‘Collection of Chaos’ at Cena Poetica di Samuele Editore


A few days back I had written about the Italian Connection.

A few poems from my debut poetry book ‘Collection 0f Chaos’  (published by James Goddard, Leaky Boot Press) were translated into Italian by Rachel Slade and  Alessandro Canzian   and read by Rachel at Cena Poetica di Samuel Editore in the beautiful town of Pordenone in northern Italy as part of  Samuele Editore’s poetry presentation and ‘poetry dinner’ held at ‘Al Campanile’ restaurant, a 15th century building where many talented poets including Nguyen Chi Trung presented their work.

 

 

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Rachel Slade reading her Italian translations of poems from my book ‘Collection of Chaos’ during Samuele Editore’s poetry presentation and ‘poetry dinner’ on 27th June, in the beautiful northern Italian city of Pordenone.

Rachel is a young American artist and photographer whose watercolor titled ‘Sea’  is used as the cover illustration for my book. A great friend and brilliant artist, Rachel brought my poems alive in the most poetic of all languages.

Here is one of the poems she translated and read :

You stripped me of my words
unravelled them quietly
pulled a good seam I guess
Took the braid of thread
and walked away
there wasn’t a single knot
a perfect weave
of silence and words
but how would you know

 

Hai spogliato me delle mie parole

mi hai dipanata con calma
sfilacciata per bene suppongo
hai afferrato il filo principale
e l’hai tirato
non c’era un solo nodo
l’intreccio era perfetto
di silenzio e di parole
ma come facevi a saperlo?

You can listen to her in the video below.

 

 

I quickly Googled the lovely city where the event was being held while chatting with Rachel and James as she informed us of the event’s details and sent pictures of the restaurant building last Thursday. I had closed my eyes and imagined how it would feel to be among a group of  such talented poets and listen to her read the words that were so close to my heart. I cannot describe the feeling.

June 27th  brought immense happiness to me as a writer. To be featured as part of such an important event was like  a dream come true and I waited eagerly for an update from Rachel about the reading and her message, when it came,  filled me with so much joy.

She wrote :
“I have to tell you quickly about yesterday’s reading. Shortly I will send you copies of what I read, and Alessandro will be putting up the video as well… but I really wanted you to know now that people really loved your poems my dear. In fact you have made quite the impression without even being here. Your poems spoke for you and I feel, very strongly, that they spoke for each of us in such a way that as I read them aloud I could feel people responding around me, both the men and women… it was deeply moving. Of course I brought the book and people were very interested in the press (James ) as well as your blog – many people speak, or at least understand, English so they will be visiting… Many people wanted to know more about you (O mysterious one…) and hear more about India, New Delhi, your life, the lives of women there… and so many sensed immediately your strength, your presence and the force and fortitude of authentic poetry….”
Later she commented on a photograph shared on FB, “The poems of  Tikuli bestow phantasmagoric superpowers upon the reader………

 

What surprised me was the appreciation that poured in via messages and tweets. Poets connecting with me, reading my blog, sharing, reblogging my poems, writing to me, sharing their work. Nothing makes a writer happier than this bonding with fellow writers and I am grateful to each one of them for joining me in my  journey through poetry. Thank you Bea Ary and  Roberta Lepri, it is a pleasure to know you and read your work. It’s a blessing.

 

Sometimes in life good things come to us without us expecting them, this was one such occasion—and one of the happiest times of my life. Thank you James for making this happen.

 

You can View these links too

Rachel Slade’s Art 
Samuele Editore 

Leaky Boot Press

You can buy Collection of Chaos from all online book sellers including Amazon and  Book Depository who do free online shipping all over the world. 

 

 

Two Delicious Preserves With Apricots And Plums


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After almost ten days of  being sick and stressed I finally managed to pick myself up and get going. Nothing is more therapeutic than cooking/backing something and as summer fruits are in abundance I picked up two of my favorites to indulge in and make preserves.  I find the market products too sweet. I love my preserves a little tart and flavorful. So I picked up fruits which were firm and tart and yet had those delicate flavours.  Some people may find a boiling pot of sugar and fruits a little too much on a hot summer noon but the aroma and the colors of summer captured in a nicely bottled preserve can cheer you up any time.

I have a weakness for apricots and once they cook, the luscious fruit tuns the color of golden summer sun and tastes fantastic. A little hard, a little bruised apricots would do too for this recipe. They need not be perfect. I use a mix of firm and soft ripe fruit to bring out the sweet and tangy flavours.

As for plums , I decided to do a cross between jam and preserve and kept the skin on the fruits. Again picked up some firm and soft mix fruit as I prefer the tart flavour. Discarded the pits for both fruits though some people crack them open and use the kernel. I don’t.

Washed fresh Apricots and Plums

Washed fresh Apricots and Plums

 

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Recipe for Apricot Preserve :

 

Ingredients :

1/2 Kg – Apricots

1 Cup Granulated Sugar (depends on sweetness of the fruits and your liking)

1/2 Cup Water

Juice of lemon – Two table-spoon

Method :

Wash the fruit carefully and rip it open in two halves. Discard the stone.

Take a bowl and place the halves in it.

Add the sugar and mix it well so that it coats the fruit completely .

Keep it covered for an hour or till the sugar dissolve a bit.

Keep a heavy bottom pan on medium flame and add the fruit mixture to it.

Add a little water to cover the fruit and bring it to boil.

Let it boil for one minute on high flame .

Keep stirring so that the mixture doesn’t burn.

Lower the flame and remove any froth or scum that forms on the top.

When the fruit starts to fall apart add juice of lemon.

Keep stirring till the mixture thickens.

Take a set test – Chill a plate in the freezer. Once you think the mixture is thick enough for the preserve consistency drop a teaspoonful on the chilled plate and place it back in the freezer. After a few minutes take it out and check , if a crinkly skin forms on THE preserve when pushed it is done otherwise boil it for another five minutes and text again.

Once done, let it cool to room temperature and then fill it in the jar. Make sure to stir it so that no air gaps are formed.
Seal it when still warm and label it when cooled.

Enjoy this delicious preserve on bagels, toasts, biscuits, parfait or just lick it from the spoon. 🙂

Plum and Apricot Preserve

Plum and Apricot Preserve

Plum Preserve Recipe :

Ingredients :

1/2 Kg Red Plums

1 Cup Granulated Sugar ( according to the sweetness of fruit and your liking)

Lemon zest – 1/2 teaspoon

Lemon Juice – 1 Table spoon

Cinnamon – 1/4 inch stick

Water – 1/2 cup ( just enough to cover the fruit)

Method :

Wash and wipe the plums.
Split them in halves and discard the stone.
Keep the skin on.
In a deep bowl layer fruit and sugar so that the plums are entirely covered.
Keep the fruit for an hour or till the sugar dissolves a bit.
Take a heavy bottom pan and pour the content into the pan along with cinnamon stick and lemon zest.
Stir it on medium flame and bring it to boil.
Let it boil on high flame for a minute or two. Keep stirring to avoid burning.
Lower the flame and let it simmer.
When the fruit softens a bit add lemon juice and remove any scum that forms on the top.
Let the mixture thicken and then do the set test as described in previous recipe.
Once the preserve sets to the right consistency remove it from heat and let it cool at room temperature.
Remove the cinnamon stick and bottle it while still warm.
Label when cool.

Use it on toasts, bagels, biscuits, parfait or in any way you like.

Hope you like these simple recipes. Do let me know your experience  if you make them.

On My Mind Are Some Poems Long Forgotten


Love

Photo credit Shubhang Dogra.  All rights reserved.

1.

On my mind are some poems long forgotten,

pressed between the pages of an old book.

Poems written in a language I no longer know.

Poems carrying the scent of some other time,

some other place, now just a shadow.

On this sultry summer afternoon I sit back

with a glass of mint infused lemonade and think

of these autumnal leaves which once were tender green.

2.

Off the island shores
on a nameless night,
lava meets its match.
Colours explode,
fill the sky,
fire and water,
hot and steamy,
the desire burns slowly,
subtle, with spurts of intensity,
just like it should be,
in two bodies
ruined by a single sweetness –
love

(inspired by the volcanoes of Hawaii)

3.

we became strangers that night.

A brief encounter

when you colonized my body

in the hotel room

charged with the smell of sex.

It was a prelude

to the harsh winters ahead

and all the coming seasons

lost to the inequity of desire

between

you and me.

The Ghosts Of War – A Poem


Some days back  James had posted a wonderful “little piece” Ghost 1 on Facebook thanks to Edouard Beau, whose
photographs of Iraq gave  the words to two poems from two different perspectives. Here is my take on the Photograph.

I see him standing there,
a body trapped in soul,
watching the remnant of
what was our home.
They had found him slumped
near the ruins of a bombed
mosque, his spectacles propped
awkwardly to the bridge of his
broken nose, his forearms
shattered, his white robe mud
caked and ragged. They had
dumped him into a two-wheeled
cart and dragged to where he
now stands in the picture that
came today from a stranger
with a scribble at the back,
“your father.”
A reminder of the day the city
smoldered under clouds of dust
and smoke, deafened by the sirens
and the wails of women and children.
The day I and my mother, forced
by my father, braved the blood-stained
road to another land, never to return.

Another Feedback On ‘Collection Of Chaos’ And The Italian Connection


The summer is still lingering and not really giving way to the monsoon. Hot summer noons are for quick impromptu poems, home-made mango popsicle, some good music and quietly gazing at the shadow pigeons going about their business on my window curtain.

Here are few that I shared on Facebook :

This poem is split in two 

and
a shadow of you

***

making love is like water,
sometimes ice,
sometimes fog.
I like the steam rising
from salt filmed bodies

*****

We live in each other’s minds 
and often meet 
in the silences between words 
Love never dies 
it just changes form

****

And NOW The Good News –

A much awaited feedback on my book and a reading thousands of miles away in the beautiful northern Italian city of Pordenone.

 

Sometime in February I received a short personal feedback on my book ‘Collection Of Chaos‘  from award-winning poet, novelist  Tabish Khair and it made my day.

Thank you so much.

********************

Here’s what he had to say,

“I liked the collection; at your best you have a sparseness and precision that reminds me of haiku-forms, and this is rather rare in Indian English poetry, which tends to be verbose and self-indulgent! You often draw upon personal-emotional states: this would usually put me off, but in your case it works because you find a sort of objective mental/imagistic backdrop for them, and invest them with economy of expression. For instance, a short one like this is perfect in its own way, personal but not dripping with self-indulgence because your image makes it larger and more ‘objective’: 
Your words—
Hired assassins 

On the other hand, in some poems, like the one below, you get too ‘theoretical’, and I think these poems work less for me: 
incessant rain
a poetic hybridity of thoughts

I will love to read your next collection.

Tabish Khair, Author of Man of Glass and The Thing About Thugs

**************************************

 

The Italian Connection 

Yesterday Rachel Slade, whose painting graces the cover of my book, informed me that some poems from my Leaky Boot Press book, ‘Collection of Chaos’, will be read in Italian translation by her as part of a Samuele Editore poetry presentation and ‘poetry dinner’ tomorrow night, 27th June, at ‘Al Campanile’ restaurant, a 15th century building in the beautiful northern Italian city of Pordenone.

 

This is one of the finest news I have heard in long time.  Rachael is a very talented artist and it is a joy to collaborate with her.  (Rachel’s Website)

Thank you so much Rachael, Samuele and James for helping me realize my dream. Some day I would love to travel to Italy and to this gorgeous place.  We will read poems, drink wine, indulge in finest Italian cuisine and soak up the flavors of the beautiful landscape.

Stay Tuned For More Updates  🙂

 

The support from my friends, ditors, mentors, experts matters a lot to me. To know there are friends showing love to my writing, it makes me forget the everyday struggles, the frail health and the heartaches. So, for those of you who have my book and are reading it and sending me feedback every now and then, I’m indeed very thankful.

 

“Too Good To Be Missed” John Lyle On My Book ‘Collection Of Chaos’


I have been really encouraged by the positive and constructive feedback from the readers of my début poetry book ‘Collection Of Chaos‘. Many readers sent me personal messages and some posted their views on Goodreads and on their personal blogs.You can view  ‘selfies with chaos‘  and the feedbacks on my Facebook Blog Fan Page and on Leaky Boot Press Page.

Nothing makes a new emerging writer happy to know she is well received. I thank each one of you for the support.

Recently John Lyle, an exceptional singer song writer, wrote a review of my book on Amazon. It’s the first ever amazon review for me and I am ecstatic with joy. John is not just a great musician but also a sensitive and compassionate person. It is a pleasure to know him. I love his music and often recommend it to friends.

I remember John’s messages when he received the book.

“I got your book today, Tikuli. I love Chris’s forward and am really looking forward a wonderful read!” He wrote and then after a few days as he read,”  “‘she watched the mob with vacant eyes’. A harrowing counterpart to my song ‘They Stoned Her‘. Kindred spirits for sure. You are a raw, wonderful talent and nobody can stop you.”

“Haunted by waters”, and haunted by your lovely book “Collection of Chaos” which I have just finished reading for the first time. Thanks for writing it Tikuli!”

These little notes filled my otherwise stressed out days with immense pleasure. Words of encouragement from great artists who understand the depth of a poet’s mind and all that is unsaid are what makes us go forth and break the mental barriers and work harder to realize our dreams.

Singer Song writer John Lyle

Thank you John for reading my book and for this review and words of praise. It is pleasure to be on the same platform with you and other brilliant Leaky Boot Press writers. 

Here is an except from the blurb
Tikuli’s full blooded new book of poetry “Collection of Chaos” is too good to be missed. Her poems are direct and strong and I would not want to be on the wrong end of one of them. But when the occasion demands her writing is heartbreakingly tender and you’ll want to put your arms around her.

You can read the full review here  Collection Of Chaos customer Review – John Lyle

 

You can buy and read John’s book The Kindest Lies Here. Listen and enjoy his soulful music  Here. You can buy his songs on iTunes too.  John Lyle on Leaky Boot Press.

 

You can buy My Book from:iTunes

Amazon

Flipkart

Book Depository (free delivery worldwide)

and all other online booksellers.
Goodreads Page For Collection Of Chaos 

 

You And me – Three Poems Of Love Unrequited


1.

Time stands still.
I linger,
like the empty pitcher
at the mouth of the village well
waiting patiently
to be filled.

**************

2.

You did not say a word.

Nothing.

I could sense your

  stoic, composed self

from across a thousand miles

as I whimpered

about things gone wrong.

What you said or failed to say,

how I felt, what I thought,

the conclusions I drew

from the things I masticated on,

the hurt, the pain, the want,

I furiously punched  it all.

Glad that I did not have to speak.

That in our technology powered relationship

there were gadgets that could  be used as crutches.

You remained silent.

Not a word.

I punched a few more keys

wrote this and that

and a few more other things.

 I felt pulled from all sides like an elastic band

and then released.

The sting of pain shot through my head

as my fingers tapped mindlessly.

Then,

exhausted by my meltdown

and hoping for a response ,

I waited.

Still Nothing.

“Say something.” I nudged.

Still nothing.

Just a cold silence.

You had begun to bury me already.

Minutes turned to hours,

night turned to day

and slowly fell into the dark ,

a silent dark,

unreadable,

unsettling,

asphyxiating

dead silence

as wide as the distance

between us.

The clock ticked.

The cellphone breathed its last.

Silently.

The pain returned with

greater vengengence,

concentrated at the corner of the eyes,

till the eyes softened

and tears began to recede

carrying the weight of a lifetime

then everything collapsed

I guess that’s when

the sky became overcast

and it began to rain.

***********

3.

That night never left me
It seeped into the hollow of my bones.
People leave
their absence doesn’t.
It goes where the loss 
goes to hide.
Inside the bones.
In the hollow.
filling it
with an immeasurable emptiness

**********