April 12, 2016

Thursday, August 20, 2015

World Poetry: India

It's Poetry Friday. Take another spin around the globe with  me. Today, we are visiting an accomplished young poet from India, Supriya Kaur Dhaliwal.

Supriya Kaur Dhaliwal (born June 27, 1995) is an Indian poet and writer. She is author of two books of poems, The Myriad (2011) and Musings of Miss Yellow (2015).

The only daughter of Simerjit Kaur Dhaliwal and Yadwinder Singh Dhaliwal, Supriya was was born and brought up in the vicinity of lush green tea gardens and majestic Himalayan valley, Palampur. The town is located in Himachal Pradesh, India where her Sikh parents sought refuge from the rapid pace of the rest of the country and sought solace in the lap of nature. At the age of seven she wrote her first poem, and she first saw publication in a widely read newspaper, The Tribune when she was fifteen years old.

Supriya is currently living in Shimla, where she's studying English Literature at St. Bede's College. She authored her first book of poems at the age of sixteen. Her debut anthology received immense love from its readers which triggered the poetry bug in her to a newer level. 

She is actively involved in the literary scene in India, contributing to numerous literary carnivals across the country, including Kumaon Literary Festival and Delhi Poetry Festival . She is also the core team member of Poets Corner, a one of a kind poetry collective based in the historic city of New Delhi. She aims at reviving this literary spirit in the youth of India which she believes is dwindling at a panther pace.

Her poems are widely anthologized across the globe, Earl of Plaid (USA), A Poet's View of Being (Canada), The Taj Mahal Review (India), Acerbic Anthology (Nigeria).  Her sophomore poetry anthology, Musings of Miss Yellow was recently published. It started its journey from the 100 Thousand Poets for Change World Conference in Salerno, Italy. 

Find the book here.

Musings of Miss Yellow is divided into six sections: A Tryst with Tales in Rhyme, Arcadia, Gobbledygook, If, Rumination and Saudade respectively.

Sharing her experience from the recent 100 TPC World Conference in Italy, Supriya says:

"People often mock and giggle when I tell them I am a poet. They end up patting my back over a ruthless comment, 'You’re just a young woman deciding who she will be.' Last month, I took a leap of faith and traveled to Salerno, Italy to attend the 100 Thousand Poets for Change World Conference. I met poets from so many countries that I failed to maintain a count. 

"When I boarded my last plane from Dubai with a heavy heart, I felt as if I had seen the entire world in one shot. The organizers of the conference, Alfonso Gatto Fondazione and 100 Thousand Poets for Change, translated a few poems from this sophomore poetry collection into Italian and posted a stanza of my poem “If I have a Daughter” with my picture on their Facebook page. 

"One fine evening, when almost everyone was high on poetry and alcohol, nearly about to explode with euphoria while dancing on the tunes of Campagnia Daltrocanto, a local traditional Neopolitan band, a man who spoke only Italian and no English walked by my side to examine my face. He then took out his phone, opened up that particular picture of me on conference’s Facebook page, posted with a stanza of my poem 'If I have a Daughter' in Italian and moved his fingers to confirm if it was me. I smiled and nodded. He said something then, which I failed to understand, still I smiled and nodded and resumed dancing on those energetic beats. After a few minutes, he came to me again. This time he had the Google Translator opened on his phone window. He handed me his phone. He had got the Italian word 'mosso' translated for me into English. 'Mosso' is synonymous to 'moved'. He wanted to tell me he was moved by my poem. My eyes felt heavy. I bowed and said 'grazie' (thank you). I guess I’ll master the Italian language one day and translate Musings of Miss Yellow into Italian myself. I’ll then go to Salerno again to gift him the first copy of 'Riflessioni di Perdere Giallo.'
Supriya in Salerno.
"Being a young poet in India is almost like waking up to a challenge every day. Well, to me, poetry is something that I’d envisaged for my future since the day when I was not even a teenager. I had always wanted by bind my illicit and unripened verses into a slice of surreal treatise. 

"It may sound strange, but there were actually two things that inspired me to write this book. Firstly, it was the sarcastic tone of the society. Though it wasn’t threatening or scathing, but I’d always wanted to upshot the basic convictions of the world around us. Secondly, the nature around me has always fascinated and inspired me beyond any possible levels of anticipation. We were, rather are, always taught at the school that these trees and flowers are categorized as living creatures and they differ us only by the means of communication. So since my early teenage, I have always tried to place myself at their place and speak up a language that perfectly fits in this universal natural maze."

Recommended poet:

"There's this one poet who has always stayed with me, her name is Amrita Pritam, a very prominent female poet in the Indian literary scene who wrote in my mother tongue Punjabi. 
Ajj aakhaan Waris Shah nu (Today I invoke Waris Shah – "Ode to Waris Shah"), an elegy written by her to the 18th-century Punjabi poet, an expression of her anguish over massacres during the partition of India never fails to touch me in the most poignant manner every time I read it."

 [Note: You'll find the poem in English and Punjabi, with historical background about the massacres, at this blog.]

Although I met Supriya at the 100 Thousand Poets for Change conference, I feel that I have met her again through the biography and statements she shared with us today. She was kind enough to share two poems. The first is recommended for upper elementary and older. The second is appropriate for high school and up.

Power of Hope
by Supriya Kaur Dhaliwal (at age 15)
from The Myriad

When all memories leave you with gloom
And you are left with nothing but doom
When you are crippled and you need a rope
Hold your breathe and give yourself a chance of hope
By ignoring the brain and following the heart
Give your life a new start
Build your way when it is hard to climb
Have no fear, because you haven’t done a crime
Taking small steps, learn to cope
Slowly and slowly build you’ll build your hope
by Supriya Kaur Dhaliwal
from Saudade, Musings of Miss Yellow

Like an
infinite number of concentric circles,
it stretches its existence
beyond an unfelt level.
And like the rings
that increase in number
every year
under the skin of
a tree’s trunk-
it keeps on adding
time, maybe years
to itself.
Yes, I’m talking 
about your memory.
You are the center 
of my concentric circles.
Your memory, I’m sure
will gaze like an addled sage
till what they call- eternity
on my love’s age.

One day
your indifference 
I’ll assume
to be a stone.
Out of angst, 
I’ll let it moan
on the lake’s water.
The ripples 
will refuse to stay
and I wonder
if your memory
will forever sway.
It's exciting to meet young adults who have a deep love for and commitment to poetry. I applaud Supriya for being so involved in the poetry community. All of the 100 Thousand Poets members are looking forward to watching (and reading) what she does in the future.

Catherine at Reading to the Core
is hosting Poetry Friday this week.
Stop by her blog
for all of this week's links.
In the World Poetry Series:

World Poetry: India, featuring Menka Shivdasani

World Poetry:Poland, featuring Danuta Kosk-Kosicka and Lidia Kosk

World Poetry: Israel, featuring Michael Dickel

World Poetry: Ireland, feature Siobhan Mac Mahon


Linda B said...

Inspiring to hear about this young poet that you met, Laura, and to read her lovely words: "You are the center of my concentric circles." I imagine there will be more and more to celebrate in her future. I'll share this with colleagues who are teaching the older students. They'll love it, too.

Diane Mayr said...

I never learned "...trees and flowers are categorized as living creatures and they differ us only by the means of communication," so this really made me stop and think. Supriya's maturity is evident in her comments and poems.

And, I think the cover of Musings... is brilliant!

Robyn Hood Black said...

Thanks for sharing Supriya's thoughtful poetry, Laura - and kudos to her for following her own heart and vision. I need to catch up on your series!
I'll actually be featuring a couple of haiku poets from India in coming months.

Mary Lee said...

Thanks AGAIN for taking us around the world in poetry with you!

Tabatha said...

Hi Laura, I am impressed that you have been able to post so regularly given how much you have going on! I like the quote that Diane pointed out about the trees and flowers. Also, the image of a stone being indifference, tossed onto memory, was striking. Best of luck to Supriya!

GatheringBooks said...

How beautiful to know this young poet from India through your post - such a heartfelt poem.

Joy said...

I attended a shop talk last night at the Poetry Center in Tucson. We discussed the poetry of Tarfia Faizullah from her award winning book SEAM. The poems are about the Liberation War in Bangladesh in 1971 in which between 200,000 and 400,000 women were either raped or killed. Of course this isn't the same as poetry from India, but I was very moved by Faizullah's poetry and I recommend her book SEAM to you.