Tag Archives: war

On the Line podcast: A conversation about Tarfia Faizullah’s Seam

Last summer, a month before I was due to head to India for my wedding, Catriona Wright, Laboni Islam, and I, gathered in Kate Sutherland’s living room to discuss Tarfia Faizullah’s poetry collection, Seam (2014).

It was mad fun. We talked about a lot of things, like structure, word choice, voice of the speaker(s), and ethics of research that led to this book. I especially talked of the problem of co-option of voices of the survivors of 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War (the biranganas), and how Faizullah’s privilege as an American woman in academia (on a Fulbright scholarship, no less) allowed her to do so without repercussions.

And, we had a peek at Kate’s poetry collection, which is rather kickass.

You can follow Kate Sutherland on Instagram, where she posts her poetry reads.

You can listen to the podcast here.

seam

 

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Some Dirty Laundry with Europa’s Lament

“Dirty Laundry” : Taken on the ghats of Varanasi, India, my photo is in issue # 4 of Black Fox Literary Magazine (page 131).

I came across Europa during my research on rape and trauma. It was incidental. She was a myth. Not the real women of war that I was reading about. One of the many theorists happened to refer to her. Allegedly, this Phoenician princess had been kidnapped by Jupiter, the ruler of Crete, and taken away to be his wife and queen. Ovid had immortalised her rape in his Metamorphoses.

I was curious. She reminded me of Leda. Her rape by Zeus (in the form of a swan) had been similarly immortalised in poetry and art over the past few centuries.

Michelangelo’s “Leda and the Swan” romanticized Leda’s rape.

She reminded me of Raavan. The man who kidnapped Sita, but didn’t rape her. He was condemned anyway, while Sita had to prove her chastity. Twice.

She reminded me of the traumatic events I was researching and how every incident had more than just one side to it.

So in a poem, I attempted to question dominant interpretations of myths, especially by male writers, poets and/or artists.

And, what did Europa have to say? Find out.

My poem, “Europa’s Lament,” is in Black Fox Literary Magazine. Read it here (pages 11 and 12 of Issue 4). Incidentally, my photograph, “Dirty Laundry,” taken on the ghats of Varanasi, India, is also in the same issue (page 131).

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