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Poets Printery

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Danny Naicker, Co-ordinator Live Poets Society, Durban writes


On the 25 March 2009 once again the Live Poets Society was graced by the larger than life presence of the feisty spirited Dr. Amitabh Mitra.

Here you have a Medical Scientist far removed from the daily grind of a busy Trauma Unit of a provincial hospital in the Eastern Cape. Standing on stage brewing a lethal lovers potion in a cauldron, mixed with a concoction of words that come alive like magic. You can feel the chemistry oozing from the heady brew. When you confront his poetry you want to listen forever and drink the elixir till your senses are intoxicated.

Dr. Amitabh Mitra is truly a modern day alchemist transmuting the potency of words into feelings of desiderata, which resonates with a longing, and grief for the loss of a lover. and for the places of memories were lovers once stole clandestine moments. His poetry tells us about the price of love, which is sometimes greater than any heart is willing to pay.

There is another side, another dimension to his poetry that Amitabh conjures like a magician with a mystical wand. He conjures colours with a stroke of a brush that explodes on the canvas creating an affinity that blends the written words to the colours on the canvas, embracing the picture to the words and vice versa.

This is Poetry and Art in sublime analogous motion breaking free from the mundane, complementary to each other, outwitting conventional norms that tend to confine us in boxes of self-censorship, weighing down our thoughts and imaginations that we become afraid to breathe new life into this ancient art form called poetry.

When listening to Amitabh’s recitals or reading his works we can only arrive at one conclusion that Amitabh is not afraid to explore outside the box and break with conventional arguments, he gives to poetry his own a brand of pungent, spicy, aromatic flavour, The tiniest scent of that aroma sets our appetite wild with pangs of hunger

About the man himself , what can one say, only to say in admiration here goes a man who is flamboyant and charismatic yet so humble and full of humility. He is an intellectual who never projects or is boastful about his academic accomplishments.

His love of poetry and for the many struggling poets who would never have had the opportunity of seeing their work in print are indebted to Dr. Amitabh Mitra. He has created an avenue were once was once a cul–de-sac for many unpublished poets, to now have their work published in the Hudson View.

The Hudson View, a journal that caters for Poets and gives them the space to have their works go up in neon lights.

Many of the Lipsomanicas as John Ballam the convenor of LiPS so fondly refers to us are eternally grateful to Dr. Amitabh Mitra for publishing our works of poetry and prose.

Dr Amitabh Mitra is a multi talented human being and in November last year we saw the launch of Inyathi a Journal of Art that the Good Doctor created and is the Editor of this first arts journal in South Africa. The Journal focuses on our rich South African Artistic heritage and is involved in academic research of SA Art and the Artist. It also promotes and brings the Artist and their Art under the publishing banner of Inyathi.

Cannot resist the temptation of reproducing Dr. Amitabh Mitra’s Poems that he so eloquently performed for us.

Poem 1

the pigeons flew off today
with a piece of sky
the rains washed down the
mosque tomb
untoward gaze
hastily patched
red and orange brocade
salwars with a hint of firdaus
at night we caught the stars
through holes
kisses and eyes
that dared to stray

Poem 2

your long unruly hair
had grown on me
and on a
sunny afternoon
like this
stretched to a breeze
i had known its sheen
gentle on your neck
whispers knitted
once a silk tapestry
that stayed
between our lips
eyes that caught a day

Poem 3

I had gone to see you again
a desolate road had once tied the heart
the wind and dust hid the palace
a lone watchman told me you have left
doors and windowpanes shrunk back
as trees forced its way
there would be an invasion
as you had always told me
where have you gone
where have I gone
only a breath stood
the clouds tomorrow will accompany
and summers of endearing
would finally rest
nights and strangertimes
would take us back

The theme of Amitabh’s lecture was ‘Immigrant Poetry and How does an English Poem start and does it really end’

Lots of drinking. lots of art, lots of poetry and lots of everything

poeta nascitur, non fit (the poet is born, not made)



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