Thursday, February 16, 2017

Pascale Petit poem on Annapurnas to appear in Yuyutsu Sharma's upcoming Eternal Snow Anthology

Just received distinguished British Poet Pascale Petit's poem, "Machapuchere (Fishtail Mountain)" inspired by our trek in the Annapurnas for Eternal Snow Anthology due in March...

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Yuyutsu Sharma's upcoming Reading at Sahitya Academi (Indian National Academy of Letters, New Delhi)

Announcement of upcoming Reading at Sahitya Academi (Indian National Academy of Letters, New Delhi) on Feb 24, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

A poem from Yuyutsu Sharma's Eternal Snow by Nabina Das

Quataquatantankua : A Poem & A Trek With the Buddhist Bard By Nabina Das

The Quataquatantankua

"The pigeons strutting freely in your courtyard\
 coo like exhausted porters
climbing the mule paths in the singing gorges. 
Their guttural quataquatantankua --
they seem to be using human language,
a kind of hushed speech that robbers might use."
 -- "Little Paradise Lodge"  Annapurna Poems

Emeralded into the crevices of words
our roads emerge with coffee and brine
to fan out far towards a city a peak, a town --
each an odd-eyed rooster in one-legged patience.
I see one losing its blue
in the smear of newsprint
another being pocketed
by hands that grope --
grope my soft tissues
beneath the skin of gauze
but the ones bunched deep
inside my throat go untouched!
So, I can gurgle: "Quataquatantankua, Quataquatantankua, Quataquatantankua."
Ramro chha, ramro chha, ramro chha? And the reply bubbles
up in the foothill methane:
All is good, nothing's amiss
where gods sleep; we keep awake to sharpen our verbs in the dawn.

A Trek with the Buddha Bard
Reading Annapurna Poems

Yuyutsu RD Sharma’s face is like a mountain terrain, when the earth emerges in the gods’ peaks after a flash flood or when a river has receded after the monsoon’s regal fury. I noticed this as soon as I sat down opposite to him in the surprisingly sparsely populated Barista coffee shop in New Delhi’s fashionable Khan Market shopping area. Poet of the Himalayas, Yuyutsu’s greeting resounded almost true in what he wrote in “In the Mountains”: Fragile my eyeglasses/ fragile and foreign/I take them off; /There’s a speck of a scar in them. //On the mule path /I take them off /to face the green /stretch of mountains /beneath the saddle of Annapurnas.

Well, almost true, because he didn’t wear eyeglasses at our meeting! His dark irises reflected the green he writes about and the twining paths he sees better without his educated eyeglasses. And since we met to chat – we didn’t waste time to get on first-name terms – the discussion rightfully turned quickly to his meditative collection Annapurna Poems, a Nirala Series book published in 2008 and reprinted several times since.

On that sweltering summer evening, leafing through the Annapurna poems brought in a sudden whiff of cool mountain air. Musical and reflective. Indeed, Yuyutsu’s poetic tenor is pretty much that of a bard, his voice that treks higher and higher into the wild beautiful upper Himalaya bringing alive the smile of the Buddha and the semiotics of the region’s everlasting gods and goddesses, the Yeti and other resident animals, the soulful rivers, and the ice-kissed rain. True, Yuyutsu laments the loss of a familiar landscape he witnessed prior to political trouble fanning out across Nepal. But his enthusiasm is very much rooted to the peoples’ grasp of their own surrounding, the Nepal that is home to communities and creeds, whether he sees them in the backdrop of the Maoist insurgency or that of a defunct monarchy.

On the level of language, this poetry takes us straight into the heart of the mountain country, Nepal’s unique ethos and the nature that entertains both snowy seasons and hidden eternal gardens. The mule paths, the ‘leech-greasy’ forests, the spells under which the mountain people live and tell fantastic tales, the ‘magnificent daggers of snow’, all build up a world where nature is more than just a phenomenon. It is a companion to the poet and his perception. The cognitive faculty of the poet and the reader works in tandem in recognizing the many layers of meanings unfolded in each aspect of “Annapurna Poems”, exactly like the different layers of the snow. The permafrost is made of the century-old legends and tales on which have grown new fables and events.

Yuyutsu is a poet of expressions as he traverses a train of simplicity. He does not twist language in any show of wizardry. He believes in words and sentences, as they are known and heard in the Himalayan reality, to take him along the mountain journey to rediscover the known nomenclature and trusted actions. All he does is re-paint the scenes of Annapurna in unique details and from surprising angles. Like little Tibetan thangkas. In these scenes, he tells us about those place names that ring out the jeweled eco-system of a mountain town or village as familiar as our recurrent dreams. With him, we walk the salt tracks, the gorge trails and visit Birethanti. Ghorepani, Gandrung, Tadapani, Lake Fewa, and many such tongue-trilling spots. For him, Hillside roosters/Punctual, announcing the dawn //are known elements. If sometimes they might appear delightfully alien to our practiced eyes: Possessing floral /Faces of riverside birds

They still draw us into the world of Annapurna like ice drops in the cracks (Yuyutsu himself says in the foreword of the book that his poems exist in each crack of this magnanimous mountain world).

Even in this pristine surrounding something troubles the poet who watches the spray of the white surf: on greasy crotches /of huge mossy rocks //started singing … coughing out /the cacophony of cruel cities

In Yuyutsu’s poetry one might like to find the Blake-ian dilemma of having to dividing the human soul between Nature and its sufferance, mingle her own fate and existences with that of gods, the Yeti and shamans, and the myriad mysterious of Shangri-La, where imageries take fantastic shapes and have their own sensual and sensuous existence (River: Morning)
… each time I come /to her deafening banks //to gleam my dreams /over the plump flanks of her warm body … and a wrinkle appears /across the shriveled leaf of my life.

However, he is not merely a romantic poet. What comes across is his deep admiration for the Annapurna region as a system tied to the rest of the world – those parts of the world where he is a traveler of a different kind, giving talks and workshops, reading his published work and attending literary events. In the context of these ‘worldly’ acts where he attributes his own poetry having the “otherworldly” and “archival” quality, he is very much a realist. The book’s first section, “Little Paradise Lodge”, is an account of Nepal and Annapurna’s past and present. Interestingly, ‘lodge’ appears to be a pun on ‘lost’ as if he was talking about a ‘little paradise lost’. To me the poems in this section are very much a ‘lost and found’ affair.

On the other hand, quite prominently, his Eliotesque sarcasm for the modern city life and the external influences on his much loved landscape of rains and snows adorn the images he paints in “Rains”: … This summer they held me up /In the deserts of their skyscrapers. … my face in the dark /feeling tips of snow sacred fishtails of Machapuchchare.

In “Mules” too, their ringing bells are but ‘beating notes of a slavery modernism brings’. While mapping the ‘bloodthirsty mule paths around the glacial of Annapurna’, Yuyutsu watches: cartons of Iceberg, mineral water bottles, /solar heaters, Chinese tiles, tin cans, carom boards //sacks of rice /and iodized salt from the plains of Nepal Terai. … human and mule lives meet

Rain, river, snow, singing gorges and brooks rule the landscape of Annapurna Poems. The romance is palpable between the poet and his subject, almost Sufi in character, ‘madness’ being one of its virtues. Yuyutsu is in complete enchantment of his terrain as a lover is and this love’s longing is realized in a woman’s physical quest (A Lonely Brook): a lonely woman /waits for a stranger to come //and burst
the ice frozen between her thighs //to make a flame
of her cold sleep…

Conversation with the river (River) is a personal history, a sequel to the secret rendezvous with the beloved and is artistically lusty. Between your decisions
/and my flickering lamps /the river mad /you, you poet, you bastard, go away!

With Yuyutsu we travel to Ghandrung where a ‘young girl of the scarlet shawl waits/for the colorful procession/of mules carrying cartons of Tuberg beer to pass’ or to Ghorepani, all the while delightfully apprehensive or even curious if a Yeti was following ‘your trail in the desolate mountains’.

Among these portraits resembling eternity’s passing of time in the mountain world, we empathize with the pain in the poets voice (Fish): Wives wait the final winter /of my rot, opening up /the greed /of their slithering fish /I return to a poem /I postponed decades ago /to touch the mating serpents /slithering on the tip of illicit door /called death.

The book’s second section “Glacier” takes this sentiment to a crescendo as one feels literally like climbing heights with titles like Kala Patthar, Gauri Shankar, Summit and The Buddhist Flag Flutters and looking below with a rooster’s eye view at the fields, the forests and the (once) playful courtyards with their brass bells. The overture continues with the third part “Sister Everest”, a pithy and less descriptive section. In that, the latter is highly evocative. If the first sections read like an ethereal ‘inward’ trek through the upper Himalayan terrain, this section readies us for the fourth one – “The Annapurna Man” – rooted more in the poet’s ‘outward’ experiences. A very brief section, it spews more pain than pleasure. To some extent, I came out of the book through this section with a sense of abrupt termination, as if Yuyutsu’s pain had to invite a quick clinical surgery. For this, the poetry in this section seems disjointed from the book’s original spirit.

Especially, I felt “Silence” is too much of rumination, too personal and reads more like purgation than poetry. The best piece in this section is “Space Cake, Amsterdam”, a witty poem combining introspection and observation by ‘this man from Kathmandu’ (one may well imagine, the rest of our chat that evening centered around that one fantastic experience Yuyutsu recounted to me). The air-conditioned air at that Barista throbbed at my mirth on reading and re-reading the line – ‘whatever happens, you can always make a comeback’!

NABINA DAS is a poet and fiction writer currently based in Hyderabad. She teaches Creative Writing and has won several writing awards and grants at home and abroad while being published widely. Her poetry has been translated into Assamese, Bengali, Hindi and Croatian

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Amity University Confers an Honorary Professorship on World Renowned Himalayan Poet, Yuyutsu Sharma

“In order to facilitate the blooming of creative impulses hidden within each individual,”  the Amity reading citation states, ( Read Full Citation below ) “he has devoted himself towards training people in creative writing…For his extraordinary achievements and his contribution to the field of English literature and creative writing, Amity University confers the title of Honorary Professor upon Shri Yuyutsu Sharma”
Congratulating the graduates and their families, Dr. Ashok K Chauhan- Founder President, Amity Group said that Amity graduates should be called “distinguished achievers who have the capacity and capability to change the country and change the world”.

Prof: Anil D Sahasrabudhe- Chairman, AICTE, Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra- Secretary (DARE) & Director General (ICAR) and Prof. Govindarajan Padmanaban -Former Director, IISc, Bangalore were conferred with Honorary Doctorate Degrees by Dr. Ashok K Chauhan- Founder President, Amity Group, Dr. Aseem Chauhan and Dr. (Mrs.) Amita Chauhan- Chairperson, Amity International Schools in Science during the Convocation.
Prof. (Dr.) Raj K Tiwari, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Program Director, NYMC, New York, USA; Dr. Yuyutsu- Globally Renowned Poet and Creative Writer; Prof. Bal Ram Singh- President, Institute of Advanced Sciences, Dartmouth, US and Dr . B.L. Dubey, Renowned Clinical Psychologists Adjunct Faculty, University of Alaska, US were conferred Honorary Professorships.
Speaking at the occasion, Yuyutsu Sharma thanked Amity University for the honor and admired the University’s role in making India visible in the field of learning and education internationally.
The Convocation ceremony was declared closed by Chancellor, AUH followed by National Anthem.

(Nirala News Service in collaboration with Agencies)

Amity Citation 
Shri Yuyutsu R.D. Sharma
An unwavering commitment to the pursuit of excellence in the field of English poetry and extraordinary qualities of creativity are epitomized in one of India’s most distinguished poets, Shri Yuyutsu R.D. Sharma.
Shri Sharma has been the recipient of several fellowships and grants from The Rockefeller Foundation, Ireland Literature Exchange, Trubar Foundation, Slovenia, The Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature and The Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature. He has also been a visiting Poet at University of Columbia, New York University, University of California, Davis, Heidelberg University, Germany and Queen’s University, Belfast.
Widely traveled author, he has read his works at several prestigious places across the world. Shri Sharma has a colossal body of published work, including many poetry compilations and books. He has also translated innumerable works of poetry into English. In order to facilitate the blooming of creative impulses hidden within each individual, he has devoted himself towards training people in creative writing.
An avid admirer of the Himalayas, Shri Sharma has spent a considerable amount of time writing about the bounties of nature. Two books of his poetry, Poemes de l’ Himalayas (L’Harmattan, Paris) and Poemas de Los Himalayas (Cosmopoeticia, Cordoba, Spain) recently appeared in French and Spanish respectively. He is a person of immense intellectual ability and ingenious creativity. He has translated and edited several anthologies of contemporary Nepali poetry in English and launched a literary movement, Kathya Kayakalpa (Content Metamorphosis) in Nepali poetry. The Library of Congress has nominated his book of Nepali translations entitled, Roaring Recitals; Five Nepali Poets as Best Book of the Year 2001 from Asia under the Program, A World of Books International Perspectives.
For his extraordinary achievements and his contribution to the field of English literature and creative writing, Amity University confers the title of Honorary Professor upon Shri Yuyutsu Sharma

Yuyutsu Sharma to read as a Speical Guest at Indian National Academy of Letters' (Sahitya Academi) Annual Festival

Yuyutsu Sharma to read as a Speical Guest at Indian National Academy of Letters' (Sahitya Academi) Annual Festival for Purvottari : North-East and Northern Writers' Meet, 11.00 am on 24 Feb, 2017

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Short Refreshing Review of A Blizzard in my Bones in the leading Indian newspaper, The Hindu

A Short Refreshing Review of A Blizzard in my Bones in the leading Indian newspaper, The Hindu

A collection of poems about the ‘world’s first city’ by a Himalayan poet, the book, explores Yuyutsu Sharma’s transformation into a New Yorker. It speaks of colliding cultures, of an artist whose fate it is to wander, and a tender but triumphant vision of a metropolis that belongs to all the world’s people.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Amity University bestows Honorary Professorship on Yuyutsu Sharma

Yuyutsu Sharma receiving Honorary Professorship from Founding President & Chancellor Ashok K. Chauhan, Current Chancellor Aseem K. Chauhan and Vice-Chancellor, P.B. Sharma at Amity University annual Convocation..