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Posts Tagged ‘Literature’

We Interrupt This Program for a Poetic Interlude

February 24, 2011 1 comment

As promised, today I am reproducing three of many beautiful poems I discovered on bentlily, a blog by Samantha Reynolds, dedicated to posting a poem a day. She has embarked on this project in an effort to remain more present in her life and find the beauty that lurks in mysterious places.

Always one for shortcuts, I’m hoping to achieve this same result by reading her poetry. Enjoy a moment of savouring language.

The short story

I know people who hate short
stories. I don’t
blame them.
They are arrogant
and gorgeous. They are literary
one night
stands.
All intimacy and no
commitment.
Just as you are falling
in love
they disappear. You knew
all along
there was no future
but you can’t help it,
the wondering.

Those tiny things

It’s nice to be appreciated
for hard work and
our best qualities
like grace
competence
boldness.

But those are only
the bullet points
of my being.

What makes me crumble
with love
is when you adore
the poetry
that is smudged around
the edges of me:

those tiny things
about me
that I didn’t know
existed.

We are not so innocent

In German
the word for nipple
is breast
wart.

It’s no wonder
they grow so many
existentialists.

But we are not so
innocent.

Consider the effect
of telling a child
they have
hit
puberty.

I always imagined
my little body
young and running and free
and suddenly
a wall.
Now, I watch myself
walk.

What if we gathered our young
and whispered instead
with sparkle in our voices:

How exciting,
you are about
to meet
your adult
self.

Samantha Reynolds is Founder and President of Echo Memoirs, a company which captures memories of individuals and companies and turns them into storybooks. These poems are reprinted with her permission.

Secret Daughter – book review

January 4, 2011 3 comments
A chawl is a name for a type of building found...

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I love traveling to India.

I’ve never been there in the flesh, but frequently visit through literature (The Namesake and The White Tiger were other recent trips), and I find its colorful saris, succulent dishes and chaotic streets intriguing and intoxicating.  My family knows when I am reading a book set in India – I offer them chai tea in the afternoon, and experiment with new curry dishes for dinner – my sweet potato and lentil dish the other night was particularly good.

Shilpi Somaya Gowda’s novel, Secret Daughter, shows us two sides of India: primitive villages, where its inhabitants struggle to feed themselves and dream of a better life, and the privileged urban upper class, who throw elaborate weddings and lead more fanciful lives geared towards shopping and entertaining.  The distance between the two India’s is gaping and shocking, the divide almost never bridged.

Gowda begins by detailing the chilling treatment of infant girls and women in these remote villages, where farming is a priority, and boys and men favored.  Our protagonist is Kavita, and readers are quickly seduced by her growing strength and resolve in the face of India’s pro-testosterone culture.

Halfway around the globe in San Francisco lives Somer, the other protagonist and voice in this book.  Through Somer, readers are introduced to the miseries of infertility, as she plummets to the depths of despair due to her inability to conceive.

These women are worlds apart in every way, geographically, educationally and culturally, yet their lives are brought closer together by the child Kavita risked her life to deliver to an orphanage, saving not only her baby daughter, but also Somer’s marriage and, perhaps, life, in the process.

Filled with courage and hope, the importance of family and love, and shedding light on modern Mumbai, this journey to India is a worthy trip; but remember to pack some Kleenex.

Yes, I am actually in a book club

December 17, 2010 4 comments
Book Shelf

In my previous life, bbc (before book club), the term ‘book club’ conjured visions of suburban women sitting around bitching about life.  I steadfastly avoided them like the plague: my life was enough of a cliche, joining a book club would be the icing on my cake.

Besides, I’m conscientious about using any term which includes ‘club’; its exclusivity annoys me.  I’m in, you’re out, it says, if you happen to not be a member.  I’m more of an “everybody’s welcome! the more the merrier!” kind of girl; Maritimers never want to hurt feelings.

However I do love to read, and miss those days spent in English literature classes, trying to make sense out of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Orwell.  It was interesting to share ideas and concepts with others who loved books, examinations notwithstanding.  Keep the class, lose the tests.  That sounded promising.

Add to this utopia the ability to tailor your studying to include mostly books you have a burning desire to read, and assemble a group of people who will not cry “FOUL!” on the odd occasion life was too busy to finish the book, and you have yourself a book club, cupcake.

Despite knowing the concept was a sound one, I continued to resist.  It would take up valuable time and energy, two things I was perennially short of.  I steered wide and clear.

So when my friend Ruthie invited me to hers, I naturally and quickly responded that they weren’t my thing.  Ruthie, knowing me well, persisted, demanding that I elaborate exactly why they weren’t my thing.  When I couldn’t, I found myself staring at an email the next day with the details of the next meeting.

A few weeks later, cursing Ruthie for getting me into this situation, I arrived on the doorstep for my first meeting, armed with a bottle of wine and a carefully annotated and sticky-noted copy of the book.  I didn’t know anyone except Ruthie, and I felt like the new kid in school, which is something I had never experienced in my life.  What if they hate me?

Like any well-designed storyline, where the insecure heroine finds her groove in the end, this club I had so adamantly resisted became my most treasured evening out each month.  It is an incredible group of warm, savvy and adventurous women.  Whoever hosts chooses the book, so sometimes I am forced out of my comfort zone to read books I never would have otherwise, but am always glad I did in the end.  (Well, except for Blindness.  Sorry Ruthie.) I have slowly come to know all the members, and would jet off on a girls weekend with any of them in a heartbeat (hm, idea.)  We drink wine, eat like queens, and bitch about life.

And sometimes, we even talk about the book.

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