In and out of Internet land

This is a quick blog post, intended mostly as apology to the many many of you whose posts I need to respond to, comments I need to approve (or not!) and messages throughout eh “Contact Me” page I need to respond to.

I had an eye surgery at the end of April, and I sunk into an ever-growing swamp of emails during the two weeks I was out of action. And then I went straight from there into producing a show (more on that here!), so I couldn’t tackle the pile at all. And now there are over 70 emails waiting to be replied to, so I’m too intimidated to begin! But worry not, I promise to get back soon, and I promise that those of you who wrote to inquire about writing workshops will be informed as soon as I am ready to launch the next one (most likely in the last week of July, once I’ve had a chance to recover a bit!). And for those who’ve been asking about summer workshops, I’m afraid now — am off for a very long overdue family holiday, so will only get back o work in July.

In other news, I spent much of my first week post-op listening to the audiobook of Americanah… and I feel very inspired to return to blogging! Here’s crossing all my fingers and toes that I’ll be able to get back to this blog on a more regular basis very soon, not just to talk about writing workshops and the like, but also to reflect on all the so much happening around me.

Tasawwur presents “Walk!” on 22nd and 23rd May!

So, as many of you know, in my non-poet life, I also work with young people, exploring how to use the arts as a vehicle for social-justice education. Last November, I started Tasawwur, a collective of artists and educators, working towards this end, and we’re just finishing up our first program cycle. Next week, we proudly present our first every show, “Walk!” — a collaborative production inspired by the stories, struggles, dreams and hopes of a motley group of teenagers.

The show is born out of a 4 month intensive arts-for-social-change curriculum, in which 12 teenagers, cutting across barriers of caste, class, gender, religion, and nationality, came together to teach each other about the social issues that affect them most deeply as well as the changes they dream of. “Walk!” is based on the lives and stories of the cast members; while no one plays their own part, the stories are all true. Facilitated by Tasawwur, a collective of artists and educators, this show brings together song, choreography, tableaus, and stories to take the audience through the world these young people inhabit and the more inclusive world that they dream of.

Walk! is open to the public, but seating is limited, so the audience is requested to arrive early. While there is no charge for the tickets, we welcome donations to cover our costs. Proceeds raised at the event will be divided between Studio Safdar and Tasawwur.

When: 22nd and 23rd May, 7 PM
Where: Studio Safdar (Near Shadipur Metro Station)

See you there?


If you’d like to know more about Tasawwur, here is a brief description, or visit our website here, or our Facebook page here. We are always looking for volunteers, donors, and participants, so do get in touch if this excites you :)

Italian Translation of “This Wall Survived Because It Stayed Useful”

My poem, “This Wall Survived Because it Stayed Useful” (first published here by Cha: An Asian Literary Journal) was recently translated into Italian by Francesca Spinelli, the poetry editor of the magazine Internazionale (unfortunately, there is no online version, so I don’t have text to go behind the image for folks who use screenreaders, only this JPEG from which i can’t copy-paste. Sorry!)

How random, but how lovely to see your own words, translated by a complete stranger, into a language you don’t understand :)


Caravan Writers of India Festival Video

I only just saw this video of our readings in Paris last September. Such a lovely memory, and so glad some of these performances are recorded for the future.

I come on around minute 52, Karthika Nair right before, Akhil Katyal right after. But really, watch the whole thing when you have an hour — everyone was incredible.

That said, if you watch nothing else about this video, watch Jeet’s beautiful performance of his poem “To Baudelaire” accompanied by piano music at 1:09. What a close to what an evening.