Monday, September 17, 2018

UPCOMING PRATIK MAGAZINE OBITUARY -- In Our Wanderings: Remembering Jazzman John Clarke By British Poet Maria-Heath-Beckett

   Photo by Yuyutsu Sharma

On 5th August 2018, the poet known as Jazzman John, birth name, John Robert Clarke, passed away, taking friends and fellow poets by complete surprise. Because I was in Paris at the time, no internet, this sad news first reached me a few days later from Yuyutsu Sharma, and, like Yuyu himself, and others who had known John, I felt literally knocked over with the shock. Yuyu described the feeling like this:

The ball of my breath froze in my throat as I heard my best friend, British Poet Jazzman John Robert Clarke has passed away in London, suddenly I have to sit down and rethink — how cruel can life be, after 5 years I was planning to finally meet him this year and work on his dream visit to New York City.

John, writer of the poetry collections: All the Way from Kathmandu: Selected Jazz Poems and Ghost on the Road, based on his love of jazz and the Beats,     was renowned as a vibrant, talented performer on the London poetry circuit, and for sure, he will be, and is already, sadly missed, his future potential poems only to be guessed now instead of reading or hearing.

 Life can be cruel, to deal us such blows. Not only was I faced with this loss, but a deep regret at my relative neglect of a nascent friendship that could have become still deeper, and richer had I made time, had I not been too preoccupied with the vicissitudes of a turbulent relationship to attend his birthday, or the pending lunch date we had pencilled in at the Café de Provence over the road from me, never ‘inked in’, no definite plan made. For sure, if I could make it happen this week, next week, as soon as possible, then I would because my life feels emptier without John.

Why hadn’t I found the time? I castigate myself, for not doing so, often reliving his kindness the day we had met there, the day he had delivered a box of books for me from New Delhi - several copies of the anthology, Eternal Snow, in which my long narrative poem, Parnassus to New York, had been published, a copy of David Austell’s Garuda, and Yuyutsu Sharma’s Quaking Cantos, a series of poems stimulated by the Nepalese earthquakes. I had looked forward to this delivery for days, perhaps a time when all was not so well in my life, a rift in the aforementioned relationship leaving me feeling quite isolated and desperate, then, to see any friend. My best friends have all moved to Hastings, miles away from my home on Drury Lane, and John walked into this void for me like an angel, a shaman, a companion, a man who may perhaps hold my hand.
Photo by Yuyutsu Sharma

I remember his wonderful stories over coffee that morning, his Dublin parentage evident in the detailed retellings of this raconteur, his kind offer to buy us lunch, the photographs we took together, delighted to read our poems from Yuyus Eternal Snow, a day that was up there with the happiest of days, like the first day we met, at Heathrow. That day, a few years ago, I was seeing Yuyu off to New York, the start of a journey of poetry readings and teaching, a meeting in a café in Queens Park over coffee and poetry books, a taxi ride to the airport together, the arrival of Jazzman John, at once as if placeless, timeless, Shamanic, defiant of fashion and context, with his anachronistic scarves and mirrored sequins, his vivid colours, velvets and longish hair, and yet so much a part of London. Quickly I began to absorb John’s encouraging words, delight in his cheerful banter, his anecdotes and stories enriched with all the wisdom distilled from a life evidently, and unusually, led with true integrity, curiosity and passion.

 Curiosity led John to discover jazz, initially in the music collection of Greenwich library, during the years he lived in Greenwich from childhood to adolescence. Later I heard that he befriended Basie band played Eddie Lockjaw Davies who ran Minton’s in New York, and developed a life-long passion for jazz, and beat poetry, his concept and delivery of sound and rhythm always inspired by jazz and earning him the name, Jazzman John Clarke. The tribute from Y Tuesday, one of the poetry nights he frequented, reads:

for many I feel, it was John's live performance for which he will be most remembered.
On stage he seemed to be inhabited by the spirit of the San Francisco Jazz poets of the late 50's and early 60's, and few will forget his live rendition of "Messages from drunken blowfish.”

       Photo by Yuyutsu Sharma

It is not only jazz that inspired John - a fusion of Dada, surrealism, psycho-geography, and Zen can be felt playing through his poetic word-play and syncopated rhythms. John loved diversity, the drawing together of styles and genres into the poetry venues he loved to attend, describing (in the Londonist): singers, musicians, dancers, poets and comedians rubbing shoulders with burlesque artists at live events. When you think about it Vaudeville and Dadaists were doing it long ago!

Meeting John, I sensed a pulling together of influences into his words, character and a persona that flowed seamlessly into his writing and his everyday demeanour, so one never really felt he had to put on a performance but he was the poet, the performer, through and through. Turning to John’s words in an interview for The Londonist about his sources of inspiration, John said:

My poetry amounts to the sum total of my inspiration… Currently, I draw enormous inspiration from the intimate juxtaposition of the multi-arts approach. Traditional routes tend to bore me rigid - I want to plough my own furrow, take chances, try to be different without being overly contrived, which I know from experience is easier said than done. For me inspiration can drop out of the sky and I find the source is infinite. Jeremy Reed (himself a prolific writer) once said that his source of inspiration was rather like switching on the electric light - it was always there.

In John’s company, I had the sense that he was always inspired. Every moment seemed it seemed as if strings of fairy lights were sparkling, his mind alive with stories of poets, musicians and club nights he had run, London an always rich seam of possibility for him in terms of performance, encounter and stimulus for his work. John threaded inspiration from journeys around London, with music and Eastern thought and psychology to create works that, in his hands, create a vibrant invitation to a way of thinking, a way of life, never vague or too abstracted but grounded in a sense of connection with other minds, an attitude so visible in the way that he interacted with me. The inspiration that saturates his work breathed through his life as a breeze through chimes. In this sense, there seems to be an indefinable spirituality in his work, which at the same time can be visceral, earthbound and sensual.

After my first meeting with John, which continued from Heathrow airport, a place suspended, that day, as if between ground and celestial spheres, into the underground as far as one of the central tube stations but I forget which, I wandered next to the River Thames, composing a narrative, Parnassus to New York, and that day I felt quite transported as if Yuyu and John were able to grant me some lightness that carried me out of whatever personal difficulty I was experiencing into a more poetic, liberated space. I get the sense that Jazzman John always wanted to ‘follow his own star.’ Not for him the life of a City banker which he pursued for some years, instead he wanted the freedom to wander, explore, write and make friends, a true bohemian and beat poet, and surely then an influence I will remember and treasure throughout my life, although the hours I have passed in his company were all too briefly, and unexpectedly ended this summertime.

London has lost unique voice and spirit, very much loved and missed. To keep that spirit alive, in my mind, I have been listening to his recorded poems on YouTube: Poems by the River, a selection of poems, some of which are set to an abstract sound collage, recorded at Enderby Studios in 2016 and displayed for the internet with a striking, psychedelic array of visuals and self portraiture. In Everlasting Contrast, John writes –

‘You are a sunshine stumbling across a rainy beach,
You are the anchor midway to lean upon…’

And I like to think of him like this, as lightness and weight, gravity and grace. I like to visualise him rather as an angel looking down, watching over me.

Angels control us, even when we cannot see or immediately recognise them.  (Angels)

Victor Hugo said, Errer est Humain, flaner est Parisien. My lack of alacrity delaying another meeting with John I regard as a mistake but I will learn from this. I don’t think to wander is specifically Parisian, but the way of poets everywhere, and I am glad that in our wanderings our paths at least crossed.

Maria Heath Beckett was born in North Yorkshire and currently lives in London, UK. Maria is finishing two novels and a memoir and collating her first poetry collections. Her writing has been published in magazines and anthologies, such as Strands, Tumbleweed Hotel, and In the Company of Poets. She has also performed at many venues in London and Paris, and staged a short drama-poem at The Royal Court Theatre Upstairs.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Upcoming homage to departed Nepalese Litterateurs

Remembering Nepalese Litterateurs
Jagdish Rana
Nagendra Sharma
Homage with a Poetry Reading and a Recollection
Friday, 31 August 2018, 3;30 pm at Nepal Tourism Board,
Exhibition Road, Kathmandu, Nepal
Organized by
White Lotus Book Shop,
Kupondole, Kathmandu
in collaboration with
Peace and Development Center, Kathmandu
RSVP 5520248/9803171925

Nepali poets will gather along with some of the close associates and friends of these distinguished Nepali authors and pay homage to the departed souls by reading poems in their honour and discussing their influence on Nepali literature and society

Monday, July 9, 2018

Diane Frank's Letters from a Sacred Mountain Place: A new addition to Nirala Series on Nepal!

A new addition to Nirala Series on Nepal!

Letters from a Sacred Mountain PlaceA Journey through the Nepal Himalayas – Photographs and Text by Diane Frank
ISBN 81-8250-095-8 2018 Hard Cover pp 145 plus Photo pages


Diane Frank's Letters from a Sacred Mountain Place evokes the citadels of silence that define the essence of the Himalayas. The strength of the book rests in her ecstatic recollection of the minute details of the mountain world and her humble encounters with the beautiful people of the high Himalayas. The glory of idyllic life enjoyed during her treks in 1988 and 1989 has become a thing of the past, thanks to the merciless encroachment of the Western world and homegrown greed of senseless politicians in Nepal. "
~ Yuyutsu Sharma

Diane Frank trekked four hundred miles in the Nepal Himalayas and wrote most this book sitting on boulders on the trails and by a kerosene lamp at night.  She is the author of seven books of poems, including Canon for Bears and Ponderosa Pines, Entering the Word Temple, Swan Light, and The Winter Life of Shooting Stars.  Blackberries in the Dream House, her first novel, won the Chelson Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She is editor of the bestselling anthology, River of Earth and Sky: Poems for the 21st Century.
She has written documentaries on Eastern and Sacred Art for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum, and the Maxwell Museum in Arizona. She teaches writing workshops at San Francisco State University and Dominican University, leads workshops for young writers as a Poet in the School, and directs the Blue Light Press On-line Poetry Workshop.  She plays cello in the Golden Gate Symphony and likes to create her life as an art form

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Nirala Book Party in Manhattan: Book Launch & Readings

Friday, June 29, 2018– 7:00PM - 9:00 PM at Red Room, 85 E 4th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, New York 10003

Nirala book Party: Launch of Five New Books and Reading by Nirala authors
Tin Man By David Austell
Word Has it by Ruth Danon
Cats, Love & Other Surprises 
by Otis Kidwell Burger & Katherine Burger
A Prayer for Less Violent Offenders by Mike Graves
Eternal Snow; A Worldwide Anthology of One Hundred Twenty Five Poetic Intersections with Himalayan Poet Yuyutsu RD Sharma
Select Contributors to the anthology including Irene O Garden, Karen Herceg, Bari Falese, Su Polo and Eugene Hyon will read at the Anthology
Plus several prominent authors previously published by Nirala including Irene O Garden
Fran Antmann
Keren Herceg
Bill Wolak
and Others will read briefly from their books and display their works...
Also Spring Issue of Pratik; A Magazine of Contemporary Writing to be launched at the Party

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Yuyutsu June 2018 Readings

Thursday, June 7, 2018– 7:00PM - 9:00PM: Yuyutsu Sharma to read in the NYWW First Thursdays Reading Series with Maureen Brady, Tara Isabella Burton and Jessica L. Wilkinson at Red Room, 85 E 4th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, New York 10003. Hosted by Tim Tomlinson

Monday, June 11, 2018– 7:00PM - 8:45PM: Yuyutsu Sharma to Feature at Starbucks Little Neck 254'41 Horace Harding Expy Little Neck, NY 11362  (718) 428-2489) Hosted by: James T. Romano

Saturday, June 16 at 2:30 p.m.: the Himalayan poet Yuyutsu RD Sharma Reading as Poet in Residence at Park Plaza Restaurant, 220 Cadman Plaza West Brooklyn Hts., NY 11201 718-596-5900 Free Admission— Open Mic author copy $8 and additional copies $10 each non-author copies $12 each SUBWAYS: 2, 3 to Clark St. A, C to High St. 4, 5 to Borough Hall Hosted by Patricia Carragon

Friday, June 29th, 7pm-9 pm at Yuyutsu Sharma to launch Pratik Magazine, and read his new work at Red Room,85 E 4th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, New York 10003

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Delighted be the Poet-in-residence at The Brownstone Poetry Anthology this year!

Delighted be the Poet-in-residence at The Brownstone Poetry Anthology this year! Yuyutsu Sharma at Brownstone anthology Reading

Friday, May 4, 2018

THE KATHMANDU TRIBUNE NEWS: Pratik resumes its publication after a decade

 The Spring 2018 Issue of Pratik: A Magazine of Contemporary Writing has just been released.

KATHMANDU — The Spring 2018 Issue of Pratik: A Magazine of Contemporary Writing has just been released.
Founded by Nepalese poet, Hari Adhikary and edited by Yuyutsu RD Sharma, the current issue has ‘History & Poetry’  by Columbia University Professor  David Austell as the cover story and a photo feature With All That Is Nepal, a Photo Tribute by  American photographer, Joni Kabana.
The main focus of the Issue is Eight distinguished Chinese Poets including Jidi Majia, Chen Si’An, Duo Duo, Xi Chuan, Zheng Xiaoqiong, Yuan Yongping, Li Yawei, Shen Wei.  Pratik also features famous Indian poet Sitakant Mahapatra, American poets, Tony Barnstone & Jami Proctor Xu.
In addition, Nine Young Nepali Poets including Pramod Snehi, Shyam Rimal, Sahadev Poudel, Padma Gautam, ‘Punya Gautam Bishwas, Keshav Silwal, Bhuwan Thapaliya, Ramesh Shrestha & Arun Budhathoki have also been included to give a flavor of contemporary Nepali poetry.
The issue also includes American critic Stephen Massimilla review of NYU poet and professor Ruth Danon‘s new book, Limitless Tiny Boat and other regular features.
Pratik has been publishing significant Nepalese voices from Nepal and abroad for last two decades. It has published works distinguished Nepali authors like BP Koirala, Bhupi Sherchan, Gopal Prasad Rimal, Tara Nath Sharma, Krishna Bhakta Shrestha, Jagdish Rana, Madhav Ghimire, Shailendra Sakar, Bimal Nibha, Druv Chandra Gautam, Sita Pandey and Durga Lal Shrestha along with several writers of younger generations in the past.
It has also published Special Issues focused on Contemporary British and Dutch Poetry.
The forthcoming Summer 2018 issue of Pratik will have special material on Nepali literature along with a selection of contemporary Poetry from Europe and Ukraine along with a selection of Younger Indian poets as its special attraction.
Pratik is published quarterly. It’s published and distributed by White Lotus Book Shop, Kupondole, Lalitpur, Kathmandu.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Pratik Spring 2018 Issue Released

A Magazine of Contemporary Writing
Spring 2018

History & Poetry

The Making of The Tin Man By
David Austell
With All That Is Nepal
A Photo Tribute by American Photographer
Joni Kabana
Eight Chinese Poets
Jidi Majia Chen Si’An Duo Duo Xi Chuan
Zheng Xiaoqiong Yuan Yongping Li Yawei Shen Wei
Sitakant Mahapatra, Tony Barnstone &
Jami Proctor Xu
Nine Young Nepali Poets :
Pramod Snehi Shyam Rimal Sahadev Poudel Padma Gautam ‘Punya Gautam Bishwas Keshav Silwal Bhuwan Thapaliya, Ramesh Shrestha & Arun Budhathoki

The Lifeblood of Consciousness, of Love  and Loss: Stephen Massimilla on Ruth Danon‘s New Book, Limitless Tiny Boat

Plus all Regular Features

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The 1990 Issue of Pratik was printed in a Letterpress in the heart of Kathmandu

The 1990 Issue of Pratik, printed in a Letterpress near Ganeshsthan run by two brothers in their family house in the heart of Kathmandu

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Special Back Issues of Pratik Magazine now available on and

Pratik: A Magazine of Contemporary Writing

Special British Issue

Guest Editor
Pascale Petit
Yuyutsu Sharma

The Special issue features new poems by 26 leading UK poets: 

Moniza Alvi, Ruth Padel, Robin Robertson, 

Sean O'Brien, David Constantine, Mimi Khalvati,
 Fiona Sampson, Alice Oswald, Daljit Nagra, Patience Agbabi, 
Selima Hill, Matthew Sweeney, Robert Minhinnick,
 Gwyneth Lewis, Les Murray, Tim Liardet, George Szirtes, 
Pascale Petit, John Kinsella, Polly Clark, Nick Laird, Colette Bryce, John Haynes, Carol Rumens, Penelope Shuttle, and W.N. Herbert.

Special Dutch issue

Guest Editor
Harry Zevenbergen

Yuyutsu Sharma

Featuring the Best 
Contemporary Poets from 
the Netherlands

Maarten Das, Cor Gout, Tjitse Hofman, Jeroen Naaktgeboren, Daniel Dee, Reben van Gogh, Tsead Bruinja, Harry Zevenbergen, Bart FM Droog, Frederik Lucien De Laere Pter Holvoet-Hanssen Did De Paris, Andy Fierens, Karin Giphart, Henk van Zuiden, Philip Hoorne, Diana Ozon, Diann van Fassen, F. Starik, Erik Jan Harmens, Simon Vinkenoog, Hans Plomp, Merk van der Torren. Plus A Shared Interviews/Column

Saturday, March 3, 2018

American author, Mark Stephen Levy in Kathmandu with his new book, 'American Maharajah'

Last night I had the honor of introducing American author, Mark Stephen Levy and his new book, 'American Maharajah' at Pilgrims Bookstore in Thamel, Kathmandu!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Upcoming Spring 2018 Issue of Pratik: A Magazine of Contemporary Writing

A Magazine of Contemporary Writing
Spring 2018

History & Poetry

The Making of The Tin Man By
David Austell
With All That Is Nepal
A Photo Tribute by American Photographer
Joni Kabana
Eight Chinese Poets
Jidi Majia Chen Si’An Duo Duo Xi Chuan
Zheng Xiaoqiong Yuan Yongping Li Yawei Shen Wei
Sitakant Mahapatra, Tony Barnstone &
Jami Proctor Xu
Nine Young Nepali Poets
Plus all Regular Features