The Indian whales surface at the National Poetry library, London!
Five South Asian diaspora poets celebrate the UK-India Year of Culture by reading poems showcasing their different experiences. Also, the poet Yogesh Patel, officially launches his collection, Swimming with Whales.
The highlight of the event was that Yogesh Patel launched his own long-awaited and critically acclaimed collection, Swimming with Whales, immediately available internationally from all bookshops and web portals. After reading from her own work, poet Dr Debjani Chatterjee introduced Yogesh Patel as "This is a man who not only writes his own poetry but has made it his mission to promote diaspora poets". Yogesh Patel humbly read a couple of his poems from this new collection with haunting whale music and sounds playing in the background.
This is what the well-known poet Prof. Meena Alexander has to say about Yogesh's collection: 'With marvelous twists and turns of language and breath, Yogesh Patel's book length meditation draws us into the life and death of the young whale lost in the Thames river, a poignant icon for the migrant self. The voice moves through wit and sparks of joy, through bitterness and loss, rising into a fine balance -- the metamorphic life of the speaker pitched to the rhythmic harmonies of poetic language .'Come swim with me/ swim the lithe language ' the poet tells us and we follow him across the dark yet clarified borders of the past, through the difficult present, into the fluid zone of the imagination. Swimming with the Whales is relevant to our lives in a world of nationalisms gone awry, where our common humanity is so often ignored.'
One of the greatest critics of modern English poetry, Michael Schmidt, OBE FRSL, General Editor, PN Review and theManaging and Editorial Director, Carcanet Press Limited also observes: 'Yogesh Patel is Jonah, Ishmael, Queequeg and Moby Dick himself. His whales are enormous symbols swimming all the seas of the world and defining us as they go.' One of the most iconic poets of the Indian diaspora abroad, acclaimed poet Daljit Nagra notes: 'Our endangered world is celebrated by Patel in poems that hop, skip and transform the mundane into a magical adventure. No subject is too distant for Patel's keen eye and leviathan powers.'
For the audience, the evening was even more fun because of the raffle organised by Skylark. 'PN Review is an extraordinary poetry journal no poetry lover should be without,' Yogesh Patel said passionately as a subscriber. 'So, I feel lucky that Michael Schmidt, its editor, agreed to donate a one-year subscription to the winner of this raffle.' He is also inclined to publish the new genre of the review of poetry collections in a poem, Yogesh has introduced at this event.
Daisy Leitch of the British Council Literature Department summed up the event, which was also a part of India-UK year of Culture 2017, neatly. "Congratulations on the wonderful event and launch of your new collection. We were very pleased to be associated with such an interesting and successful evening."
The library has recorded the full event for its archive and one can hear it free at https://soundcloud.com/
Skylark Publications UK and Word Masala Foundation