Poetry and Islands: Materiality and the Creative Imagination

by Rajeev S. Patke
Rowman & Littlefield, 2018

9781783484102An island is either a destination, or a home, or a place of exile and imprisonment, or simply a place to sojourn. It is an ideal vehicle for journeys treated as allegories, or for acts of finding that turn into acts of losing, or the reverse transformation. An island is not a continent; yet it can be an archipelago. An island is both a place in itself and a pretext for imaginings that need a local habitation and a name. It can give relief, and pleasure; or it can frustrate, isolate, and negate. Above all, it both invites and resists — or contains or constrains — the imagination.

In all cultures and times, the poetic imagination has fed on the natural attributes of islands.

Poetry and Islands explores how islands become repositories of human longings and desires, a locus for some of our deepest fears and fantasies. It balances historical and geographical reference with a selective approach to poems and poets in English, and in translations into English. The study of particular poems in which islands figure in exemplary ways is balanced by a more detailed discussion of the poets who have played a major role in shaping human responses to islands on a global scale.

(Adapted from the publisher’s description)

 

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Day and Dastan: Two Novellas

by Intizar Husain
Translated by Nishat Zaidi and Alok Bhalla
Niyogi Books, 2018

DayandDastan

The first novella, Din (Day), is a realistic story about the physical displacement and emotional paralysis individuals feel when forced to move from their family homes. As in Husainʻs other works, Indiaʻs partition haunts the tale like an inexplicable shadow, creating a nostalgic and heart-breaking mood. The second novella, Dastan (Story), is a traditional tale of wonder set in time of turmoil and uncertainty when mysterious forces cause havoc in nature, and societies rise up suddenly to avenge old wrongs. The rivers suddenly break their banks; an old haveli is left desolate; a princess weeps beside a fountain; a parrot shows a soldier the road to take; and hope of poltical change is fatally lost. Both novellas were translated from Urdu. (Adapted from publisherʻs description)

Intizar Husain was born in Dubai, India, in 1925 and migrated to Pakistan in 1947. His published works include seven collections of short stories, five novels, nine plays, travelogues, and essays in Urdu and English. He passed away in 2016.

Nishat Zaidi is a critic, translator, and an English professor emeritus at the Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. She co-edited Story is a Vagabond: Fiction, Essays and Drama by Intizar Husain (Manoa Journal, 2015).

Alok Bhalla is a critic, translator, and editor. He co-edited Story is a Vagabond: Fiction, Essays and Drama by Intizar Huisain and was co-translator of A Chronicle of the Peacocks: Stories of Partition, Exile and Lost Memories.

 

Woman of March: Poems

TSUMURA-YUMIKO

by Yumiko Tsumura
Finishing Line Press, 2016

Woman of March gives us a glimpse of Yumiko Tsumura’s childhood Pacific War memories of Japan as well as her life in the US, rich with intimate perceptions, invested with transformative powers, and depicting a life path of discoveries, losses, and reaffirmations. Her power of observation is clearly seen through her  precision in these autobiographical poems.

Today again
the young men died
believing in
mountain climbing

Tsumura’s poems are not haiku but haiku-like, emerging as epiphanies upon white paper. They are a testimony to a life lived in specific, deep consciousness. (Adapted from publisher’s description)

Yumiko Tsumura was born and educated in Japan and has an MFA in poetry and translation from the University of Iowa. She has taught at universities both in Japan and the US.  Her books of translation include Kazuko Shiraishi’s poetry collections from New Directions.

Inheriting the War: Poetry and Prose by Descendants of Vietnam Veterans and Refugees

980bc04e50f7eba0586b67f750fe2c01edited Laren McClung
foreword by Yusef Komunyakaa
W.W. Norton & Company, 2018

Inheriting the War: Poetry and Prose by Descendants of Vietnam Veterans and Refugees answers questions that have remained unanswered for over fifty years: what is the difference between history and the past, how do people come to terms to what they have inherited, who is given a voice and who remains silent, and what resolutions result from examining the past. This anthology by descendants of Vietnam veterans and refugees―American, Vietnamese, Vietnamese Diaspora, Hmong, Australian, and others―confronts war and its aftermath. It is an affecting portrait of the effects of war and family―an intercultural, generational dialogue on silence, memory, landscape, imagination, Agent Orange, displacement, postwar trauma, and the severe realities that are carried home.

While Inheriting the War depicts the burdens of the war, and refuses to deny brutal realities, it presents literature that unifies. It crosses cultural and generational boundaries, and connects veterans, writers, and readers. (Adapted from publisher’s description and press release)

Laren McClung teaches at New York University, and is a poet and the author of Between Here and Monkey Mountain. Her father served one tour in Vietnam (1968-1969) deployed with the 173rd Airborne. Her poetry has appeared in several journals and reviews, and she has been the recipient of a Teachers & Writers Collaborative Van Lier Fellowship, an Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran Workshop Teaching Fellowship, and has led workshops in poetry at Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island in the Creative Writing Program at New York University.

Tracks Along the Left Coast

51er9-Er4gLby Andrew Schelling
Counterpoint Press, 2017

Tracks Along the Left Coast: Jaime de Angulo & Pacific Coast Culture is a story of the life of the Old Coyote of Big Sur, Jaime de Angulo. In addition to being a tale capturing de Angulo’s time as a cowboy, miner, poet, doctor, linguist, and ethnomusicologist, the book provides insight on the persecuted Native Californian cultures and languages that have endured to modern times.

Jaime de Angulo’s poetry and prose represented the bohemian sensibilities of the twenties, thirties, and forties. He was also known for his reworkings of coyote tales and shamanic mysticism. (Adapted from publisher’s description)

Andrew Schelling has written or edited twenty books, including Love and the Turning Seasons: India’s Poetry and Erotic Longing. For over twenty years he’s been teaching at Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School and also teaches at Deer Park Institute, in Himachal Pradesh, India.

Jaime de Angulo (1887-1950) was born in Paris to Spanish parents. At eighteen, he fled to America to become a cowboy. In his lifetime, he was also a rancher, doctor, lecturer, anthropologist, linguist, and musicologist, as well as wrote poetry and fiction. He also published articles on indigenous languages and music systems of Northern California and Mexico. The year before he died, he broadcasted retellings of Native Californian myths and stories over the radio, which are still available today.

Benedicta Takes Wing

Montes_BendictaTakesWing

by Veronica Montes
Philippine American Literary House, 2018

Benedicta Takes Wing and Other Stories is a collection of fourteen fictional stories focused on Filipino families. It explores their struggles as navigate through a world influenced by both their native customs and American media. It depicts the grief and joy, and denials and affections that keep these families together. (Adapted from publisher’s description)

Veronica Montes is a Filipino-American writer who lives in the Bay Area of Northern California. Her stories are inspired by the Filipino and mainstream American cultures that she grew up in.

Old Demons, New Deities

Dickie_OldDemonsNewDeities

edited by Tenzin Dickie
OR Books, New York and London, 2017

Old Demons, New Deities is the first anthology of contemporary Tibetan fiction available in English. Though Tibetan literature dates back millennia, its modern form is under forty years old. It began in 1980 and 1981 with literary journals, Tibetan Art and Literature and Light Rain.

In this book, readers will get an authentic look at the the lives of Tibetans in various settings such as the Himalayas, India, and New York, as they understand the relationships between tradition and modernity, occupation and exile, and the personal and the national. (Adapted from publisher’s description)

Tenzin Dickie is a writer and literary translator living in New York. Her writings have been published in Indian Literature, Apogee Journal, Tibetan Review, Himal SouthAsian, and Cultural Anthropology, and anthologized in The Yellow Nib: Modern English Poetry by Indians from The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry and The Tibet Reader, forthcoming from the Duke University Press. Her translations have been published in The Washington Post online and Modern Poetry in Translation. She is an editor at treasuryoflives.org, a biographical encyclopedia of significant figures from Tibet, Inner Asia, and the Himalayan Region.