Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Poetry Reads: Paper Boat Echoes by Snehith Kumbla

I first posted my poem, paper boat echoes on hellopoetry.com in June 2016. Since then, the poem has garnered over 5k views. The readership count for this particular poem has had a steady curve and it is certainly a happy realization for a poet to know that his work is consistently read. The poem is also featured on my poster art blog in a design celebration.

On Posting Poetry Online 
Posting and reading written word poetry online has a dead fish kind of charm in it. It doesn't have the restless splash of a live rendition, permanency, and magic of a magazine or book publication, or a recitation among friends. I do not know who my readers are. Their profile pictures and bio only tell me about how they want to be perceived, rather than who they are.

The comments are usually lavish and generous. There is barely any constructive feedback nowadays. Fellow poets barely venture to suggest a better meter, title, word or anything that could add to a poem. I know poetry posting websites that discourage criticism of any kind. Mention only the good, they say. You scratch my back and I will scratch yours is the general attitude in the online poetry circuit, as experienced.

Bright Screen Addiction
Children and adults dipped down and intent over cell phone screens is a usual scene now. They only had to look up to see the breeze nudge the trees and a retreating monsoon mingle into winter's arrival. In a world shorn of richness, bloated in misery, self-alienation, and widespread bright screen hypnosis, paper boats don't take to turbulent waters as often. Adventure dies in trickles every day, in enclosed spaces and rooms.

paper boat echoes
by Snehith Kumbla

land ho!
for you.


a wreck's 



in childhood 

At water's 
origin, paper's 

(Article by Snehith Kumbla)

Poetry Reads: Celia Celia by Adrian Mitchell

It was on a visit to the city British Library that I came upon on a wonderful anthology called Poems on the Underground. That was when I chanced upon a particular Adrian Mitchell poem, among many other beautiful, varied reads. Poems on the Underground is pretty much a poetry-lover's collector's item. 

The London Metro train service is popularly and officially known as the 'Underground'. In 1986, the Underground people started a unique program that continues to this date. In over 3000 advertising spaces across train passenger cars, poems of every kind are put up and replaced three times a year.

The following poem is but meager proof of the poet Mitchell (1932-2008) was. The British poet opposed war, racism and prisons vehemently in his works. The lines need no literal explanation, as you will see. A factual tit bit though - High Holborn is a road in central London.    

Celia Celia
by Adrian Mitchell

When I am sad and weary
When I think all hope has gone
When I walk along High Holborn
I think of you with nothing on.


(Article by Snehith Kumbla) 

Fiction Reads: The Last Song of Dusk by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi

Enter the world of the Gandharvas: it is a dose of the dreamlike, ethereal, mesmerizing, weird, wicked and quirky. In Udaipur, Mrs. Patwardhan tells her daughter, Anuradha before her marriage, “In this life my darling, there is no mercy.” And the story unfolds; Anuradha’s wedding in Bombay, the birth of her son, the love that she feels for her husband, Vardhman; the death of her child, Shloka; the misery, and then the house by the sea which has no mercy. After all, it was a house made for love and a man died waiting for his lover.

The Last Song of Dusk is a riveting read. It is lyrical while describing relationships between two people and animals. It certainly is a page-turner.

Anybody who is up for reading a slice of the upbeat and the wacky, here is The Last Song of the Dusk.

(Article by Kabita Sonowal) 

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Non-Fiction Reads: The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara

This isn't a tale of derring-do, nor is it merely some kind of 'cynical account'; it isn't meant to be, at least. It's a chunk of two lives running parallel for a while, with common aspirations and similar dreams. In nine months a man can think a lot of thoughts, from the height of philosophical conjecture to the most abject longing for a bowl of soup – in perfect harmony with the state of his stomach. And if, at the same time, he's a bit of an adventurer, he could have experiences which might interest other people and his random account would read something like this diary.
- The Motorcycle Diaries, Introduction 

Who was Che Guevara? For starters, he was an Argentine-born Marxist revolutionary; the leader of Cuban and international guerrillas.

What Guevara became and how much the journey described in the book contributed to it, is another story. We may not approve of the violent path that Guevara walked later on. But here, he is one of us, more recognizable, more accessible, yet apart.

It was only in 1993 that The Motorcycle Diaries was first published, more than 40 years after it was written.Translated from the Spanish, the book was also made into a movie by the same name.The present edition that I possess, The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey was released in 2003. 

In 1950, a young Guevara had already done a 4500-km trip across Argentina on a bicycle with a small motor attached to it. In January 1952, 23-year-old Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado, 29, took a one-year break from their medical studies and embarked on a road trip they had been planning for a long time. Granado's 1939 500cc Norton motorbike, nicknamed La Poderasa (the mighty one) was to be their riding companion. This was to be an epic road trip covering South America in its entirety.

The book is a collection of notes Guevara wrote during the journey. The narration is full of surprises, of the joys, difficulties and the unexpected humorous situations that arise during the journey. Overloaded with luggage, 'the mighty one' suffers many crashes until finally becoming obsolete, halfway through the journey.

The change in Guevara from a carefree young man to the person he finally became can be witnessed in these writings. The duo spends nights at strangers' abodes, get visited by a Puma and are almost done in by possible murderers. On the road, there is the extreme cold to contend with. New experiences greet the travelers at every bend. At the journey's end, Guevara and Granado are bound to travel their separate roads.

A distinct gem of a travelogue, fragrant of youth, enthusiasm and daring.

(Article by Snehith Kumbla)