In Poetry at Sangam’s last issue of 2014 we are delighted to present the work of Abhay K. and Andrei Guruianu, two poets who startle and heal us with their poetry. Just the right note to end another difficult year.
Abhay K. is a poet and diplomat, he is the winner of the SAARC Literary Award 2013 and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize; he is the author of five collections of poems and two memoirs. Here we present poems set in, and remembering, Thailand, Nepal, and India, particularly the capital, Delhi, and his hometown of Nalanda. For Abhay K. is a poet of places, locations past and present, inner and outer citadels of history which he presents with a rare sense of homage and straightforwardness of voice. The poems’ seeming simplicity is, most often, unmediated by despair, rather is underlined by a sense of wonder. Small joys are celebrated as in Phuket Girl who says, ‘I lure strangers/ promising them happy endings…’ while the ‘happy ending’ is in fact the wee freedom she has won for herself. This quality of undimmed radiance should not be construed as naiveté, rather it suggests a hard-won battle over lamentation; these are generous, reflective poems. Here is an excerpt from Farewell Thailand (After Rabindranath Tagore), ‘A silky crossroad of civilizations/ jealously guarding the treasure-troves of ancient worlds/ that blossomed on Swarnbhumi – your golden land.’
Since his first published collection of poems in 2006, Andrei Guruianu has written more than a dozen books of poetry, stories, a memoir; forthcoming is a co-authored selection of essays and prose poems. From 2009 to 2011 he served as Broome County, NY’s first poet laureate and collaborated on numerous arts projects with members of the community and other writers and artists. He currently teaches in the Expository Writing Program at New York University. Andrei Guruianu’s superbly crafted poems move us deeply; his fierce vision locates hidden pockets of tenderness under desolate skies as his language works the fault line between a swaying, imperfect reality and the tenderness for what could be: the moment’s heart-rending potential. The poem Practically All Else Has Become Absurd opens with, ‘Delicate as a promise made by the lake with a moon in full view…’ and continues with gravitas and tenderness to, ‘The city was burning, yes,/ and somehow we kept talking through/ the panic,’ before ending on an ephemeral image of keening beauty. He’s a poet who returns us to ourselves by presenting us with moments we overlook that radiates small auras of sadness and grace. Do visit the New Releases section for ordering Andrei’s new collections.
Each month of 2014, you, dear readers, could expect a new issue of Poetry at Sangam; we thank you for the welcome you’ve given each issue and your words of praise. From 2015 we shall bring out an issue once every two months and hope you will continue to look forward to the issues as we continue to build an international community of poets, translators and readers. We thank you for your support.
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