One may remain ambiguous. I enjoy ‘ambiguity’ (cf. William Empson) and possibilities of different meanings in my poetic compositions, take liberty with the Standard English, use enjambment, use no punctuations, give no titles, try to sound different from others in my metaphors, thought and style, and try to leave plenty of scope for readers to interpret my poems differently. All that I do in my poems is not permitted in prose, which is logical and linear. The poetic effect is different. The characteristic properties of a poetic thought, its verbal form and value, its sociosemiotic process, and its reading experience is different from what it is in prose.

BR: You have written a rich volume of poetry in the haiku and tanka forms. Could you throw light on the freedom and limitations associated with these forms?

RKS: I have been fascinated by the richness and diversity of haiku writing ever since I read Ezra Pound’s brief poems, or his rendering of the Japanese hokku-like image poems, which, as I understood later, is essentially trying to communicate the

experience of a moment. Haiku interested me for trying to record the image of the thing outward and objective, and/or its transformation inward and subjective; the


Poetcrit 33.2 (July - December 2020):65 _____________________________________________________

emotional complex in an instant of time, or what has been called as the experience of the “momentness of a moment” or capturing the ‘aha’ experience. It is emotionally very satisfying and elevating when a three-liner produces an image. If practiced as serious poetry, haiku can help develop ones spirituality.


Tanka is essentially a brief lyric in five lines, an extension of the three-line haiku, if you like. Love is at is core. A good haiku or tanka must be sensuous, without excluding metaphor, allegory, allusion, symbolism, wordplay, pun etc, for the readers to connect.

 While in earlier poems I used the haiku and tanka forms as stanzas, in later poems these appear as independent units, complete in themselves, even as I might have tried to thematically put many of them together as haiku and tanka sequences.In fact, when I was in search of a ‘form’ for my poems, I discovered haiku and tanka nearer my aesthetics. I had already found ‘brevity’, and haiku had also provided ‘texture’ to many of my regular free verse poems. Haiku and tanka suit me because my poetic mood is short-lived, and I prefer to write short personal lyrics, now using short-long-short 3-liners or short-long-short-long-long 5-liners with native content and experience. I emphasize this because the form is now adapted worldwide, according one the freedom to write from within their own personal, social, and cultural contexts rather than the Japanese, American or English contexts that we, as students of Literature are familiar with. Many of my haiku and tanka have Indian contents (‘kigo’ and all that) in typical Indian English (cf. Braj B Kachru on Indian English). The quality of imagination changes.

Now I come to limitations of haiku. One tends to be repetitive and slave to the form in their attempt to produce an excellent verse. In fact compressed verse writing with limited focus may affect their regular poetry practices. While genuine haiku

writing may be spiritually elevating, but slowly one may also end up in silence, with a long meditative, or dried-up, imagination. I don’t know if writing haiku too much and too often, besides being self-limiting, could also be self-defeating.


BR: Much of your poetry revolves around the fate of human relationships in a rapidly changing world. How do you perceive this theme? What other themes would you consider central to your oeuvre? 

RKS: As I said earlier, poetry happens to me naturally and conveniently. I don’t write on a particular theme in a planned way. At a given point of time, something may poetically move me and a poem starts taking shape in the mind. What follows

is the response to or exposure of social attitudes, morality, hypocrisy that degenerate human relationship. On a positive note, it could also be a celebration of the relationship. I am frank and reveal what others conceal. What matters to me most is honesty to self. In my social vision, love of the self through exploration of physical relationships, concerns and roles, is basic to love of the divine. I suspect my sex

Poetcrit 33.2 (July - December 2020) : 66

metaphors have been misunderstood in characterization of my poetry. Nature, love, irony, complexity of urban life, human sufferings, degradation of relationship, growing apathy, degenerating politics, rise of fundamentalism, prejudices, loneliness,

inner mindscape, and spiritual search, which is also a search for the ‘whole’ in quotidian life, are some of the other aspects of my poetry to be explored. 

BR: The popularity of poetry has resurfaced strongly these days. What would you say about the great volumes of poetry one comes across on social media frequently?

RKS: It’s good that so many people are now writing and publishing on the social media. Social media as also small journals and magazines play a big role in enriching our literary culture. In fact social media today provide a democratic space for

everyone to share their experience. So many people have so much to share, and everyone aspires to be noticed for their expression in words. They all collaborate and contribute to the 21st century culture of being free, without any boundaries,control, or censorship.

BR: Plenty of young people are now showing promise in writing poetry. However, when it comes to getting their work published, they experience disenchantment with poetry at several levels. Could you comment upon the publishing scenario for creative writing in general and for poetry in particular, in our country today?

RKS: Self-publishing, e-publishing, blogs, and e-journals are some of the options available to every aspiring writer. One can go in for these to be visible to readership worldwide. However, with high printing and distribution cost, print publication of

poetry scenario has increasingly become disappointing, especially as there are more poets writing than readers willing to buy books. Then, the apathy of literary academia and media is also a serious problem: they hardly promote new voices thathave no contacts with the deans of “back-slapping bands,” as one of my friends says. Furthermore, the decline in reading and book buying habit is something poets can do little about, except personally trying to promote their traditionally publishedbook, even if ‘traditional’ publishing without spending one’s own hard-earned money is nearly impossible. There are very few responsible editors, publishers and academics with commitment to discovery or promotion of promising poets and writers. This is a major factor for ‘continuance’ or ‘recycling’ of research on the ‘same’ poets and novelists in IWE. Change in attitude, of English teaching faculty and researchers, is necessary for change in publishing scenario. 

BR: What would be your advice to interested, aspiring, and struggling poets?

RKS: I am no one to advise, because every aspiring poet, with practice, can discover their own ‘taste’, find their own ‘voice’, write in their own ‘style’. They need to be themselves’ rather than to be like ‘others’ they read as students. Till they find their own ‘rhythm’ in keeping with their innate nature, or sensibility, they should keep reading other contemporary poets writing in different parts of the world, if possible,

Poetcrit 33.2 (July - December 2020) : 67

in different languages, or translations. Since maturity of creativity takes time, each publishing success should motivate them to do better, rather than to look fo recognition. Sooner or later, somebody will notice their excellence, so keep reading

and writing.

BR: What is your opinion of the value of poetry in today’s world?

RKS: Reading and writing poetry refines taste, creates awareness, makes one think. It may not change the world we live in or our state of affairs, but it has a subtle impact on our mind, mental nature, or sensitivity. That’s why it continues to survive,

despite technological revolution, and people everywhere are drawn to it.


BR: You have published countless books, written in a large variety of forms, on a large number of themes, and wear several feathers in your cap. What do you look upon as the next destination in your journey as a poet?

RKS: Since I have no academic ambition, pressure, or compulsion for research and publication (now that I am retired), I concentrate on promotion of my poetry. I must reach out to a wider audience. Since I have been international in my

attitude and values from my early years, I won’t like to die as a stranger or a mere Indian, politically speaking, but as a poet belonging to the whole world. With whatever little recognition I have, my last few publications have been a small steptowards this high ambition. These include I Am No Jesus and Other Selected Poems, Tanka and Haiku (English/Crimean Tatar, Romania, 2014), Growing Within (English/Romanian, Romania, 2017), God Too Awaits Light (California, 2017),Tainted With Prayers (English/Spanish, Colombia, 2019), and There is No Paradise and Other Selected Poems Tanka and Haiku (Mauritius, 2019), besides publication of several poems online and in various journals in different languages. I have also made almost all of my published books available on the internet to facilitate wider reading and research. I intend to pursue my poetic career like this, with bilingual publications, and look forward to receiving support from friends and well-wishers.

Thank you.

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