Let The Night Sing: My Maiden Poetry Collection

It gives me much happiness to share that my maiden poetry collection ‘Let The Night Sing’, an assortment of 70 various poetic musings on being a woman, a mother and a lunar soul has been published by respected poet laureate and veteran litterateur Madan Gandhi sir and Global Fraternity of Poets (India) and is now on Amazon India. Soon to be available in the US and worldwide.

I thank dear fellow poet, amazing artist and co-founder of Rhythm Divine Poets, Sufia Khatoon for the brilliant cover illustration, Dr. Santosh Bakaya for the very in-depth and enriching foreword, Dr. AV Koshy for the kind and generous blurb encompassing the theme and the nuances of the poems.

Sharing the introduction page of the book, which speaks of the overarching theme of the poems. Hope some of you will like reading it.

Introduction:

‘Bodies are visible hieroglyphics. Everybody is an erotic metaphor and the meaning of all these metaphors is always the same; death.’
Octavio Paz

For those who are in love with the poetry of the body, continue to revel in it through its bruises and blood, continue to see the molecules of living glittering in darkness, for those who talk to the strained ribs of our Mother Earth, to the hollowness and inviting quiet of cities and landscapes in your dreams and waking, for those who see even in the body of death, a gorgeous, pitiless song in its smoky embers, here I present my lunar musings, springing up from the splinters and shards of my being. These broken pieces, these wayward poems have taken me to unexpected places, delving deep into my childhood and puberty. With them, I have seen my womanhood evolve, with them I have traveled to the long-forsaken terrains of my hometown in Kolkata, India, where I keep going back again and again. With them, I have recorded the phenomenon of death as I have seen it, a silent language of communion, as my voice flattened against its ethereal quiet.
Hope you will enjoy the ride, the bumps and bolts along the way.
Lopa Banerjee

Let the night sing_Lopa Banerjee

The Amazon India link to buy the book:

http://www.amazon.in/Let-Night-Sing-Lopamudra-Banerjee/dp/9383755342/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499285605&sr=8-1&keywords=Let+The+Night+Sing

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Mademoiselle

Note: Written as a poetic tribute to Emma Bovary, the voluptuous, beautiful, forlorn heroine of Gustave Flaubert’s novel Madame Bovary, also later adapted into an Indianized version in Ketan Mehta’s film ‘Maya Memsaab’.

Madame Bovary

A whiff of smoke brewing in her eyelashes,
A touch of the wet earth, her body, a failed, blurred mantra of desire.
Only in the dusk settling beneath the hills, she returns home
To the smothered fairy tales of her body, looking for the salt
When her husband might have kissed her many light years ago.

Her moon flesh, her pale, eager hands, the blood, coursing through her veins
Restless, settles in vain, in the familiar smells of a solicitous husband.
The homecoming, for a nomadic soul, is only true when she decodes herself
Undresses, flinging herself in her lovers’ arms, kisses their soft, velvet mouths
Turning as the slutty Madame in the amorous nights, a ripened woman
Pressing against the barbed wire fence of the provincial life, her marital gift.

In the opera, the fangs of her passion unfold, like birth pangs,
The smoked particles of lust, the perfumed ghosts of erotic cravings,
The gusty winds of music and the symphony,
Digging deep into her panting breath.

Is she a nymph, darting through the infinite darkness of a conjugal silence
That hangs around her neck like a noose, choking her voice,
The intent adrenaline rush that erupts in spurts?
Why does she need her giant share of lovers, long to be torn asunder
Dissolve in their wanton dreams in her dark luster, turning ashen, forlorn
With every lavish affair, with every adulterous escapade
That she thinks, would salvage her, giving wings to her romantic fancies?

Vain woman, adultery is the rain that bursts forth from a littered sky,
Don’t you know the sacrilege of baring open, elsewhere than your own home?
Didn’t you know, when you had waltzed, your sweet scent
Crushing against your partner’s musk, all this was a prelude to a glaring nemesis,
A nemesis where feeling embittered, lost was your only truth,
By all the men you had given yourself to?

In the burning fumes of death, her being dissolves, and resounds
Much like the lovelorn raindrops that would pelt on the precincts of the estate,
In the arms of death, her caramel being is tossed and turned,
Just as in the arms of life, she had craved to be caressed, blossoming,
Rising and ebbing in her blasphemous wants.

The River Dark, The River Deep

The rivulet, the gushing stream bounced and swayed

Like a colicky infant. pic of housewife

Didn’t I love you, sleeping in your banks, pure?

Hiding myself so deftly in your little pockets of silence?

Why then, today, when I ran to touch you, hot, raw, burning,

You ran away instead, fearing my coagulated blood,

my frozen tears, my milk stuck on your door-frame, my breath,

shot up, in spurts, that has known you like the grandma’s old tale,

Like the lone, dazzling truth?

 

Come, enter through my rich brown, derelict doors,

Still open for you. Settle slowly amid the thickets,

Soaking in the smudged, docile light setting in,

The skyline of my wants still eager, firm with primroses,

Brown, yet not dying still, with music, sharp, yet blurry,

The details obscured, yet the pleading, the little lightning

Robust, plump, hammering.

 

Will you burn it, like the rest of my thwarted dreams galore,

The pregnant ashes of my sighs

that once I had closed your palms with?

Like the stubborn, wailing infant, eyes rolling, fingers tossed,

You had wanted small tufts of the dried, golden grass

Growing mammoth, fleshy, in a mountainous pile.

Today, between my calloused palms, the ashes dwindle,

And let out an air, musky, choking, yet again.

 

The verdant spring, the primroses, the half-baked love songs

Burn me like the old, bloody embers, the fungi strong, shadowy

Smeared all over like a beauty in continuum.

Come over, do not run, what is there to hide?

Lie down, flat, on my back, as I float on your scalding waters,

Doused with the dark grey of our self-same songs.

My New Baby, ‘Thwarted Escape: An Immigrant’s Wayward Journey’

Hello friends, you might be wondering about my long (yes, somewhat) absence from this blog. Let me apologize for being away from you for these few months and make a happy announcement! My new baby, ‘Thwarted Escape: An Immigrant’s Wayward Journey’, partly autobiographical novel, partly memoir, has recently been published by Authorspress India and launched with my literary friends in Delhi, the capital of India and in Kolkata, the cultural epicenter of India. A personal journey of seeking the essence and meaning of HOME, the book is characterized by my quest for my self-identity as a woman, a mother and a daughter, while being ten thousand miles away from my Bengali hometown.

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The book cover of ‘Thwarted Escape’

The book, which had first started taking shape as a diary entry addressed to my unborn daughter during the third trimester of my first pregnancy, later gained momentum as an autobiographical narrative journey of a wistful immigrant woman as I gradually found my moorings in Omaha, Nebraska, a Midwestern city in the United States. The seed of this book was first sown in a Graduate writing program in a university based in the city where two of my creative nonfiction mentors Dr. Lisa Knopp and Dr. John T. Price egged me on to explore this beautiful, volatile, passionate journey.

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Thwarted Escape Quotes

In essence, it is a subtle, complex and organic journey of my transformation from a small town girl in India to a woman who reconnects with her ancestral home, her emotionally fraught childhood and puberty. In her emotional, spiritual journey, she looks back, releasing her pent up thunder as she recounts her first tryst with death of a loved one, her first encounter with sexual abuse during a Diwali night, her first brush with her ancestral Hindu rituals, with love, procreation and motherhood.

With the lens of a time-traveler, she also looks back at the aromas and fragrances of her native Kolkata with wistfulness and nostalgia while trying to find her feet and strike roots in her adopted home. Moreover, she also tries to deconstruct the meaning and essence of Home, of Diaspora, of migration, realizing in the end that her physical attempt to break free of her ancestral roots and filial ties in an adopted home is, after all, thwarted.

In this roller-coaster emotional journey, mostly written in poetic prose, I attempt to uncover the slices of my soul while looking back at my roots in Kolkata and Barrackpore, my ancestral home, and my cultural traditions.  I attempt to unravel the inner core of my identity and my epiphanies derived as a daughter, a woman and a mother.  In the latter half of the book, there are travel memoirs in different parts of US and India, including Niagara falls, Seattle, Minnesota, Puri, Bhuvaneshwar and Konark, Orissa where my inward and outward journey forms an integral part of my self-analysis.

thwarted-escape-book-lopa-banerjee-and-friends

The book launch in Delhi with eminent authors, poets and the publisher of Authorspress

In this seamless journey, I also look at the ever-flowing cascade of life from the vantage point of death and despair, ultimately surrendering to the oscillation between the binary feelings of alienation and attachment between two different worlds of my existence.

The title ‘Thwarted Escape’ touches upon the metaphor of home and the act of sub-consciously embracing the physical and emotional landscape of our birthplace, however much we evade it. Quite early on, the protagonist of the book discovers the feminist literary worlds of Taslima Nasrin, Virginia Woolf, and later, Sylvia Plath, and a rebellious streak inside her persona compels her to delve into the roots of her ancestral Hindu traditions, question them, at times, even break free of them. However, in her self-chosen exile in the US, she discovers that deep within; her ancestral roots are also the wellspring of her psychological, spiritual existence. In the process, she keeps on oscillating between assimilating and disintegrating, which forms the core of her journey.

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The Kolkata book launch of Thwarted Escape,with eminent poet and academician Sharmila Ray, Art Rickshaw, Hindustan Park, Kolkata.

The book is available in Amazon worldwide now, and in Flipkart, an online e-retailing store in India.

Amazon links:

https://www.amazon.com/Thwarted-Escape-Immigrants-Wayward-Journey/dp/9352074254/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1480621429&sr=8-1&keywords=Thwarted+Escape

http://www.amazon.in/Thwarted-Escape-Immigrants-Wayward-Journey/dp/9352074254/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478420969&sr=8-1&keywords=Thwarted+Escape+Lopamudra+Banerjee

Flipkart link(for readers in India):

https://www.flipkart.com/thwarted-escape-immigrants-wayward-journey/p/itmenxzywcgtt549?pid=9789352074259&srno=s_1_1&otracker=search&lid=LSTBOK9789352074259QJJJJT&qH=485274c1f834c173

Goodreads page:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33021719-thwarted-escape

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thwartedescapethebook/?fref=ts

 

Rowing: a Vision in Collaboration

Image

‘Contemplation’: an image captured by Souvik Chakraborty, published by the esteemed ‘Stark Magazine’

Note for the readers: This is my first attempt at Ekphrasis, using art to inspire poetry. The inspiration for this poem in five segments or fragments came from this mesmerizing image captured by my friend Souvik Chakraborty. Based in Pittsburg, USA, Souvik is a researcher and an avid photographer who has already won accolades for his photos nationwide. This particular photo, titled ‘Contemplation’ has already been published in the prestigious ‘Stark Magazine’. Follow this link and find out more about the picture and the publication:

http://stark.uberflip.com/i/249106

Besides, Souvik has also been the Author on Focus in another photo magazine, where he also talks briefly about his photographic journey and his stint with the camera:

http://issuu.com/artestudio67/docs/photomagazine4_febbraio_marzo_2014

My heartiest congratulations to Souvik for this publishing success, and I thank him wholeheartedly for inspiring me for this synergy of art and poetry. In this poem, I have attempted a spiritual journey behind the picture in fragments. Here is how it goes:

(1)

Rocking your boat as if a child’s cradle

Sailing in safe, tranquil water

With the flows that you compose,

Drifting with the gentle, caressing breeze.

(2)

The gentle breeze does not know

Any specific rhyme or reason,

Or vision of a raw, devastating beauty.

His is the quiet song in the silhouetted night,

Painted in the pale horizon of insomnia eyes.

(3)

All that is left is the sun mourning

A shout of lament as purple life fades inside out.

The sky darkens and cools, illuminating, falling,

The river chanting its crescendo and fall.

A calling, a humming, a soliloquy of the earth.

(4)

Dreams scream out what the reality cannot hold,

They stay right there, watching over the birds in the sky,

Walking upon the clouds in a spiral of anonymity.

The birds, they have taken flights of fancy

Watching you rock your boat

From ethereal space.

No smothering, no force, no staleness,

No cryptic tracks, no walk, no pause confined by normality.

A sacred text of symmetry sketched in languid love,

Together, they will trample the scars in an upward light.

(5)

Tonight, I am in need of your mast and anchor,

I am chased by your endless wafting.

Following your infinite blue

Suppressing and hiding in currents.

I have lost the shore of your substance,

Searching through unkempt angles and corners

Dwindling in the settled darkness of sanity.