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eSkylark A Voice of the NRI - Diasporic Poets Editor: Yogesh Patel Consulting Editor: Dr Debjani Chatterjee, MBE ISSN 2397-1878 (printed and digital)/ Issue 2/2017

The third year of success

www.skylarkpublications.co.uk edior@skylarkpublications.co.uk

Good qualities are appreciated in whomsoever they are found. Uttararaamacharitam (Bhavabhuti) Director: Yogesh Patel Consulting Editor: Dr Debjani Chatterjee, MBE Patrons: Lord Parekh and Lord Dholakia Suite 6, Riverside House, 196 Wandle Road, Morden, Surrey SM4 6AU, England ŠAll rights reserved. To read the ebook download Adobe free ebook reader: http://tinyurl.com/pcb4atb

Submission now open to all non-diaspora poets for poems reflecting on diversity, its celebration in any way. Please submit through the Contact Us tab of our website. By submitting your poem you agree to your name having added to our list. Maximum length should be 25 lines plus a short 30-word bio. Please send only unpublished work. If you have a collection just published, and it has a poem on this subject let us have full details, including a copy of the cover to allow us to highlight your book free of charge. http://www.skylarkpublications.co.uk/contact.html ***********

DOWNLOAD the eBook or PDF of this magazine from our website or ISSUU.com

Previous award-winners

Word Masala Award: Dr Debjani Chatterjee, MBE Dr Shanta Acharya Usha Akella Reginald Massey Daljit Nagra Saleem Peeradina Usha Kishore Meena Alexander Pramila Venkateswaran Siddhartha Bose Kavita A Jindal Bobby Nayyar Phinder Dulai Prabhu Guptara

Publishers Winning Word Masala 'Champion of the Diaspora Poetry' Award Arc Publications Eyewear Publishing Emma Press Faber and Faber HopeRoad Publishing Limehouse Books Nine Arches Press and Valley Press WM Publication Award Mona Dash

* WM Special Citation Award:

Sweta Vikram


To all editors and publishers Word Masala Project can help editors and publishers in many ways. If you are not sure about your idea, just ask. We will see how we can work on it together. We also act as noncommercial agents in the interest of both parties. We have helped many of your competitors already. We can help you. If you are interested, please contact us through our website. Do send us regularly your submission requests and information about your events. We can inform our poets and writers immediately - even in between issues.

Attention diaspora-expat poets Do you have a success story to tell us as a diaspora or an expat poet? Please tell us in 50 words and inspire others with your insight.

Attention everyone organising a poetry event Do you have an event that you would like us to include on our website? Do let us know.

We are proud to have the following prestigious magazines, newspapers and independent presses as our regular supporters.

Confluence http://www.confluence.mobi/

The Book Review www.thebookreviewindia.org

Asian Voice http://www.abplgroup.com

Opinion http://opinionmagazine.co.uk/

Sahitya Press Core Publications UK Sixties Press 2

This issue is dedicated to our latest WM Publication Award winner

Mona Dash Mona Dash is an Indian writer settled in London. With an education in Telecoms Engineering and Management from Odisha, she works as a sales manager in a leading global technology organisation. She writes fiction and poetry and her work has been anthologised widely and published in international journals. She has a Masters in Creative Writing (with distinction) from London Metropolitan University.

She is also working towards a PhD in Area Studies. She has read poetry and fiction at literary festivals and poetry venues such as The Nehru Centre, Lauderdale House and Leicester Writes. She has also read her poems at the House of Lords.


Poet's corner I have been living in London since 2001 and I came here to work. I think it is hard to feel or be made to feel an outsider in this city, as it is so multi-cultural. As a child growing up in India, studying in English and reading so much about England through literature, I guess it never felt completely foreign. However there is also something called perception and how outsiders view you, and after living here, I see so many different viewpoints of ‘first generation immigrants,’ second generation immigrants, ‘I see the locals almost question how we manage to speak their language, albeit not in the same way! Or I sense the expectation that immigrants and migrants must all feel the same, must all come here for the same reasons and act the same. If I have to say ‘struggle’ then I guess it is the expectation that work from an Asian writer has to be of a certain type, it has to be ‘exotic’ enough, but not real enough! How English and how Asian can one be? – getting that balance the way it is meant to be, is perhaps the challenge I have felt, but I think it is something I safely ignore, ‘for there is no certain way to be’ (A certain way)..

- Mona Dash

Please encourage our poets For example, why not contact a featured poet above for an interview,poetry reading, speaking engagements, or even to write a review? Or contact Mona Dash through http://www.monadash.net/ If you do something to encourage our poets featured, at your library, radio or TV station, or an organization, or a magazine, please DO NOT FORGET to let us know, so that we can tell others how you helped our poets. Add a brief note on yourself and your project or activity too.


Editorial Guest Editor: Reginald Massey

Mona Dash's verses have a civilised quality that will appeal to members of every diaspora. Her voice is low, tranquil, musical and soothing.It is at once pleasurable and thought provoking. Not for her the strident notes of a disenchanted immigrant. I have for many years had to read poetry composed by subcontinentals living in western climes. It has been a continuous cri de coeur with lamentations against racism, the cold, the incessant rain and the unsmiling natives. Often have I asked myself: If Britain was so unbearable why in heaven's name did these malcontents not leave? Ms Dash has, in fact, taken to the West with grace and gratitude. While holding Shiva and Durga dear she has embraced Claude Monet and the Palais Garnier.In short, she is a new woman of a new age. Her poetry is not specifically diaspora poetry. It is simply pure poetry.

Reginald Massey As part of our drive for literary diversity, any reputed published poet – not necessarily diaspora poet - is welcome to offer to write an editorial..


Poet of the Month

Mona Dash

THE IMMIGRANT’S SONG When it rains here, in this country, with its dark earth, rainbow gardens, sometimes the flecks of rain touch the earth just like in the dusty Indian plains. Fresh waters soak into the hungry soil. The smell! Like when clouds break and it’s monsoon in India, the heat of the plains dissolving in the waters. The smell of long ago, the smell of home. Suddenly, this country with its different skies roses in the summer, lights in the winter, becomes home, as well. 6

Mona Dash’s book just published by Skylark Publications UK

A Certain Way

Metadata ISBN 978-0-9560840-4-0 Title A Certain Way Author- Dash, Mona Series- Poetry Collection Format/Binding Perfect Pages 99 Price- £9.99 ($14.99) Imprint – Skylark Publications UK Publication Date 01-04-2017 Bisac Subject Codes POE000000, POE005020, POE023000 BISAC Audience Code TRA = General Trade

“Many a first generation British Indian writer has commented on their diaspora experience – in poetry and in prose – and indeed some have done so memorably. While I welcome this first collection that adds to this growing body of literature, in my view, its author’s true forté lies in her intimate poems of connectivity. It is in these poems about personal relationships with people, places and traditions that emotions surface with authenticity. There may not be many answers in these poems, but Mona Dash does ask the right questions.” Debjani Chatterjee from The Book Review April 2017 Subscribe and read the full article in The Book Review



This quarter’s new poems by British-Asian poets A TIME COMES by Shanta Acharya When you don’t want to be afraid any more. Letting yourself go, you dance as if everyone, no one is looking, not before an audience in front of a tanker with the world watching while you prance playfully along a grand highway of illusions, knowing you cannot find your way home. For those who have no freedom to be or not to be know dying is the closest to going home. Everyone expects you to sacrifice, survive at the outliers of the human curve. The price is always your most precious possession – your life, your dreams, your future drowned on a beach, face half-buried in sand, a daughter, brutally violated, dead in your arms. How long can one hold on to whatever hope that lies on the furthest reach of stars? Time is my country, silence my language. This body and soul, my map and compass. I’ve spent a lifetime waiting to be heard, lost count of poems that have come and gone.


Pub Angelica by Debjani Chatterjee Talk in pubs can be loose and seductive; even baffling, mischievous, life-changing. I hesitate to enter their portals, even ones whose titles beguile poets. Pubs can release my Mulla Nasruddin: even the bumpkin in revolving doors. I’ve read tales of Sufis in ancient inns; even angels, hard-drinking, just like men. Sanai overheard two angels talking (even I snoop – as poets do in pubs). Angels drank to ‘that great fool, Bahram-shah’; even to that ‘Fool’s fool, Hakim Sanai’. A Sufi heard Death’s Angel read his name; even the fastest horse gave no escape. At Baghdad’s gate the angel welcomed him: ‘Even so, this is your time – and the place.’ In Yorkshire pubs I watch for angels, even where I believe it’s safe to tread.

Notes Mulla Nasruddin: a legendary wise fool, whose funny stories and sayings are famous. He himself is often the butt of a joke. Hakim Sanai: court poet to Bahram-shah, who ruled Persia from 1117 – 1157. Sanai dedicated his Sufi epic The Walled Garden of Truth (Hadiqat al Haqiqa) to his royal patron.


Bollywood on the Underground by Usha Kishore This size zero Bollywood belle is a visual poem on the underground; her eyes resting on Skyfall, her feet on shaadi.com. She is as lithe as a panther, an alien animal unravelling you with a smile. Lips parting in Pre-Raphaelite seduction, she poises between continents; her hair cascading like the Ganges, across time zones. Her toned abs, are a surreal notion, her upraised breasts, an urban myth; her slender thighs are a metrosexual fantasy; her dainty waist, a latitude of desire; her dusky skin, a dreamy abstraction. With passing eyes drinking her like wine, she is the Mona Lisa of the Tube; her shapely hand rising out of the wall, behind the escalator, to touch you on the shoulder, to rinse you in an Indian summer under the domed subway sky.

shaadi.com –Indian matrimonial website


Night Watchers by Bashabi Fraser They were sitting as one community, Each on its allocated perch Still and silent as the night, Whose denizens they were Brought together now in a strange Camaraderie which was not familiar When they were free to scour the skies. There they were as if some taxidermist Had frozen them in time for children To stop and stare with awe, for adults To linger with a sense of compassion Transient like the passers-by entering The supermarket before dropping their pennies. Many years ago I had seen a different scene On a terrace where I had crept up to catch The Hugly's evening breeze as it revived A heat heavy city. It was the moment of Godhuli The cow returning time of rosy dust haze I knew I was not alone even before I saw them Not a community but a family of three, very like mine Mother, Father and child sitting in a neat row That the telegraph line allowed, not tethered as here But side by side and free, frozen for now while The symphony of colour flowed in a swirling sea. They couldn't see me, and I could touch them If I wished, Lakshmi's Owls, praying for the night.


To Two Cousins by Reginald Massey Sidra Anjali and Rhoan Akash Lovely children and so lovingly named ! I pray for you and for your parents too. One day, I know, you will be justly famed. Believe me when I tell you what I know: It is most wonderful to be alive. And though at times things might not go your way, Try ! Try ! You will survive and you will thrive. Every single moment is there for you. The birds, the stars, the trees, the breeze, the sea, Are miracles before your very eyes. They are for you, your parents and for me. People often say that the world is bad. But after having lived for many years I do believe that good will always win. And so, my dears, work well and have no fears.


Combat by Prabhu Guptara Dragon cosmic, Dragon strong, Breathing fire, Multiplying wrong, I had only faintly smelt your sulphur sensed your fire far. Now I hear, I see My mate is wounded. Though through smoke I cannot see you You are surely close at hand. I am mortal, feel I’m frail Helmet strong, but shield untested I have barely used my sword. Its hard enough to stand my ground! Can I, dare I Challenge such a foe? The wind moves And swirls the mist I think I see you‌ I do see you now! And I see between us A lamb struck down by claws, A lamb afire.


He seems alive He must be dead Or am I dreaming? No dream my mate Who coughs and cries And twists in pain. I can only offer water Bind the wounds, And touch and soothe And stroke and pray. And now ev’n that is tiring, boring: I am tired, I am bored, And I’m plodding, plodding, plodding, I must plod on, plod on, plod on, Invest each move with love. I hear the battle all around me, Wish I was a bigger man; I can only tend my wounded. Is that combat too?


A Midget Raindrop by Divya Mathur In the hope of Gaining height A minute raindrop Clings to the edge In pursuit of their own Innate desire Some more drops Pushing and shoving Ape her And each becomes tall But then in a flash They fall Flat on their faces And grossly mortified quietly melt away.

Translated from Hindi by Rogan Wolf


Markets 1 FLAME TREE PUBLISHING http://blog.flametreepublishing.com/fantasy-gothic/2017-short-storysubmissions They pay Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) rates of six cents per word. 2. FRIENDS OF FALUN GONG POETRY CONTEST http://fofg.org/act-now/poetry-contest/ NO ENTRY FEE. Poems should be submitted as a word file or PDF file to competition@fofg.org by April 30, 2017, midnight EST. Adults: first prize $500, second prize $250, third price $100. College: first prize $250, second prize $100. High school: first prize $100, second prize $50. 3. THE NEW QUARTERLY https://tnq.ca/submissions/ We pay writers $250 for a short story or non-fiction entry, and $40 per poem


Attention Publishers Do you want a book by a South-Asian diaspora poet reviewed or announced to our readers? Contact: Editor@skylarkpublications.co.uk Do send your review copies to the editor at our address with the poet’s contact and bio. Where possible we will include them in our book launches too. We will publicise the book FREE with our network.

Magazine editors, are you including any of our poets in your next issue? This creates a perfect opportunity for us to promote your magazine. Even if you are including a review of a book by one of our diaspora poets, we will let others know.

Under the Radar

Watch out for the diversity in their April 2017 issue. This excellent QUALITY magazine comes in a book size and showcases poems not only from the North of England but from anywhere internationally. As a quarterly, ÂŁ22 for four books is very good value indeed. Do support them.


New books published Heart’s Beast: New and Selected Poems Saleem Peeradina

Publisher: Copper Coin Publishing (2017) ISBN-13: 978-9384109103 Buy from: http://tinyurl.com/zs5e6jl

‘Peeradina is a master of the conversational tone. I hear every poem of his as words addressed to a specific listener, sometimes named, sometimes not. This makes for intimacy, nuanced ranges of thought and emotion only the poet’s familiars can be expected to share but which, reassuringly in his case, also allow us, his readers, into the listening circle he trusts. It’s a candid, open-hearted privilege Peeradina grants, freely expressing his moods—satirical, sad, disgusted, sublime—while he carefully chronicles what he sees, hears, smells, touches or imagines: the decaying walls of neighbourhoods he knows, “sails billowing like lampshades” in a Chinese painting, the wondrously charged flight of birds, collapses of flesh and skin; his range is impressive. ‘Peeradina began his conversation with First Offence, his first book. Thirty-six years later, with this one, we see how he has kept faith with his listeners, open to varieties of response rather than to the echos of solipsistic self-absorption, a position he determinedly shuns. It’s an unfashionable stance but well-earned and rewarding.’ Adil Jussawala


Shanta Acharya’s long awaited collection of poems is now available Imagine: New & Selected Poems brings together the finest work from Shanta Acharya’s five books of poetry with a generous selection of new verses. Her subtly layered poems, with deep roots in two cultures, explore and reflect on the human condition. They address consciousness and creativity, issues of self and of the ways in which identity is perceived, belonging and exile, love and betrayal, suffering and realization. Moving with ease from ancient Indian scriptures and history to sharply observed lyrics about nature, from the horror and injustice of war to the absurdity of life, Acharya’s work reveals the largesse of her vision. This selection is a sound introduction to an uncommon poet.

Available from Amazon>>>>>>>> 19

Sharp Blue Search of Flame Poems by Zilka Joseph Stirring, atmospheric poems that journey through memories of growing up in India, and the myth, death, loss, and rebirth that surrounds that experience.

Price $15.99 ISBN-13 9780814340493

Author Biography Zilka Joseph teaches creative writing and is an independent editor and manuscript coach. Her chapbooks, Lands I Live In and What Dread, were nominated for a PEN America and a Pushcart award, respectively. She was awarded a Zell Fellowship, a Hopwood Prize, and the Elsie Choi Lee Scholarship (Center for the Education of Women) from the University of Michigan.

The WM poetry audio archive at our website

If you are a published poet from the diaspora, and write in English, please send us the audio file of your best poem, read by you. We are building an archive that will eventually be transferred to one of the UK's prestigious institutions. Visit us at http://www.skylarkpublications.co.uk/audio.html


Required reading The Asian detective novel: from racist caricature to authentic representation. A short introduction to 9 contemporary Asian mystery writers http://tinyurl.com/zaa8kve ** A Ghost Story About Immigration, Loss & the Living “Black-Eyed Women� by Viet Thanh Nguyen http://tinyurl.com/gtjtpts ** For those of you who can read Gujarati, here is a link to the interview with Usha Akella in Gujarat Samachar. https://tinyurl.com/hpgxaet

Events (Do you want us to include your events? Contact us) Matwaala Literary Festival in NY We are delighted to announce Matwaala 2017 is taking place in the NYC/Long Island between April 26th-28th. In the spirit of community that has been the hallmark of the Matwaala spirit we invite you to participate in the BIG READ at the Asian American Writers Workshop. We hope it will become the signature reading of Matwaala every year welcoming poets of the South Asian diaspora across borders (India/Pakistan/Bangladesh/Sri Lanka/Nepal/Bhutan/Maldives/Burma/Afghanistan.) Usha Akella & Pramila Venkateswaran MATWAALA South Asian Diaspora Poetry Festival, 7-9 pm AAWW, 112 W 27th St #600, New York, NY 10001 Phone: (212) 494-0061


Please benefit from our review group Word Masala Foundation initiative runs a review group which helps diaspora poets with reviews. Past winners are expected to help with this, but above all, it is open to anyone to come forward to offer such support. These poets are commendable and unselfish in helping this review group: Saleem Peeradina, Reginald Massey, Yogesh Patel, Debjani Chatterjee, Usha Akella, Usha Kishore, Pramila Venkateswaran, Mona Dash .and Kavita A Jindal. Latest 1. Mona Dash’s A Certain way: A review by Debjani Chatterjee : http://www.thebookreviewindia.org/subscribe.php 2. Yogesh Patel reviews Abhay K.’s Capitals in Confluence http://www.confluence.mobi/blog/abhay-ks-capitals-a-poetryanthology/ 3. Yogesh Patel writes about Reginald Massey in his column ‘Through the Poetic Lens’ in Confluence. Please go to their website and download the latest issue free to read it.


Do you want to write a review? Ask: Do our writers and readers know you? Poets and reviewers are requested to contact the editor to join this group. They and their publishers may also offer discounts on their books. We welcome everyone to help us with reviews.


Donations Please make your purchase through and help us raise funds. It costs you nothing extra while you would shop normally at eBay, Amazon, and many more places. By going via our partner, the retailer contributes to help the project, but at no extra cost or loss of any of your discounts. So please help if you can. Please register at https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/wordmasalaproject/ Your help is important to us Should you think this is not a worthy endeavour, then please unsubscribe by sending a polite email indicating which email address we have used. Please note Word Masala and Skylark have no monetary interest in any suggestions here, and do not take liability for any action taken by you. You must research any suggestions contained herein, and assure yourself accordingly.

(c) Word Masala & Skylark Publications UK


Profile for Word Masala

Eskylark april 2017  

eSkylark is now a quarterly literary magazine. The Poet-of-the-Month honour this quarter goes to Mona Dash. Her latest poetry collection, A...

Eskylark april 2017  

eSkylark is now a quarterly literary magazine. The Poet-of-the-Month honour this quarter goes to Mona Dash. Her latest poetry collection, A...