Kinship of Words


Separated by seas, connected by literature

I had promised to write about James and our long distance impromptu poetry collaboration for Duets.  Today’s post is an introduction to a genius who has always kept a low profile.  It is also a prelude to the post on Duets and how we collaborated on it. I will post it in a few weeks. Waiting for my print copies to arrive.

I don’t know how to begin telling you about James. I thought it would be easy for me to just talk about mentors, writing experiences, friendships, publishing of my books, our friendship across time and space etc etc but when I am actually here I am unable to find words. What do you say, how do you explain an elusive person who is too modest and shy to talk about himself and his achievements ( which he calls”little things I did”? How do you explain a bond that goes beyond the boundaries of all distances, physical or mental?

I was rather annoyed that he did not write much about himself on the back cover of our collaborative book of poems ‘Duets’. I knew he won’t share his photograph in any case even after my relentless nagging. After a lot of discussion I decided to write about him here. People needed to know who’s the other poet behind the beautiful work we have created and how it came about. They need to know his literary background, “the things he did”. Nag nag nag .. and finally I got him to send me a list of his published works etc. I am pretty sure there is much more but I will draw a line and respect his privacy at this point. I am glad he opened up a bit. If you know James Goddard this is a huge achievement on my part.. hahaha..

I met James on Facebook via some mutual friend in 2012. He was not sharing much of his writings on his timeline but his monochrome photographs were so utterly gorgeous they could draw anyone to explore more. His visits to India and the magnificent photos were the connecting dots and with time our friendship grew stronger. We did have our fights, disagreements, arguments but in the end what emerged was a stronger bond. There is an immense love and respect I have for him not just for being my guide and publisher but also for being such a selfless, caring confidante and friend. He has listened to me and lifted me out of some of the darkest periods of my struggle. Listening is a dying art and not once he made me feel uncomfortable. He has a big role to play in my personal growth too.

James’s gracious presence, life experience and unbiased attitude continues to fill me with the energy I need as I battle my personal issues. Over the period of time he introduced me to other genres, writers, helped me polish my writing. Not just poetry but fiction too. I was also fascinated by his extensive travels in India, Middle East and Europe that he undertook in pursuit of photographs of ordinary people and interesting places. Here was a guy so talented and creative with great sense of humor and passion for life ready to help me with all he had. I felt blessed. As he began to share short stories, ditties, poems  or “little pieces” as he called them I realized what a brilliant writer he was. each of us were hooked to every word he wrote and waited with baited breath for the next one to be posted on his timeline on FB. A little birdie told me his interest in Science Fiction began at the age of twelve. Writing good stuff comes so effortlessly to him.

As day went by I felt encouraged to write more, write better, to explore new ideas, to send my work for online publication and then began another phase of my journey as a published author. A step forward from where Kris has brought me with his care and support of four years. He’s still around if I need him.

If you love my writing then you should know that it is the product of hours and hours of patient guidance and hard work irrespective of time and distance. I was as eager to learn as he was to teach though he may not call it teaching. A nudge in the right direction perhaps, “just suggestions”. Always there without being intrusive. Never culling my true voice. I think this is what laid the foundation for Duets.

I couldn’t have dreamed of getting my poems and short fiction published in print if James had not edited and published them. I owe them to him. You can see my LBP Author Page here

I am linking his profile here so that you can read his work that’s been posted on his TL and notes. Check his albums for some stunning photographs. His love of monochrome photography started with his first camera and he still firmly believes that only black and white images can bring out the beauty of the mundane. His photographs have been featured in the arts and literature annual, The Zaporogue , edited by Seb Doubinsky; Invierno: A Cantata of Spain in Winter(John Lewis) and on several book covers. James was born in Bournemouth, a university town and resort on the south coast of England, lived in London for a short time and now lives with his 10,000 plus books and three cameras in Driffield, a small East Yorkshire town.

I could go on telling you about our association if I had enough space here but I want you to discover his genius through his writings and photography. I request his friends, associates and co writers/editors to pitch in and provide more information in the comments.

Social media has its assets too. Its not always intrusive and addictive in a negative manner. For me Facebook was like a virtual home where we were all connected yet there was were spaces between us. That important space which we all need to evolve. It played a part in my learning, my friendships, my mental and emotional health and perhaps to a large extent finding myself. It is true and we’ll talk about it sometime. The writer friends tribe that I am part of now is all via FB. Each one a gem. I have written about many of them in my earlier posts.

I am posting a list of James’s work that I could gather by stalking various pages, sites and pushing him to reveal some facts. Do look up these links or books on Google as I do not have all the links to lead you to them.

JAMES GODDARD 

  • Published the first attempt at a bibliography of the fiction of J. G. Ballard. It was called  J. G. Ballard: a Bibliography 
  • Edited and published the SF fanzine Cypher (early 1970s) attracting contributions from many well-known writers including Brian Aldiss, Kingsley Amis, J. G. Ballard and James Blish. Cypher was the first fanzine to receive an element of Arts Council funding, via Southern Arts. 
  • A short interview with Ballard is published on the Ballard page of British Library Website
  • Published some poems—in an obscure publication, titles forgotten
  • Published a short story in the magazine of the Leeds University Science Fiction Society—title forgotten
  • Short Fiction A Dish of Devils in  Science Fantasy July – August 1964
  • Contributed three of the major themed articles to The Visual Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction  edited by Brian Ash (Pan Books, 1977 in paperback, Triune Books, 1978 in hardcover) . The articles were titled – Cities & Cultures, Sex & Taboos, Cataclysms & Dooms.
  • Co-edited with Interzone editor David Pringle, the J. G. Ballard festschrift  G. Ballard: the First Twenty Years (Bran’s Head Books)
  • Contributed articles and author interviews to the magazine Science Fiction Monthly and was also instrumental in acquiring several works of fiction for that magazine. Here is one link 
  • Read and advised on science fiction for Fontana Paperbacks
  • With others set up Kerosina Publications, published limited edition books by prominent science fiction writers including Brian Aldiss, John Brunner, Philip K. Dick, Gene Wolfe and Lucius Shepard
  • Acted as British secretary to the UK chapter of World SF for several years during the same period and also edited the World SF Newsletter.
  • Worked as a bookseller specializing in science fiction for some years
  • Worked as a freelance book editor for a number of publishers
  • Set up and managed the website of author Brian Aldiss
  • Wrote a ‘remembrance’ of author Keith Roberts which was published in the UK, USA, Japan and several other countries
  • Set up and managed the website of author Ian R. MacLeod
  • Established the small publisher Leaky Boot Press and, with Seb Doubinsky, Weirdo Magnet which publishes what Seb calls “New Edge” literature, that could be defined as provocative, mind-bending and outside genre.
  • Photographs of Spain included in the book Invierno – A Cantata of Spain in Winter photographs by John Lewis, Patricia Lewis & James Goddard
  • Subject of an ‘appreciation’ (for photography) by Marcia Marquez Rambourg in the French language online journal La Revue des Resources
  • Published stories and photographs in Le Zaparogue edited by Seb Doubinsky
  • Published poems and photographs in online journal The Arabesques Review
  • Set up online photography portfolio
  • Published a story in Silence is White (Weirdo Magnet), an anthology edited by Chris Kelso
  • Compiled a book of his own short stories, Dolls, as yet unpublished
  • Published a book of collaborative poems, Duets (Leaky Boot Press), with New Delhi based poet Tikuli
  • Collaborated with Canadian singer/lyricist John Lyle in this beautiful song. You can see some of James’s photographs’s here.
  • You can find James Goddard’s contribution of actual Ballard documents from his extensive collection, a total of 56 pages of Ballard’s handwritten text, interview corrections, lists and more from JGB’s intense and experimental late 1960s and 1970s in Rick McGrath’s The J.G.Ballard Book.
  • Cover Art – The Roads (2005) ,The Dead Orchards (2006)
  • There are some more of his essays and reviews that were published but I am unable to track the links.

He is an avid collector of science fiction first editions by a select group of authors. He is also a master of truism 😀 ( that is something no one else knows I am sure.. hahaha) I am tempted to disclose more but perhaps I can leave it for some other time. He is such a fun person to be with. If you live in those part you may sometimes find him hanging around The Butcher’s Dog Pub enjoying his beer.

I write this with deep affection and respect. I am not reading it again to edit or improve. Ours is friendship I cherish and hope it flourishes in the coming years. I also hope we see some of his recent individual work published and read.

I always tell him that the World of British Science Fiction needs to recognize and honour him for all the brilliant contribution. I hope that day comes soon.

We are already thinking of Duets 2 and many other things. Meanwhile do read him and you can thank me later.  Support his independent publishing project Leaky Boot Press. Buy the excellent books they have published. The link to the website is provided above and you can also find them all on amazon.

You can order Duet, Collection of Chaos and Wayfaring from any online book vendor.

For those in Australia Book Depository is a better option. They have free delivery too.

 

 

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‘Collection Of Chaos’ Review – Kalpanaa Misra


Last few months have been really a whirlpool of let-downs and the loss of so many precious things, people, left me disillusioned and dejected but I got a pleasant surprise the other day when @Kalpanapster tweeted a link to the review of my poetry collection. It is always a joy when readers express their views about something you have written. It helps to look at the work from a different perspective and improve upon it. Poetry books aren’t so much in demand and for a student writer like me every feedback is a step forward to more writing and learning. Good to know the book is still in circulation.

Thanks kalpanaa for appreciating my poems. Writers supporting writers is a very good thing in my opinion. While you read the review on Kalpanaa’s blog, do click on other pages and read them too. Didn’t you pledge to read diverse subjects? She is a traveler, writer, healer, reviewer, language teacher and most of all a wonderful person. Go explore her creative world.

Read what Kalpanaa has to say about ‘Collection Of Chaos’ .

“Skilful language with a controlled use of dramatic images makes the heartrending subjects she writes about bearable, as they touch you and caress you but are rarely violently demanding of your attention.I don’t enjoy language that’s too adjective laden, believing always that ‘less is more’ and Tikuli’s poems are sparse, delicate yet full-bodied. Sorry if I sound as though I’m writing about a wine. In my defence, wine and poetry have a lot in common. You think they’re going to make you comfortably numb and they end up seeping into the most emotional and well hidden corners of your being, extracting that which you would rather keep hidden, even from yourself.”

You can read the full review Here 

Show some love by reading the book. Buy it from any of the on-line retailers including Amazon, Flipkart, Book depository and more. Tell me what you think. You must.

Want to know what other (potentially) satisfied readers said about the collection? Click here. 

Thank you for all the support and encouragement.

Five Poems in Levure littéraire


 

(You can watch the other videos so creatively produced by Roxanne Brousseau Felio Here  The credits for this shared video go exclusively to her. Thank you Roxanne)

 

Levure littéraire 10 is released (November 2014) and five of my poems are featured in it along with nine other exceptionally talented and well-known Indian poets including senior poets like Kedarnath singh, Vishwanath Pratap Tiwari etc. Among the 220 international artists/poets there are some with whome I have interacted at some point of time or learned from them, they are  Tabish Khair, Robert Lee Brewer, Randy Cauthan, Sonnet Mondal, and Michelle Bitting.

You can read my poems here – TIKULI 

It is a feeling of pride and joy to be known as a levuarian. I would like to thank Kalpna Singh-Chitnis (poet, filmmaker and actor) for her support and encouragement as one of the editors. For reading, appreciating and publishing my work in the webmagazine.

Levure Litteraire is a multidisciplinary, multilingual Journal of education and information published from France, which promotes work by various artists and writers. You can know more about the journal by clicking the link. The journal is directed by writer/translator Rodica Draghincescu.

Do visit the website to know more about art, music, poetry and much more.

Do read the other awesome poets here – Summary  I am thoroughly enjoying their work.

 

Once again I thank everyone for making this Thanksgiving so special for me. Onward we go. I also want to thank James Goddard  for patiently helping me with the edits and for always urging me to explore new dimentions of writing. You can read his wonderful “short pieces 🙂 and see some magnificent monochrome photographs by clicking on the link or visit and follow Leaky Boot Press  for some amazing books of poetry and fiction.  My poetry book is part of this collection. It is available with all online bookseller.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers and friends. Have a blessed day. 

 

Collection of Chaos – Tikuli


A heartwarming review with some excellent translations of my poems in Italian by writer, editor Alessandro Canzian, who is doing great work in the promotion of poetry in Italian and other languages in Pordenone, Italy, a northeastern city where one of the most important national literary events, Pordenonelegge, takes place each year.

You can read more about his International poetry press , the Samuele Editore website & BookStore and Letters To The Wind by clicking on these links.

 
Thank you so much Alessandro, James, Rachel, Kris and all the others who have encouraged me by becoming a part of my poetic evolution

.
Here is an excerpt from the review:

Collection of Chaos by Tikuli (Leaky Boot Press, 2014, foreword by Kris Saknussemm, cover by Rachel Slade), edited by my english friend James Goddard, is a primitive book of flesh and blood, passion and pain. Tikuli had the courage to do what was right for her. It is this courage, as well as her concern for the rights of women, her experience of a bad marriage, her love for her sons and the difficulties of life in India for a woman in her situation, that informs and humanises the poems in Collection of Chaos. Her themes are universal, her language often emotional and full of understanding. These, however, are not poems of self-pity, but of questioning, of trying to understand. In fact, they are a true reflection of Tikuli herself. Collection of Chaos is a book to read and reread, without fear of being overwhelmed by real life.”

View original review from the link below the cover pic. 

 

You can Buy the book from :

Amazon 

Book Depository 

Flipkart 

 

More links:

Samuel Editore 

Leaky Boot Press  (Facebook) Leaky Boot Press Webisite 

Rachel Slade Art 

kris Saknussemm 

Alessandro Canzian

tikuli

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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.

Collection Of Chaos – My Poetry Book And First Mini Review


Collection of Chaos

My short collection of poetry Collection Of Chaos is out from a new and power packed Leaky Boot Press, England. Editor James Goddard ( himself an excellent writer, mentor, editor) has done a fabulous job with it. Without him this would have remained just another dream.  Acclaimed author and multimedia artist Kris Saknussemm has written a heartwarming foreword for the book.

The cover art  is a painting by talented artist Rachel Slade  .

Big thanks to all who encouraged and helped me break my mental barriers.

The book is now available to buy at amazon.com , amazon.in , Bookadda, uRead , Flipkart and from other online book sellers too.

While I await my author’s copies here is an initial response of a wonderful fellow poet and published authorWilliam. B. Burkholder –

“On Tiku’s “Collection of Chaos”…
I am still in the process of digesting this tasty morsel of poetic beauty.
However, the first thing that comes to mind is as follows, and for some reason, I feel that my mere words shall not do justice to the exquisite beauty with which these lines are written…

Powerful, miraculous, extreme in its undertaking to convey the heart and mind of a universal writer, who not only speaks to some, but to all.

In a far distant land, where kismet thoughts reside, and poetic verse is unleashed to quell and calm the troubled and broken hearted, the view afforded to the reader by this single poet, captures elements of the human condition and the heart. I am enthralled to have the privilege to read these works, and I am blessed to have Tikuli as a friend and poetic colleague.

If you have not already, please do yourself a kind favor and purchase this collection today.

My formal review of these works shall come soon, however, my excitement about this work cannot be contained. 

On a 1 to 5 star scale… “Collection of Chaos” rates a fabulous 6!

W. B. Burkholder”

Thank you William. Your words mean a lot.

Leaky Boot Press FB page

You And Me – Solitary Amid Silent Ruins


I am tired of building sand castles, tired of so tastefully infusing each grain with love and passion only to be swept away by tide or the strong breeze blowing across the oceans that lie between us. Nothing remains, not even ruins. Nothing but handfuls of sand slipping through my fingers into the void left by crashing waves. I love the stories written in stones and bricks, ancient, crumbling structures that once were home to lovers and kings, temples made in honor of goddesses, tombs, castles and once vibrant, thriving city states now nothing but crumbling ruins shrouded in folklore, mystery, and intrigue, blurring that thin line between myth and reality. Each brick, each stone whispering a story. Touch them, run your hand on these broken walls and they will come alive and speak to you of passion, betrayal, envy, compassion, deceit, and death, everything that love is capable of. Sometimes I feel they were built as ruins and all the grandeur was added to them only to fall off with time to reveal once gain the alluring perennial beauty like that of a  woman whose true essence lies underneath the layers and layers that cover her. Her true self emerges only when all the veils drop.

Ruins have that strong naked feminine energy running through them, holding them together in all their beauty despite the ravages of time. Tinged with melancholy there is an unsaid acceptance that these ruins are more real than the perfection we aspire to.

We ventured into this haze, arms locked together, hand in hand strange warmth radiating between us, a light squeeze of hand in the grip of another, a message, assurance of being there in that moment. We traced invisible lines on the crumbling walls, our fingers laced together as one. It was in this moment of togetherness I realized even if this meeting had an end at least it had a beginning.  Time stood still as we talked along the trodden path. The fringes of the day lingered on the arches and columns that stood like trees of life. Supporting whatever still remained of the glorious past. The stones spoke to me and I seemed to know their mute language, and they too seemed to understand what I felt.

Patches of light played hide and seek on the building facades as the sun played mysteriously sought its path among the silhouettes frozen in time. He was a tourist I a traveler  seeking something more than what lay before my eyes but somehow it was enough to just be with him even in our differences.  The unintentional occasional brush against each other sent sparks shooting up my spine like a comet. I wondered what feelings these ruins evoked in him. Between the sunset of past glory and an uncertain dawn he and I stood separated by a dark frightening night.

Today I stand solitary amid the silent ruins. We never really forget someone after we have felt their hands, their fingerprints on ancient walls, after we have engrained their body heat into our very body chemistry and the fragility of it all. Today these ruins are filled with silent murmurs of our hearts. I ran my fingers along the weather-beaten Gothic columns like prayer wheels of monastery and suddenly I felt his presence, as if he had come back to me travelling all the seven thousand five hundred miles, filling all the gaps and cracks in me, filling the emptiness, the void, for I am a ruin myself, wandering among the ruins.

I leaned against the pillars draped in twilight and felt my inner darkness merge with the lengthening shadows of these pillars. I began to walk along the familiar path, now empty and more ruinous that it was meant to be. I reached the arch from where we had looked down upon the eerily silent, dramatic, desolate vast expanses of structures with dark lonesome interiors. My own loneliness and the pain of separation began to rise from some deep dark crevice within. The walls of my heart resembled those that lay beyond the frame the door made. Piles and piles of abandoned stones once part of some structure built brick by brick with some ol’ loving hands now in ruins flung up in jealous rage by winds of change. No wonder these ruins remind me of love, of distances, of  deep sorrow that clings to the senescent walls like jungle vines eclipsing everything that comes in its way.

Strange, how darkness paints everything in its own color.  I climbed the staircase into the open, out of the darkest recesses of my being. These stairs had seen many ups and downs in the lives of those who lived and dreamed. I chased scents of those as the landscape began to dissolve into inky night.  Sometimes a sorrow greater than ours acts like a sedative and tranquilizes the emotional pain, the ruins did just that today and now It was time to leave , the company of inner storm and wind that rushed through the decaying, neglected, lonesome structures of the past.

I know why I love to linger among them. It is because they aren’t neat and safe like buildings of today too superficial and undisturbing. It is only in the broken, obscure, jumble one can find oneself. only here one can shed all that is not part of the real self and look at the naked truth. I picked a handful of sand and watched it slip slowly from between my fingers.  Just like time.

The moment that brought us together as one had ended. Each of us carried with them a part of other. He was gone for I don’t know how long and left me wrapped in a myriad of emotions. I took the bridge which he had crossed with me that day filling my world with laughter, love and an immense feeling of togetherness leaving the shadows of the past behind.

I will wait for you as these ruins wait for travelers who seek the voice of  their soul. I will wait for you to run your fingers along the contours of my body just as we ran them along the walls and columns, plinths and arches. I will wait, even though it is hard to be left behind.  I want to get used to this feeling that you are with me even though you are not by my side or may never be. Waiting isn’t about patience or even hope, it is about keeping the dream alive for sometimes it is the only thing one has. The only thing to live for. A mirage that keeps a lost and lonesome traveler alive with hope in the harsh reality of life. I know that no oasis awaits me with its bountiful gifts .. love is sometimes just a distant dream, togetherness an illusion. Sometimes one knows one’s place –  outside the periphery, just as these ruins in the desert and that is the beauty of it.

I would like to thank James Goddard  for allowing me to use these excellent photographs from his travels to Syria and Spain. The photo credit goes  to him. 

This is the last post of the  series    You and Me .. at least for now ..