Rivers Going Home

Ashwani Kumar

The poems in this anthology originated from ‘Poetry Live’ — a curated experience on social media platform, Instagram, where poetry readings were led by the Indian Novels Collective and Mumbai’s much-loved bookstore Kitab Khana. Poet and critic Arundhathi Subramaniam, who inaugurated the series on 31 March 2020 with a reading of The Tent by Rumi, described the initiative as, “an act of faith in poetry in troubling times”.  Given this background, it was natural for poets in the anthology to shine through this ‘immaculate choreography’ in verse — miracles and mirages of poetry waiting to happen, now and in the future.

A short backgrounder

Rivers Going Home, published by Red River, is a collaborative poetry project between India Novels Collective and Kitab Khana and it is dedicated to the memory of eminent Hindi poet Manglesh Dabral who passed away on 9 December 2020 due to covid complications. The poems in this anthology originated from ‘Poetry Live’— a curated experience on social media platform, Instagram, where poetry readings were led by the Indian Novels Collective and Mumbai’s much-loved bookstore Kitab Khana from 31 March -14 April 2020. As the time passes on, the poems in the anthology have acquired a much larger vision of poetry- an overarching ecological and feminist way of seeing the world and using metaphors of rivers- water, to seep deep into the earth, and into our bodies, into our memories.“Travel through these rivers, enjoy catching whistling gold fish, or hilsa with ‘moon- dipped fingers’, making love ‘like a silkworm weaving her house with love from her marrow, and dying in her own bodily thread”( Mahadevi Akka) When you are done with this, take a heaving sigh in the dying sunset, I promise, you will become a poem unto yourself.”

Rivers Going Home has received endorsements from renowned international poets, such as Brian Turner, K. Satchidanandan, and Arundhathi Subramaniam. 30 translators of repute in the volume include names like Jayanta Mahapatra, K. Satchidanandan, Anamika, Sudeep Sen, Asad Zaidi, Mustansir Dalvi, Sarbjeet Garcha, Anjali Purohit, Aparna Anekvarna, Rabindra Swain, Ramu Ramanathan, Hemang Desai, among others.The cover page of the book is a painting by eminent Urdu poet and painter Jayant Parmar.

Rivers Going Home, 71 poets in solidarity from 15 Indian languages, include both renowned poets such as  K. Satchidanandan, Mamang Dai, Manohar Shetty, Arundhathi Subramaniam, Sampurna Chattarji, Priya Sarukai Chabria, Nabina Das, Sophia Naz, Rajathi Salma, Nilim Kumar,  Robin Ngangom,   Basudev Sunani, Hemant Divate,  Menka Shivdasani, Sanjeev Khandekar, Anju Makhija, Prabodh Parikh, Smita Agarwal, Salil Tripathi, Mritunjay Singh, Vinita Agrawal, Subodh Sarkar, Sukrita Paul Kumar, Savita Singh, Pravisini Mahakud, Kamal Vora,  K Srilata, Mani Rao, Sharmila Ray, Melvyn Rodrigues, Manohar Shetty, Anna Sujatha Mathai, A.J. Thomas, Mustansir Dalvi as well as many leading younger  generation poets like Rochelle Potkar, Amit Shankar Saha, Anuradha Singh, Saima Afreen, Sonnet Mondal, Tushar Dhawal, Smita Sahay, Suhit Kelkar, Durga Panda and Sarabjeet Garcha, Huzaifa Pandit, Mrinalini Harchandrai,  who shared their original and recent works along with, celebrated poet-actor and dastango Danish Husain, leading US poet Brian Turner, and Indian diaspora poet Robert Wood from Australia.

The book is available at: https://www.amazon.in/dp/9392494254