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TALKING BOOKS

Talking Books

Anmol Sandhu talks to Sonia Chauhan about her book This Maze of Mirrors

Hi Joanna. Thanks for talking to The Wise Owl

 

RS: Your collection of Cherita ‘river lanterns’ has been released recently. Our readers would be eager to know (as I am) what inspired you to write this beautiful collection of 90 virgin Cherita. 

 

JA:  I have been published in Ai Li’s Cherita journals for a while and love writing in this form.  I mentioned in my email correspondence to Ai Li that I aspired to have my own Cherita collection published.  She offered to edit my selection of poems from a large selection that I sent her.  I would say my inspiration came from reading Ai Li’s own collections of her Cherita verse, they are so beautiful. 

 

When I began writing these, I was mindful to really show me as not only a writer but as the person beneath and how the Cherita form bends to the art of storytelling.  It took me some time to write these and I am delighted with the narrative that Ai Li made with her choices for my book.  When another person chooses, they can distance themselves from your work and look critically at what you have sent.  It was a real honour for me to entrust the creator of the Cherita with my work.

 

 

RS: Your book is a collection of Cherita verse. Cherita is a genre of recent origin (1997). Tell us what attracted you to this genre of poetry. Were there any creative influences in your life that encouraged you to adopt this genre as your own.

 

JA:  I am attracted to this genre of poetry as I hold a deep reverence for Ai Li’s poetry and the short form poetry forms as a collective.  I was excited to see that Ai Li had developed this new genre.  She published my short form verse in the 1990s in her journal Still and I was sad when this was no longer in print.  I enjoyed the challenge of learning how to write this new form and find it really resonates with me as a writer.

 

I discovered her new form of Cherita and was hooked by these story gems.  I really admire the way that the Cherita journals are produced and enjoy reading the work within these.  As a writer it is important to keep on working at your craft and I love it when I get to enjoy the work of a fellow poet in the same genre. 

 

RS: River Lanterns has been edited and published by ai li, the creator of Cherita as a genre. How was the experience of connecting with the doyen of Cherita and having her select your Cherita?

 

JA:  As I mentioned earlier Ai Li had published my work in the 90s, then through offering Cherita to her for publication, the connection was reborn.  I have always enjoyed reading Ai Li’s poetry and I have found her to be a gracious supporter of my Cherita.  Sending my work to the creator of the genre I think really made me conscious that I had to elevate my writing to meet the standards to have enough quality Cherita for my own individual collection.  The experience is something that I will treasure as I now have a collection published other people can enjoy and will hopefully encourage them to do the same.

 

RS: Cherita is said to be a unique form of storytelling…storytelling in 6 lines. M Kei says that Cherita verse ‘combine the evocative power of tanka with the narrative of a personal story, like the vignettes we glimpse as we sit in a café and watch the world go by.’ Do you agree ? For the benefit of the readers would you please elaborate on this.

 

JA:  Yes, I think M Kei’s insight is correct.  Cherita to me contain the voice/song/whispers around the campfire as the stories unfold.  They can be written about such a wide range of experiences, focused through the lens of the individual. I love the power of tanka, and I see Cherita as a close cousin, both forms use beautiful language to sing a fragment of the world that we live in.

 

RS: I feel what differentiates Cherita from narrative storytelling, is that it tells a story about life & our spiritual journey. This is very true of your Cherita:

 

have you
found it yet

the fun arcade

where wishes
are the alchemy
of breath

 

What are your thoughts on this?

 

JA:  Yes, I feel a real connection with Cherita and my spiritual side.  This is an element that attracts me to using this form.  It allows me to explore and highlight aspects that may not be accepted in other types of verse.  The Cherita can be used as a blank canvas for me to embed my perspective of my inner and outer world through stories. 

 

RS: What are the themes or stories you have touched upon in your various Cherita verse?

 

JA:  Where to begin…  The Cherita in this collection provides a map of my highs and lows.  They reveal how I see the world and feel about it.  I enjoy adding elements of fairytales, myths, rich imagery, and aspects of the natural world.  The importance of love, loss, friendship, connections, truth etc. all are within.  The Cherita captures a moment of beauty, in time, often of universal things that happen to all of us but told from the narrator’s perspective.    Often there is a vein of spirituality running through the verse.

 

 

RS: There are some cherita terbalik also in your collection. For the benefit of our readers please tell us how this form is different from Cherita and why we need a different syllable arrangement for this form of poetic storytelling

 

JA:  The Cherita terbalik also tells a story but ‘terbalik’ is the Malay word for upside down or reversal (https://www.thecherita.com/)   It is a different arrangement of the original Cherita stanza format.  By using another variation of the Cherita format it enables the writer to alter the flow of the story that they are telling, such as the example from my collection below:

 

the ruby shoes

the glass slipper

the fairy dust

 

as a child

I imagined all

 

in my cupboard

 

To me this verse is stronger with the terbalik arrangement.  Writing Cherita I make a judgement as to which stanza suits the flow of the story.

 

RS: Do you also write in other genres like haiku, senryu, tanka, haibun on a regular basis?  Which is your favorite genre among all these genres (we know your fondness for Cherita of course)

 

JA:  Yes, I also write in other genres such as haiku, senryu, tanka, Haibun and other short form verse.  I began writing contemporary poetry first and then I discovered haiku when I was looking for poetry journals to read and subscribe to.   I fell in love with haiku and feel that they are the guardians of nature and our world.  I find short form poetry very special; these dewdrops of tiny forms really capture a sense of the world around us. 

 

I see the bonds between these genres as strings from the same bow –

 

the heart harp

 

wind and rainfall

skeins from sky

 

this humming

of a melody

our soul bonds

 

Selecting a favourite is like asking a parent to choose a child.  They all hold a place in my heart.  I began with haiku and then progressed to tanka – aspects of the heart.  These are the two that led me into this world of short form poetry and were my entry point for exploring and discovering other genres.  I wouldn’t like to be without any one of them as they each offer a different way to express aspects of the world and my own life journey. 

 

RS: What advice would you give budding poets of Cherita verse?

 

JA:  The advice I would give to writers of any verse is to READ, READ, READ.  Study the form, work on your craft, support the journals that publish them – if you want to write them, then surely you will enjoy reading them. Write, keep on writing and honing, learning the form, find your own style/voice, make connections in the writing world – even if online and listen and appreciate editorial advice – they have a vast range of experience, and this is how you grow as a writer.  The short form poetry world is a beautiful, supportive place.  When you buy a journal that publishes Cherita verse or another genre, be open to learning and see how well other writers use the form.  Try and buy the collections of writers that you admire, this keeps our writers’ world vibrant and alive.

 

Thank you, Joanna, for taking time out to talk to The Wise owl about your beautiful book. We wish you the best and hope you make this unique storytelling genre rich with your verse.

 

Thank you so much for asking me to talk to you. 

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Dr Ampat Koshy talks to Santosh Bakaya about her poetry collection What is the meter of the Dictionary

Talking Books

Dr. AK: You have brought out many collections of poetry. Which one is What is the Meter of the Dictionary? in this set?

 
SB:
What is the Meter of the Dictionary? is my latest solo book to be published, following this order of chronology.

 

Oh Hark! [2014]
Where are the Lilacs? [2016]
Ballad of Bapu [2014], a poetic biography of Bapu, has garnered a lot of acclaim.
Under the Apple Boughs [2017]
Songs of Belligerence [ 2020]
Runcible Spoons and Pea-green Boats [2021]
What is the Meter of the Dictionary? [2022]

 

Dr. AK: What is the significance of the title of the collection? Do tell us the reasons behind the success of What is the Meter of the Dictionary?
 

SB: Well, I have been asked this question many a time, and to answer this question, once again, let me reproduce a few lines from the Acknowledgments of the book:


Altarwise by Owl-light with its rioting images, and Dylan’s perennial quest for shape intrigued me beyond words…which I found very obscure. So, trying to make sense of it, with my woefully limited mental capacities, I kept going back to it."

So, I need to acknowledge the source of the title of the book, What is the Metre of the Dictionary [Altarwise by Owl-Light,]

Dylan Thomas

What is the metre of the dictionary?

The Size of genesis? the short spark’s gender

Shade without shape? The shape of the Pharaoh’s echo?

[My shape of age nagging the wounded whisper]

 

Shapes have forever fascinated me – the shape of clouds, the shape of patches of sun, the shape of a noonday chill on a cold winter month, the shape of flamboyant kites flashing their long tails, the shape of a blade of grass swaying in the breeze and even the shape of a bird’ s wound.

Life circles in languorous shapes, sometimes shapes of frenzy too, it is then that on my brow I feel the soft, smooth shape of a mother’s hand.

As for the second part, honestly speaking, I myself was pleasantly surprised at the unprecedented response that the book received.  To my mind, the title and the cover appealed very much to the readers. That is what I could gather from the readers’ comments and reviews. The reviews also mention the highly sparkling foreword and back page blurb by two erudite scholars- Dr. Sunil Sharma and Dr. Ampat Koshy. Naturally, the readers were curious to know what was between the pages of the book- so they read that too.  Fair enough.

 
Dr. AK: What are the themes of the poems in the collection? Please expand a little on these themes.


SB: The book is divided into two parts Joyous Tumult and Faint Echoes. Joyous Tumult is about the myriad hues of nature. In Faint Echoes, I change shape and creep into the minds of the common man and woman, whose dreams remain in the mute echoes of their minds and in the wistful looks lurking sheepishly in their eyes.
 

So, there is the house help, vocalizing her dreams for her daughters while washing dishes in the kitchen, the security guard outside a posh locality, and the woes of a sad boatman in Dal Lake, Srinagar, talking of the good old times, the exhausted rickshaw -puller in Delhi, who drifts into a tired sleep after a hard day’s work. He sees a man preening in his green fields- a happy farmer, and wistfully recalls how he had to leave home, hearth, and farm to go to an alien land to earn his bread. He opens his eyes to ‘a screaming vacuity’
 

The green fields of his reminiscences evaporated
as home became an abstraction, sadly awaited

 

Dr. AK: What is your favourite poem in the collection and why?

SB:  Honestly speaking, it is very difficult to choose one. But if you still force me to choose at gun point, I will say, The Sparrow Singing on the Wheelbarrow.  I like it because in this poem I have talked of the freedom of a sparrow to sing with full- throated ease, without the danger of being charged for sedition or being incarcerated for its utterances. I have also talked of the futility of war, and of the dystopian times we are breathing in [oft not breathing!], the need for an egalitarian society, of doing things our own way, and above all, the recreation of that lost world of innocence. Moreover, this one is my favourite also because of the fact, that many poet friends have been gracious enough to give a rendition of this  poem. In many of my book readings, I have been asked to recite this poem.  You know, the poem just wrote itself when I saw a sparrow during my morning walk, happily hopping on a rusted wheelbarrow, singing its own song.

You, Dr. Koshy, being a scholar and critic, will be in a better position to judge the merit of this poem .

 

Let me reproduce a few lines from it.

I like the way you roll, dear little sparrow,

chirping unfettered on that rusted wheelbarrow.              

 

How I wish I could chirp like you, too

Deliberately mangle my tenses, and recreate that lost world.

Unafraid to be sued for my utterances,

just because I have the gall to love all,

the black, brown, fair, the short, the tall.

I wish I could have your untethered freedom,

hum your liberating notes,

and sail my colourful paper boats like a happy child.

Are you seditious? No way.

Love your sassiness, any day.

 

Dr. AK: Simply lovely! Can you also tell us some lines or stanzas that mean a lot to you from some other poems and why?

 
SB:
Thanks!

The following poem was written in a three- minute spontaneous outburst. I also recited it on World Autism Day April 2, 2022, in response to a prompt in the Facebook group, The Significant League. When I finished writing this, I felt tears trickling down my cheeks.This is the fiftieth poem in the collection, and very close to my heart. I strongly believe that every child has hope, and it makes me despair that not much has been done in the field of autism. My poet’s heart craves for a magic wand to heal these little angels. My practical side wishes for some sort of honest, result- yielding holistic treatment, which will help these children to reach their full potential.  Euphemisms are not the need of the hour, but real, focused, dedicated work for these innocent kids, definitely is.

Look Mommy [For the Blue Roses]

“Look mamma, look pappa,
how I splash the hues of love,
while that tiny dove looks lovingly at me.
It is a dove, isn't it? So pure and quiet.

What is the difference between a dove and a pigeon?
What is the difference between me and the others?
Me and the others – both have mothers – and fathers too –
so where lies the difference? Why am I different?

 

Another poem which means a lot to me is the 64th poem in this collection. When Life comes Visiting. It was published on 13 October, 2021, figuring in the highly commended category for October month, in Destiny poets, November 9, 2021. Let me quote a few lines from this poem:

 

Isolated in our luxurious shells,

as snug as hermit crabs,

not bothered about the unjust world around.

we go on slurping steaming hot coffee

with a poached egg on a slice of toast.

 

While the rag picker hunts for scraps of treasure

in the overflowing, stinky dumpster,

we, the high- born inhale the morning air

exhilarated by the crisp, breeze teasing the trees,

unfazed by the throttled screams of tethered freedom.

 

From the safety of our shells, we see life walking towards us.

Loose-limbed, wobbly, ataxic, an audacious sneer pasted on its face.

But, we the invincible, are safe in our shells, aren’t we?

So, why bother?”

 

Dr. AK:  Wonderful! Now we see why this collection is such a tremendous success, and why you matter as a writer. What do you want this collection to do for and to the reader who peruses it?

 

SB: I wonder whether a collection can do anything for the readers, but I am indeed grateful that readers have some very good things to say about the book.

 
What hurts me immensely is our brutal disregard of nature, and a lot of my poems in this collection, deal with the benevolence of Nature and how cruelly we are treating it. In my Author’s Note, I write about this: 


The present pandemic has taught us a lot of things – that we had taken nature for granted, exhibiting a brutal disregard for what it offered. Running after squirrels to find where they hid their nuts, trying to hunt for camouflaged grasshoppers, squelching through the rain-soaked ground, trying to identify the bird calls, fascinated by the chattering monkeys, the rumbling of clouds, the butterflies hovering on the ivy on the trellis, the breeze-touched buttercups, and runaway hares – Are these juvenile activities? We need to steal time to indulge in these so- called juvenile activities – that way maybe we can then get another chance at living and loving. Reminds me of Carl Jung’s words, “You are not living on Earth. You are Earth. Nature is not matter only. She is also Spirit.”


In the book, I talk a lot about the magical power of nature, about wildflowers, the rustling leaves, the songs of the pines and birds, the silver- touched waves, the bleating lambs, grasshoppers and happily flitting butterflies.  If the book is able to remind readers of the therapeutic power of nature, if mankind is just able to stand, stare and be drenched in the benevolence of nature, life will be a little more beautiful, believe.

 
Let me also maintain, that despite the changing norms about poetry, I continue to stick to rhyme and meter. Some might label me a rhymester, consider it infradig and amateurish or crinkle their noses at the absurdity of rhymes in the present era of free verse, but to me, rhyming will always remain an integral part of my poetry, no matter what the detractors say. 

 

Dr. AK: How would you rate or compare your book, with the others, in terms of what links all of them together and what makes this different from the others and better?

 

SB: I don’t know whether it is better than the rest, but each poem, is as much a chunk of my heart, as it was in Songs of Belligerence, Where are the Lilacs? Under the Apple Boughs or Runcible Spoons and Pea- green Boats. I think that what links them together, are strands of nature, and nostalgia about a sylvan age.

 
Where are the Lilacs? [2016], a collection of peace poems, was incredibly well- received, and launched in many places- in Ghana, Accra, in Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, in Jammu, Delhi and Jaipur.


In the Author’s note I write:    

In The Challenge of Thor’, H W Longfellow wrote long back,

‘Over the whole earth

Still is it Thor’s-Day!’

Why should Thor continue to reign with impunity? Why indeed? Do we gain by its reign? Does war give us anything? Just death and destruction, sadness and despair. Why should every day be Thor’s Day? Why should we allow brute strength to hold sway?

   
Songs of Belligerence, 2018 deals with some real incidents which shook the world. Permit me to quote a few lines from Westminster Bridge [22 March, 2017]


‘Yes, the chilling butchery killed the gaiety and laughter

 but the morning after

a tube board message proclaimed:

‘the flower that blooms in adversity

is the rarest and most beautiful of them all.

We are not afraid.’


In the Authors’ Note, I say that it is an elegy for an innocent world of yore,

 
‘when some vile villain had not, as yet

filched that pot of gold we had found under the rainbow.

When the pine trees had peered at us through exotic green eyes

and our songs had not yet trailed into sighs.’


Runcible Spoons and Pea-green Boats, [2021]   is a book of nostalgia,

nostalgia about lost glens, lost bridges,

lost smiles, lost games, lost hopes.

And lost parents.

Nostalgia about those days we thought would never end- memories of that first lost tooth, the memories of slithering up trees, disappearing into the attic when scolded, the tantalizing smell of that book- filled attic still lingers in corners of a still-active mind, the dust motes clinging to the ceiling suddenly shine in the light of remembrance.

 

 

Dr. AK: Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan or R S Thomas or you - to put a comparative touch to this questionnaire in my idiosyncratic way, can you talk of which of these writers' books would you take to a desert island and why? Which album can also be specified?
 

SB: I would take Dylan Thomas’ complete works with me, and read them while humming Bob Dylan’s, immortal song, ‘The answer is blowin’ in the Wind.’ Under Milkwood, has always intrigued me, right from its opening line ‘To begin at the beginning’. You can almost touch the love with which Dylan plays with words here. ‘Listen. It is night moving in the streets.’ Time passes. Listen. Time passes. ‘Hush, the babies are sleeping. I can never get tired of reading this. In that desert island, I can imagine myself reading- rereading all his works and being rejuvenated.


RS Thomas!  I read him a long time back and remember being hooked. Iago Prytherch, a farm laborer, a symbol of fortitude, is a character I grew to appreciate. Hardships, humanity, hard work, is what he stood for. In the past couple of years, Prytherch has hovered in my mind, especially during the time the farmers of our country were fighting for their rights. I was immensely touched by his words about the resilience and endurance of the Welsh farmers, despite the sad tone, there was a palpable touch of life- affirming optimism, haunting and soul- stirring.
 

Dr. AK: In the sprawling landscape of Indians writing poetry in English in India and abroad, where do you place yourself? What do you have to offer that they don't, which makes you also matter and so potent in this panorama?

 

SB: ‘Sprawling’- this word says everything! But, why, pray, should I place myself anywhere?  Why should I matter? I exist on the periphery of the mainstream literary scene, a tiny mote. Not much of a presence, honestly.  I nurse no delusions of grandeur, and I write, because I was born with a mad streak in me; and will continue to write till my last breath- it is a passion which has lifted me from the dumps, many a time. It is a straw which I cling to, with a white- knuckled intensity. It is the oar which has steered me away from many a turbulent moment. I write with no ambition of offering anything to the world. I write because I want to - simple!  I write because that pesky voice inside me, commands me, ‘go write,’ and I ‘writhe’ on paper!

I believe, I am more of a storyteller, and most of my poems are narrative poems. They tell stories which sometimes spring from deep within, and then are lost somewhere in that ‘sprawling’ space, where so- called poets like me roam untethered.

   
But, let me reiterate that neither am I a mediocre poet, nor a cerebral poet. I might lack the erudition and scholarly competence of many, in this ‘sprawling’ literary scene. But, yes, I have a voice, which I wouldn’t want to be labelled as mediocre. I write to satisfy my passion, which is perennially prodding me on. And I feel I am well placed, wherever I am. I am content to bask in my muted glow.


Dr. AK: Who are your favourite writers in English from the past that have left a mark on your work and whom you would like to keep alive if need be by asking others to read? 

 

SB: Honestly speaking, it is very difficult for me to point that out, because at different stages of my life, I have been inspired by different writers, and the list is so long, that while writing about them, I might be guilty of inadvertently dropping many.  In school and college, Edgar Allen Poe and Edward Lear were my favorites, and they continue to be so. Lear’s limericks have very uncannily merged into me, so much so, that I wrote Ballad of Bapu, a 300 page poetic biography of Mahatma Gandhi, in the rhyme scheme of a limerick- aabba, which garnered a lot of national and international acclaim. The foreword so graciously penned by the Mahatma’s great- grandson. Mr. Tushar Gandhi has also been written in the form of poetry.  
 

As I said earlier, Dylan Thomas will always remain my favourite, and to this day, I mourn his early death. What literary gems would have flown from his magic pen had he lived for at least twenty more years! [By the way, my poem on him for Dylan Thomas Day was just published in Vatsala Radhakeesoon’s blog on 14 May, 2023].

It was in school that I had read every book by Thomas Hardy and Dickens- their poems too, and a reading of other writers came later-Hemingway, Dostoevsky, Gabriel Garcia Marquez- the list grew on.  
The Afro- American writers, created a snug niche in my life, and I read every work by them in college. Langston Hughes, [1902- 1967] and his commitment to the cause of civil rights, along with his Jazz poetry intrigued me no end and the poignancy of The Weary Blues touched me immensely. [I often find myself humming a ‘drowsy syncopated tune’/Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon’.


It was while doing my research for my biography of Martin Luther King Jr, that I read the works of Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou thoroughly. Ralph Ellison’s [1914- 1994] Invisible Man [1952], about a young college educated black, trying to survive in a racially divided society, won the National Book Award in 1953 and is a favourite. Some quotes from the book will forever remain etched in memory.
 

“I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.”
“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free”.


One book which has inspired me the most, has been To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee.


Since my father’s Doctoral thesis was on the Dramatic Monologues of Robert Browning, Browning has also been a great influence on me. The Pied Piper of Hamelin makes cameo appearances in my writings, so does Porphyria’s Lover. My father had awe-inspiring oratorical skills. I can still feel chills crawling up my spine at the way he recited certain blood- curdling words, from it:
 

In one long yellow string I wound
Three times her little throat,
around,
And strangled her. No pain felt she;

 
I still remember gasping at his expression and enunciation, and the movement of strangling that he made with one hand. The mammoth library in our home, whetted my appetite for reading- little knowing that it would turn me into a small-time writer. I remember having rehearsed the poem, How they brought the good news from Ghent to Aix, for a school elocution contest, under the supervision of my dad. The way he acted out the following lines is forever etched in memory.

 

‘And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flank,
As down on her haunches she shuddered and sank.”
.

‘The broad sun above laughed a pitiless laugh,’
’Neath our feet broke the brittle bright stubble like chaff.’


It was my friend’s father, who had just been transferred to Jaipur from his homeland, Kolkata, [Calcutta then], who introduced me to the writings of Gurudeb Tagore, and needless to say, he cast a permanent spell over me.   

 
Maya Angelou [1928- 2014] Why the Caged bird Sings Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize Winner, Toni Morrison [Songs of Solomon, 1977, Sula,1973 Beloved, 1987and The Bluest Eye,1970, Derek Walcott, Caribbean poet and playwright, Nobel Prize winner for literature, 1992.  I have been mesmerized by the lush manner he celebrates the natural beauty of the Caribbean landscape, In a Green Night: Poems [1948 -1960.]. All these writers should be read by all. They are the sparkling stars of African- American literature, a must read for all.


Yes, Ruskin Bond, is also a writer who, should be read by all and, so is RK Narayan.,

 

Dr. AK: What are the next projects that you are working on? The genres and themes?


SB: Don’t laugh at me when I tell you that I am working on ten projects- Family says that they can ‘hear the crash and bang of a cacophonous simultaneity in my mind’, but believe me, I have a sneaking suspicion  that their ears are oversensitive!


Actually, these books were written at different periods, now I am picking them one by one and editing them – culling – honing- polishing- polishing – honing. There are three novels [one a satire, two romantic novellas with Kashmir as the backdrop]. I am also giving the final touches to my compilation of humorous verse, and children’s poems.
 

SB: I had a wonderful time answering your questions. Thanks a ton Dr. Koshy. Thanks The Wise Owl magazine for this opportunity. It was a great honour.

About Santosh Bakaya
santosh Bakaya.jpg

Santosh Bakaya is a poet of repute. Winner of International Reuel Award for literature for Oh Hark, 2014, The Universal Inspirational Poet Award [Pentasi B Friendship Poetry and Ghana Government, 2016,] Bharat Nirman Award for literary Excellence, 2017, Setu Award, 2018, [Pittsburgh, USA] for ‘stellar contribution to world literature.’ Keshav Malik Award, 2019, for ‘staggeringly prolific and quality conscious oeuvre’. Chankaya Award  [Best Poet of the Year, 2022, Public Relations Council of India,], Eunice Dsouza Award 2023, for ‘rich and diverse contribution to poetry, literature and learning’,[Instituted  by WE Literary Community]. Poet, biographer, novelist, essayist, TEDx speaker, creative writing mentor, Santosh Bakaya, Ph.D, has been acclaimed for her poetic biography of Mahatma Gandhi, Ballad of Bapu [Vitasta, 2015]. She has participated in many literary festivals, and was one of the delegates to the SAARC Sufi festival in Jaipur, in 2017, her poems have been translated into many languages, and poems and short stories have won many awards, both national and international.
 

About Dr Ampat Koshy
Dr Koshy.jpg

Dr Ampat Koshy is an Assistant Professor, presently at the Department of English. Mount Carmel College, Autonomous, Bangalore, and has 28 books with his name on the cover. He is a poet, fiction writer,  critic, and editor, having curated many anthologies and won many awards. Some of his books are # 1  Amazon best sellers, one having gone into multiple translations.

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