Archive for February, 2008


Hard on the heels of the brand-new Salman Rushdie story (see
post of 2 days ago), I now also pass on this link to a new short story (TOMORROW THE TIGRESS WILL HUNT)
by Sunny Singh. Sunny is the author of
(the latter as mentioned elsewhere on this blog),
and is currently Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at
London Metropolitan University.
The story is published in THE DRAWBRIDGE – Issue 8, Spring 2008
 (print journal with on-line edition), and can be read at:
Here to whet your appetite is the dramatic first paragraph:
When the soldiers came to the village, I was playing at the well, just where the fields begin, trying to wait till the sun disappeared behind the trees before going home. Of course, Amma would scold when I returned. "One day a ghost will get you. Don’t you know they look for young girls like you? And just at the time when the sun is going away," she always threatened. But she still sent Dhanu-akka to find me every evening.’
The story is about the Tamil Tigers. You can find a note on how it came to be written on Sunny’s blog, at:
(entry 24 Feb 08: ‘The Tigress gets an outing’.
I add that Sunny’s novel of 2006, WITH KRISHNA’S EYES (reviewed by my own hands at:
+ see entry on this blog for 3 December 2006) 
is now available in French translation:
SOUS L’OEIL DE KRISHNA, translated by Nathalie Bourgeau, Arles: Philippe Picquier, 2008.
This joins the existing Spanish translation, and more will follow!
Note added 19 March 08:
For news on an interview with Sunny, see entry in this blog for 18 March 08.
y has now also been published in the journal PEGASUS (Agra, India), Vol VI, Jan-Dec 2008, pp. 92-95. 



The latest NEW YORKER (19 Feb 08) carries a brand new story by Salman Rushdie,
called ‘The Shelter of the World’. It is some 7500 words long and is about the Mughal Emperor Akbar.
For the moment at least, the entire text is available on-line at:

and can, with a little patience, be downloaded.



Here is the first paragraph:



"At dawn the haunting sandstone palaces of the new “victory city” of Akbar the Great looked as if they were made of red smoke. Most cities start giving the impression of being eternal almost as soon as they are born, but Sikri would always look like a mirage. As the sun rose to its zenith, the great bludgeon of the day’s heat pounded the flagstones, deafening human ears to all sounds, making the air quiver like a frightened blackbuck, and weakening the border between sanity and delirium, between what was fanciful and what was real."


The speech below was my contribution (in absentia) to the launch of A.R.A.W.L.II PUBLICATIONS, AJMER, INDIA on 28 Jan 2008
(publishers’ site:
I hope it will be of interest to those of you concerned with poetry, translation, Indian Writing in
English, and multilingual and multicultural issues generally.
It’s also on my site at:




28 JANUARY 2008


Author: Christopher Rollason, Ph.D, Independent Scholar (Metz, France) and collaborator with A.R.A.W.L.II

(Speech read out in absentia)



It is my pleasure to be part of the launch of A.R.A.W.L.II PUBLICATIONS, which is certainly a major event on the Indian literary scene. Although I am unable to be present in person, please be assured that spiritually I am with you at this moment and that I am happy to have this my speech read out by an esteemed colleague.


Poetry is a genre that features high on the literary agenda of A.R.A.W.L.II, and it is on that aspect that I shall concentrate in these brief words. Indeed, my own contribution to the enterprise has been in that field, with the afterword I have written to the selected poems of Satish Verma and my translations for PROSOPISIA: An International Journal of Poetry & Creative Writing of poems by Carla Vanessa Gonzáles, of Peru. I believe that A.R.A.W.L.II is developing a distinctive vision of poetry, apt for the age of globalisation, that focuses above all on its intercultural role, its potential as a vehicle of dialogue between cultures.


The selected poems of Satish Verma, published by A.R.A.W.L.II under the title of BEYONDS & BETWEON, are already an impressive product of intercultural dialogue. Satish Verma, an Indian poet and Hindi native speaker here writing in English, traces a dark journey through a landscape not of this world – a burnt, stunted, desiccated inner landscape that in many ways recalls T.S. Eliot’s Waste Land – and yet at the end, in a movement reminiscent of the Tagore of Gitanjali, welcomes the arrival of a transformative Guest, in an eminently Indian fashion.


Fittingly, the A.R.A.W.L.II edition of these poems brings them firmly into the arena of cultural dialogue by integrating poetry and criticism in a highly original fashion and by marshalling Verma’s fellow poets as critics. The book not only frames the poems, in the conventional way, within a Foreword (by poet and critic Anuraag Sharma) and an Afterword (by myself): it also intersperses, with the body of the text, no less than three ‘Midwords’, of whose authors, one hails from India, Sheela Upadhayay, and two from elsewhere – E.E. Sule from Nigeria and John Kinsella from Australia, the latter two both reputed poets. Both stress the universality of Verma’s writing: for Sule, ‘the poetry has the verve to inject new spirit into the thinking mind’; for Kinsella, ‘the poems become a will in themselves – a will to live in the best way, the spiritual way’. For both these poet-critics from the outside, poetry in the hands of a master like Satish Verma is the bearer less of historical and cultural specificities than of a shared humanity which yearns to communicate across barriers.


That spirit of transcultural striving is also to the fore in the second A.R.A.W.L.II publication I would like to comment on, Anuraag Sharma’s translations into Hindi of ‘Four Canberra poets’ published under the title MEHRAAB, an word of Arabic origin glossed in the title as THE ARCH. An arch is a space through which one passes from one location or state to another, and thus stands as a suitable metaphor for that activity of passage which is translation. Anuraag Sharma has selected poems by four living poets associated with Australia and its capital: three Australians proper, Alan Gould, Geoff Page and Mark O’Connor, and the Fijian of Indian origin, Satendra Nandan. The poems of the last-named are already the product of a cultural hybridation, as when, in English, he invokes himself reading ‘Vyas’s Mahabharta, Valmiki’s Ramayana’ while his daughter Kavita ‘runs out into the aangan’ to collect ‘fallen, bright yellow mango leaves’.


This volume takes the form of a parallel text, with the English-language originals fronting Sharma’s Hindi translations. It is thus part of a project aimed at making work in English accessible to Hindi speakers in India who lack the necessary of the source, or would simply prefer to read anglophone writers transposed into the resonances of India’s other co-official language. Here, then, it is not just poetry but translation too, that creates archways linking cultures. On this point, Anuraag Sharma has supplied a stimulating Preface in which he reflects on the transformative role of translation, suggesting eloquently that ‘translation is an arch – a covenant like a rainbow between the original and the nearly original’, or, indeed, that ‘the art of translation is a … yogic “kriya” which involves the transmigration of one’s soul into the body of the original poet / author’. The yogic imagery here suggests an Indianisation of the foreign text, which yet somehow retains its own feeling and vibration in the process of alchemical transformation.


Poets comment poets; poets translate poets. The active and dynamic word flies free above the boundary walls of nation and culture. The literary and poetic venture embodied in A.R.A.W.L.II is exciting indeed, and I am more than pleased to be enabled to play my part in this unfolding adventure in language.



Es con gran placer que os presento otro relato de la muy talentosa uruguaya CRISTINA GALEANO:


 18.30 decía mi reloj pulsera. Me estaba agachando. Apenas guardar en el cajón de la cómoda tu nuevo par de escarpines celestes, de pies a cabeza me recorrió un estremecimiento. ¡Lo hubiese jurado! ¡Intuía que algo grandioso estaba por sucederme!

Suavecito, de costado, lentamente, me senté sobre el mullido acolchado blanco con vagones y locomotoras. En ese preciso instante, con mis cuatro meses de embarazo decidí hacerte mi primer regalo. Julián, ¿adivinas que elegí entre tantos…? Algo irrompible y muy delicado. No sería peluche ni juguete a cuerda. No lo tocarías con las manos pero lo sentirías con la melodía de un recuerdo. ¿Te diste por vencido? ¡Te lo soplo!: un regalo- relato.  


Hijo, hace un tiempo que quiero contarte tu historia, mi historia, la historia de tu padre. ¡Es tan trascendente conocer de donde venimos…, y hacia donde vamos!


Shhh, si bien probablemente te vayan con el chisme que fui algo lerda para casarme. ¡No le hagas caso! Siempre se llega a tiempo, ¿para qué elegir apurada? ¡Y aquí viene lo insólito! Aunque no lo puedas creer, un buen día, después de toda una vida, en medio de un saludo, quedé flechada con mi vecino.

Él tenía fama de mujeriego, de tacaño y de solterón empedernido. Sin embargo, desde aquel día del saludo no tardó ni seis meses en adquirir este tan confortable apartamento y regalarme la alianza acompañada con cintillo con brillantes.


“Tic tac”, dice el reloj sobre tu mesita de luz. Mi pulso se acelera. Son las 18.45. Media hora falta para que llegue después de su consulta, el hombre, que además de atraerme, admiro y amo.

Contengo la respiración, agudizo el oído para poder escuchar el imperceptible giro de la llave en la cerradura… me pongo la mano sobre la panza.  Mmm, ¿en qué estábamos?


 Hijo ¡Imposible mentirte! No fue nada fácil la adaptación a vivir juntos. ¡Los dos ya veníamos con cada maña…! Sin embargo, también te remarco, apostando por nosotros, ¡le pusimos tanto empeño! Exhaustivamente, día y noche,  practicábamos la tan difícil virtud de la paciencia. Aprendimos: “Por algo tenemos dos orejas y una boca” “Negociar es ceder intercalado”  ¿Cuál fue la recompensa?: Bueno, en realidad, ahí es, cuando tú, querido, entras en escena. Entre tanto jolgorio el examen de embarazo no tardó en exclamar ¡Positivo!


19.00 Mirando sin ver estoy frente a tu colorida pista de autitos. Imagino cómo serás por fuera y por dentro. ¿Rubio, alto? ¿Con sobrepeso? ¿Inteligente, buen amigo? ¿Egocéntrico? ¡Oh, hijo! ¡Que miedo! ¿Qué te deparará el destino?


 19.13 Ahí me voló un suspiro enmarcado en proyectos: “Quizás seas doctor como tu padre,  herrero como tu abuelo, ¿original como nadie? ¿A lo mejor…?“. Ahí, ¡zas!, sintiendo en mi corazón el traqueteo de un trencito, cerrando este inolvidable regalo – relato se me destapó”la figurita sellada”: ¿Para qué estamos en este mundo?  ¿Qué es lo que trasciende y se multiplica si se comparte? ¿Lo que no se compra y se busca sin descanso? ¡Aquello…! ¡Lo importante!

 19.15  “¡Ser feliz!”, me sopló alguien…

—¡Hola mi cielo!, me saluda  tu padre desde la puerta de entrada.

—¡Apúrate mi amor! ¡Ven corriendo! ¡Siente a Julián! ¡Oh! ¡Se está moviendo!

 AUTORA- María Cristina Galeano