Into the Migrant City
Year of Publication: 2013
Price: Rs 200
About the Author:
Nabina Das holds an MFA in Poetry from Rutgers University (USA) and an MA in Linguistics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. Her first novel, Footprints in the Bajra (Cedar Books, New Delhi) was longlisted for the Vodafone Crossword Book Award, 2011. Her first collection of poetry, Blue Vessel (Zaporogue Press, Denmark) was published in 2012. She has been the recipient of several writing fellowships including the Charles Wallace Fellowship in Creative Writing (at the University of Stirling, UK) and the Sangam House Lavanya Sankaran Fiction Fellowship – both in 2012. Das has won prizes in major Indian poetry contests such as the 2009 Prakriti Foundation Open Contest and the 2008 Open Space-HarperCollins Poetry Contest. She writes for the Prairie Schooner, a literary journal brought out by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA, and is on the peer review committee of The Four Quarters Magazine, a literary journal published from Assam.
Outside of poetry, Das has trained in Indian classical music and has performed in radio and TV programmes as well as street theatre. She is also a blogger; you can visit her blog
The summer storm bloomed on an eastern sky
the west looked red
roses of anger heaped on a bush stuck in its thorns
smarting faces, hatred.
You were watching Caché on the living-room TV
blood squirting from slashed-up necks
headless chickens scattered in an ungainly race
backwards, forward, again back.
My finger touched a tomato skin shedding light
of a red ink, darklike –
wasn’t this what my father’s revolutionary friends
brought in, a newspaper wrapped tight
So not everyone would know how words tumble
red and angry on our roads?
I thought I saw a word flutter open again, a hue,
not a name or mundane thing like odes.
You thought we’d lost our tongues, our attitude
piled under the redness of shame
peripheral to storms, deaths, news of constant ruse
and I realized, a colour doesn’t need a name.
55 poems spread across three sections