Poetry by Yuyutsu Sharma, from A Blizzard in my Bones: New York Poems
Artwork by Phil Padwe
“Poetry Reading, 6 p.m.,” read the sign taped outside the doorway of the Bethune Street townhouse where Otis Kidwell Burger, 93, has lived for nearly 60 years.
Inside, from a rocker cushioned with red velvet, Ms. Kidwell Burger presided over the dozen or so poets gathered in her parlor, a cozy haven with Oriental rugs, a working fireplace and shelves of old books and general clutter.
Ms. Kidwell Burger, a writer and sculptor, lives with her two cats in the 1836 building that she and her then-husband, the late literary agent Knox Burger, bought in 1959. Its upper floors served as a rooming house, with rooms starting at $8 per week, she said.
“It was full of strange folks,” she said.
The room next to the magician was rented as a writing space by the author and activist Jane Jacobs, who worked on her seminal book “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” there, Ms. Kidwell Burger said.
“Jane lived around the corner on Hudson Street, but she had a house full of teenagers and it was quieter here,” said Ms. Kidwell Burger, who joined forces with Ms. Jacobs in the ’60s to resist projects threatening the small-town character of the neighborhod
“I said to her, ‘Is there any way we can stop this?’” Ms. Kidwell Burger recalled. “She leaped onto the stage and pulled the stenographer’s notes from the machine and was immediately arrested.”
“It hit the papers and brought attention to this stupid plan and people thought better of it,” she said.
Ms. Kidwell Burger long ago cleared out the rooming house operation upstairs but continued to rent out two upper floors. During the ’80s, the actress Jennifer Grey was a tenant, so Matthew Broderick was often around, and other young celebrities.
“I remember Madonna sitting on my stoop,” said Ms. Kidwell Burger, who lived as a child at the top of Todt Hill in Staten Island. She was a zoology major at Cornell University and settled afterward in Greenwich Village.
She and her husband hobnobbed with writers like Norman Mailer and Kurt Vonnegut, a family friend who set part of his novel, “Mother Night,” at the Bethune Street townhouse.
Ms. Kidwell Burger raised two daughters, made and sold her sculptures, and wrote several books, as well as poetry, science fiction and book reviews for numerous magazines.
Her latest book came out this year “Cats, Love & Other Surprises,” illustrated by her daughter Katherine Wilcox Burger. She has a docket of public readings lined up.
Ms. Kidwell Burger, who turns 94 on Nov. 9, writes on a Smith Corona Sterling typewriter at a foldout desk. Her assistant then reads the work and types it into a computer.
Ms. Kidwell Burger is still an outspoken activist. She does not care for President Donald J. Trump, and she has been known to walk the neighborhood holding a cardboard sign with the message, “Nasty Man, Lock Him Up.”
She is also territorial. After flowers were recently stolen from her sidewalk planter, she taped a warning note “to the creep who keeps stealing these plants.”
Her Sunday evening invitation-only salons have a Bohemian feel. Many of the poets date back to the Village in the ’50s, and Ms. Kidwell Burger can reminisce about longshoremen working the piers and seaman living in local rooming houses and frequenting salty bars. She can recall freight trains clattering by on the tracks that are now part of the High Line.
“Now it’s one of the more expensive places in the city to live,” she said. “The billionaires are pushing out the millionaires.”
On a recent Sunday night, part of the reading was devoted to a cache of 45 sonnets that Ms. Kidwell Burger wrote some 50 years ago and then left in a drawer until dusting them off recently.
“They’re going to start comparing you to Edna St. Vincent Millay,” said Michael Graves, a poet and salon guest that night.
Mr. Graves then read a poem of his about an undocumented immigrant living in New York. Erik La Prade read his poem about the poet W.H. Auden, who lived on St. Marks Place in the East Village.
Shelley Seccombe read her poem “Interlude,” which ruminated on the challenges and rewards of negotiating New York’s alternate-side parking regulations. Yuyutsu Sharma, a Nepalese poet who treks in the Himalayas, read his poem about earning the right to be called a New Yorker.
Of course, as the old Village’s radical and political roots give way to the forces of soaring real estate, Ms. Kidwell Burger’s townhouse, which she bought for $30,000, is now appraised at $12 million, she said.
“People are constantly calling and leaving me notes asking if I want to sell,” said Ms. Kidwell Burger. She’s not interested. “The good lord isn’t making any more Village townhouses.”
Saturday, Oct 21, at 6 pm to 9 pm Brooklyn Launch of Yuyutsu Sharma’s Eternal Snow and A Workshop with the Himalayan Poet, Hosted by Yoga Sole, Windsor Terrace Brooklyn – 254 Windsor Place – Brooklyn, NY 11215 Tel: 718.541.1382 , Reading$ 10pp Workshop $25pp Reading included) www.yogasole.com Host : Evalena Leedy email@example.com
Monday, Oct 23, at 7:00 pm: Yuyutsu Sharma Reading at Boston Launch of Eternal Snow with Timothy Gager at Out of the Blue Gallery, in the Stone Soup Poetry Series, at 541 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge. Host: Chad Parenteau https://outoftheblueartgallery.com/
Saturday, November 11, Noon to 2.30 pm: Yuyutsu Sharma Reading and workshop Berkeley Public Library, Hosted by Berkeley Public Library, 2090 Kittredge St, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA Host: Isobel Schneider, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org/ (Details to be confirmed soon)
Monday, November 13, at 7 pm until 9 pm: Yuyutsu Sharma Reading as Feature Poet at Poetry Express Berkeley. Hosted by Poetry Express Berkeley, at Himalayan Flavors, 1585 University Avenue, Nearest Cross St. California, Host: Jim Barnard, email@example.com, www.poetryexpressed.com
Tuesday, November 14, at 6:30 pm, Yuyutsu Sharma reading at The Long Island Launch of Eternal Snow, Port Jefferson Free Library, 631 473-0022 100 Thompson Street Port Jefferson, NY, 11777, 631-473-0022 Fax: 631-473-2903 firstname.lastname@example.org Hosted by Kat Lamberg
Saturday, November 18, at 2 pm until 4 pm: Yuyutsu Sharma Reading with David Austell & Barbara Novack at Oceanside Library 30 Davison Ave, Oceanside, NY 11572, USA. Hosted Peter V. Dugan, 516-287-5239 http://www.oceansidelibrary.com/
‘A 320-page poetry anthology, entitled, Eternal Snow, dedicated to the internationally renowned poet Yuyutsu Sharma has just been published. Subtitled as ‘A Worldwide Anthology of One Hundred Twenty-Five Poetic Intersections with Himalayan Poet Yuyutsu RD Sharma’ the book explores the interactions, collisions, and intersections of over 125 poets from four Continents with the Himalayan poet.
Edited by distinguished American litterateurs, David Austell of Columbia University, New York, and Kathleen D Gallagher, of University of Akron, Ohio, the mammoth anthology is “a testament to the power of words to inspire, encourage, and heal across vastly disparate cultures and distant places.”
Yuyutsu Sharma is a Himalayan poet whose works have gained a global recognition. This anthology, in particular, is a homage by poets who’ve interacted with Sharma during his legendary world tours. The poems reflect praise, appreciation, and gratitude to the mountain poet, Yuyutsu Sharma.
Not only poets, the book contains poems written after meeting or listening to Sharma’s Himalayan recitals by people from various walks of life including teachers, scientists, social workers, photographers, priests and Yoga teachers.
“When you first meet Himalayan poet Yuyutsu RD Sharma,” says, James Ragan, Professor Emeritus of English from the University of Southern California, “you are taken immediately by his quiet passion and reverence for the art and purpose of poetry, which, when taking the stage, he transforms into a voice that crosses continents and soars like the snow in wind that permeates “the solemn silence of sacred sounds” in his beloved Nepal. Through his intercession, poems become chants of eternality.”
Ragan adds, “He has sought the same in the poets represented in his anthology “Eternal Snow,” a hundred voices who, like him, give reverence to the power of words in translating truth through passion into a universal poetic of sacred sounds.”
In the Preface to the Anthology, Professor David Austell, opines, “Yuyu has touched the hearts and minds of a multitude of people and writers around the world, as evidenced in this wonderful book… It is my delight and honor to be among such a cloud of witnesses.”
“No matter where the poets live, from a small city to large, to countryside or village,” points out Kathleen Gallagher, editor of the Anthology, “Yuyutsu’s poetry and teachings transform writers from across the world, allowing them to reach into their own writing dreams and visions.
“Indeed, each poet no matter his or her walk in life, whether professional poet, performer, professor, minister, or word-loving hairstylist who scribbles down thoughts about her love for her dying mother,” Gallagher discerns, ”all have discovered his or her own creative awakenings when encountering Yuyutsu Sharma’s work. Yuyutsu’s work has far-reaching effects in personal transformation.”
In addition to scores of literary luminaries like David Ray, James Ragan, Ravi Shankar, Eileen O’Connor, Gorka Lasa, Pascale Petit, Elena Karina Byrne, Chuck Joy, Amarendra Khatua, Ruth Danon, Tim Tomlinson, Verónica Aranda, John Clarke, David Axelrod, Tony Barnstone, Art Good Times, Robin Metz, Barbara Novack, Hélène Cardona, Irene O’ Garden, Carolyn Wells, Diane Frank, Bill Wolak, ‘Eternal Snow’ is also special as it contains nearly a dozen Nepali poets including Bishwa Sigdel, Arun Budhathoki, Revegya Joshi, Shreejana Bhandari, Barun Bajracharya and Civa Bhusal.
At a local poetry gathering in Kathmandu when Nepali poet Arun Budhathoki last met Yuyutsu, he said, “With the publication of this book, I can finally pause and take a deep breath.” He added, “It’s humbling to know I have been able to speak to the world’s most sanguine voices during my decade long ramblings across the far flung continents. Not all poets have the fortune to get touched so meaningfully in their life time as I have. Now I finally can rest in peace.”
The book will be launched in New York at Yoga Sole, Brooklyn on Oct 21, 7:30 pm.
Nirala News in association with News Agencies
APRIL 22 – 23, 2017 | USC CAMPUs
Also that day…
Poetry Workshop with Yuyutsu Sharma
Celebrating the Himalayas, Touching the Soul of God in Your Own Sacred Place with ideas about writing, poems, stories and writing prompts.
Thursday, April 6, at 7 pm to 9 pm The Red Room Reading Series: Yuyutsu Sharma with Ailish Hopper, Philip McLaren and Sheila Kohler, Hosted by The New York Writers Workshop, 85 E 4th St 3rd Floor, New York, New York 10003 The NYWW Red Room Reading Series takes place on the first Thursday of every month, Host : Tim Tomlinson http://www.newyorkwritersworkshop.com/
Saturday, April 29, 7 pm: Blue Light at Think Round Series. Yuyutsu Sharma reads poetry at Think Round Fine Arts, 2140 Bush Street, Suite 1B, San Francisco CA 94115 (between Fillmore and Webster. Gallery entrance is on the driveway. (Street parking, or you can park in the garage at Japantown, which is close to the gallery.)
Saturday, April 29, 7 pm: 10 am to 4 pm: Workshop with Yuyutsu Sharma at “The Pink Palace” — home to Diane Frank & Erik Levins People interested from your list can send me an email: GeishaPoet@aol.com.
Sunday, May 7 at 3 pm at Molloy College presents Yuyutsu Sharma and Contributors to Nassau County Poet Laureate Review, Vol. IV in the Reception Room, Hosted by Barbara Novack Writer-in-Residence, Molloy College 1000 Hempstead Avenue P.O. Box 5002 Rockville Centre, NY 11571-5002 516.323.3273 email@example.com
Monday, May 8 at 8 pm: Yuyutsu R.D. Sharma reading in Saturn Poetry Series with Su Polo, Jay Chollick and the Taurus Poets Party at Shades of Green Pub & Restaurant 125 East 15 Street, NYC Between 3rd Ave. & Irving Place… Train: 6NRQL to 14th Street Union Square, walk one block north Host: Su Polo www.supolo.com
Recipient of fellowships and grants from The Rockefeller Foundation, Ireland Literature Exchange, Trubar Foundation, Slovenia, The Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature and The Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature, Yuyutsu RD Sharma is a distinguished poet and translator.
He has published nine poetry collections including, A Blizzard in my Bones: New York Poems (Nirala, 2016), Quaking Cantos: Nepal Earthquake Poems, (Nirala, 2016), Milarepa’s Bones, 33 New Poems, (Nirala, 2012), Nepal Trilogy, Photographs and Poetry on Annapurna, Everest, Helambu & Langtang (www.Nepal-Trilogy.de, Epsilonmedia, Karlsruhe, 2010), a 900-page book with renowned German photographer, Andreas Stimm, Space Cake, Amsterdam, & Other Poems from Europe and America, (2009, Indian reprint 2014) and Annapurna Poems, 2008, Reprint, 2012, 2017). He has translated and edited several anthologies of contemporary Nepali poetry in English and launched a literary movement, Kathya Kayakalpa (Content Metamorphosis) in Nepali poetry.
Two books of his poetry, Poemes de l’ Himalayas (L’Harmattan, Paris) and Poemas de Los Himalayas (Cosmopoeticia, Cordoba, Spain) have appeared in French and Spanish respectively.
Widely traveled author, he has read his works at several prestigious places including Poetry Café, London, Seamus Heaney Center for Poetry, Belfast, New York University, New York, The Kring, Amsterdam, P.E.N, Paris, Knox College, Illinois, Whittier College, California, Baruch College, New York, WB Yeats’ Center, Sligo, Gustav Stressemann Institute, Bonn, Rubin Museum, New York, Cosmopoetica, Cordoba, Spain, Irish Writers’ Centre, Dublin, Columbia University, New York, The Guardian Newsroom, London, Trois Rivieres Poetry Festival, Quebec, Arnofini, Bristol, Borders, London, Slovenian Book Days, Ljubljana, Royal Society of Dramatic Arts, London, Gunter Grass House, Bremen, GTZ, Kathmandu, International Poetry Festival, Granada, Nicaragua, Nehru Center, London, March Hare, Newfoundland, Canada, Gannon University, Erie, Frankfurt Book Fair, Frankfurt, Indian International Center, New Delhi, and Villa Serbelloni, Italy.
He has held workshop in creative writing and translation at Queen’s University, Belfast, University of Ottawa and South Asian Institute, Heidelberg University, Germany, University of California, Davis, Sacramento State University, California and New York University, New York.
His works have appeared in Poetry Review, Chanrdrabhaga, Sodobnost, Amsterdam Weekly, Indian Literature, Irish Pages, Delo, Modern Poetry in Translation, Exiled Ink, Iton77, Little Magazine, The Telegraph, Indian Express and Asiaweek.
The Library of Congress has nominated his book of Nepali translations entitled Roaring Recitals; Five Nepali Poets as Best Book of the Year 2001 from Asia under the Program, A World of Books International Perspectives.
Yuyutsu’s own work has been translated into German, French, Italian, Slovenian, Hebrew, Spanish and Dutch. He edits Pratik, A Magazine of Contemporary Writing and contributes literary columns to Nepal’s leading daily, The Himalayan Times.
He was at the Poetry Parnassus Festival organized to celebrate London Olympics 2012 where he represented Nepal and India. Yuyutsu is the Visiting Poet at Columbia University, New York and has just returned from Argentina where had had gone to participate in International Poetry Festival, Buenos Aires.
Half the year, he travels and reads all over the world to read from his works and conducts creative writing workshop at various universities in North America and Europe but goes trekking in the Himalayas when back home.
2017-02-14 09:42 Kathmandu, Feb 14:
The Amity University in Haryana, India has conferred the title of Honorary Professorship on Nepali litterateur Yuyutsu RD Sharma during the varsity’s third Convocation Ceremony.
Founding President and Chancellor Ashok K Chauhan, incumbent Chancellor Aseem K Chauhan and Vice Chancellor PB Sharma jointly bestowed the honour on Sharma for ‘unwavering commitment to the pursuit of excellence in the field of English poetry and extraordinary qualities of creativity’.
The Amity University stated that he conferred the honour on litterateur Sharma for his extraordinary achievements and contribution to the field of English literature and creative writing.
Sharma, who is known as the Himalayan Poet, has penned numerous poems in Nepali and English languages, essay collections, translation and other write-ups. \
–RSS ( National News Agency, Nepal)