Yugen Quest Review
- Special Edition, Issue 2, Aug ’21
- WE Core Poets, Translations
- Art, Essay, Book Review, Author Space
- Cover Art ‘The Reader’ by Shweta Rao Garg
The second Special Edition of Yugen Quest Review is a translation special issue, adorned with beautiful art, and carries a book review, a book excerpt, an essay and author space . It presents poetry in English & languages, along with translations. The languages highlighted are Punjabi, Marathi, Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, French, German, Spanish.
Making Moments Count
Weaving through the long, arduous hours of Mostly@Home time, poets and artists have once again spun myriad dreams and emotions into offerings of love.
The mystical powers of the human mind to process experiences of all kinds and transform them in creative ways is evidence of the ‘yugen’ so precious in all art and beauty.
The process is as important as the outcome.
Yugen, a Japanese word at the heart of aesthetics in Japan, is of ancient Chinese philosophical origin, suggesting mysterious depths and beauty. It evokes rather than states, hinting at profound experiences. Its many shades and nuances are an invitation to be ever ready for a fleeting glimpse, an elusive touch of something quite simple yet hauntingly beautiful, almost indefinable, that the human spirit seeks in its journey through life.
In the words of Zeami Motokiyo -‘To contemplate the flight of wild geese seen and lost among the clouds.’
I have held my breath and then breathed out in wonder at the way everyone of us has responded to recent challenging, difficult and tragic situations with all our humanity.
This issue carries art created from the depths of feeling and love. The artists are Shweta Rao Garg and Sonali Pattnaik, both gifted poets, writers, artists and academics.
The issue is a special edition because it continues to feature the work of WE Core poets, and poetry from our #CeWoPoWriMoWE writing space, including the work of three new poets; and presents startling ideas in an essay ‘The Art of Writering’, penned by lightweaver, expert NLP facilitator, scholar Bhavana Nissima.
Gayatri Lakhiani Chawla’s poetry collection ‘The Empress‘, is reviewed by Antara Banerjee. Antara shares her thoughts on her latest venture ‘Tales of a Nocturnal Sojourn‘.
A delightful excerpt from Sujatha Mathai‘s novel ‘Sheuli’s Star‘ finds space here.
Special felicitations once again to Rituparna Khan, for the admirable feat of writing exquisite poetry everyday starting April 1 and culminating July 31, 2021. Kudos Rituparna !
The poetry featured in this issue is extra special for the flavours of different languages it carries. It is a melding of emotions and linguistic expression, a quest for oneness with words….
Gratitude to everyone for sharing their work. Special thanks to Bina Sarkar Ellias and Priya Sarukkai Chabria for participating with their treasures of translation.
Yugen Quest Review, 2nd Special Edition, Aug ’21, carries the works of Sujatha Mathai, Bina Sarkar Ellias, Priya Sarukkai Chabria, Anju Makhija, Amita Paul, Smita Bahuguna Agarwal, Vinita Agarwal, Taseer Gujral, Somrita Urni Ganguly, Shweta Rao Garg, Peter Fogtdal, Lily Swarn, Abha Iyengar, Gayatri Lakhiani Chawla, Jasmine Khurana, Antara Banerjee, Baisali Chatterjee Dutt, Rituparna Khan, Bhavana Nissima, Jagari Mukherjee, Paramita Mukherjee Mullick, Sonali Pattnaik, Amrita Valan, Lina Krishnan, Sudeshna Mukherjee, Neha Mishra Jha, Sanjeev Kaushal, Priyal Panchal, Debarati Sen, Isabel Miguel, Philippe Safavi, Johannes Beiharz, Smeetha Bhoumik
Yugen Quest Review, Special Edition, Issue 1, June,’21
Selected Poems from #CeWoPoWriMoWE’21 and WE Awards ’20
Celebrating the magic of poetry at #CeWoPoWriMoWE this year again has been very special, as we wrote together keeping fears at bay and infusing hope all through the pandemic days of April, May, June ’21. In the growing gloom, we brought our minds to bear on the wonders of nature, scaling snowy peaks of verse, singing paeans to our rivers and bountiful forests. Awash in oceans of love we kept the poetry flowing. The tears came, the fear ebbed and flowed, but poetry swept on…and is still going on…
April ’21 – #CeWoPoWriMoWE
and in the deathly gloom we lingered,
flickering candles of
of miraculous nature
and kept writing on….
In a quiet moment of contemplation, while I tried to clear the mind of all thought, the above lines had presented themselves.
An April aflame, searing through flesh and blood and flowing into the mind, its fear kept inching forward, incipient as the heat.
In a parallel poetic universe though, there were rosy river paths and forest treks deliberately sought and celebrated in this atmosphere of hopelessness. To stay afloat in times of crisis, the inner work required becomes as vital as the essentials of exercise, healthy intake, prayer and meditation. One needs to consciously work on inner strength, building a stubborn resilience and staying power.
Augmenting hope in the face of everything that tries to negate it, is the biggest challenge, and it can be learnt. Not only for oneself, but to be of service to others, for care-giving is an arduous and often underrated task, rendering a person vulnerable in many ways. In this deadly pandemic raging in India, we needed every tiny precious bit of it.
Believe me when I say that we needed a dogged persistence to keep our spirits up just when they were plummeting rock bottom, and many around us were losing hope, or worse, tagging it as ‘toxic positivity’. Words have power as life ceaselessly teaches us, and this pandemic has not just eaten away at our bodies, but played with our minds too.
The very term ‘toxic positivity’ is a slap in the face of all that is resilient, beautiful, full of hope and courage. One cannot be positive enough.
If the absurd term is being used to denote a cosmetic positivity not backed by right actions, then it is a failure on the part of users who do the notion of true resilience great disservice, especially in these times when mental health is paramount. ‘Empty Sounds‘ would have been a much better choice of words perhaps, for an affected positivity. But of course, drama lay in the debilitating one !
Staying immune to such suggestions that bring guilt to bear upon our greatest gift is not an easy task. It requires work. Thankfully, there are great books out there, like Viktor Frankl’s The Search For Meaning, that continue to offer radiance and hope to readers.
Okay, ‘nuf said !
Did you hear me say ‘forest treks‘?
Yes, and not only that, we entered more spaces of wonder and delight this summer of poetic expression at #CeWoPoWriMoWE !
There were glorious, living, breathing moments of tear-soaked joy as we wrote and composed, accented by the raging pandemonium outside, safe within our fragile poetic bubbles, so ephemeral, so transient, it could burst the very next moment. Oh, how we clung on for dear life ! We wrote of love and tears, our dreams and fears, white crested peaks, foaming rivers and the very edges of existence where only hope and prayers prevail.
Poetry for us has never been an add-on elective, or a luxurious choice; poetry is at our core . It forms the axis around which we keep spinning wheels of hope. No Poetry- No Life, seems to be our mantra as chaos rages outside, and locked down, we trek on poetic trails. The grief, the loss permeating everything is palpable, and somehow we make it through April and keep writing into May and beyond, buoyed by the rhythmic tone of our togetherness. Each one of us, like countless others, carries a blistering awareness of the virus coming closer and closer….its tentacles bared….snatching away life and bonds.
The act of writing bestows a measure of grace and an intense appreciation of the present moment, for the true gift it is.
A special note of admiration and appreciation for Amita Paul here, who, besides writing exquisite poetry every day, survived the dreaded virus and emerged healthy at the end of April. It is an honour to have written with her. Her poetry has received immense appreciation in many poetic platforms this summer, acknowledged with awards and accolades.
Adoration also for Lily Swarn, our WE Diva of the World, whose beauteous creations leave us inspired and enthralled.
Special mention for the dedicated, diligent, brilliant academic and poet Rituparna Khan, who has the unique distinction of writing to all prompts starting April 1 all through May and June till date. Kudos !
Thanks to all the gifted poets who shared their luminous thoughts generously and with love.
May happiness form
in the glow of your
Of Guiding Lights & Glimmering Hope
Judges – WE Awards
Nishat Haider, Taseer Gujral, Somrita Urni Ganguly
Guests of Honour @WE
Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal, Kala Ramesh, Priya Sarukkai Chabria, Dr. Radhakrishnan Pillai, Nisha JamVwal, Menka Shivdasani, Anju Makhija, Bina Sarkar Ellias
Kiranjeet Chaturvedi, Pervin Saket, Maya Sharma Sriram
WE Our Space Anthology
Kala Ramesh, Taseer Gujral, Abha Iyengar, Mohd. Farhan,
Smeetha Bhoumik (Chief Editor)
WE Awards ’17, ’18, ’20
2017 – Special Awards – Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal, Menka Shivdasani, Priya Sarukkai Chabria
2018 – Kamala Das Poetry Awards – Sujatha Mathai
’20 – WE Awards – Kamala Das Poetry Award – Sanjukta Dasgupta. WE TRailblazer Poet Teacher – Kala Ramesh. WE Eunice de Souza Award (Eng) – Menka Shivdasani. WE Eunice de Souza Award (Hindi) – Savita Singh. WE Trailblazer Poet Teacher (Posthumus)- Eunice de Souza. WE Gifted Poet Award – Rukhaya MK and Jagari Mukherjee
ICWP Prize – Abha Iyengar, Srividya Sivakumar, Lily Swarn, Pervin Saket, Shweta Garg, Jasmine Khurana, Maya Sharma Sriram, Tikuli Dogra
WE Special Recognition Certificates – WE Glowing Diamond – Somrita Urni Ganguly. WE Diva of the World – Lily Swarn. WE Sci-Fi – Shuchi Kapoor, Neha Mishra Jha, Urna Bose. WE Divine Verse – Pervin Saket. WE, the Force – Maya Sharma Sriram. WE Poetry Fairy – Rochelle Potkar. WE Spoken Word Diva – Jasmine Khurana. WE Glowing Aesthete – Shweta Garg, Tikuli Dogra. WE Core, Gifted Souls – Nishat Haider, Vinita Agarwal, Taseer Gujral, Somrita Urni Ganguly, Gayatri Chawla, Shuchi Kapoor. WE SASSY – Sreemoyee Piu Kundu, Bhavana Nissima.
Curator/ Host/Poet/ Collaborator
Menka Shivdasani, Kala Ramesh, Bina Sarkar Ellias, Priya Sarukkai Chabria, Santosh Bakaya, Gjv Prasad Anju Makhija, Charanjeet Kaur, Smita Agarwal, Zeenat Khan, Upal Deb, Kalpna Singh Chitnis, Hemant Divate, Smruti Divate, Sudeep Sen Steffen Horstmann, Sanjeev Khandekar, Arundhathi Subramaniam, Rochelle Potkar, Nishat Haider, Taseer Gujral, Vinita Agarwal, Pervin Saket, Maya Sharma Sriram, Nabina Das, Shuchi Kapoor, Sumana Roy, Lina Krishnan, Mallika Bhaumik, Jayashree Hari Joshi, Sita Murugan, Gayatri Chawla, Antara Banerjee, Abha Iyengar, Somrita Urni Ganguly, Urna Bose, Sanket Mhatre, Sudeep Pagedar Ankita Shah, Neha Mishra Jha, Ishmeet Nagpal, Inam Hussain Mullick, Amit Shankar Saha, Mbizo Chirasha, Tendai Rinos Mwanaka, Jhilmil Breckenridge (Inauguration), Anjali Purohit, Smita Sahay,
US Consulate, Women Scream Poetry & Art Festival, Sahitya Akademi, The Goethe Institut, Max Mueller Bhavan, 100 TPC, TPC, MAP Fest, All Aboard Crossover Poems, Write & Beyond Group, G5A and more…
In This Inaugural Issue
WE ’20 Awards
Poetry Through the Years