Upcoming Special Pratik Issue : The Ghosts of Paradise — Special Los Angeles Double Issue

Editor: Yuyutsu Sharma  Guest Editor : Tony Barnstone Summer/Fall 2021 Vol. XVII No. 2-3, 2021 ISSN 2615-998

EIGHTY EIGHT POETS FROM LOS ANGELES  

Alexis Rhone Fancher  Alice Pero   Alicia Vogl Saenz   Ambika Talwar   Amin Esmaielpour   Amy Uyematsu   André Naffis-Sahely   Ariel Horton   Arthur Vogelsang   Bilal Shaw   Bill Mohr   Blas Falconer   Brenda Yates   Brendan Constantine   Caley O’Dwyer   Carine Topal   Carol Muske-Dukes  Carol V. Davis   Cathy Colman   Cati Porter   Cece Peri   Cecilia Woloch    Charles Harper Webb   Charlotte Davidson   Charlotte Innes    Deena Metzger   Dennis McGonagle   Dorothy Barresi   Douglas Manuel   Elizabeth Iannaci   Elline Lipkin   Elena Karina Byrne    Frank X. Gaspar   Gail Wronsky   Genevieve Kaplan   Grant Hier   Gregory Brooker   Hélène Cardona   Ian Randall Wilson   James Ragan   Jeanette Clough Jerry Garcia   Jim Natal   John Menaghan   John Brantingham   John Fitzgerald   Judith Pacht   Judy Kronenfeld   Karen Kevorkian   Kate Gale    Kevin Durkin   Kim Dower   Laurel Ann Bogen   Lavina Blossom   Leilani Hall   Leslie Monsour   Lois P. Jones   Lory Bedikian   Luis J. Rodriguez   Lynne Thompson   Mariano Zaro   Marjorie Becker   Mark Irwin   Marsha de la O   Martha Ronk   Mary Fitzpatrick   Maurya Simon   Melissa Kerry   Micah Chatterton   Michael C. Ford   Michelle Bitting   Mike Sonksen Patty Seyburn   Ralph Angel   Ramón García   Rick Bursky   Ron Koertge   Sarah Maclay Scott Noon Creley   Shannon Phillips   Sherman Pearl   Sholeh Wolpé   Stephanie Brown   Susan McCabe   Suzanne Lummis   Terry Wolverton   Timothy Steele   Tony Barnstone   Vandana Khanna   William Archila   Yvonne M. Estrada   Zaria Branch

ESSAYS BY

Dana Gioia : Los Angeles as a Cultural Home, Tom Lutz Coming to LA: Images of the Migrant City  with an assist by Juan Felipe Herrera, Elena Karina Byrne :HOME, HOME, HOME & Elizabeth Iannaci : Angelenos Keep Watching the Detective

ART BY

 Alexandra Eldridge, Amin Mansouri, Caley O’Dwyer, David Sloan

Upcoming Nirala Book News: Preparing the Apology : Poems By American Poet, Mike Graves

Preparing the Apology : Poems by Mike Graves ISBN : 978-81-951915-0-5 2021 pp 88 Demy. CoverArt by Vivian Tsao

Mike Graves evokes empathy and in so doing, rises to a transpersonal plane. His is a great gift, speaking of people in poems that become poetry about all our own lives. Here’s a book to take personally–a book to enjoy and share.

– Dr. David B. Axelrod, Poet Laureate, author of All Vows

Mike Graves’s longstanding and outstanding contributions as an arts administrator, notably the series of readings he has masterminded, have been invaluable. In his new book,  Preparing the Apology, he extends his previous contributions as a poet in his own right through moving dialogues between mythological and spiritual worlds on the one hand and the gritty details of everyday life on the other. All these worlds are evoked through subtle sound effects and images like one of my favorites in the book, “ You might pound on the doors of his words / While the meaning lay like a drunkard in stupor / Behind them forever.”

– Heather Dubrow, John D. Boyd, SJ Chair in  Poetic Imagination, Fordham University & Author, Lost and Found Departments, Poetry Collection

Michael Graves writes startling poems employing arresting imagery that is precise yet expansive. He’s the master of presenting his desires, doubts, dreams, and dreads in exact, deliberate language that is always working towards a deeper clarity, a “stepping inward,” as he remarks in one of his poems. In Preparing the Apology, Graves crystalizes the heightened moments in life: his fears, longings, dead ends, conflicts, betrayals, and missed opportunities, offering “generous praise” for all outsiders, especially the dispossessed, misfits, and washouts, who are always winking from the shadows beyond midnight of city streets, park benches, and empty churches that comprise the backgrounds of these poems. Out of his never-ending argument with death and God emerges Graves’ most poignant revelations concerning the Sisyphean nature of our struggle as human beings in poems that neither provide facile answers nor useless prayers. These poems are self-effacing, serious, urgent. They risk everything; their honesty is exacting and terrifying. They express the great arc of human life from exultation in ecstasy to desolation in grief. But, above all, they find redemption through loving acts!

– Bill Wolak, poet, collagist, photographer, author, Love Poems the Hands: Selected Love Poems

Michael Graves’ poems in Preparing the Apology combine an unflinching look into the darkest corners of life, and a kind of caustic wit in response to what the poet finds there.  The title poem illustrates Graves’ dark humor: the limp “apology”, thrice repeated, contrasts hilariously with the lover’s warmth and energy, with the evocation of lust and lust spent, a sly kind of self-awareness.  The dark visions of “Sisyphus Hill” – the terror at the “Hawk-Father” and the bleak despair of the myth – are immediately countered by the perfect aptness of the poet-Sisyphus “Lugging a tombstone / To the top.”  There is a kind of resignation here, but also mysteries both sacred and profane – Judas forgiving Christ, someone on the way to work suddenly “Expecting to fly”, the poet seeking “A sense of grateful wonder” – as well as precise and economical portrayals of people (“Dusk”), place (“Departure”), and sensations like a cat’s purr (“A Graceful Celebrant”).  And there is much more here – this collection repays repeated reading.

– Chris Brandt, Americsn poet and translator

Reading Michael Graves’ poetry brought me back to my days in college, studying poets and poetry, wishing I could master the art that flowed from the WORDs. Mr. Graves has accomplished this feat with his work. His use of precise language creates images bringing the reader into his observations, memories, and introspections portrayed in snapshots of life. He wields his art well, saying the most with the least. Readers will find his poems deep, thought provoking, and at a measured pace. Poets, students of poetry, and lovers of poetry will find Michael Graves’ Preparing the Apology a remarkable read.

– Peter V. Dugan, Nassau County Poet Laureate 2017-19

Michael Graves is a poet old and young, old and new.  He has a past, a memory, a sharp eye and a good ear, a thing about snakes and a foxy way with rhyme, an American’s voice, an Irish-American’s family issues, and an Irish-American’s lapsed Catholic’s history of uneasy commerce with guilt and the Four Last Things

– John Gordon, Professor Emeritus University of Connecticut

Written over a quarter of a century, these poems reflect a consistent poetic voice and the best of Michael Graves.  He balances metaphor and theme to provide a powerful and convincing perspective on the perduring pyschological struggles of being.

– A. Nicholas Fargnoli, President, The James Joyce Society, Professor of Religion and English, Molloy College

Michael Graves’ poetry seems to me to be genuine. I say that cautiously, for though lots of talented people write verse, perhaps even poetry there are only few who qualify as genuine literary artists with a strong sense of commitment to their role as poets. I think that Michael Graves is one of them.

– Maurice Beebe, Founding Editor, The Journal of Modern Literature

Michael Graves is the author of four chapbooks, two of which are digital, and three full-length collections. The chapbooks are Outside St. Jude’s (R. E. M.,1990), Blatnoy (madhattersreview3.com, 2005), Illegal Border Crosser (Cervena Barva, 2008), and Fifteen Villanelles (Robert Perron.com 2020). The full-length books are Adam and Cain and In Fragility (Black Buzzard, 2006, 2011) and A Prayer for the Less Violent Offenders: Selected Short Poems of Mike Graves (Nirala, 2017). He has published fifteen poems in The James Joyce Quarterly and has read from his “Joycean Poems” to a gathering of the James Joyce Society at the Gotham Book Mark, April 12, 2002. His poem “Apollo to Daphne” appears in Gods and Mortals: Modern Poems on Classical Myths (Oxford, 2001) The Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation awarded him a grant in 2006. He organized the conference, Baptism by Fire: The Work of James Wright at Poets House, NY (March 27, 2004). And he has been coordinating and hosting the Phoenix Reading Series for about twenty years.

Taiwan born, American painter Vivian Tsao has exhibited her oils and pastels at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Butler Institute of American Art, Tenri Cultural Institute, Queens Museum, The National Arts Club and Ceres Gallery in the U.S. She has also exhibited at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts and The National Museum of History in Taiwan. Based in New York, Tsao received an M.F.A. degree in painting from Carnegie Mellon University. A recipient of the Artist-in-Residence grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, her art and writings in both Chinese and English have appeared in books such as Pratik Magazine in Nepal in 2019, 100 New York Painters by Cynthia Dantzic and Paintings by Vivian Tsao published by the National Museum of History.

Vivian Tsao

Upcoming Nirala Book – SOS: Surviving Suicide – a collection of poems that may save a life

SOS: Surviving Suicide: A Collection of Poems that may Save a Life Edited by Dean Stalham Foreword by Carlotta Allum ISBN: 978-81-951915-1-2 Pages 159 Demy

Surviving Suicide is an astonishing collection of poems that delves into often tabooed subject of suicide with its connected mental health issues. It showcases over sixty poets from four continents who pay homage to those who have lost lives and to those who have survived. British poet, art collector and philanthropist Dean Stalham, in collaboration with Stretch Charity,  brings together a very special anthology of survival methods expressed through the medium of poetry. A must read for all those interested in caring, sharing and helping others in their most dire hour of need. This collection offers a rare opportunity to see things connected to suicide from all sides and angles. Many people are and have been touched by suicide in many different ways. This anthology is a testimony to the turbulent times we live in. 

The work that Dean Stalham does is invaluable – he brings to animating the artistic impulses of society’s dispossessed and downtrodden, offering a rare sympathy, he’s been to a place of condescension. He believes passionately in the role art in saving lives, always making good on his promises. His projects in the visual arts, performance and education give people who have lost their way back their dignity, enabling them to move forward.”

–Will Self, celebrated English novelist, journalist, political commentator and television personality, author of Dorian, an Imitation &  Great Apes

Whether they are about, for or by the marginalised, Dean Stalham’s projects and collaborations never fail to pulse with originality and, most of all, passion. This collection of heartfelt verse brings together the unheard and well-known with the common aim of extending a hand, often right through your chest.

–Iain Aitch, distinguished British journalist, author of A Fête Worse Than Death &  We’re British, Innit

This first of its kind collection celebrating life in the times of Pandemic deserves ample applause and attention.  Surviving Suicide shall be treasured as a modern-day survival kit by its readers all over the world.

–Yuyutsu Sharma, renowned Himalayan poet, author of Annapurna Poems and A Blizzard in my Bones: New York Poems,

“The empathic approach Dean uses in these creative initiatives pulls together highly creative people in such a way that it’s compassionate and inspirational. This anthology celebrates his creative energy, a genuinely brilliant work!

–Keith Brymer Jones (Dr of Arts) – Head of design for Make International, and master potter. Television presenter, and Judge on Channel 4 ‘The Great Pottery Throw Down

“Dean had a vision for a collection of work that was not about the poets or the egos of particular artists, but about honest raw responses to a mental health crisis. A book that could  perhaps make somebody think, somebody stop or save a life.”

–Carlotta Allum, Director, Stretch in the Foreword

The SOS Anthology Poets

Ravi Shankar dPart Banu Ercon Danielle Butters Christopher Southgate Roy Barker Benjamin Zephaniah Tim Tomlinson Karen Little Sadie Maskery  Anon Wendy Young Mike Graves Sophie Cameron Alby Stockley Karen Corinne Herceg Eve Mcdougall Megan Garrett-Jones Mat Lloyd Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas Carrie Magness Radna  Martin Head Jason Wisteria Jeremy Reed Anne Casey  Agnes Marton  Suzanne French Pat Leacock  Aka PdLpoet Madeleine F. White Henry Madd Patrick Lyons Rory Paddle Aka Rawbynature David No One  Sam Rapp Agnes Meadows Gil De Ray Simon Miles David Erdos Dave Mankind Gill Fewins Kirsty Alison Judith Mok David Axelrod Bill Wolak James Ragan  Catherine Alice Woods Fern Angel Beattie Amar Aakash Tim Kahl Gerard Beirne Timothy Gager Sandra Yannone Yogesh Patel Anna Halberstadt Megha Sood Patricia Carragon Dariusz Tomasz Lebioda  Amanda Govan John Prastitis Luke Sullivan Yuyutsu Sharma Carlotta Allum Dean Stalham

Dean Stalham is a British artist, poet and writer currently living in Margate in the UK. Since leaving prison Dean has written and produced a number of plays to critical acclaim. Dean has always been a campaigner for the arts and its ability to give people a voice. He founded the charity Art Saves Lives and recently worked with Stretch as a curator and project coordinator creating a platform for Outsider Art. Dean is currently writing a book and is regularly sponsored by the Arts Council in England. Dean is a published poet and this project came from his desire to use the format to say something about people in these difficult times.

Editor Dean Stalham

New Nirala Release : Distinguished Nepalese historian Shreeram Prasad Upadhyaya’s A Short History of Nepal : From Ancient to Modern Times

 

A Short History of Nepal :From Ancient to Modern Times by Shreeram Prasad Upadhyaya ISBN-13 : 978-8182500037 Rs. 595 Pages 259 Demy

Amazon India : https://www.amazon.in/dp/8182500036?ref=myi_title_dp Amazon USA: https://www.amazon.com/dp/8182500036?ref=myi_title_dp

A Short History of Nepal by renowned Nepalese historian Shreeram Prasad Upadhyaya is a comprehensive  and updated account of Nepalese history ranging from Ancient to Modern times. Nepal’s history  is unique and different from the rest of the world. The Gopal dynasty in Nepalese history represents agricultural age of human civilization. Originally, it’s believed  Nepal valley (Kathmandu) was a lake. Manjushri from the north and God Krishna along with other gopals from south made this valley suitable place for human settlement.

Dr. Upadhyaya in a nutshell covers the history of the Gopals, the Kirats and the Lichhavis in ancient period, the Mallas in Medieval period, the Shahs and the Ranas of Modern period along with rulers of the Republic in the contemporary Nepal. In his opinion, the Vedic history has great influence on the Nepalese way of life. The tradition and culture of the people of Nepal had great impact on the formation of civil court and their practices. The Gopal period of Nepal was important in the agricultural development whereas the Kirat period played momentous role in the expansion of trade and industry. The Lichhavi period was popular for moral values and the Medieval period for art and architecture. The modern period of Nepal saw many changes. Prithivinarayan Shah made great contribution by unifying Nepal and the Rana period was significant in the preservation of  national sovereignty and integrity, in spite of its despotic nature. The democratic changes after the fall of atrocious Ranas brought Nepal in touch with the outside world. The continuous struggle and strife of the people of Nepal brought forth the current Republic form of Government. The people of Nepal are keenly watching the activities of Federal, Provincial and local Government with a hope to peace and prosperity ultimately ushers into the world’s youngest republic.

Short History of Nepal is a wonderful book meticulously sketching the major events in an efficient manner, doing the amazing task of introducing the great Himalayan nation to a beginners as well as an expert alike.

Dr. Upadhyaya in a nutshell covers the history of the Gopals, the Kirats and the Lichhavis in ancient period, the Mallas in Medieval period, the Shahs and the Ranas of Modern period along with rulers of the Republic in the contemporary Nepal. In his opinion, the Vedic history has great influence on the Nepalese way of life. The tradition and culture of the people of Nepal had great impact on the formation of civil court and their practices. The Gopal period of Nepal was important in the agricultural development whereas the Kirat period played momentous role in the expansion of trade and industry. The Lichhavi period was popular for moral values and the Medieval period for art and architecture. The modern period of Nepal saw many changes. Prithivinarayan Shah made great contribution by unifying Nepal and the Rana period was significant in the preservation of  national sovereignty and integrity, in spite of its despotic nature. The democratic changes after the fall of atrocious Ranas brought Nepal in touch with the outside world. The continuous struggle and strife of the people of Nepal brought forth the current Republic form of Government. The people of Nepal are keenly watching the activities of Federal, Provincial and local Government with a hope to peace and prosperity ultimately ushers into the world’s youngest republic.

Short History of Nepal is a wonderful book meticulously sketching the major events in an efficient manner, doing the amazing task of introducing the great Himalayan nation to a beginners as well as an expert alike.

Shreeram Prasad Upadhyaya
 

Nirala News: Releasing American poet Carrie Magness Radna’s New Book of Poems, In the Blue Hour

In the Blue Hour : Poems, Carrie Magness Radna ISBN 978-8193936764 Paperback 2021 pp 108 Demy Rs. 495

Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/8193936760?ref=myi_title_dp

In the Blue Hour, the new collection by Carrie Radna, carries the reader across borders (Italy, Egypt, 5th Avenue and 59th Street, NYC), and through musics (Mozart, Brahms, “Rhinestone Cowboy”), into the heart of a speaker engaged in what might be called meditations on blue. Like William Gass’s On Being Blue, and Kate Braverman’s Squandering the Blue, In the Blue Hour dissects numerous kinds of blue—the blue hour, the Blue Grotto, blue Chevrolet, and many kinds of blues—holiday blues, pocket-size blues, typewriter blues. Its lessons can be painful. In “I wear his sadness like a shirt,” the speaker learns that “Loss does not feel like cotton.” But they can be exhilarating, too. “Can we repair the sky?” the poet asks, and answers yes, once we get above the clouds. We live in a world where Buddhas appear alongside monuments to Trump. In the Blue Hour looks hard at that world, sometimes close enough to spit, sometimes far enough away to soar. It’s a good, blue ride.

–Tim Tomlinson, author of This Is Not Happening to You, (stories), Requiem for the Tree Fort I Set on Fire, (poems) and Co-founder, New York Writers Workshop

Carrie Magness Radna is a poet of light and shadow, time and space, inner and outer oceans. Every hour holds years of meaning, and those meanings contain the seeds of their opposites, as a disaster contains all the beauty in the universe: “After lightning struck / the weeping willow, / I saw all the tiny flame-bits / that showered the bark whole / resembling stars … I, covered in ash, was cleansed.” She invites us to walk a path that turns and shifts with the progress of sunlight through trees; sometimes we get turned around, hypnotized by the changing light, but always we are led home by the stars that have grown inside our skin. Always, we know how lucky we are to be alive, to be light: “Floating on a makeshift raft, / but not alone, not dying yet.”

 –Sharon Mesmer, Poet, professor of creative writing at New York University and the New School

In the Blue Hour is a collection of poems about love “stripped raw” but with “honey-sap inside”. Carrie Magness Radna’s voice is both tender and tough as she explores her attachments to a sometimes cruel world, and her poetic techniques are deftly displayed at every emotional pitch. I recommend especially “Purple Things” and “Lily” for their exploration of melancholy, “Music Is an Anodyne” and “Melted Rain” for their trenchant and wistful evocations of passing time, “Dilated at Dark” and “Sarabande” for their depiction of the touch that separates or unites — but all of the verses, whether on music, place (local and world-wide), memory or love, are vibrant and alive.

–Robert Scotto, author of Moondog (winner of 2008 ARSC Award for Best Research, The Independent Publisher Book Awards 2008 Bronze Medal for Biography, an entry in the 2nd edition of The Grove Dictionary of American Music and is the basis of an upcoming 2020 documentary), and poetry collections Journey through India and Nepal (2010) and Imagined Secrets (2019).

Carrie Magness Radna’s In the Blue Hour is a fine book of poetry, which at times sounds like the blues, especially when it sings of the city dwellers, the lines unrushed and precise:

“Streets are now bluer. The windows, colored either in butter or goldenrod, are bleeding their light as mist from architectural honeycombs; The lights from street level explode like hot magma—cars speed on, double time . . .”

It is a book of memory– of parents, lovers, men, women, damaged or lost; of sadness and pleasure, of loneliness and struggle with depression; of a chaotic world on the brink of destruction; a book of longing:

“Man, woman, and those singularly defined,

 we cross the paths to the future primed

 without a road map, without explanation,

 we exist, moving from station to station”

 –Anna Halberstadt, author of Vilnius Diary and Green in a Landscape with Ashes; translator of Nocturnal Fire and Selected Selected (in Russian)

In the Blue Hour is introspective, observant, feminist and playful.  This visual book of poetry paints pictures, like the artists Carrie Magness Radna references throughout, and shies away from nothing: depression, love, loss, love lost, male toxicity, sexuality, and even hangovers.  These poems are playful and have sass; one poem imagines sex with Peter Gabriel and in another, she writes, “I don’t date monsters.”  And, in another she skillfully writes, “Fold me like a burrito in a canoe.” Many of these poems explore something so important, something I wish I read more poems about – depression.  But even when these poems are their bluest, they still have hope.  They still have humor. They still surprise. This is a wonderful book of poetry that explores the complexity of what it means to be human.

 –Chrys Tobey, author of A Woman is a Woman is a Woman is a Woman

Beauty, love, and melancholy are Carrie Magness Radna’s themes. Her soft and gentle voice is elegiac. At their best, her poems present memorable images and metaphors that transcend our tragic limits. She might be called Keatsian in that her best poems convince readers that truth and beauty are one “and all [we] know and need to know.” For example, ‘In the sky,’ a love poem spoken to her partner in the morning, imagines the need to restore the beauty of the blown lights of the heavens. As it starts to move to its conclusion, Radna describes glories of the natural world and the flight of herself and her lover:

            I woke up in the morning fog, sweet and fragrant berry-green;

          …. loose invisible, silver threads were hidden in the queue

            In the sky vast and unending like love should be, …

            Below the sky we could fly in our minds

            And repair the cracks no one else could see.

Impressed by the paradox that the imaginatively true is not the truth of reality a reader might think of the lines of Juan Ramon Jiminez translated by James Wright:

            … how lovely, how lovely

            Truth even if it is not real, how lovely.

–Mike Graves, author of A Prayer for the Less VIOLENT Offenders: The Selected Poems of Mike Graves

In this collection of poems, Carrie Magness Radna slowly turns a kaleidoscope of muted colors offering a palette that changes from bright orange skies to grey moon nights revealing a view of her life and her world as a work in progress. Her stories span the full range of human tragedy and foibles but the heart of the book lies in her personal story. The colors of her story are varying shades of blue that capture a lingering melancholia as she examines her life choices and their consequences. She paints a penetrating portrait of a life in question and the pursuit of honest answers. A fascinating glimpse at the inner workings of a creative mind’s process of self-discovery and revelation through poetry. A powerful and illuminating read.

– Phillip Giambri, Author, Confessions of a Repeat Offender and The Amorous Adventures of Blondie and Boho

Blue infuses the firmament from which many of these poems descend, depend, impend, often clouding, precipitate with actual rain and sometime snow (inevitably melting), inundates “an inner ocean”, others real — lakes and rivers — that “flow like water” below. It varies widely, from the paint on “fantastic” cars (“big and fast as spaceships”) the poet dreamed as a child, to the blues playing “loudly” in her head, coloring mood to “rare indigo,” to true. “I swim in (or I am) an imaginary sea,” she writes (in “Keep breathing”), “crashing against the rocky street.” This is a voice not heard in the wilderness but a cry emanating from a metropolis. Very soft, very clear, it breaks on the ears and enters the mind in a curious amalgam of city racket combined with waves one can see and feel and enter as though the soul were bare feet. There’s an emphatic cadence to these poems, one that begins as it ends, suspended on the page, sometimes where it lands, sometimes reaching outwards. Poised alternately between the ascension of art and immersion in quotidian waters, between refinement and candid observation, forthright, associative, and free, with interpolated trills of operatic tremolo, covert confessional notes caught between chronicle and reflection, In the Blue Hour archives recollection’s collage.

–Jack Cooper, editor/co-publisher, Poets Wear Prada, and creator of These Are Aphorithms https://aphorithms.blogspot.com

If I were to assign a color to the spectrum of Carrie Magness Radna’s In the Blue Hour, it would not only be blue, but purple, to signify the poet’s passion, the royal color that she opines has many layers, like fresh blood oozing from dark roses and violets. Ms. Radna gives nature and human nature such a lyrical, musical, and radiant twist, posing melodious and imaginative philosophical questions (Can we repair the sky?) from poem to poem that etch indelibly like delicate pieces of art. In this gem of a collection, both melancholy and beauty coincide with the blooming of flowers and the endless sky, and the reader willingly follows as Radna takes us on her real and metaphorical travels. With a child’s exuberance and an adult’s acuity, she turns family secrets, dark clouds, and muddled hearts into pearls of wisdom and a rebirth of joy (with a few well-aimed digs at Donald Trump, to boot). These poems will fill you with hope and song, and even within the blueness, they will comfort you.

–Cindy Hochman, editor-in-chief of First Literary Review-East

Muna Madan: A Play in the Jhyaure Folk Tradition

By Laxmi Prasad Devkota

Translated from the Nepali by Ananda P Shrestha

ISBN:  978-182500877 Paperback 2017 4th Edition pp 64 Rs150 Indian

Written in popular Jhyaure folk tradition, the play weaves a moving tale of Madan who goes to Lhasa to earn an honest dream of bedecking his beloved wife, Muna, with ornaments of gold and of fulfilling the final wishes of his ailing mother. On his way back home, Madan falls sick. Drama then unfolds to capture the agony of a human life caught up in the twilight of dreaming and knowing. Nepalese translator Anand P. Shrestha for the first time brings alive the immortal music that reverberates in the bloodstream of Nepalese people. “Muna Madan is a story of migration, of a movement outside the vale of mind, the geopolitical compulsion of moving out to labor and come back to live to the rhythm of the Himalayan hills…” –Yuyutsu Sharma in Foreword “Here is perhaps first ever authentic English translation of Mahakavi Laxmi Prasad Devkota’s magnum opus, Muna Madan… comes as a watershed in the history of Nepali literature… –The Kathmandu Post “A perfect job… the translator’s eighteen years devotion to the completion of this work deserves appreciation for maintaining rhythm, theme and rhyme of the original… Commendable.” The Independent, Kathmandu

Previous Edtion :

ISBN: 978-8185693941 Paperback 2007 3rd Edition pp 56 Rs 95 Indian

NIRALA BOOK NEWS : An Excerpt from New Nirala book, Kailash: Jewel of Snows by Rajinder Arora in today’s Mint, an Indian financial daily newspaper published by Hindustan Times Media,

 An Excerpt from New Nirala book, Kailash: Jewel of Snows by Rajinder Arora in today’s Mint, an Indian financial daily newspaper published by Hindustan Times Media, https://www.livemint.com/mint-lounge/features/was-dogra-general-zorawar-singh-buried-by-tibetan-forces-with-military-honours-11601119474809.html

Was Dogra general Zorawar Singh buried by Tibetan forces with military honours?

In a peculiar rarity, a defeated army honoured a General of the enemy army in 1841. One man found his ‘samadhi’ by accident during his travels through Tibet

After light refreshment and tea in the dining hall we sauntered outside. Outside the gate, we met a Chinese ‘gentleman’ wearing a three-piece black suit and sporting a shiny embroidered tie. I smiled at him. He smiled back, bowing a little. We shook hands. I introduced myself. He bowed again, his right hand on his chest and spoke very politely ‘Welcome to China, hope your journey was good’. It was suave and impressive English from Wang. Yes, that was the name. We chatted about life in India and China.

In the middle of the conversation, Wang mentioned that a ‘great Indian army General is buried atop that hill’. Taken aback by his statement, I couldn’t understand which Indian Army General could it be. India hasn’t had a war with China in this region. Who? I asked. ‘The great General Zorawar Singh’, came the answer from Wang. Oh my my! He was talking of the events going back some 150 years. I focused my eyes against the sun trying to find any signs of a memorial. My immediate question was ‘Can you take us there, please?’ ‘No. Sorry,’ he retorted.

Wang told us that the Samadhi was shaped like a chorten and the last remains of the Dogra warrior were buried at the same spot by the Tibetan forces with full military honours. The chorten was about three kilometre from our place and about 300 feet high on a hill top. Thanking Wang for the information we took his leave and headed to the shops where everyone wanted to buy small gifts for friends and family back home with whatever cash was left in our pockets.

It is a peculiar rarity that a defeated army honours a General of the enemy army. There is no other similar example in the world. Not just that, the defeated army also raised a memorial to the General killed in battle as also mentions him with great respect in its history. General Zorawar Singh (1786-1841) was one such great warrior who incited fear in the hearts of its enemies. General Zorawar Singh’s memorial or samadhi is venerated even today. Colourful flags flutter over the mound of rocks on a hill in Toyo where he was cremated by his men. Toyo is about four kilometre east from Taklakot.

Also referred to as ‘Conqueror of Ladakh’ and the ‘Napoleon of India’, Zorawar Singh was initially a General of the Sikh Empire. He is honoured for his conquests in the Himalayas including Ladakh, Tibet, Baltistan and Skardu. Born into a Hindu Rajput Dogra family in Kahlur, Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh, his family migrated to the Jammu region where, Zorawar served under Raja Jaswant Singh of Marmathi. Later, Zorawar Singh was employed by the Dogra king Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu.

Zorawar proved to be a great administrator, a valiant fighter and a strategic Commander of forces under him. The Rajputs of Jammu and Himachal have traditionally excelled in mountain fighting; therefore Zorawar had no trouble in crossing the mountain ranges and entering Ladakh through the source of the Suru River where his 5,000 men defeated an army of local Botis. In 1835 he defeated a large Ladakhi army of Banko Kahlon and forced them to surrender. He built a fort outside Leh. Moving deeper Zorawar invaded Baltistan in the winter of 1839-40 and annexed the entire region as also added a large contingent of Ladakhis to his army.

A year later, Zorawar Singh turned his sight eastward, towards Tibet. In May 1841, with 6,000 men, most of them Dogras, he invaded Tibet. Spreading his men in various contingents, he mounted multiple attacks from various directions marching up to the Kailash Range south of the river Indus. Sweeping all resistance before his men, he passed the Lake Manasarovar and converged at Gartok, defeating the Tibetan force. The enemy commander fled to Taklakot but Zorawar stormed that fort in September 1841. Emissaries of rulers of Tibet and the Maharaja of Nepal, met him in Taklakot asking for reconciliation.

Kailash: Jewel of the Snows published by Nirala Publications; Rs. 895

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Kailash: Jewel of the Snows published by Nirala Publications; Rs. 895

“On my arrival at Taklakot a force of only about 1,000 local troops could be mustered, which was divided and stationed as guards at different posts. A guard post was quickly established at a strategic pass near Taklakot to stop the invaders, but these local troops were not brave enough to fight off the Shen-Pa (Dogras) and fled at the approach of the invaders. The distance between Central Tibet and Taklakot is several thousand li…because of the cowardice of the local troops; our forces had to withdraw to the foot of the Tsa Mountain near the Mayum Pass. Reinforcements are essential in order to withstand these violent and unruly invaders’’

– Records of the Tibetan General defeated by Zorawar Singh <Wikipedia>

Having won the battle, Zorawar and his army went on a pilgrimage to Manasarovar and Mount Kailash. He created a network of communication and supplies over a very large area of inhospitable Tibetan terrain by building small forts and check points along the way. Chi-T’ang fort was built by his men near Taklakot. However, with the onset of winter all the passes were blocked and roads snowed in. The supplies for the Dogra army over such a long distance failed despite Zorawar’s meticulous planning and preparations.

In spite of their best abilities, his men succumbed to intense cold for months, many losing their fingers and toes to frostbite while some starved to death. Meanwhile, the Tibetans and Chinese regrouped and attacked his army bypassing the Dogra Fort of Chi-T’ang. Zorawar and his men faced the joint armies on 12 December 1841. In the exchange of fire Zorawar was wounded in his right shoulder but he continued fighting with a sword in his left hand. The Tibetan horsemen then charged the Dogra position and one of them thrust his lance in Zorawar Singh’s chest, leading to his death.

Six months later during the Battle of Chushul (August 1842) Sikh and Dogra army executed the enemy General to avenge the death of Zorawar Singh.

Excerpted from Kailash: Jewel of the Snows by Rajinder Arora with permission from the author and publisher.

Pratik Fall 2020 Highlights

 
Pratik
A Magazine of Contemporary Writing
XVI No 2, Fall 2020

Art, Poetry and Music collaboration: Dreams of a Sleeping World

Art of Oscar Oiwa

Plus an interview with Hollywood Musician Chad Canon

EIGHT POETS FROM VERMONT

Chard deNiord  David Huddle Tony Whedon  Major Jackson Cleopatra Mathis  Joan Aleshire  Kerrin McCadden  Karin Gottshall   Sydney Lea

DAVID B. AUSTELL

Marshaling the Milliards

A tribute to Harlem Renaissance Hero, James Weldon Johnson

Four Poets from Nicaragua

Ernesto Cardenal  Rubén Darío  Salomón de la Selva  Joaquín Pasos

A SHEAF OF OTTAWA POEMS

Shai Ben-Shalom  Seymour Mayne  Nicola Vulpe   Betty Warrington-Kearsley  Erwin Wiens

ELEVEN  ITALIAN POETS

Claudia Russo   Flaminia Cruciani   Rita Stanzione   Zairo Ferrante  Paolo Staglianò  Antonello Airò  Cinzia Marulli  Gabriella Becherelli  Vittorio Fioravanti Grasso   Antonio Blund  Adriana Scanferla

Featuring DAVID AXELROD  CHARLES BERNSTEIN  JILL HOFFMAN BILL WOLAK, MIKE GRAVES PATRICIA CARRAGON

Plus New Work by GLORIA MINDOCK & HOWARD PFLANZER      

Afterlife:Two Poems by H.K. KAUL (1941-2020)

”The Guardian’ feature on celebrated Himalayan poet Yuyutsu Sharma collaboration along with nine other celebrated writers at London’s Royal Kew Gardens, London!

KEW GARDENS

‘A journey around the world’: Kew Gardens offers visitors an escape

Travel the World at Kew series will showcases plants from 10 countries across six continents

Caroline Davies

Thu 20 Aug 2020 14.36 BSTLast modified on Fri 21 Aug 2020 04.37 BST

Children looking at humpback whale sculpture

Those unable to satisfy their wanderlust in these uncertain days of lockdown and travel quarantine are invited to immerse themselves in the sights, smells and spirit of faraway places – in a botanical sense at least – here in the UK.

From colossal Californian redwoods, those imposing ancient giants of the plant kingdom, to the balmy fragrance of Mediterranean rosemary and lavender, visitors to Kew Gardens in London will be transported to 10 countries across six continents within just a few hours as part of its Travel the World trail experience from next week.

The essence of a tranquil Japanese tea garden and delights of the Himalayan flora of an undulating Rhododendron dell are still within reach, for a tiny fraction of the real cost, with visitors’ senses heightened by accompanying prose, poetry and illustrations specially commissioned from talent across the world.

Sophie Rochelle walk past beds of asterids in the Agius Evolution garden within Kew Gardens, London.

 A visitor walking past beds of asterids in the Agius Evolution garden within Kew Gardens. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

“In a year when many holidays and travel plans have had to change, Travel the World at Kew will offer visitors a chance to experience the next best thing, a journey around the world inside the safety of our walls,” said Richard Barley, the director of horticulture, learning and operations at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

“Visiting 10 special locations dotted throughout our 320-acres landscape is a perfect way to reconnect with nature after months of lockdown.”

Kew’s Great Pagoda towers over plant specimens collected in China’s Sichuan province. South Africa’s bergs and kloofs are replicated in a rock garden stippled with cascading waterfalls. Eucalyptus trees arouse thoughts of Australia, as do spectacular mountain gums.

The monkey puzzle trees – “coiled succulent pine / with saurian arms, bony plates / on reptilian back” in the words of the Latino-British poet Leo Boix – are redolent of the time of dinosaurs. They evoke, too, Argentina’s “sub-Antarctic forests” and rivers of “the most radiant turquoise I’ve seen”, writes the Kew scientist Dr Laura Martinez-Suz in her accompanying prose.

Britain’s native woodlands of tall grasses, wildflowers and whispering beech and hazel are also on show. Meanwhile, Óscar Martín Centeno’s poem The dance of sunrise in the Mediterranean Garden is a dreamscape of flowers swaying in the light of a rising sun.

A centrepiece will be a large-scale humpback whale botanical living sculpture, created by the winner of the Netflix series The Big Flower Fight and on display from 22 August – 18 September.

The specially commissioned poetry and prose by literary award-nominated writers, with a strong connection to each country, are displayed alongside vibrant illustrations by artist Mark Boardman.

Visitors walk past flowering beds along the Broad Walk, Kew Gardens, London.

 Visitors walking past flowering beds along the Broad Walk at Kew Gardens, London. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

Writers include Joe Cottonwood, who lives in the coastal mountains of California, whose words read: “because a redwood with its power / will never preach / makes no demands / sips from the clouds / swallows the sunlight …”

The world-renowned Himalayan poet Yuyutsu RD Sharma has penned Rhododendron’s Suitor, which includes the lines: “an eternal lover / jilted by the silver-barked / suitor of the steep cliffs, / the Nepalese alder …”

Paul Denton, the head of visitor programmes at Kew, said the trail highlighted some of the “hidden gems” of Kew Gardens. “You can be reading a beautiful piece of poetry at the same time as seeing the landscape, so you can get a real sense of place and space,” he said. “It’s like taking the perfect holiday snap.”

His favourites? “I love the Californian redwoods. There is something about the colossal nature of these trees. And the monkey puzzle tree, which just has such a strangeness about it.”

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/aug/20/a-journey-around-the-world-kew-gardens-offers-visitors-an-escape

A photo of a panel with Yuyutsu Sharma poem, “The Rhododendron’s Suitor” installed on site