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Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Launch of Unbreaking the Rainbow, Voices of Protest from New South Africa

Daily Dispatch, South Africa’s premier news daily talks about the South African Protest Poetry Anthology -
Published in March 2012, the book is set to be launched at the National English Literary Museum at the Eastern Star Gallery in Grahamstown on 6 July, 5.30 pm. For Mitra, this launch is particularly important as it represents the voices of contemporary South African political poetry movements.
“This project is very important. It’s the first book ever produced after the democratic elections in South Africa regarding protest poetry,” said Mitra.
Mitra added that the protest poetry on a global scale is synonymous with protest poetry in South Africa during apartheid.
Other than featuring some of South Africa’s greats in the world of poetry, the book also has a foreword written by Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of the late and great Mahatma Gandhi.

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Photographs from the Book Launch organized by National English Literary Museum, Grahamstown

Unbreaking the Rainbow, Voices of Protest from New South Africa

Harry Owen introducing Unbreaking the Rainbow

Medicine, Art, Poetry and Protest

Poets and Poetry Lovers

Protest Poetry on a Global Platform

Wine and More Wine

» read article

Poems for Haiti, A South African Anthology launched

Poems for Haiti, A South African Anthology was launched on the 13 October 2010 5.30 pm at the Point Yacht Club, Durban

Poets and Poetry Lovers described it as an unforgettable experience.

Some photos of the launch


The Haiti Anthology


The splendour of an evening outside


Yachts riding the sea and a familiar sky


A Slow Train to Gwalior, Music and the Book, Framed Watercolors, Hudson Views and Zulu Zappy


Irene checking out the book with others


Sarita Mathur and Sharm Govender organising the food, the best of wines and the best of food, poetry couldnt have been better.


Gillian van der Heijden, the hostess of the programme


Danny Naicker, Programme Facilitator, Brother and a Great Poet


Amitabh Mitra introduces the book, talks on the concept of publishing poetry in South Africa


Brett Beiles who came so near to the Dalro Award


Prithraj Dullay, Firebrand ANC Activist and Guest Speaker addresses the audience


The Poets themselves


Me with Vivek and Sarita Mathur


Ravi Naicker reciting his poem


Kogi Singh discussing on Haiti


The entire group of LIPS poets


Another picture, Kakoli Ghosh is at the far right


Some more art


East London, Grahamstown, Johannesburg, here we come…..
Our next anthology is on the Protest Poetry of Post Democratic South Africa

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The Last Prince


My thoughts remains entwined with my friend, Sambhaji Rao Shinde and his family. We both belong to Gwalior. Gwalior is a former princely state in Northern India and now a bustling town of changing environs. Sambhaji raja (Sambhaji prince) as he is lovingly called is revered as the last of a tiny royalty, many of which existed within the fiefdom of Gwalior. This town after the colonial era stood transfixed in time for a while. The many princely families invested in education, business or politics. Some went to become members of parliament only to protect their palaces and wealth from the prying eyes of the tax man, others became successful businessmen, turning their palaces to lavish hotels while still others quietly left the country to live in a British county reminiscing of what they were once.

Sambhaji’s family just didn’t do anything like that. They lived in the Sayaji Palace, a beautiful gothic architecture of marble with huge halls where I once played with Sambhaji and his sisters as we all grew up. We hunted rabbits in summer, flew kites, played cricket and heard tales of valour of the family and their descendents from Sambhaji’s father and uncles. His sisters turned out to be beautiful maidens, princesses disowned by time. I always remained confused of who was more beautiful than the other.

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Tonight Launched!

Tonight, An Anthology of World Love Poetry was formally launched with a lot of fanfare on the 22 January 2009 at the Ann Bryant Gallery, East London, South Africa. The event once again gives affirmation to the existence of small publishers and their belief that publishing a creative process, needs to be encouraged. Your voice and assistance brings happiness to the published poet and the publisher, hands that reach out to realize a dream.

Here are some photographs from the event:

Tonight Champagne Tonight Toasted Graham Lancaster opening the Tonight Champagne bottle People with Tonight Amitabh Mitra Amitabh Mitra Terry Flyn with the Tonight Champagne Amitabh Mitra

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A Hudson View, December 2008


A Hudson View, December 2008 issue is out. The poetry of prominent Durban poets, Brett Beiles, Gona Pragasen Naicker and Ravi Naicker finds a prominent place in this international print poetry journal. A Hudson View is dedicated to publishing contemporary Southern African poetry. The journal is archived at the New York Public Library, Rockfeller Library, University of Wisconsin Madison Library and the National English Literary Museum, Grahamstown.

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Remembering Mahmoud Darwish

darwish.jpgThe Ann Bryant Art Gallery will be having a memorial talk and a moment’s silence to honour Mahmoud Darwish.


VENUE: Ann Bryant Art Gallery (Main Gallery), 9 St Marks Road Southernwood
East London
TIME: 5:30 p.m.
DATE: Friday 24th October 2008
CONTACT: Tel: 043 7224044 / Fax: 043 7431729 /

Mahmoud Darwish was the world’s most recognized Palestinian poet, whose prose and poetry gave voice to the Palestinian experience of exile, occupation and infighting. He was a people’s poet, equally loved in Palestine and Israel and mourned by Poets and Writers from all over the world.

I will recite some of his poems and talk on Darwish’s devotion towards Global Peace.

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Hudson View nominates Meryl Raw, a South African Poet for the prestigious Pushcart Award


The New Hudson issue is out.
I would be posting it to all the Poets.
Anybody, needing this issue, please contact me.
This issue has the poetry of Indian poet Bishnupada Ray
Bishnupada Ray belongs to Siliguri, West Bengal. His poetry has the essence of Bangla North Eastern Culture and Diversity.

South African Poetry has occupied a major section of the journal. A Hudson View has become a major voice for Southern African Poets, showcasing work to the international community.
I had organised a special stall of South African Poetry at the World Poetry Festival in Oslo in September where I represented South Africa.

I am proud to announce that South African Poet, Meryl Raw has been nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Award.
Her poetry which is uniquely South African has entranced the publishers and editors to nominate her.
This issue of Hudson View has her poems that has given her the nomination.
More about Pushcart Award, please check at Wikipedia

Copies of Tonight, An Anthology of World Love Poetry are selling fast.
Poets have been ordering multiple copies of the book.
The editors are grateful to poets and friends for supporting this venture.

Once Again, Many Thanks, Shukriya, Dhanyawad. Enkhosi Kakulu.


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A Slow Train to Gwalior – A Poetry Film

midnight-train.jpgYouTube Preview Image

Please see this Poetry Film based on one of my love poem

Amitabh Mitra

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Tonight, An Anthology of World Love Poetry


It has always been my greatest desire to know the different ways love is expressed in words, around the world. Poetry has found its way in words as early as the history of mankind. I would be partial if I may say that the most beautiful love poetry came from Urdu and Arabic literature dating back to sixteenth century but love poetry has been there far before that in the hieroglyphics of Egyptian pyramids and Mayan temples.

Extract from a 3,000 year-old Egyptian papyrus:

She is one girl, there is no one like her.
She is more beautiful than any other.
Look, she is like a star goddess arising
at the beginning of a happy new year;

I wouldn’t even hesitate to say that love poetry remains the only poetry I recognise, a poetry that has limitless horizons, unlimited landscapes, the flavour of humid earthy togetherness, the rain drop on a first kiss, summer of cobweb memories and winter of unflinching promises clouded with time.

I have always been in love, a voice, a word, lifting of an eyelash, a lilting voice across a street, poetry comes tumbling forth. Love poetry happens on an everyday colour, a swish of pink cutting a long standing evening in two, lips that close on to each other defying the darkness of a night. More than a million couple utter ‘I love you’ every day, its poetry takes immediate roots, leaves sprout and a sapling challenge the gods of the sky.

Yet love poetry is the poetry of the unfulfilled, a poem untraditional, iconoclastic and incomplete that bear the brunt of merciless seasons and superfluous hopes. Love tortured to an extent that it just turned gold, priceless to those lucky few who attained it. You and I spoke and uttered strange words in the hush of a long closed silence, touched its meaning in a breath that had bound us for that day.

I came across Pritish Nandy’s ‘Strangertime’ An Anthology of Love Poetry, edited by him in 1974 and which had the most representative voices of Indo–English literature during that time. Maqbool Fida Hussain an artist of international repute and one that every Indian is proud of had his share of love poetry in that book. I believe that the desire to edit an international collection went back from that year after reading that anthology.

I am happy to witness that poetry of today is not captured by the few but by myriad of unknown poets to whom this movement belongs. I didn’t have to work hard to bring this book together as poets from all over the world whom I knew and others who came to know of my desire, contributed generously in bringing out this collection.
Love Poetry came from all corners of the globe to be included in this unique anthology.

These are not mere poems in this anthology but words that have life in it. I as a medical doctor encounter death in my busy everyday trauma practice but instead these are immortals, the throbbing heart that would beat inexorably even after time has long passed by.

Victoria Valentine is a well known poet, lives in New York has a vast following and is a dreamer like me. I have known her for long and have been comrades in many a venture in publishing poetry. We share the common concept of publishing the unknown poet even at our own cost. This anthology is a mark of her remarkable contribution in bringing contemporary American Poetry as the published word. I thank her for helping me once again to fulfil a longstanding wish of publishing this volume of love poetry.

Glory Sasikala Franklin lives in Chennai, India, a poet at heart and action, I sometimes wonder whether she bursts into poetry on some days to a group of nonchalant colleagues working with her in her office. I do that often in my hospital much to the amazement of patients and fellow doctors. She is instrumental in introducing me to poets in India and abroad who have now become my great friends. I thank her for giving me all support for this anthology.

To my South African fellow poets who have accepted me as their brother, I can only bow down in reverence. The colours, I assure you are far brighter and more beautiful than what even Nelson Mandela imagined in his concept of a rainbow nation. South African love poetry has broken race, class and creed forging ahead in its unique expression that defies explanation.

Philip Bell is a British poet and an environmental engineer. He is a renowned children’s poet. I have always been in awe at his vast knowledge on every aspect of world literature and poetry and poems for children that he can compose within seconds of giving a topic. None of my poetry performance in various parts of the world is complete without reciting one of his poems. I thank him for proof reading the entire anthology.

Today as I write, I come to know that popular Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish has passed away at the age of 67. Never have I seen before such millions of people mourning the death of a poet. Darwish was cherished among the Arab world for his poetry and literature, and in 1988 wrote the Palestinian declaration of Independence. His funeral, it is claimed was attended by the poorest of poor, a vast sea of humanity, far more than that attended on the demise of the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. “Today we say goodbye to a star whom we loved to the point of adoration, you will remain with us. We tell you we will meet again and we will not say goodbye” said the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. I and my fellow poets salute Mahmoud Darwish with this love poem from his collection, “No more and No less”

…As for me
I liked to be loved as I am
not as a color photo
in the paper, or as an idea
composed in a poem amid the stags…
I hear Laila’s faraway scream
from the bedroom: Do not leave me
a prisoner of rhyme in the tribal nights
do not leave me to them as news…

The title of this book, ‘Tonight’ is inspired by a poem of Pritish Nandy from his celebrated book ‘Riding the Midnight River’

…tonight when the sun cries
i shall unopen this gypsy love
and ride the midnight river to your eyes
where an autumnal lust will declare
your absence in my skies
tonight …

Tonight, An Anthology of World Love Poetry’ may get lost one day like so many books and anthologies that are published, read and left in the far corner of a book shelf, libraries, flea markets and second hand book shops, to gather dust. Its poets may have succumbed to ravages of time but definitely not their words. It would continue to bring immense happiness, joy and even sadness to those few who chance upon it. I would have completed my journey by then.

Amitabh Mitra
August 2008

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The day after – Adam Donaldson Powell, Oslo, 2008.

adam-donaldson-powell.JPGThe day after (dagen derpå):

All are incredibly impressed at the work and passion of Eli,
Brynjar, Nasra (from Du store verden!) and from Thorborg
(Kulturbro publishing company), and that we have managed to
achieve such a large, varied and important program with so
few resources.

The importance – and the synergy effects – of the festival are
(without a doubt) significant. Many networks have been introduced
to one another, and the possibilities for future cooperation are

Otherwise, I now sit (the day after), and remember many,
many special moments from the festival … at this particular moment
I am thinking of Amitabh Mitra’s speech in honour of our esteemed
Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, followed by one minute
of silence and the spontaneous utterance in Arabic:
‘Assalamo-Aleikum,’ which means ‘Peace be unto you.’

There were participants and audience members from four continents, and
that spoke countless languages, we honoured the older artists and
encouraged the young ones, we presented the world to Norway and
Norway to the world, there was much personal and artistic “healing”,
and we successfully promoted the importance of global network building
amongst the small and special niches in art and culture.

All participants have taken home with them many impressions, and have
both made new friends and colleagues … and many finally met longtime
colleagues and fellow artists face-to-face – for the very first time.
But we have also acknowledged that the world is always in a continuous
state of evolution and change, and we have clearly communicated that
we must shout loudly and be evermore creative and “new-thinking” in
step with society’s and technology’s developments – if we are still to
have a voice.

Those who participated at the festival, and those who
were in attendance at the various festival events, will surely come
to spread the messages and work from this festival all over the world —
in fact, much more effectively and further-reaching than we ever could
have hoped to do as individuals, or one institution … or even one country
at a time. That is the way it is with promotion of art and culture.

It often feels as though we tire ourselves – just as Sisyphus, and then
suddenly we experience both larger and smaller breakthroughs and
moments of recognition. He/she who has the ability to get things done
and the spirit of constantly moving ahead is ever there – regardless,
and will never become blind to the many pearls that shimmer and
shine and sparkle – even in the small meetingplaces and exchanges …
and that eventually find their way to greatness in the hearts, souls
and thoughts of the larger common human consciousness.

- Adam Donaldson Powell, Oslo, 2008.-

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