Out of the Zoom Room

A brief interlude released us from virtual life and our paintings came alive on walls of the Great Hall at the Arts & Letters Club. Here are small paintings (<12”x12”) from my window:

Cocktail Hour

Raven Rose in Repose

Woman in Turquoise Hat

 

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2021 My Year in the Zoom Room

The rear view mirror is covered in winter fog. Through the mist, my blinking eyes and enervated mind has seen some treads left behind last year –

Poetry at Union on February 14, 2021, Valentine’s day, a League of Canadian Poets event, saw me ready and alert to pen an instant poem for a passenger’s loved one

National Poetry Month in April, entitled Resilience

reflected what all of us have lived through for a year. Like a weed in water, flowing with the waves, bending, not breaking. Untold moments… My reading on April 13, 2021

Words with Writers Podcast Poetry Month Canadian Authors: Invitation to be a guest on Episode on Apr 10, 2021 (US and Canada):

Podcast Promo_Instagram_2021_04_v1.jpg; Podbean: https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-wq6yk-100f439  Google Podcasts: Words with Writers Podcast – Episode #12: Sink Into the Magical World of Poetry (google.com)

The 30th anniversary of the Art Bar, the longest-running, poetry only, weekly series in Canada, was held on May 4. As one of the founding members of the Art Bar, I was one of the poets who reminisced and read some of my poems.

facebook.com/…197305503/10157942768511766

Third prize winner, Artists Embassy International Dancing Poetry Contest, San Francisco. I read my poem, As Far as the Eye Can See on zoom, broadcast on their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCJhfGsf298

Reviewed: DC Chambial’s latest book,

Song of Light and Other Poems. He is the editor of Poetcrit, a literary journal published in India for over three decades

Reviewed: History of Contemporary Indian English Poetry, An Appraisal, Authors Press, 2019, authorspressbooks.com (740 and 679 pages). I had to let the visual register first: an immense panoramic and expansive landscape of words; sculptures of poets constructed with vivid poems, facts and views; and portraits drawn with information and accounts and perspectives, tantalizingly packed in the imposing and handsome pair.

 

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My Mother Revisited on December 27, 2021

On her birthday, looking through the mountains of neatly organized papers my mother, Sudha Ghosh, left in my charge, I found a cluster of poems. She wrote:

These poems were written for my pleasure in the summers of 1959 to 1969. I just jotted down the words and the lines on paper as the thoughts came to my mind. I did not think twice, nor did I care to revise the writing afterwards.

Writing … is just like painting a thought on canvas… The meaning behind, of course, has to be grasped by the reader according to his or her own idea of the subject.

When I read this, I was amazed that I have often invited the viewers to tell their stories behind my paintings, no matter how diverse, contrary or fantastical they may be. Could it be I had once read the lines above and buried them in my crowded mind? The following poems by my mother must have an abode in my home page:

To my daughter

by Sudha Ghosh

When I beheld thee in my arms
All my woes did I forget
My daughter, sweet! Oh my little charm
What might didst thou from the heavens get?

To love thee and caress thee has been my pleasure
Thy beauty and grace are they treasure
Oh, sweet and loving daughter mine
In my dark world thou dost shine.

When in trouble or in pain
I looked at thee and not in vain
For that was how I cast away
All my grief of the day.

Ne’er in heaven was a child born
Nor in this dark and dismal world
With such gifts that are never shorn
Of nature’s beauty so well adorned.

My sweet, my pretty and loving one
How thou longed for a companion
And when thy little brother came
Thou hath a mate in all thy game.

When thou learnt to write and read
My heart’s desire was truly fulfilled
Shining both in art and play
Thou filled with joy all my day.

But as I watched thee grow and grow
To a beautiful woman whose thoughts did flow
Away from her mother’s heart’s nigh
A fearful fear came creeping by.

Oh! In this selfish world of ours
We all do love to feel and cling
To the little ones who have other cares
And keep away from their elder’s ring.

But I guess that’s e’er the rule
Of this world and heaven too
That all things from the mountain top
Must flow down to the ocean blue.

Thus I’ve seen in my own life
So vain it is to complain
About my own two little dears
If their love for me is in the wane.

– June 1959

To my son

by Sudha Ghosh

When we were left lonely your sister and I
With father away on his mission afar-
Oh! how we longed to fill that gap
By having you in our lap.

I prayed and dreamt night and day
That a son to me may come and say
‘Oh! mother dear don’t weep and fear
When father is away I’m here’.

Brave and sweet – a treasure born
You are a blessing – my little son
It’s ’cause of you that I find life
Worth the living tho’ full off strife.

When in trouble or in pain
I look for you to lessen my strain
Oh sweet and dear little son of mine
With you away I really pine.

But hopes always for a future day
Cheer me up and I pray
That my little son may one day grow
A great big man the world will know.

The Pilot light
(After you left)

By Suparna Ghosh

the pilot light

is still burning
igniting decades of dormant elements

I was borne by you

my mind inscribed
with words you whispered
flesh imprinted
with waves of your caress
skin engraved
by the ripples of a warm lake

I floated
lulled and rocked by the music
of your joy and pain

you longed for the one life

to fill your alien nights
and lonely days
to protect you
from the ravages of silence

as you would protect me fiercely

from the fires which raged outside
the walls of our hutment
none could cross to burn me
from the dust storms which turned skin
into parchment
and hair into rope strands
from the sheets of rain which tried
to penetrate but could not
your life force

my heart pressed against yours
mine on the right yours on the left
once beat in tandem
pounded as one

you taught me to breathe

today I cannot be the breath
to fuel your roar
be the carriage
of your one-woman caravan
jaunting in fierce rhythm

I cannot wrap you

in the snow mountains
of the Himalayas
roll you in the fall of river Ganges
clad you in the green waters of the Arabian sea
fold you in the red sands of Rajasthan
hide you in the foliage and forests
of rabbits and parrots

and drape you in the sky

I would if I could
inhale you into my belly
just as you conceived me in yours

your pilot light

said my daughter borne by me
of you who bore me
will burn in me
keep me alive

 

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WHAT N3XT?

If Only in Spirit by Shayona Panth       Nurturing the Next Gen by Suparna Ghosh

Some events give that extra pleasure which make them memorable. For my work to be selected in the very first iteration of NEXT, an Ontario wide Art Competition sponsored by the Arts & Letters Club of Toronto, was one such occasion. Of course, to be selected in their third exhibition, N3XT, during very trying times of 2020, was special, considering that it was a national competition. The extra pleasure came from the fact that both I, and my daughter, Shayona Panth, were selected by five independent jurors.

The physical show is on until January 6, 2021 at the Club by appointment only, after which it will be online. The following description is from the Arts&Letters Website:

N3XT is the third installment of a juried art competition that was founded in 2016 to promote emerging visual artists.

N3XT offers benefactors, patrons, and artists an opportunity to participate in a unique experience that unites the visual arts from all across Canada.

Ambassadors have been selected to champion N3XT in different regions of Canada. Their mission is to liaise with local arts communities to promote N3XT and encourage artists to explore new and innovative ways of expressing unity in their art.

We become what we behold
Marshall McLuhan
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Whispers of Ancient Sounds

I disagree with T.S. Eliot – this year, April was not the cruelest month after all. The floods receded from my walls, the days grew longer and their grey edge faded. My lost thoughts in bits of paper were found. And a video presentation by me evoked an expat’s musings from across lands and borders and other incarnations, real or imagined. It was inspired by the event sponsored, yes, in April, by the League of Canadian Poets, and the 2020 National Poetry Month, with the theme of “A World of Poetry”.

The video was presented virtually on Facebook’s ArtBarPoetryReadingSeries page on a Tuesday. The Art Bar is the longest-running, poetry only weekly series in Canada and has a special place in my history: in 1991, I was one of the founding members of the Art Bar in Toronto.

For this reading, I searched through my collection of poems from Sandalwood Thoughts and Occasionally and plucked and wove poems which conjure disparate voices of poetry from a diverse world, where memories are sketches of grief and laughter.

Founder of the Ontario Poetry Society, Bunny Iskov’s words encapsulate the essence of my poems:

Suparna Ghosh writes her poetry with a paint brush, creating wonderful works of art vibrant in colour and in form. Her lines will cling to you, and you will embrace them for a long time.

Writer, anthologist and recipient of the Order of Canada, John Robert Colombo, who was one of the founders of the League of Canadian Poets, stated:

Both her (Suparna’s) paintings and her poems are rich in extraordinarily bright and vivid colours and rhythms, so they illuminate and enrich the traditional landscape of Canadian art and literature.

Please visit suparnaghosh.com/about for further information.

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Poetry in Union: Railway Lines and Valentines

I was one of seven writer-poets to participate in “Poetry in Union: Railway Lines and Valentines” between 12.00 pm and 6.00 pm on February 13th, 2019 in the West Wing of Union Station.

This event is a partnership between the League of Canadian Poets and Union Station, Toronto. It is based on the success of The Poet is In, which takes place in New York City annually. We wrote personal poems on the spot for passengers and visitors who stopped by to say hi. The poems were not masterpieces, but I hope, an honest reflection of our brief  conversations.

Poetry in Union: Railway Lines and Valentines, a public art experience.

At this event, seven of Toronto’s strongest, most diverse and most talented poets will provide personalized poetry on request to reflect participants’ own experiences and stories. This is a unique opportunity to interact directly with an artist to create a romantic valentine’s gift, or to celebrate a friend, experience, or key moment to be celebrated.

This Valentine’s Day–themed interaction is the perfect way to add a touch of art, poetry, and romance to the daily lives of commuters and travelers in Toronto. In addition to original poetry, commuters will have access to free treats and hot chocolate, romantic gifts, spoken word poetry performances and live piano.

Join our live-writing poets Dominique Bernier-Cormier, Ronna Bloom, Michael Fraser, Suparna Ghosh, Jessica Hiemstra, Kate Marshall Flaherty, and Rajinderpal S. Pal. The event will also feature an introduction from Toronto’s Poet Laureate, Anne Michaels, and spoken word performances by  Lara Bozabalian and SPIN El Poeta.

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Another Chapter

A vibrant space has shut its doors. Gallery Hittite was a welcoming place for artists and art lovers, warm, inviting, inclusive, without the arrogance and stuffiness of most galleries. The highlight for me and my daughter Shayona was that both of us were a part of their Christmas show in a unique way. Shayona painted an interpretation in dazzling colours of my black and white sketch below and we exhibited the works together.

SKETCHES (4)2018-12-31 20.15.06 (2)

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Each of us sold some in the gallery, although lovers did not always translate into buyers, and, after three decades, the curtains were drawn.

Sara Claglar and Anna Zinato, thank you for the memories.

 

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Ghazal:Visual and Musical

You may have already seen a two-minute snippet of a video based on my album, Occasional Ghazal.

For a fuller visual and musical experience, do watch (and share) the three short videos I just-published, totaling seven minutes. My affair with this magical classical Indo-Persian form of poetry continues.

 

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Some events 2018

Art Bar

August 21, 2018, 8 pm, Art Bar, longest running poetry series at the Free Times Café

320 College Street (at Spadina), $5 at the door. Join three of the original Art Bar poets:
Allen Sutterfield, Pascal Dennis, Suparna Ghosh

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Heartwood LCP

http://poets.ca/heartwood/

HEARTWOOD
Poems for the Love of Trees

Thursday, September 20, 2018, 6 – 9 pm, at High Park Nature Centre.
Join local poets, including me, and poets across Canada in celebrating the launch of a League of Canadian Poets anthology.

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Gallery Hittite, 107 Scollard St. in Yorkville, 416.924.4450
August Group Show, August 3rd to August 18th, 2018, open Wed to Sat, 12 to 6 pm

My pen and ink drawings with daughter Shayona’s painting of Cats

Timi cats Me Bl Wh.7

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Arts and Letters Club Summer Show ending August 31, 2018

Ascending Landscape.JPG

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Valentine show in January and February, 2018 – oh, already happened. But a recent memory.

Tree Vigil.jpg   With Eyes Wide Open
Tree Vigil                                                With Eyes Wide Open

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A Few Responses to Occasional Couplet…

Some comments on Video, Occasional Ghazal – Couplet:

John Robert Colombo, author, anthologist, Order of Canada

The video comes as a complete surprise.

I find it faultless. I also find it deeply moving and full of juxtapositions that seem unpredictable and yet inevitable. The words take on extra meanings.

And you look beautiful…

George Vanderburgh, publisher of my book, Occasionally:

JRC sent me the link to this couplet. I have already watched it, and it is haunting.

Robyn Knapp:

Ruth sent this video on to me. You really are a remarkable woman of many talents. I enjoyed listening to your recitation of the couplet and then seeing your movements creating the atmosphere that underlay the singing. To me it was very moving.

Marie Adams:

Thank you for sending the lovely video to me.  It is very moving.  Your recitation, the singing and beautiful scenes were so well choreographed. You are a beautiful and talented woman!

Ruth Colombo, poet:

An exquisitely beautiful video – so many layers of sensibility and so many appeals to the emotions.

Barbara Wright, author, editor:

It is very beautiful, in many ways and I have shared it with my friends on Facebook.

Rosemary Aubert, author, painter:

Wow. This is remarkable. Thanks for sharing. By the way, you really look beautiful!

Anne Tait, producer, author:

It’s lovely, Suparna, illustrating so well your memorable couplet – “even the breeze is an intrusion when you and I meet”. Well done!

DC Chambial, editor Poetcrit, poet:

Superb.

Ratna Ray, Singer, Song writer

Oh – wow, uniquely Suparna! One and only Suparna!   Great video.

Anne Forsythe, songwriter, poet

This piece has swept me away on a magical carpet.

… Your opening line is one of the best lines of poetry I have ever read and now, have heard- “Even the breeze….” A classic.

 Yet, the mood of the ghazal has been captured by this video -sultry, evocative, sensual-embellishing your words with image.

 I have to mention the sailboat, of course, a strong image in my own memory bank. This is an entire narrative in one quick clip. Unforgettable art will take the viewer/ listener to their personal story and thus grows a narrative; thus empathy for the creator is enhanced. Something ‘more’ is understood. A threshold has been crossed…

Joseph Berkovits, lawyer extraordinaire:

That was truly magical. Thank you so much for posting this beautiful work

Michelle McCarthy

My most beloved ghazals are laments for what is gone, for what is longed for, and are also an acceptance of reality. They transcend pain and embrace beauty. Suparna’s presence in her narrated couplet draws you in to the experience of loss and transcendence; and anchors the juxtaposition between East and West, traditional and modern.

Evocative visuals of the force of nature and of her own environment; glimpses of sorrow and stoicism in her choreography. Her paintings seem to have been made for this integration. The musical accompaniment is sublime. The vocals sound like a heart on a desert wind.

I once asked Suparna why she didn’t feel the need to return to India. She replied that India resided within her, and she resided in Toronto. She integrates that truth with this beautifully executed multi-media invitation into her soul.

Meena Gupte, singer

Suparna it is really beautiful. Out of this world.  Zindagi ban gayi. 

Pratima Mehta, dancer, social activist

You have quite a few admirers! Count me among them. Really loved the video and the contents

 

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