“Vignettes” by Sunil Sharma

This poem is political and is dedicated to all the workers, male and female. The struggle of these workers is grimmer in a developing, post-colonial, Asian country but things are improving slowly.

Vignettes

A middle-aged female worker
sits on her haunches under the
shade of a frail tree, middle of an
open ground, near
some shops, rudely constructed,
asbestos sheets for roofs, where
lean men toil
for a bleak livelihood.

Craggy and broad visage,
hair matted, eyes blank. She
lights up, inhales deeply,

coughs her lungs out,
yet, persists in smoking,
on this Sunday morning,
hot and humid.

After some time,
she gets up unwillingly,
wipes forehead,
walks slowly to a
low-paid job
in a vertical house
unsmiling,
in dream-city Mumbai.

Her recess over.

On old cell phone,
she sings softly:
Coming, madam!
Coming!

Two teenage girls.

Under a wide
red umbrella,
in the courtyard
of a food franchise;

they casually
light up and
banter simultaneously,
their boyfriends, equally
loud and bawdy.

The young group unwinds and
enjoys the cool breeze, being
served by lean-faced servers,
otherwise invisible.

The lucky consumers
of pizzas, coffees
and ice-creams

wear brands and
indifference on sleeves,

light years away
from the grim
struggles of
another India,
working at the cash
counters or outside
in a sun that shines
extra harshly over
them.

Inspiration for This Poem:

These twin scenes were witnessed in real-time and provided an impetus to a recording mind. They are a kind of documentation of the contemporary Indian life in metros and extended suburbs.

While smoking is a fatal release for the gaunt woman, it is fashionable for the young women, kind of assertion of identity in a repressive culture. A subtle but injurious-to-health rebellion.

This poem also shows the freedom of the women in public places and an openness, otherwise denied in smaller towns, for women.

 

Author Bio:

IMG20181222110526Sunil Sharma is Mumbai-based senior academic, critic, literary editor and author with 19 published books: Six collections of poetry, two of short fiction, one novel, a critical study of the novel, eight joint anthologies on prose, poetry and criticism, and one joint poetry collection. He is a recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award—2012. His poems were published in the prestigious UN project: Happiness: The Delight-Tree: An Anthology of Contemporary International Poetry, in the year 2015.

Sunil edits the English section of the monthly bilingual journal, Setu, published from Pittsburgh, USA:

 

Find Sunil’s Writing at:

Sunil’s Blog

 

© The Literary Librarian 2019

 

“Delicate Strength” by Amarine Rose Ravenwood

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Delicate Strength

In her very breath, she’s womanly:
Soft and calm; refined and elegant.
But beneath the soft, a strength of steel;
Intelligent, kind, clever, and relevant.

Indeed, her words may pierce or caress;
A sharp-edged tongue with a velvet underside;
It’s not a deceit, but a complexity;
A duality of form, undefined.

And while she nurtures, she is fierce;
Ready to defend; equally to solace.
While she is loved, held most dear,
She’s not liked by all, and hardly flawless.

The depth of her life contradicted by beauty;
The surface denying what lies underneath;
The softness of voice, that sounds so gentle
Deceiving in every vocal upbreathe.

For under the soft exterior shell,
lies the heart of a lioness, strong and resilient.
As what is all soft cannot fully exist,
The harshness of life creates a balance that’s brilliant.

When you go to judge by a beautiful face,
A beauty that’s elegant; decorated with grace,
Remember that softness belies a great strength,
A gentle exterior with an iron base.

 

Background for this Poem:

I was thinking about the conundrum of duality in women, and how we are often judged as weak, inferior, or lacking in strength because we are beautiful and appear to be frail in comparison to men. When I think of some of the women who have influenced my life, I cannot see any true frailty, only gentleness and a strength of steel hidden beneath their delicate beauty. My own grandmother was one such woman. She was kind and gentle, soft-spoken, elegant, and a lovely person. And inside her was a strength you might never suspect would be encased in such a delicate form. She met every opposition in her life with her chin held up and her shoulders squared. She did not flinch from life’s hardness or its cruelties, but accepted them as a part of life, and wherever she could, she turned them into something good. She made opportunities to show kindness to others. And there are many other people in the world who function in the same way, kindness over a firm foundation of strong will and spirit. This is woman’s dual nature.

 

Author Bio:

Amarine Rose Ravenwood writes poetry and fantasy fiction for children, preteens, and teens. She has been writing since her early teens. As well as being an author and poet and the owner, manager, editor, and publisher of The Literary Librarian journal, Amarine is also a freelance fiction editor for Night Sky Book Services and also provides services as a poetry editor for Poetry Passions Editing Services. Amarine’s poetry joins the hosted poems of The Literary Librarian’s Pantheon of Poesy as just another poem, and Amarine abides by the same guidelines The Literary Librarian has set up for all poetry submissions to this site, as just one more member of a larger writing community.

 

Find More By Amarine at:

“A Mother’s Treasure,” “The Free Spirit,” and “A Grandmother’s Promise” in Voice of Eve, Issue 2, pages 50-56:

“The Fairy Queen” poem in the Cadence anthology by Clarendon House Publications

Amarine’s Facebook Author Page

Amarine Ravenwood’s Magical Realm (WordPress blog)

Amarine’s Twitter

 

© The Literary Librarian 2019

The Pantheon of Poesy Guidelines

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The Pantheon of Poesy is a new area of the Literary Librarian dedicated to showcasing and endorsing poems from published poets in a further effort to promote and support authors.

If you are a published poet who has a poem you would like to see hosted on the Literary Librarian, please use the contact form found in the menu to send an email requesting to submit your poem to the Literary Librarian. The poem does not have to be published to be showcased here, but the author must have at least one previous publication somewhere. Indie authors are always welcome. Upon the poem’s addition to the Pantheon of Poesy, the author will receive a link to the hosted poem to share anywhere, be it on an author page, social media, website, or elsewhere. That link belongs to the author as much as it does to the Literary Librarian.

A new poem may be submitted for hosting on the Literary Librarian’s Pantheon of Poesy by any published author once per month, and the poem will stay on the Literary Librarian indefinitely, unless the author requests that the poem be removed from the site for whatever reason. This ensures that the link to the poem will not expire, and the author needn’t worry about it no longer working where they have shared it. The poem will have a permanent home here, and although it is hosted here, it still belongs to the author in its entirety – the author retains the copyright to their own work.

Please email us a verifiable link to a previously published work (indie/self-published is fine), and your poem, along with an image that relates in some way to the poem (or a photo of yourself), a short bio to be included, your dedication if you want to include one, and a paragraph about what inspired the poem, if you want to include that too. You may also include links to your website, Facebook author page, Twitter, book product pages, and anywhere else that readers can follow you or read more of your work. The photo should be a decent-sized (400 x 400 pixels minimum) public domain image or one that you own because you purchased it, or because you took the photo, yourself. In case you’re not sure where to look for public domain images, one great place to find them is at www.pixabay.com. Another is at www.pexels.com.

Once your poem is published to the Pantheon of Poesy, we will send you a link to your poem that you can share or host anywhere you like, just as you do with your author interviews. This is just one more way that the Literary Librarian supports and promotes authors. Use the Contact form in the menu or send your poems to literary.librarian.authors@gmail.com to email us.

We at the Literary Librarian look forward to seeing what will be submitted and to having another avenue by which we can offer author support! As this is a publishing service, we must now assert our standards. Therefore, let it be stated that reprints and simultaneous submissions are welcome.

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The Literary Librarian performs this service in a voluntary capacity, free of charge, and therefore retains the right to refuse service to anyone or to decline to publish any poem. Poetry copyright information is located Here.

Interview: An Interview with Wesley Butler

Book Name and Description: Passage to Portrainia

The world of Portrainia is like a fairy tale where things you never thought imaginable exist – a common ground for lucid dreamers. It is seen through an unconscious body, mind and soul, where three young teens discover their dreaming lives are just as real as their waking lives.

This book is available for Kindle and in print on Amazon: Click Here.

 

What inspired you to write Passage to Portrainia? How has this published work evolved throughout your stages of writing?

While the concept of dreams has always fascinated me, Passage to Portrainia has gone through about five or six drafts before it reached its current, published form. I remember the first time I began to write it (around 2008), it was a fan-fiction based on a well-known (within the gaming community) video game that had been cancelled, and eventually transformed into a different story. I decided to turn that around.

I had written a full story from start to finish set in the world of Portrainia, although, at the time, it was not a literal dream world; rather, I had taken the “high fantasy” route and created a world set in an entirely different place other than Earth. The format for the story was blog post-like and episodic: I would post a new “chapter” every few days until the story ended. For the most part, I got positive feedback from it.

About a month later, I planned a sequel to this “draft,” (how I consider it now), which would be more interactive in nature. People who signed up to this gaming forum could “role play” their own characters, but the project never took off. At that point, proud that I had published an entire story (even in a non-formal way), I was becoming more interested in dreaming – lucid dreaming especially. I would borrow dream dictionaries and books from my local library and analyze certain elements I’d experience in dreams. It’s amazing to think about how accurate “meanings” are. Not necessarily paranormally, but, for example, if you’re experiencing undue stress in your life, and you dream of murky water and sky, that “illustrates” your feelings in real life.

This was the real inspiration for Passage to Portrainia. I always loved the name of this world and wanted to incorporate it into one of my writing projects. About four years ago, I decided to marry my interest in dreaming with this fantasy world, and create a place meant only for those who had the willpower to lucid dream. A literal dreamworld is not a concept explored widely in fantasy and science fiction, so I wanted to present how something like it could potentially play out.


What got you into writing young adult fantasy?

It’s a genre to which I’ve been attracted ever since I could remember. In my spare moments growing up, I would spend hours daydreaming of make-believe places, even drawing full-color maps of different landmarks, locations, dungeons, etc., that a protagonist in a story would travel to.

When I’d play video games such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask (the latter of which I believe to be the most compelling story I’ve ever seen in a video game), which I’ve owned for nearly 18 and 17 years, respectively, I’d be enthralled with the thought, attention to detail, and creativity that went into the development of storylines, and how different locations and fictional creatures interacted with each other.

As a genre, fantasy can have various categories (young adult, general audience, and more mature themes), and children’s literature is still my most favorite to this day. It allows for important morals to be incorporated and taught to its audience, life skills that can be used in the real world. Throughout my childhood, I would think to myself, “Wow, I hope I can create a rich world and story just by using my imagination.” That’s what really got me into writing young adult fantasy.


How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing ever since I could hold a pencil. I can’t begin to tell you how many unfinished drafts I have stored in my home, from the ages of 5 and 6 to the present. Professionally, I’ve been writing for many years, on a freelance basis and in my current role. I have experience writing journalistically, mainly feature stories with human interest.


What is your favorite book, as a reader, and why? Has any author(s) influenced and inspired your work?

Although I equally admire all seven Harry Potter books, one of the most significant turning points occurs in The Goblet of Fire, the fourth in the series. The atmosphere is foreboding, almost as though you expect something dastardly to happen at any moment. Although the main event (literally, the Triwizard Tournament) is meant to showcase the power of wizards and witches, and have them compete against one another, its outcome was manipulated to resurrect one of the darkest, sociopathic villains ever created. Even rereading the book for the third and fourth time, I still get a sense of panic that a formidable force is about to terrorize the world, as if I was reading it for the first time.

J.K. Rowling, Ransom Riggs, Charles Dickens, and Roald Dahl have influenced my creativity, because their works have challenged me to build multi-dimensional worlds you can lift off the page. A lot of mental labor goes into creating a fantasy plot, because you must establish a living, breathing society of its own, just like we do in the real world.


How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

By exposure to new ideas and life experiences. I find when I write, I’ll first spend time “researching” my credibility to the topic, even if it’s fiction. When I read a new fantasy book, watch a movie, or play a new video game, I think about how the writer/creator drew on their own hardships or positive “flashbulb” moments in their lives (which happens frequently in literature) to tell the story.

Writing and publishing a novel has granted me the practical experience needed to hone my skills.


What piece of your own work are you most proud of?

I’m proud of my debut novel, Passage to Portrainia – particularly the fantasy world I’ve built with my imagination. I’ve always admired the raw talent authors possess and I feel accomplished that I’ve done something similar. As fantasy authors, I believe it’s our duty to create safe havens to which people can escape. Reality can be harsh at times, so it’s important to be able to lose ourselves in a world separate from our own. It’s a good way to recharge.


For those who haven’t read any of your stories, what story/book of yours do you think best represents your work and why?

Passage to Portrainia best represents my work. I lean towards “high fantasy” worlds connected to the real world in some way, but not accessed by normal means. When it comes to the places themselves, I try to introduce fantasy elements seldom or never seen. I build them up to the best of my ability, including places to travel to and quests to complete.


What are you doing next?

I have a couple of writing projects in progress. At one point, Passage to Portrainia’s plot was going to be merged (although I didn’t know it yet; I hadn’t separated the stories) with another idea I have, and that would have served as its own story. For now, I’m working on a plot that incorporates this idea as the main theme.


Bio:

Residing in Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada, Wesley Butler works in academic administration & communications for higher education. Passage to Portrainia, his debut novel, was released December 2018 under Amazon Kindle Self-Publishing. A former freelance writer, Wesley has served as associate editor of FAME Canada, a music and cultural news website, and as a columnist/reviewer for Independent Music Promotions.

 


Links:

 

© The Literary Librarian 2019