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Poets Printery

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Inyathi, Hudson View, Poetry of South Africa in Dubai and New Delhi

The Inyathi, a journal on arts found its way to the homes and hearts of artists and art lovers. A thousand copies, reprinted a number of times established its motto of focussing on Southern African Arts and its dedication to the South African Art World. The journal was not only loved by South African Artists, Art Faculties in South African Universities but also found subscriptions in the United States, India and Pakistan. The credit for its success goes to the contributors who are, Mathemba Nocoyini, John Steele, Cornelius Thomas, Leon du Preez, Volkmar Dobat, Judy Fish, Terry Flynn, Barry Gibbs, Pumlani Mbanya, Mumtaz Kader and Rentia. It is my greatest pleasure as its editor to announce the publishing of the next issue and call for papers and research oriented articles on art. I would also love to establish an editorial committee which would take-up in improving the journal by providing advice on production and content of the journal. The Poets Printery, South Africa which publishes this journal would be delighted to give distribution rights to artists, art lovers and book shop owners in various cities in South Africa and abroad.

Premier Nosimo Balindlela‘A Hudson View’, an international print poetry journal published by Victoria Valentine of Skyline Publishing, New York and edited by me, created great interest within South African Poetry environs. The journal has poetry from the United States, United Kingdom and Eastern Europe which are selected by Victoria who is herself a well known poet in New York. I choose the poetry from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. I am proud to present well known representative voices of contemporary South African Poetry as Brett Beiles, Kobus Moolman, Shabbir Banoobhai, Professor Peter Horn and Phillippa Yaa de Villiers. The journal has subscriptions to American Universities and Libraries; it is promoted as a book of the month by Glorioustimes, a Yahoo Poetry Group from India and is archived by the Museum of English Literature at Grahamstown, South Africa. The journal had published renowned poets like Sahar Rizvi from Pakistan, Mahfuz Mir from Bangladesh, Mukul Dahal from Nepal, Brian Mendonca, Shreekumar Varma, Glory Sasikala Franklin, Rumjhum Biswas, Prasenjit Maiti, Ramendra Kumar and Rajender Krishan from India.

‘Poetry doesn’t sells’ that is a common statement, well known to poets, publishing houses and book sellers from all over the world. Yet we make sure the journal is published quarterly and reaches poetry lovers, sometimes a bit late due to financial constraints. There have been objections from my fellow poets in South Africa who e mailed me asking my objective in printing this journal and then sending free of cost to all poets and poetry lovers. The postage paid in sending by airmail far exceeds the price in the actual production of the journal itself. But that didn’t matter and therefore created suspicion in my motive. It’s important for me that a poem is published in a quality print journal, reaches poets, creates a lot of happiness and in turn makes me really happy. This journal like the Inyathi is an ad free journal and I would like to keep it that way. It is my fervent appeal to poets and friends who can afford to buy the ‘Hudson View’ to please buy in multiple copies. Subscriptions would be a great help. Prices and subscriptions are different for different countries considering the economic situation of that country. I would continue to send free to poets who would not be able to buy this journal. The Hudson View has been reviewed in the web and in print in journals all over the world.

Prominent British Poet Vivien Steels writes about Hudson

Indian Poet Glory Sasikala Franklin writes

A very interesting incident happened in Dubai in December last year. I was shopping for itr, a traditional Arabic / Indian perfume at the perfume market near the Gold Souk. I dropped into a number of perfume shops and kept on trying all those exotic perfumes whose names were in Arabic. Yet I couldn’t make up my mind as the perfume that I should buy. I was reeking of a variety of perfumes that I have been putting with a cotton bud behind my ears. Suddenly I saw an Arabic lady clothed in a black Burqa I mustered up some courage, approached her hesitantly and asked her, ‘Aadab, I am from South Africa, Please will you tell me which one would be a perfume for men’. She looked at me for some time, her eyes caught my tremor and then she burst out laughing. ‘There are no perfumes exclusive for men or women in the Middle East’ she exclaimed, ‘every perfume is for everybody. But you must try perfumes whose names end with Al – Mubakhar. They may be considered as a man’s perfume.’ I thanked her, Shukriya, Meherbani, presented her copies of the ‘Inyathi and Hudson View’ and invited her for my poetry reading evening at the Al- Sham, the next evening. The poetry reading was quite a success attended by Arab poets in flowing robes and Indian / Pakistani Poets chewing paan and a sprinkling of Indian Consulate officials.”Nabati” poetry is the oldest of the UAE’s literary traditions, with major poets like Al Majidi Bin Dhaher and Mueen Al Shamsi and others appeared. Poets who have made headines in UAE are Abdul Hamid Ahmed, Ghanem Ghubash, Abdullah Saqr, Dr. Ali Abdul Aziz Al Sharhan, Mohammed Ghobash, Dr. Mana Saeed Al Otaiba, Sultan Al Habtour, Habib Al Sayegh, Aref Al Khaja, Maysoun Al Qassimi, Ahmed Rashid Thani, Mohmmed Al Murr, Abdul Ghafar Hussein, Aisha Sultan, Maryam Faraj Juma, Nasser Al Dhahiri, Saif Al Murri, Hareb Al Dhahiri, Ibrahim Mubarak, Salma Mattar Saif, Nasser Jubran, Bilal Al Bdour, Khaled Badr Obeid, Nojoum Al Ghanem, and others. There was a lot of wah, wah and I wished I had worn the surma in my eyes on that day. A certain burqa clad lady came to me after the poetry session and asked me if I have been able to find the right perfume. I missed attending the Dubai International Documentary Film Festival which was happening during that time.

With Dr. Thomas at the Sahitya Akademi, New DelhiNext stop is Delhi. Delhi is beautiful, Delhi is great and Delhi is endearing.

The pollution just feels great and my Punjabi, a little rusty is back in action. It’s a place where my first poetry book, ‘Ritual Silences’ was published in 1980. A cooperative poetry forum by the name of ‘Sanyuqt’ was bold enough to publish my chap book. It had a screen printed cover and a blurb from Tao, ‘I speak to seduce you into silence; I use words so that you can be persuaded to a wordless existence’. The book was sold from the The Book Worm at Connaught Place and The Book Shop at South Extension. Later I had to sell the book from a pavement at Janpath. I remember, I had great fun persuading the curious passer-by to buy my book. Jawaharlal Nehru University was my favourite rendezvous in the seventies and I saw people like Sitaram Yechury and Prakash Karat painting it red at a time when the country was led by Congress I. Maneka Gandhi had joined the university for a short period. Sanjay use to come to drop her off at the campus. I got involved in a Maoist group called ‘Hundred Flowers’ and was trying to take its extreme left philosophy to the streets by organising street theatres and publishing underground poetry journals. Creativity became a challenge and the left was the only future. Beautiful girls and the left philosophy made a heady combination and poetry remained a catharsis. South Africa was a country which we knew then as a strange place of people who were considered different from one another, of the Soweto Uprising and a kind looking person with a twinkle in his eye called as Nelson Mandela. I became close to Mr. Mossie Moolah, the then Chief Representative of the African National Congress (A.N.C.) in New Delhi. As a frequent visitor to his office in Bhagat Singh Market and his home in South Extension, I imbibed upon the politics of South Africa. I was fortunate to assist the organisation by liaison with financial donors. The A.N.C. got a diplomatic status with the P.L.O. during that period. I had the honour to meet many ANC dignitaries in Delhi and later the first South African Ambassador to India. I remember Gopal Krishna Gandhi, the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and India’s High Commissioner to South Africa in 1996 replying to a South African journalist that South Africa now has to learn how a vast country like India with a vibrant democracy can take care of its people since its independence. I have been entranced by an article written by him titled,

‘Legacy of Struggle’

Popular Poet, Rizio Raj and Glory Sasikala Franklin organised with the help of well known poet, translator and editor of the prestigious journal, Indian Literature, a poetry reading and a talk on contemporary South African Poetry and its representative voices at the National Academy of Letters popularly known as Sahitya Akademi. I was thrilled and excited and called Rizio, Glory and Thomas on the phone a number of times. The poetry of South Africa has been making waves internationally. Its poems tell a story of social and psychological upheavals, repressed love and freedom of a painful storm. I called Phillippa and told her that I would be reciting her poems from her book ‘Taller than Buildings’ and poems from Kobus Moolman’s book ‘Separating the Seas’.

DiscussingAutographsDelhi Poets

The programme was well covered by the Indian Media and poets from far-off places came to attend the poetry recital. I started of with a talk on a film on South Africa made by Saeed Naqvi, one of India’s leading columnists in the seventies. He was the only filmmaker allowed to make a film on South Africa during that time. It was that film that left a deep impression in me. It was about living behind high walls, electrified fencing and ferocious dogs barking at black people. Pity, I also live behind high walls and my neighbours hardly know me.

Sahitya Akademi, New DelhiSahitya Akademi, New DelhiA Comparative study of South African and Indian Poetry

The nineties saw a lot of poets and artists coming back from exile. I came to Transkei from Zimbabwe and later hopped on to Ciskei. On hearing Philippa’s poetry, some of my friends asked me if South African poets know about the contemporary poetry movement in India and if anybody there has heard of Dom Moraes. Dominic Francis Moraes (19 July 1938 – 2 June 2004), popularly known as Dom Moraes was a Goan writer, poet and columnist. He published nearly 30 books.

When Dom passed away in June 2004, I was shopping at Woolworths in East London. I got a call from my friend in Australia giving me the news.

I gave an impromptu performance at that very moment,

Announced to me by tempers and tears
By tempests in the silk
By paper wars
What calendars of death in distant years
Would well up in our eyes……

People thought that I have gone crazy. It was the only tribute that I could give to a poet who accepted India as his home.

I talked about Troyeville, Hillbrow and the Professor in the University of Pretoria who asked me to leave as I couldn’t understand Afrikaans.

Last of all I recited a poem jointly written by me and the famous British Poet, Philip Bell

Hermione Petterpuck grand old lady
Lived by her wits, and regarded as shady
For her past was forgotten or perhaps it was hidden,
And no one dared ask, it was strictly forbidden.

But her secret I found, one day in a draw,
Of an old wooden bureau, that stood by the door.
Hermione Petterpuck, this grand old dear
Her secret discovered, and now it was clear.

And I hear you all ask, of Hermione’s past
Will you share of this secret, right now and at last?
And I’ll tell you this much as I finger my collar,
For more you must send a donation, “One Dollar!”

Philip Bell

I gave Philip my last Zimbabwean Dollar
Having acquired that nailing fractures in a country
going down the roller

And finally with her secrets out
Hermione Petterpuck
Took to the urban wilds, no doubt

In Harare she did duck
With Mugabe she stuck

And years after that
I met her once
As the Right Honorable Member of Parliament
That was Madame Hermione Petterpuck.

Amitabh Mitra

Hermione Petterpuck grand old lady
Who lived by her wits and regarded as shady
Indeed led a secret life in Zim’s Seat of Power
But there’s more coming out, hour by hour.

She was a top agent, working under cover,
No one suspected, not even her Mother,
And given her age, at one hundred and two
Her mother would know just what to do.

When a certain Doctor came there to stay
Hermione welcomed him that very day
`twas important to play the loyalist role
To finish her work she’d dug a big hole

But the latest I heard from the grand old lady
Who lived by her wits and regarded as shady
Is she’s finished her mission in Parliament there
And has now escaped with her usual flair.

© 2007 Philip G Bell

Hermione Petterpuck grand old lady
Who lived by her wits and regarded as shady
She remained Zimbabwe’s secret weapon
A confederate of Mugabe his everlasting beacon

I met Madame Petterpuck in the hallowed corridors
The Zimbabwean parliament, its many ornate doors
I remained dumbstruck with her personality
Her booming voice woke in me many a deity

So how are you my dear Indian friend?
I was hugged a clasp I had always dread
Hemione gave me a long lasting kiss
Your poems on bonny England how I miss

Robert Mugabe was standing close
Winked at me, shook both my hand he chose
Whisked away Hermione to a waiting Chrysler
His smile caught me thinking of this ageless dowager

I nailed and plated many a patient since then
Failed and succeeded in endeavours as I pen
But my greatest influence was one hell of a lady
That was Madame Hermione Petterpuck once regarded as shady.

Amitabh Mitra

That really brought the house down.

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