Friday, March 2, 2018

Eternal Snow: A Worldwide Anthology of One Hundred Twenty Five Poetic Intersections with Himalayan Poet Yuyutsu RD Sharma

Eternal Snow: A Worldwide Anthology of  One Hundred Twenty Five Poetic 
Intersections with Himalayan Poet Yuyutsu RD Sharma                                             
Edited by David Austell & Kathleen D Gallagher                                               
ISBN : 81-8250-088-5 2017 Paperback pp 309 plus  24 Photo pages   

Eternal Snow is a testament to the power of words to inspire, encourage, and heal across vastly disparate cultures and distant places. Over one hundred and twenty-five poets from around the world come together in this anthology to explore their interactions, collisions, and intersections with Yuyutsu Sharma, renowned Himalayan poet, journalist, translator, and editor from Kathmandu, Nepal.The book is a clear example of the new world itinerancy of the modern poet, and the global efficacy of poetry, in that Yuyu’s world travels have touched the hearts and minds of thousands of people who have heard his readings around the world and read his words in print and online.
Not all the contributors are professional poets. Eternal Snow also captures the poetic voices of a hairstylist, a photographer, a Yoga teacher, a priest, a nurse, and a social scientist. In these pages, a young poet in Kathmandu sees her late father in Yuyu’s face; a social worker conjures the Goddess of the Children while serving the Bhutanese refugees in California; a New York University professor ponders an Asian challenge: setting her house on fire to become a real poet. The results captured in these poems attest to the literary collisions which occur when global poets meet.
Eternal Snow is a singular, remarkable, and moving work of art.
When you first meet Himalayan poet Yuyutsu RD Sharma, you are taken immediately by his quiet passion and reverence for the art and purpose of poetry, which, when taking the stage, he transforms into a voice that crosses continents and soars like the snow in wind that permeates “the solemn silence of sacred sounds” in his beloved Nepal. Through his intercession, poems become chants of eternality.  He has sought the same in the poets represented in his anthology “Eternal Snow,” a hundred voices who, like him, give reverence to the power of words in translating truth through passion into a universal poetic of sacred sounds.”
–James Ragan, Distinguished American Poet  & Author of Too Long a Solitude & The Hunger Wall among others

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Pascale Petit poem on Annapurnas in Yuyutsu Sharma's Eternal Snow

Just received distinguished British Poet Pascale Petit's poem, "Machapuchere (Fishtail Mountain)" inspired by our trek in the Annapurnas for Eternal Snow Anthology due in March...

Monday, February 13, 2017

Quataquatantankua : A Poem & A Trek With the Buddha Bard By Nabina Das

The Quataquatantankua

"The pigeons strutting freely in your courtyard\
 coo like exhausted porters
climbing the mule paths in the singing gorges. 
Their guttural quataquatantankua --
they seem to be using human language,
a kind of hushed speech that robbers might use."
 -- "Little Paradise Lodge"  Annapurna Poems

Emeralded into the crevices of words
our roads emerge with coffee and brine
to fan out far towards a city a peak, a town --
each an odd-eyed rooster in one-legged patience.
I see one losing its blue
in the smear of newsprint
another being pocketed
by hands that grope --
grope my soft tissues
beneath the skin of gauze
but the ones bunched deep
inside my throat go untouched!
So, I can gurgle: "Quataquatantankua, Quataquatantankua, Quataquatantankua."
Ramro chha, ramro chha, ramro chha? And the reply bubbles
up in the foothill methane:
All is good, nothing's amiss
where gods sleep; we keep awake to sharpen our verbs in the dawn.

A Trek with the Buddha Bard
Reading Annapurna Poems

Yuyutsu RD Sharma’s face is like a mountain terrain, when the earth emerges in the gods’ peaks after a flash flood or when a river has receded after the monsoon’s regal fury. I noticed this as soon as I sat down opposite to him in the surprisingly sparsely populated Barista coffee shop in New Delhi’s fashionable Khan Market shopping area. Poet of the Himalayas, Yuyutsu’s greeting resounded almost true in what he wrote in “In the Mountains”: Fragile my eyeglasses/ fragile and foreign/I take them off; /There’s a speck of a scar in them. //On the mule path /I take them off /to face the green /stretch of mountains /beneath the saddle of Annapurnas.

Well, almost true, because he didn’t wear eyeglasses at our meeting! His dark irises reflected the green he writes about and the twining paths he sees better without his educated eyeglasses. And since we met to chat – we didn’t waste time to get on first-name terms – the discussion rightfully turned quickly to his meditative collection Annapurna Poems, a Nirala Series book published in 2008 and reprinted several times since.

On that sweltering summer evening, leafing through the Annapurna poems brought in a sudden whiff of cool mountain air. Musical and reflective. Indeed, Yuyutsu’s poetic tenor is pretty much that of a bard, his voice that treks higher and higher into the wild beautiful upper Himalaya bringing alive the smile of the Buddha and the semiotics of the region’s everlasting gods and goddesses, the Yeti and other resident animals, the soulful rivers, and the ice-kissed rain. True, Yuyutsu laments the loss of a familiar landscape he witnessed prior to political trouble fanning out across Nepal. But his enthusiasm is very much rooted to the peoples’ grasp of their own surrounding, the Nepal that is home to communities and creeds, whether he sees them in the backdrop of the Maoist insurgency or that of a defunct monarchy.

On the level of language, this poetry takes us straight into the heart of the mountain country, Nepal’s unique ethos and the nature that entertains both snowy seasons and hidden eternal gardens. The mule paths, the ‘leech-greasy’ forests, the spells under which the mountain people live and tell fantastic tales, the ‘magnificent daggers of snow’, all build up a world where nature is more than just a phenomenon. It is a companion to the poet and his perception. The cognitive faculty of the poet and the reader works in tandem in recognizing the many layers of meanings unfolded in each aspect of “Annapurna Poems”, exactly like the different layers of the snow. The permafrost is made of the century-old legends and tales on which have grown new fables and events.

Yuyutsu is a poet of expressions as he traverses a train of simplicity. He does not twist language in any show of wizardry. He believes in words and sentences, as they are known and heard in the Himalayan reality, to take him along the mountain journey to rediscover the known nomenclature and trusted actions. All he does is re-paint the scenes of Annapurna in unique details and from surprising angles. Like little Tibetan thangkas. In these scenes, he tells us about those place names that ring out the jeweled eco-system of a mountain town or village as familiar as our recurrent dreams. With him, we walk the salt tracks, the gorge trails and visit Birethanti. Ghorepani, Gandrung, Tadapani, Lake Fewa, and many such tongue-trilling spots. For him, Hillside roosters/Punctual, announcing the dawn //are known elements. If sometimes they might appear delightfully alien to our practiced eyes: Possessing floral /Faces of riverside birds

They still draw us into the world of Annapurna like ice drops in the cracks (Yuyutsu himself says in the foreword of the book that his poems exist in each crack of this magnanimous mountain world).

Even in this pristine surrounding something troubles the poet who watches the spray of the white surf: on greasy crotches /of huge mossy rocks //started singing … coughing out /the cacophony of cruel cities

In Yuyutsu’s poetry one might like to find the Blake-ian dilemma of having to dividing the human soul between Nature and its sufferance, mingle her own fate and existences with that of gods, the Yeti and shamans, and the myriad mysterious of Shangri-La, where imageries take fantastic shapes and have their own sensual and sensuous existence (River: Morning)
… each time I come /to her deafening banks //to gleam my dreams /over the plump flanks of her warm body … and a wrinkle appears /across the shriveled leaf of my life.

However, he is not merely a romantic poet. What comes across is his deep admiration for the Annapurna region as a system tied to the rest of the world – those parts of the world where he is a traveler of a different kind, giving talks and workshops, reading his published work and attending literary events. In the context of these ‘worldly’ acts where he attributes his own poetry having the “otherworldly” and “archival” quality, he is very much a realist. The book’s first section, “Little Paradise Lodge”, is an account of Nepal and Annapurna’s past and present. Interestingly, ‘lodge’ appears to be a pun on ‘lost’ as if he was talking about a ‘little paradise lost’. To me the poems in this section are very much a ‘lost and found’ affair.

On the other hand, quite prominently, his Eliotesque sarcasm for the modern city life and the external influences on his much loved landscape of rains and snows adorn the images he paints in “Rains”: … This summer they held me up /In the deserts of their skyscrapers. … my face in the dark /feeling tips of snow sacred fishtails of Machapuchchare.

In “Mules” too, their ringing bells are but ‘beating notes of a slavery modernism brings’. While mapping the ‘bloodthirsty mule paths around the glacial of Annapurna’, Yuyutsu watches: cartons of Iceberg, mineral water bottles, /solar heaters, Chinese tiles, tin cans, carom boards //sacks of rice /and iodized salt from the plains of Nepal Terai. … human and mule lives meet

Rain, river, snow, singing gorges and brooks rule the landscape of Annapurna Poems. The romance is palpable between the poet and his subject, almost Sufi in character, ‘madness’ being one of its virtues. Yuyutsu is in complete enchantment of his terrain as a lover is and this love’s longing is realized in a woman’s physical quest (A Lonely Brook): a lonely woman /waits for a stranger to come //and burst
the ice frozen between her thighs //to make a flame
of her cold sleep…

Conversation with the river (River) is a personal history, a sequel to the secret rendezvous with the beloved and is artistically lusty. Between your decisions
/and my flickering lamps /the river mad /you, you poet, you bastard, go away!

With Yuyutsu we travel to Ghandrung where a ‘young girl of the scarlet shawl waits/for the colorful procession/of mules carrying cartons of Tuberg beer to pass’ or to Ghorepani, all the while delightfully apprehensive or even curious if a Yeti was following ‘your trail in the desolate mountains’.

Among these portraits resembling eternity’s passing of time in the mountain world, we empathize with the pain in the poets voice (Fish): Wives wait the final winter /of my rot, opening up /the greed /of their slithering fish /I return to a poem /I postponed decades ago /to touch the mating serpents /slithering on the tip of illicit door /called death.

The book’s second section “Glacier” takes this sentiment to a crescendo as one feels literally like climbing heights with titles like Kala Patthar, Gauri Shankar, Summit and The Buddhist Flag Flutters and looking below with a rooster’s eye view at the fields, the forests and the (once) playful courtyards with their brass bells. The overture continues with the third part “Sister Everest”, a pithy and less descriptive section. In that, the latter is highly evocative. If the first sections read like an ethereal ‘inward’ trek through the upper Himalayan terrain, this section readies us for the fourth one – “The Annapurna Man” – rooted more in the poet’s ‘outward’ experiences. A very brief section, it spews more pain than pleasure. To some extent, I came out of the book through this section with a sense of abrupt termination, as if Yuyutsu’s pain had to invite a quick clinical surgery. For this, the poetry in this section seems disjointed from the book’s original spirit.

Especially, I felt “Silence” is too much of rumination, too personal and reads more like purgation than poetry. The best piece in this section is “Space Cake, Amsterdam”, a witty poem combining introspection and observation by ‘this man from Kathmandu’ (one may well imagine, the rest of our chat that evening centered around that one fantastic experience Yuyutsu recounted to me). The air-conditioned air at that Barista throbbed at my mirth on reading and re-reading the line – ‘whatever happens, you can always make a comeback’!

NABINA DAS is a poet and fiction writer currently based in Hyderabad. She teaches Creative Writing and has won several writing awards and grants at home and abroad while being published widely. Her poetry has been translated into Assamese, Bengali, Hindi and Croatian

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Updated List of Poets

Initially planned to showcase 100 poems
originating from Yuyu’s Works, Readings and Workshops, 
Eternal Snow has now turned into 
An Anthology of 100 Poets' Interactions with the Himalayan Poet 
as we have received more than 150 poems already from 93 poets.

More submissions are pouring in with special last-minute requests.
Thanks to all the contributing to this first of its kind anthology focused on the influence of a traveling Himalayan poet. We intend to finalize and start working towards publication of the book within couple of weeks.Here is the updated list of poets who have contributed to the anthology

John Clarke
Tracie Morell
Lori Ann Kusterbeck
Ravi Shankar
Eileen O’Connor
Gorka Lasa
Chuck Joy
Lorraine Conlin
Paul Nash & Denise La Neve
Andrew Taylor
Eskimo Pie
Christi Shannon Kline
Kathleen D Gallagher
David Austell
Maria Heath
Renay Sanders
Shawn Aveningo
Juan Carlos Abril
Tim Kahl
Dom Kafley
Kathy Smith
Kate Lamberg
Robert Scotto
Anne Fritz
Nancy Aidé Gonzalez
Michael Graves
Marcus Bales
Peter V. Dugan
Aixia de Villanova
Leah Taylor
Bari Falese
Agnes Marton
Patricia Carragon
Doreen D. Spungin
Mindy Kronenberg
David Axlerod
Tony Barnstone
Russ Green
Alessandra Francesca
Eddie Woods
Kim Nuzzo
Charles Peter Watson
Christopher Wheeling
Erica Mapp
Bill Wolak
Civa Bhusal
Deann Meltzer
Bidur Prasad Chaulagain
Vicki Iorio
Barbara Novack
Mary Ryan Garcia
T.M. Göttl
Steve Brightman
Bishwa  Sigdel
Arun Budhathoki
Jack Tar
Nicole Barriere
Kymberly Avinasha Brown
Marion Palm
Hélène Cardona
André Baum
Devin Wayne Davis
Alex Symington
Rajesh Sidhartha
Marisa Moks-Unger
Mary E. Weems
Lorraine  Bouchard
Don Carroll
Anthony Murphy
Timothy Gager
Jack Locke
Anuj Ghimire
Elaine Karas-Shadle
Sabrina Ali
Thomas Chabola
Gaurav Bhattarai
Su Polo
Revigya Joshi
Su Polo
Roger McClain
Ken Ruan
Jen Pezzo
Marcus Calvert
Thomas Jenney
Judy Chabola
Carol Hebald

 - The Editors

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Mountain Man’s Gifts: Kathleen D Gallagher on her Experiences of Working on Yuyutsu Sharma's "Eternal Snow"

I first became acquainted with the Yuyutsu Sharma at a poetry reading at the Literary Café in Cleveland where I was a local feature poet.  Yuyutsu was a lovely surprise international guest poet who was invited to read with us along the frozen Lake Erie Shore.  He read before me, and I was in awe and honored and humbled to follow his lead.  I was impressed not only by his poetry, but his professional demeanor and his obvious following by other poets around the world.   

A year passed.  

Once again, on his way back from his travels out West by train, Yuyutsu appeared in Cleveland, Ohio at Mac’s Backs where he was giving many of his remarkable writing workshops and readings that he performs all over the world from New York to California to the Florida Keys and everywhere in between and beyond.  But that night, I walked down into the basement of that coffeehouse with a belly full of grief over having recently lost a lost a loved one, and I had no words.  

Instead, I  concentrated on my goal at hand, and reveled in my luck to be able to host his visit by securing a reading for him at The University of Akron/Wayne College where I teach composition and literature. Later we travelled together in a huge ice and snowstorm to the International Poet’s Hall in Erie, Pa. where he would be the feature poet.  

On the way there, we took a stop in my hometown, Ashtabula, Ohio and it was there that poet Yuyutsu Sharma, charmed by my small lake town and its former glory of dock industry and drawbridge history, turned to me after looking at the barren and frozen waters and encouraged me to revisit my hometown experience.

 It was magical.  

I imagined that I might once again visit my lake home town of beauty and sadness, and from his teachings and poems and encouraging words, I found my own.   Reading Yuyutsu’s poem, “The Lake Fewa, an Unfinished Poem,” I first became acquainted with his power of poetic influence in the following lines:  “…from the fury of the goddess who created the lake to avenge the unkind inhabitants of the valley. ..”

These lines moved me greatly.  But it wasn’t until we stood together looking at the massive frozen Lake Erie that I imagined that I might once again visit my home town of beauty and sadness.  Thus, I was reborn creatively through the power of words, as in the passage from “The Lake Poem,“ where he writes, “….Move towards the root of the lake/serpentine twist of the birth canal…”

In my poem, “Lake Erie: Daughter of Sorrows, “ I broke my grieving silence and wrote:  “Turning my sorrows into joy, softening my heart, you transform the spirit of all my sister Lakes.”

For this is Yuyutsu Sharma’s gift to all of us: The rebirth of creative power.
His writings and teachings transform writers, allowing them to reach into their own writing dreams and visions.  Indeed, Yuyutsu’s work and example has far reaching effects: From fellow editor and academic David Austell in “Garuda” who writes “…the regal man-bird rises as high as Om/then falls again, searching for every evil thing to destroy…”, to “Himalaya” by writer Sharon Aveningo who writes: “….You are my mule/my companion, my friend/my communal bastard brother/ born of stallion and ass….,” to Chuck Joy’s poem “Mountain Man and Cold Fish,” where “….Mountain man came stumping down the valley wearing an animal skin,” Yuyutsu’s poetic influence is great.

Just like so many of the poems  that I and fellow editor David Austell,  and assistant  editors Jen Pezzo  and Tracie Morell have had the privilege to read, his influence on so many others’ creative writing experiences proves to be life transforming.

Evocations from his own poetic stories and musings and life teachings, come to us, teach us, inspire us, and reach us from his own home poetics,  creative gifts from the “forehead of the sky” where he emerges to be with us on his poetry visits and workshops.

I speak not only for myself, but for the editorial board of the anthology, in saying that we look forward to the continuing adventure as we traverse together on our continued poetic journey .


Friday, September 12, 2014

A Poet’s Influence: Poetry, The Himalayas, and New York City by Jen Pezzo

I met Yuyu on social network first. We have poetry in common and luckily, I discovered,  over the years,  both of us have rambled in the familiar Ohio poetry circles. However, I had the opportunity to meet him in person through Kathleen Gallagher. She suggested my venue, Akron Night Murmurs, as a great place to hold one of his poetry workshops. I was extremely delighted and flattered to promote and host such a poet!

“A Himalayan Poet in Akron Workshop” sounded magical, and it truly was. He opened the evening with his favorite Mantras, shared his experiences as a shaman in childhood, spoke about the Himalayas and New York, shared his poetry, and talked about his travels around the world. He was fun, encouraging, and inspiring to everyone who participated in the workshop.  In turn, we shared poetry, music, and vaudeville skits with him after the workshop. It was a great night of creative energy.

When I first met Yuyu, I had never been to New York. I shared with him that I was going to visit there for the first time ever on a redeye tour with some friends soon. His face lit up and that was that.  He could not believe I’d never been there.  When I finally got there, my friends and I were bonafide tourists for an entire day. We crammed as many sights as we could into our short visit. Yuyu made sure to see me before our bus took us back to Akron. He met me an hour before departure and teased me for hanging out in Times Square like a tourist.  I ran through the city streets behind him, barely able to keep up with his brisk walk as we looked for a place to have tea. We reveled at the fact we had just missed each other earlier that day at the Magnolia Bakery, one of his favorite places to go.  In fact earlier that day he was shooting in West Village for a video on his poem, “You Are a New Yorker” with his NYU Tisch student. We didn’t have much time before my bus left, but he made sure I was supplied with snacks for the trip home, a warm hug, and an invitation to one day see how real New Yorkers live.

Yuyu’s life is poetic. He has inspired me in ways beyond the written page, in how he treats those around him, and in his approach to travel and life. I especially admire the way he makes fellow poets feel like family and how he wants everyone to feel the same enthusiasm for all the things he finds fulfillment and joy in: Poetry, The Himalayas, and New York being the BIG three.  So it makes me happy to see how this particular poet’s influence resonates throughout the world and know it will continue to do so, long into the future.

Working as an editorial assistant on the staff of Yuyutsu Sharma’s Eternal Snow: An Anthology of Poems originating from Yuyu’s interactions, Readings and Workshops has been an honor and a pleasure. Being part of a team of inspired and creative people is where I feel most “at home”.

Most importantly, I am extremely thankful to learn from, work with and get to know Yuyu, Kathleen, Tracie Morell, and David Austell during this process and to be able to read some incredible work by poets from around the world.  Being part of this team has enriched my own artistic endeavor and has turned out to be a happy side effect from being around such incredible talent and passion for poetry.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

An Instant Cerebral Connection: Working on Yuyu's Eternal Snow --By Tracie Morell

Evolution is about process.  Writing, editing, and then writing some more is the evolution of voice.  Poetry is the utterance of voice, and the Muse is real.  Poets who write with great conviction to the Muse are indeed possessed by poetics coloring everything they witness in lines.  

To have the opportunity to shape the multitudinous voice of an anthology with work from around the world is a rare opportunity for any writer/editor.  Yuyutsu is one of those exceptional breeds who are not only skilled artistically, but he is also a Muse, and he brings people together across borders and oceans, across cultural barriers as well.  

I met him only twice, briefly.  There was an instant cerebral connection, and passion was expressed freely, which in my frigid town, full of refugees, off Misery Bay, is an unusual experience.  We seemed to realize despite our different races, we are the same breed.  There are so few people open to the instantaneous passion of poetry, but Yuyu evokes it.  And he knows it, so he expresses gratitude for that rare gift, which made me want to give him my own gifts of poetry.  

Yuyu has given us the opportunity through the process of creating an anthology of the works of those he has touched with his expressive way.  He certainly is the only Poet I know who can pull off saying “crotch” with an elegance.  It is something so special to have the ability to pull utterance and expression out of people from different cultures, and it is even more amazing that he seems to know what people he meets need to be in contact with each other.  Then he makes it so.  His choice to bring Kathleen Gallaghar, Jen Pezzo, David Austell, and myself together as the Editorial Board was to bring people together who share a fierce passion for beauty and art.  Maybe the four of us mirror his passion in some way, and that’s what he sees in our collaboration.  Whatever the case may be, he has opened the dialogue to engage the passion for Muse, and it is a great hope of the Editorial Staff to do the Muse justice.

Tracie Morell
Poet/ Editor