Posts made in August, 2015

“My Glass of Wine” – an overview by Gary Robinson

My Glass of Wine: the expanded edition by Indian poet Kiriti Sengupta is a small book written in a hybrid style of prose and poetry consisting of eight chapters or autobiographical tales (though the poet decries categorization for causing a clash between writers and readers), plus two additional chapters of reviews and an interview with Dr. Sengupta. My Glass of Wine follows a similar style found in The Reverse Tree, a book I had the pleasure of reviewing. Dr. Sengupta’s eight chapters are complemented by short poems that function more than in a mere ancillary role. The poems are sparkling illuminations of the prose. They enhance each other. But this book is above all a series of tales. I would compare My Glass of Wine to a salon that one wanders in where a friendly voice greets you and before you know it a delightful vignette springs up before your eyes. I enjoy learning something about a poet and Dr. Sengupta is a most accomplished raconteur. The eight prose pieces do have the feel of a memoir without ever excluding the reader who has not shared the same experiences as Dr. Sengupta and may even be from a completely different culture. I would say the most remarkable and salient feature of My Glass of Wine is how one is so very well entertained by accounts as disparate as dentistry, Christianity, southern Indian cities, and shoes. There is a universal need that we have, as fellow inhabitants on this blue planet, to learn about one another and Kiriti Sengupta takes center stage in My Glass of Wine, though he introduces in a generous and completely unselfish spirit other characters such as his wife, his son, his guru. Could another Indian poet, or scholar for that matter, speak so informally on a variety of topics, always maintaining the keen interest of the reader who may have only a superficial knowledge of India? I think the key to it is that Dr. Sengupta paints himself as an everyman, a guide without pretences or affectations, someone with a genuine desire to reveal himself as no different from anybody else. Of course each person is different, otherwise we would suffer mass ennui, and Dr. Sengupta kindly asks us to listen to his particular stories. But there is not an ounce of conceit to him. At all times I felt a great warmth emanating from his words. Here is a poet who merely wants to tell us something about himself. What makes one person’s confessions different from another’s? I can think of nothing other than sincerity. It is rare to meet a sincere human being. Life beats us down, after all, and we are often rendered cynical and embittered. Yet there isn’t the slightest taint of falsehood to My Glass of Wine. I sense only an honest man, a poet, discoursing on aspects of his life, family, and friends. The Great Russian masters, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, believed a man had to explain himself. One sees the same influence in modern day writers like Roberto Bolaño and Gabriel García Márquez. Maybe all literature is an attempt by a writer, through the characters created in books and short stories, to offer an explanation to the reader. “I am writing this to explain to you something of myself,” the writer is saying. I see the same motive in Dr. Sengupta’s writings. The anecdotes are non-fiction but isn’t the poet still trying to explain something of himself to us? Gary Robinson is a poet and short story writer from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He has been published in Canada, the United States,...

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This Raksha Bandhan, Gift Your Sibling an Opportunity

Happy Raksha Bandhan to All, Hope you have all bought your rakhis and the sweets. Many of you would still be searching for that perfect gift for your sibling. Clothes, accessories, chocolates – you have exhausted all these possibilities. None of these make your sibling’s eyes sparkle. You need something unique. So here is your chance. You can now Gift an Opportunity to the person with whom you have shared some of the best days of your life. On the occasion of Rakhi, Literature Studio is pleased to offer a 20% discount on some of our most popular courses. The discount can be availed by anyone who wants to gift a Creative Writing Course to their sibling. Discount is available on the following courses: Fiction Fundamentals  – Literature Studio’s “Fiction Fundamentals” is a course custom tailored for busy homemakers and retired personnel. If you want to enhance your skills as a writer, but children and family keep you busy, you can take this course that has been scheduled keeping your convenience in mind. The 10-hour-long course will be spread over 5 days and would cover the following concepts of fiction writing: 1) Plot 2) Characters 3) Settings 4) Dialogues 5) Types of Points of View and Narrators Through inspiring readings, engaging exercises, and constructive discussions, you will take your first steps towards imbibing these techniques in your writing. The course will be useful whether you want to write flash fiction, short stories, novellas, or novels.  Short Story Writing –  Unlike a novel, a short story doesn’t offer an author the luxury of space to carve a plot, develop characters, and build up a climax. A short story is, never the less, a very powerful tool that says what it has to say in limited words. A writer has to make each dialogue, description, and action count. This programme takes you through the process of writing your own short story and will help you master each aspect of short story writing, one at a time. Through a reflection on several published works, you will start your own journey towards becoming a short story writer. The programme is designed to be effective and interactive. The focus is not only on teaching but also on getting you started as a short story writer. The course is delivered face-to-face or online over 12 classes, one class per week. Short Non-Fiction Writing – This short course aims to equip you with all the skills required to write quality non-fiction. Through intensive reading and writing exercises, assignments, and in-depth critical discussions, this course will be with you as you discover your own style, your core strengths as a creative non-fiction writer. The course is delivered face-to-face or online over 7 classes, one class per week. Travel Writing – Travellers are explorers. They dare to go where others don’t and they tend to see what others overlook. Each travel story deserves to be immortalized not only for your ready reckoner but also for the generations to come. The world as we know it today is changing rapidly. It is up to us travellers to preserve and leave a legacy for generations to come. What can you do to make your travel story special? How can you become a sensitive traveller and an informed travel writer? This short course will take you through this unique journey in which you will discover the explorer in you and get equipped with the skills to pen down your travel story effectively. The course is delivered face-to-face or online over 6 classes, one class per week. If you want to Gift an Opportunity to your sibling on Raksha Bandhan, write to info@literaturestudio.in for more details or call...

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Breaking Free || Short Story by Lily Sperber

Standing on my terrace early that afternoon, I look out at the palm trees and blue skies that surround me. It is past noon, and the sun is shining directly above on this hot summer day. Today, just like most days here in Los Angeles, cars pass, children play outdoors and many people are coming in and out of my apartment building. Among those who are coming in is my roommate Adam. No matter how many reasons I give him to leave and never see me again, he always comes back. I hear the front door open and close, and moments later, Adam is standing next to me. “Hi, Anna,” he says with some hesitation. “Hey,” I say. I know why he has been acting so quiet and strange around me lately; it is because of what had happened a few days ago. He got me out of two troubling situations, and it wasn’t the first time. I think he is seriously beginning to question whether or not helping me is the best thing to do. Whatever he has been thinking, he has been very careful not to let me know about it. “Adam, I’m sorry for the other day. I never meant for that to happen…” “But it still happened. And as always, I helped. But you never seem to appreciate that, or to make an effort to stop making these mistakes,” he sighs. “I just wish you would pull your life together and…” He is interrupted by the doorbell. He stands perplexed and walks back into the hall. We aren’t expecting any visitors, so who can this be? Moments later, I follow him inside, just as he is opening the door down the hall. ~ I wish the doorbell hadn’t rang just now. I was finally talking to Anna about the issue. I don’t know why my heart is racing as I open the door. And… before me stand two police officers. They hold up their badges and look past me into the apartment. Part of me wonders what Anna has done now, but I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough. “We are here for Anna Young. Is she home?” One of the officers asks. I look behind me and see Anna watching from down the hall. She has a shocked expression on her face and I wonder why. If the police are here, she has obviously done something wrong; she should’ve been expecting them sooner or later. The police seem to see her as well, and shove past me into the apartment. “Anna Young, you are under arrest for the act of arson and for endangering people.” What? Anna has done something seriously illegal this time. But arson? Endangering people? Since when does Anna do that? “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?” The officer continues. While the officer is informing her of her rights, the other officer is handcuffing her. Anna looks like she is close to tears and looks the most frightened I’ve ever seen her. She doesn’t respond to the cop, but rather to me. “Adam, I didn’t do it! This is a mistake! You’ve gotta believe me. I don’t do things like that,” she says, her voice frantic. For a second, I don’t know what to say, what to do, who to believe. Is she just trying...

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The Blaze

I’ll be born such, the trees won’t get hurt, and the birds can freely fly   I’ll be born such, the ants will rejoice in the tiny holes in earth; the horizon is set ablaze  no birth anywhere around   I’ve no mortal frame The earth has its share of dust and the transferable odour of lonely madmen   A river bears the moon within as it rests over the sand I’ll be born such, someday   I’ll be born such, like someone who has no birthday And like death I’ll be born eternally time and time again. (Translated by Kiriti Sengupta from its original Bengali titled “Dau” by Bibhas Roy Chowdhury) ***** And here is the original: দাউ এমন জন্মাব, যাতে গাছেদের আঘাত না লাগে আকাশে পাখির ডানা স্বাভাবিক থাকে, এমন জন্মাব এমন জন্মাব, গর্তে গর্তে পিঁপড়ের উৎসব দিগন্তে আগুন দাউ … নেই যেন কোথাও প্রসব আমার শরীর নেই… ধূলিকণা আছে পৃথিবীর আর আছে গন্ধে-গন্ধে নিরালার সমস্ত পাগল একটি নদী ধীরে এসে চাঁদ খেয়ে লুটোয় বালিতে… এমন জন্মাব আমি… এমন জন্মাব কোনওদিন এমন জন্মাব আমি, কোনও জন্মদিন নেই যার… মৃত্যুর মতোই আমি এমন জন্মাব বারবার! ________ কাব্যগ্রন্থঃ অনন্ত আশ্রম (পৃষ্ঠা ৪৭) সিগনেট প্রেস, জানুয়ারি ২০১৫ Bibhas Roy Chowdhury was born in the year 1968, in the terminal town Bongaon of West Bengal. His poems bear the characteristic features of the language of love, turmoil of the life of a poet, Partition of Bengal, and resplendent light of the lost lives. Although he has received many awards, he prefers to keep private. Kiriti Sengupta is a bilingual poet and translator in both Bengali and English. He is the author of three bestselling titles, My Glass Of Wine, a novelette based on autobiographic poetry, The Reverse Tree, a nonfictional memoir, and Healing Waters Floating Lamps [Poetry]. Kiriti’s other works include: My Dazzling Bards [literary critique], The Reciting Pens [interviews of three published Bengali poets along with translations of a few of their poems], The Unheard I [literary nonfiction], Desirous Water [poems by Sumita Nandy, contributed as the translator], and Poem Continuous – Reincarnated Expressions [poems by Bibhas Roy Chowdhury, contributed as the translator]. Reviews of his works can be read on The Fox Chase Review and Reading Series, Muse India, Red Fez Magazine, Word Riot, and in The Hindu Literary Review, among other places. Sengupta has also co-edited three anthologies: Scaling Heights, Jora Sanko – The Joined Bridge, and Epitaphs....

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“My Glass of Wine” Creative Writing Contest

Literature Studio and Hawakaal Publishers are very pleased to announce an exciting “My Glass of Wine” contest on the occasion of the launch of Kiriti Sengupta’s book My Glass of Wine. PRIZES UP FOR GRABS: Out of all submissions we receive, we will be shortlisting 5 entries. Those 5 contestants will get a chance to read their work at the launch event of My Glass of Wine on September 18, 2015. One of these participants will be awarded a book deal with Hawakaal Publishers. Two participants will win free creative writing courses worth Rs. 10,000/- each. Two will receive a gift hamper from Tathya. SUBMISSION GUIDELINES Interested candidates are requested to send their entries along with their biographies and profile pictures to info@literaturestudio.in. The entry should be your own unpublished creative work. We are looking for entries that belong to the genre “Hybrid Literature”. Other genres will not be accepted. For more information on “Hybrid Literature”, please scroll to the bottom of this Event The entry should be between 600 to 700 words in length. You can either send the entry in a word document or paste it directly in the body of the email. The subject line of the email should state “MGOW Contest Entry”. Each contestant can submit only one entry. In case someone happens to submit multiple entries, the last one will be considered. Decision of the judges will be final and cannot be contested. The contest is open to citizens of India only. The contest is open only to those who haven’t yet published a book traditionally. DEADLINE: All entries should reach us by September 10, 2015, 11:59pm. SELECTION AND DECISION PROCESS Out of all entries received, our jury will shortlist five. These contestants will then be invited to read / present their entries during the launch event on the 18th. In case, you cannot make it to the event, you can let us know and we will arrange for someone to read your entry. During the event, the winner and the runners-up will be decided on the spot by the members of the panel, in consultation with the publisher. The results will be declared before the end of the event. WHAT IS HYBRID LITERATURE? In simple terms, Hybrid Literature is a piece of writing, short or long, in which the writer breaks free of the boundaries imposed by a single genre. The writer may choose to intersperse prose with poetry, accentuate text with graphic elements, such as photographs, caricatures, etc., or intermingle fact with fiction, and biographies with memoirs. Following are some examples of Hybrid Literature: Example 1:  An excerpt from The Reverse Tree by Kiriti Sengupta. This excerpt marries poetry and prose.  ***** I have been an ardent fan of the poet Sumita Nandy’s works. She is subtle, yet she is strong, and she writes sensuous Bengali poetry. It was with her Desirous Water (that I translated from its Bengali original, Ichemoti) where I could easily sense that she used a male voice in some portions of her poetry. She even confessed that in Ichemoti she wrote like a male, although I have found a mix of both the sexes in the book. Is this what we refer to as a third sex or gender? Here is a poem that I wrote as I read Sumita’s Desirous Water: I have matched my lips with the highs of your water as you flowed joy the sun has dared to surface on your mirror playing both a she, and a he toy I’ve my own equation of love my he throbs in fire while my she is coy my girl shivers...

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