In her fourth virtual dinner party of the series, Susanna Crossman talks to poets Elodie Rose Barnes, Nancy Campbell, Priya Sarukkai Chabria and Alina Stefanescu about poets as ‘wonder-workers’, poems as rafts and echoes, writing the life of Djuna Barnes, revisiting Tagore’s Gitanjali and much more.
THE DINNER PARTY RELOADED
31st March 2021
The Dinner Party Reloaded is a gathering of words, art, culture and food, bringing together writers, visual artists, translators, dancers, musicians, actors and thinkers from around world. For each party we invite 3-4 guests to meet virtually, sharing their work and thoughts while eating, drinking, and cooking because as Virginia Woolf wrote, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
We invite each guest to contribute posts and photographs during the conversation. Much of each gathering is also spontaneous, as our host, Susanna, asks questions, and discussions evolve between the guests, because as Montaigne wrote, “The most fruitful and natural exercise for our minds is, in my opinion, conversation.” Words and ideas bounce around!
So, even during pandemic days, we have time to drink champagne (or green tea), relish the space and connections arts and words give us, and dance on the table.
Contributor Names & Initials:
SC – Susanna Crossman, writer (TDPR host)
AS – Alina Stefanescu, poet & writer
PSC – Priya Sarukkai Chabria, poet & editor,
EB – Elodie Rose Barnes, poet & editor
NC – Nancy Campbell, poet, writer & editor
SC: Welcome to my house. Let me open the door. Take off your coat. It is warm, a spring day stolen from the summer. Outside in the garden, flowers are blooming: dusky pink tulips, yellow daffodils, dandelions like fallen stars. Would you like some hibiscus tea? Coffee? A glass of chilled white wine? Please sit at the kitchen table while I prepare our meal. It is spring, and I have gathered wild garlic from a walk on the banks of the estuary near my house, from where the river curves. We walked on her edge. Le bord. On the curve, like a C round the water. I picked the garlic, a bunch of green, from the mulch of lost days. Decomposing. Composing on the river’s edge.
I am going to make an omelette with the wild garlic and eggs. We will have baguette, salted butter, red wine. Today, as I cook, I am thinking about words, language, poetry, and Lucille Clifton who wrote that, “Poems come out of wonder, not out of knowing.” And following Clifton’s wisdom, I am wondering if poets are wonder-workers, “who performs wonders or surprising things” a thau-maturgist, how the Greeks described magicians, capable of working marvels and miracles. The transformation of the prosaic into the divine, as Arundhati Roy wrote, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing.”
AS: These eggs are beautiful. It is raining here, and flash flood warnings have begun. I am watching the sky, wondering what it plans for the day. Black coffee from the French press – and my notebook, buying time from kids this morning. Wonder: yes, the root. And how it connects to childhood. So many poems lately arise from the way my kids inhabit the changing house.
Notebook this morning: It begins with a house. Perhaps the house of our childhood, the place where first memories alight. For home is the land of daydreams and origins – it is the mind’s first inhabitation, often the source of habits which estrange us from others, or which create a sense of family identity. I’ve been reading Bachelard and feeling conquered by it.
Also thinking about how Bachelard says: “The calendars of our lives can only be established in its imagery….” And how pandemic time has abolished our old calendars and rhythms with its virtual schooling….
EB: Good afternoon everyone, from Northumberland! It’s a beautiful day here, sun shining and birds singing. I’m recovering from Covid still, munching away on mini chocolate eggs a few days before Easter, and have also been thinking a lot about time, Alina, as I settle back into something akin to ‘regular’ time after a couple of weeks of time blurring…
SC: Hello to all of you and welcome.
PSC: Good evening, all. Night has fallen. I live in a part of Pune called Erandawane which translates as ‘Grove of Cork Trees’. This was turned into mango orchards some 70 years ago. We still have old mango trees surrounding us. Their leaves are like blades shining in sunlight, covered with flower sap. I made a light supper of upma. Here it is:
Semolina is dry roasted. In a separate pan heat oil, splutter mustard seeds, add curry leaves, minced green chillies. Toss in onions and stir until transparent, Kashmiri red chillie that are not hot and curry leaves. Pour water, when it boils add salt and semolina. Cook. Garnish with fresh coriander, grated coconut and sev which is store bought strings of chickpea batter fried to a crisp. Serve with green chutney or eat it with ketchup. Quick to make.
SC: Thanks Priya. What a beautiful looking dish.
EB: That looks delicious!
PSC: Thanks. The chocolate eggs look delicious, Elodie. Have an extra one for me, please!
EB: I will, of course! My appetite is just coming back, so I’m making up for lost time.
AS: I’m so glad you’re better, Elodie. I can’t imagine what COVID would be like – did you lose your taste and sense of smell? How did it most alter your experience of living in your body?
EB: It was very strange – both my partner and I had it, and we had wildly different symptoms although neither of us had it particularly badly, fortunately! My main symptom, apart from aches and joint pain, was vertigo. Like the world was constantly moving, ever so slightly, and it left me with a constant headache and nausea. I didn’t lose either sense of taste or smell, but I still couldn’t eat anything! Very odd, like being on a ship I guess.
SC: It is wonderful that you’re feeling better and brilliant that you could join us today. Nancy Campbell will be here any minute now, joining us from UK Norfolk. It is wonderful that all four of you have been able to join us over four time zones for TDPR. Merci.
NC: Hello Susanna, thank you for solving the technical hiccup. Elodie, so sorry to hear you have been sick, good wishes for your recovery, from a former Northumbrian.
EB: Thank you, Nancy! I’m definitely on the mend. Ah, you’re from Northumberland too! Excellent – whereabouts?
NC: I grew up on the moors near Otterburn. These photos look delicious, happy to be introduced to upma, Priya. Susanna, this wild garlic is such a vibrant colour. Here in Norfolk, I am living in a shed, with a single gas ring to cook on. No shops nearby. Food is basic, it is an ascetic life for the time being (which I like when immersed in work) but there are bees here, and butter from the farm up the road. So toast and honey and tea … my desk is verflowing so I’m now using the etching press which you see here as a table too.
EB: Otterburn is beautiful!
SC: We can begin eating and talking about poetry and you all being ‘wonder workers’. I write this in reference to Lucille Clifton and her words I mentioned earlier, “Poems come out of wonder, not out of knowing.” In his C16th treaty on painting Leonardo da Vinci wrote, “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” I know when I write short stories, novels or essays each requires a different way of thinking, a method, a timing. Could you share your wonder-worker process, the temporality, how do your poems emerge, in a whole piece, line by line? Do you see them first, feel them?
PSC: Interesting that you mention ‘wonder workers’. In Sanskrit, Hindi and other North Indian languages, the word for poet is ‘kavi’ which translates very close to wonder worker: seer, wise person, omniscient. If only…
AS: I love that, Priya. For me, poems often emerge as a sense of overflow, a trespass between the boundary of known and unknown, or unknowable. There’s an intersection between fascination and transgression that feels very Judeo-Christian somehow, but it’s also what drives me, or what I want to contest. Constantly this line between the sacred and the profane, or how it shapes us. Jean Bourdeillette said: “Every chalice is a dwelling-place.” Every hallowed object is space which beckons one to write the poem inside it. It never comes fully-formed…always as a series of fascinations and edges.
SC: Oh yes Mary Oliver said poetry is an empty basket, “you put your life into it and make something out of that.”
EB: I love that, Alina; the idea of a poem as sitting delicately on the edge between known and unknown. For me, I’m never quite sure whether a poem is going to be a poem to start with. Increasingly my work is what I would call hybrid – it often straddles a line between what people would probably term ‘poetry’ and ‘flash fiction’ (if you want to put labels on it). But always it starts with an image, almost like a film still, I suppose, and flows from there into whatever it decides to be.
PSC: I respond wholeheartedly to this. The poetry of sludge and soul, as it were. I think my speculative fiction begins with an image, a shadow who turns to show her face to me as I circle her and circle her. Poetry begins with a phrase. A floating word or two that must be chased and immersed. Increasingly, especially in these dark time, I remember Walt Whitman’s line, “To me every hour of light and dark is a miracle.”
NC: Priya, how interesting that wonder is embedded in the Sanskrit and Hindi etymology – and thinking of miracles, too, I feel that as well as being wonder-workers, poets might be surprised by their own work. At least, I often write to discover meaning in mystery, to understand the world better. And sometimes a poem can appear unexpectedly, as if from nowhere.
AS: Yes! And there’s something sacred about that – thinking of ancient libation practices (which I’ve been essaying around lately) and how communion makes the whole chalice a dwelling place for the sacred. Take, eat, this is my body, etc.
SC: I wanted to ask you about your essays Alina. I am fascinated by the pieces in your essay collection Ribald, how you unpack words (Ribald, Detailing…); could you talk about your interest in language in this collection, in your work?
AS: Ribald (Bull City Press, 2020) is hybrid, a mix of prose poems, essayettes, tiny cnfs which gather around words, or how words don’t always make sense to me. My associations and connotations rarely match those of my peers. They never did: I remember being young and finding how much I didn’t “get” in what my friends meant when they used a word. I also write, briefly, the skull fracture and head trauma and amnesia that also shapes my relationship to language, the instability of the narrator.
SC: I wondered if it was also rooted in your being bi-lingual, Goethe wrote that “Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.” I often have this feeling of stepping outside of both English and French, and use translation, of my own work, to crack open language as it were, to look inside. It is an inner/outer process. As though being outside gives you the key to go inside.
AS: You’re so right. I live in limbo as an untranslated self, trying to bring those inner-outer layers of language, or the way in which I am known to others, to match the way I think I know myself. I love how you describe it as “stepping outside” Susanna. When I was young, I mourned always feeling outside, but now I find it gives me a safe space to write from – a space that isn’t tempted by nationalisms or intractable religiosities or identities constructed from the destruction of Others. So a curse is a blessing turned on its head, and truth is the sidereal acrobat.
NC: “Essayette” – that’s brilliant. Did you coin it?
AS: No, it’s from Ross Gay. Who is truly truly brilliant.
PSC: Someone I must read, then. For me poetry is intuited. Then burnished again and again. But the ‘breath‘ one uses for different thought-emotions makes one choose a certain language, a certain form. It also depends on who the speaking subject of the poem is: if one is a parrot in a poem one would choose a certain kind of language to if one were a tree or a sightless person…
SC: Excellent that idea of ‘breath’ Priya. The word ‘inspiration’ is linked to breath, and there are many different places and ways in which we can breath.
PSC: The idea of ‘prana’ or sacred life breath of a poem that needs to be sought…
AS: Sighing with the beauty of this, Priya. The resonance.
SC: Yes, it does seem like a curse/blessing. Alina, you’re currently working on DOR (Wandering Aengus Press, 2021), which looks at limbos between lands and as you wrote to me Alexandra Smith looks at how displacement enables the writer to question the exile’s ability to reclaim the object of loss and the construction of ‘imaginary homelands’. Please tell us more about DOR.
AS: It’s a poetry collection about my mother’s death – and the loss of a mother tongue, a motherland, the house in which my parents (who defected from Ceausescu’s dictatorship) raised me, a house inflected with Romania traditions, carried entirely in that language – and the attempt to grieve the space it left behind. A huge gaping hole of commercialism, Southern football, and the usual xenophobias one discovers when trying to keep a minority language alive in the mouth of your children. I don’t want to die by assimilation. So it’s about that – and the Romanian word for longing.
And here is the life sitting next to me right now, the sad house plants I can’t nurture well…. but there’s a sort of decadence that is thematic to pandemic life and writing, and my dear plant friend knows it. Going to water him now.
SC: Writing about and through grief is so rich and complex. I wrote a lot after my sister died, and it was like putting my head underwater, beautiful and dangerous, having to come up for air. I made a film about it 360° of Morning ( a video poem) which connected me with Alina. Both she and Nancy have seen this film:
AS: Will you link it Susanna? It’s so important to me still.
PSC: When one loses one’s mother, there’s the shock of also losing an identity: that of being a daughter.
AS: You are right Priya. You are so right. I can’t explain how much of me is now foreign – this motherless matriarch I have become, and my only living aunt, my mom’s sister, in Romania. My cousins there. My new nephew whom I haven’t met.
PSC: Yes, Alina, and the loss of the mother tongue, the nicknames, the scents of ‘home’ though that’s as much an inner landscape as a geographical location.
SC: I truly believe that writing allow us a form of time-travel to reconnect with our ancestors, other times, writers. Priya, this makes me think of your new book Sing of Life: Revisioning Tagore’s Gitanjali (Westland, 2021) inspired by Tagore, the mystical intense modernist poet and his prize-winning work Gitanjali/Song Offerings. You describe your work as “stammers towards the sacred.” Please tell us more about writing this book.
PSC: Revisioning Tagore’s Gitanjali came as a total surprise. My husband and I were in the Himalayas, in a cafe, and picked up the Gitanjali off the shelf there. As I read, I was amazed, and deeply grateful and intensely alive; from each of his prose poems words lifted off, phrases ‘stammers towards the sacred’ which I wrote down. After I’d done all the 103 poems in this manner, I reread his work and found, yes, each prose-poem had another floating miracle of words that could still be excavated, and put down and honoured. It’s a tribute. An experiment. Out next month, and I wonder sometimes what people might say because Tagore is, for most Gurudev, a Godlike Teacher whose words shouldn’t be messed with. But every moving poem is a raft for someone else’s poem or that’s how it must be.
SC: It’s a fascinating idea Priya, excavating words but also interpreting them as a singer does with a song. A poem as a raft, an echo, a location for another poem. Yes.
EB: That’s beautiful, Priya; the idea of every poem as a raft for someone else’s words. There’s something very humbling, for me, about the idea that every reader will look at poetry in a different way, and find different things in it, and take their own words and emotions from it. That’s how poetry must evolve, I think.
NC: Your new book sounds a deeply respectful as well as radical response. Listening to other’s voices, how to interpret and carry forward to the future an inheritance from writers of past generations… I look forward to your book, Priya. I’m reading Doireann Ni Ghriofa’s A Ghost in the Throat, a response to a poet Eibhlin Dubh Ni Chonaill, from the seventeenth century, whose work was not written down for many years after her death. It also delves into these ideas.
SC: As we’re thinking about being inhabited, connecting with ghosts, and moving in time, I am thinking also about the elements, landscape and your exquisite work Nancy, from Disko Bay to The Library of Ice, seems often to be rooted or should I say anchored, in water, frozen or moving. Bachelard says that when we see by means of water, we see in depth, our sight reflects and goes beyond, as though this element “To disappear into deep water or to disappear toward a far horizon, to become part of depth of infinity, such is the destiny of man that finds its image in the destiny of water.” Can you talk about the role of landscape and water in your work, particularly your new collection Navigations (Happenstance Press), inspired by a year as Canal Laureate travelling the 2,000 miles of the UK’s waterways on foot, bicycle and by kayak, writing as you went.
PSC: Yes, please, Nancy, do. Anchored in water!
NC: Priya and Susanna, the image of the poem as both a raft and an echo is surely something I will carry away from this conversation. My work for the past decade has swirled around the subject of water, but its nature always eludes me – whether in commissions to respond to climate change in the polar regions, or the rivers and canals of the UK. I have been labelled a “nature” writer, but I find landscape and its waters most interesting where they encounter human culture. So I examined the polar environment through the tools hunters use to survive, the ingenious forms of transport developed to travel in harsh and dangerous terrain. The food that was and was not available to me, the seesaw of seasonal feast and famine. Less treacherous, the waterways in Europe, but during my laureateship I wrote of working the water as a swimmer and a paddler. This perspective – speaking of the human capacity for violence to the natural world and other humans – and how the poet or shaman can calm the waters or whip up a storm. I could not escape/ignore how significant issues of water conservation can be, for example when the balance of human and nature is displaced by dams, or people do not have clean water to drink.
SC: Yes, love the place where landscape meets humans, where we brush up, co-exist, bristle against each other. I loved the poem you wrote about the muder of the MP Jo Cox. I am going to put it here:
It echoed very strongly with a recording Priya sent me of a poem she wrote (I will give you the link so you can listen). I discovered your two poems on the same evening and it was as though they needed to talk to each other. Priya’s poem is from her first poetry collection, Dialogue and other Poems (Indian Academy of Literature) and was written after my country witnessed a major sectarian upheaval post Independence:
NC: Listening now! Priya it is wonderful to hear your voice.
PSC: Thanks. That’s a beautiful poem, Nancy. ‘A whisper passed over the lake’. And the ending, the deepening as one dives into one’s self to ‘feel’ the poem, with the words washing over our consciousness. I’ve just got your Fifty Words for Snow. What a book!
NC: I find the snowflakes, glacial ice and ocean imagery in this “Invocation” very moving, and yes how you show this element becoming one with the human body too: “let differences mingle in my blood”. I will order the book, curious to see the form the words take on the page too.
SC: As we are reaching the end of our meal, I would like to offer some French apple tart for dessert. I am always impressed by the concentric circles in French fruit tart, like Fibonacci theory applied to patisserie.
PSC: Your photographs haunt me, Susanna. The manner in which they capture the moment yet simultaneously recedes it into memory, to a recognisable place, a place of solace and beauty.
SC: Thanks so much Priya. Taking photos is definitely a way for me to step outside of my day, metamorphosize it, jump out of the temporality and the prosaic and as you wrote Nancy, to re-discover it. Like Merz. Unearth the dull, stick my eye inside, as the Dadaists did to find the scrap of beauty in the gutter.
PSC: That’s beautiful! I wonder if I may share an image with you? Which might resonate with all of us. The painting: late 17th-early 18th century, Basholi style. The woman is an abhisarika nayaka, one of the eight ‘types’ of women in love classified in Sanskrit poetics. She walks through the night and the rain to meet her lover. I see it as an image of the creative spirit, walking through her fears and uncertainties, questing her art. Which is why I wanted to share it with you wonderful writers.
SC: This is stunning Priya. We have gathered five abhisarika nayakas for this TDPR.
And, goodness, the time has flown by. We’re going to have to finish soon. As we speak about Dadaism, Elodie, I am longing to know more about your work on Djuna Barnes, and your book about Barnes and her life with lover Thelma Wood. Can you tell us more about Barnes, her work and poetry – amazing she wrote a book entitled The Book of Repulsive Women. Am linking to your article about you walking the streets of Paris trying to uncover fragments of Djuna Barnes’ relationship with Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven.
EB: That project has morphed out of all recognition! It was originally a novel – Barnes has fascinated me since I read Nightwood, and I wanted to write a kind of biographical novel about her years in Paris and her life with Thelma Wood (also an incredible artist in her own right). But the novel wasn’t working – not for me, nor for Djuna herself. She was such a character, and the conventional form of a novel wasn’t doing her any justice at all. So I left it for a while, and went back to it in a very different form, looking at those same Paris years through the photographs that exist of her at that time, through her relationships with her friends and fellow writers, through the city itself. It’s very much composed of poetic fragments and observations, and it’s very personal to me too – it’s very much my experience of coming to know her life and my interpretation of the images.
AS: I love Barnes so much and am dying to read this book.
SC: Me too, and I was fascinated to learn that Barnes wrote about boxing and wrote an article about “What do women want at a fight?” I have written and made work about women and violence, visual poetry, and it feels such unexplored taboo territory.
EB: Thank you, both! Yes, she wrote on all kinds of fascinating subjects when she was a journalist in New York (and afterwards too, of course). She definitely wasn’t afraid of breaking taboos!
PSC: I’d love to read it. The interpretation of the images, poetic fragments!
EB: Thank you, Priya! It’s strange writing it. I can’t see things through her eyes, it has to be through mine, but then I start to wonder how different we really are!
SC: Yes it is odd when we research people how we connect with them. Stretching our hands out and touching their existence.
EB: I love that way of thinking of it, Susanna.
SC: Dear friends I’m very sad that we are going to have to finish our gathering, and I feel like we’ve only had drinks and apéritif and could continue talking all night. The time has flown by. Now, I want to know more about Nancy’s new poems for a collaboration with Ensemble Vonk – the Songbook of Rare Feelings, to hear more from Priya about her new collection, Alina’s work on ghosts and home and Elodie’s series in Lucy Writers entitled Life in Languages. We are all rafts for more poems, more thoughts.
I feel genuinely sad to stop the flow of conversation but have three hungry daughters downstairs waiting to be fed like baby birds (albeit huge baby birds as they are 17, 13 and 6). Thanks so very, very much for coming and sharing your words and worlds.
NC: Thanks Susanna for the invitation – and Priya, Alina and Elodie. It has been exhilarating to share ideas with you all. Have a wonderful evening.
SC: It has been exhilarating, almost out of breath from the inspiration.
EB: Thank you Susanna, and it’s been wonderful meeting you all and sharing food and ideas!
PSC: You are a generous host, Susanna. Thank you Alina, Elodie and Nancy, it has been a very special gathering for me. And my thanks to Hannah for most kindly helping me sort tech issues yesterday evening. Again, Susanna, my fond salaams.
AS: Thank you so much for letting me listen, read, learn, and be part of this shared space. It’s a gift to be in the thrall of your writings, and the rain, who agrees. The agreeable rain and the tinnitus of thunder.
SC: Hugs to you all virtually. Keep well and safe.
About our host, Susanna Crossman
Susanna Crossman is an award-winning Anglo-French fiction writer and essayist, published internationally in print and online. She has recent/upcoming work in Paris Review, MAI Journal, Neue Rundschau, (2019) S. Fischer, We’ll Never Have Paris (Repeater Books, 2019), Trauma, (DodoInk, 2020) 3:AM Journal, Berfrois & more. Susanna regularly collaborates and runs international hybrid arts projects. She is co-author of the French roman L’Hôpital Le Dessous des cartes (LEK, 2015) and her debut novel Dark Island (2021) is published by Delcourt (FR). Susanna’s work can be seen via her website http://susanna-crossman.squarespace.com/ or you can follow her via Twitter @crossmansusanna Rep: Craig Literary, NY.
About Nancy Campbell
Nancy Campbell is a Scottish writer, described by the former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy as ‘a deft, dangerous and dazzling poet writing from the furthest reaches of both history and climate change’. In 2020 she received the prestigious Ness Award from the Royal Geographical Society for her literary response to the Arctic environment, including works of non-fiction (The Library of Ice), poetry (Disko Bay, shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection) and artist’s books (How to Say ‘I Love You’ in Greenlandic, winner of the Birgit Skiöld Award). In 2018 Nancy was appointed the UK’s Canal Laureate, a project managed by The Poetry Society and the Canal & River Trust. Many of the poems written during her two-year laureateship were installed along the waterways where they could be seen projected on wharves at night, stencilled on towpaths, or engraved into fish gates; they are collected in the pamphlet Navigations. Nancy’s writing has been commissioned by arts and heritage organisations including the Royal Academy, the British Library, the National Poetry Library, World Book Night and most recently the Dutch chamber orchestra Ensemble VONK, and she contributes regularly to the Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement. See more of Nancy’s work www.nancycampbell.co.uk and follow her on Twitter @nancycampbelle
About Elodie Rose Barnes
Elodie Barnes is a writer of short things. She isn’t a fan of labels, and her writing hovers in the spaces between fiction, poem, prose poem, and creative nonfiction. Despite this, her work appears regularly in online and print journals, and has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. She is Books Editor and Creative Writing Editor for Lucy Writers Platform, and was guest editor of their 2020 Life in Languages series exploring languages and translation. She has a somewhat obsessive interest in women writers of the early twentieth century modernist and surrealist periods, and is currently working on two creative nonfiction projects: a series of fragmentary ‘essayettes’ on the modernist writer Djuna Barnes, and a series of hybrid pieces on grief, nature and place. Find her online at elodierosebarnes.weebly.com and follow her on Twitter @BarnesElodie and Instagram @elodierosebarnes
About Priya Sarukkai Chabria
Priya Sarukkai Chabria is a poet, translator and writer of ten books of poetry, speculative fiction, literary non-fiction and, as editor, two poetry anthologies. Honours include Muse Translation Award 2017 for Andal The Autobiography of a Goddess, Experimental Fiction Award from The Best Asian Speculative Fiction Kitab Anthology, Clone 2018 Best Reads by Feminist Press, Outstanding Contribution to Literature by the Government of India. She has studied the Sanskrit rasa theory of aesthetics and Tamil Sangam (2-4BCE) poetics, and learnt Pali. Anthology publications include Another English: Anglophone Poems from Around the World, A Book of Bhakti Poetry: Eating God, Adelphiana, Asymptote, PEN International, Post Road, Reliquiae, The Gollancz Book of South Asian Science Fiction, The British Journal of Literary Translation, Voyages of Body and Soul: Selected Female Icons of India and Beyond etc. Forthcoming Sing of Life: revisioning Tagore’s Gitanjali (Amazon/ Westland, May2021.) She’s translating the mystic songs of Karaikal Ammaiyar and Manikkavacakar from Classical Tamil. Priya is Founding Editor of the literary journal Poetry at Sangam. See more of her work via her website and follow her on Twitter @PriyaChabria
About Alina Stefanescu
Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her partner and several intense mammals. Recent books include a creative nonfiction chapbook, Ribald (Bull City Press Inch Series, Nov. 2020). Her poetry collection, dor, won the Wandering Aengus Press Prize and is forthcoming in July 2021. Alina’s writing can be found (or is forthcoming) in diverse journals, including Prairie Schooner, North American Review, World Literature Today, Pleiades, FLOCK, Southern Humanities Review, Crab Creek Review, and others. She serves as Poetry Editor for Pidgeonholes, Poetry Editor for Random Sample Review, Poetry Reviewer for Up the Staircase Quarterly, and Co-Director of PEN America’s Birmingham Chapter. More online at www.alinastefanescuwriter.com. Follow Alina on Twitter @aliner