Year of Publication: 2011
Price: Rs 200
About the Author:
An award-winning poet, fiction writer and translator, K. Srilata is Associate Professor of English at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras. Her books include The Other Half of the Coconut: Women Writing Self-Respect History (Zubaan/Kali for Women, 2003), Short Fiction from South India (co-edited with Subashree Krishnaswamy and published by OUP in 2007), Rapids of a Great River: The Penguin Book of Tamil Poetry (co-edited with Lakshmi Holmstrom and Subashree Krishnaswamy and published in 2009 by Penguin/Viking India) and an anthology of poetry titled Seablue Child (Brown Critique, Kolkata, 2000). Srilata was a Charles Wallace writer-in-residence at the University of Stirling, Scotland in 2010. She was also a Sangam house writer-in-residence. Her work has been featured in journals and anthologies such as Fulcrum, The Little Magazine, Kavya Bharati and The Poetry Chain Anthology: A New Book of Indian Poems in English (published by Writers Workshop). Her reviews have appeared in The Hindu’s “Literary Review” as well as in The Indian Review of Books.
For Jeanne Mukuninwa
This, my friend, is the question I have:
Just what can you bake into a poem?
Sky blue skies, bouncy clouds of cotton, vanilla milk-shake moons,
red-breasted robins and other creatures with wings
that visit you on mornings choked
with the emptiness of work
and lines from forgotten sources:
the sea rising in a whisper of piano notes…
These things and others
Their batter flows freely
into the moulds
of lyrics, sonnets and free verse.
But what of Jeanne Mukuninwa
who slid off sky blue skies and clouds of cotton and milk-shake moons
when she was raped over and over
till inside her fistulas erupted,
till she stopped noticing red-breasted robins and other creatures with wings,
stopped wishing for seas rising in whispers of piano notes?
There must be a way, surely,
of baking fistulas into a poem?
Of gathering body wastes
and pouring them into moulds newly created,
so other worlds can rise?
Note: Jeanne Mukuninwa is one of many Congolese war-crime victims.
61 poems spread over 7 sections