“APRIL is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land…”
At The Brown Boat, every poem received through the Submittable was carefully attended and offered utmost hospitality. The rhyme and the meter, the juxtapositions of found and lost poetry, the experimental and the wanted poetry, the nuanced, the niche, the extremist avante-garde, the silence of haiku- the brevity of one fat letter or the boldness of a punctuation or deliberate ideas of denying grammar were all scrutinized measure by measure. I walked through the branches of each sentence like an inchworm, tasted each bud of syllables, each leaf of word, each blossom of imagery, the river within the branches and their absolute familiar unfamiliarity. And it was worth all my time.
Our Call for Submissions was also very clear. We were specific of what we were looking for-
“If you count your hours in lunatic thirteens, then you are the one for us.
If your work howls like Ginsberg’s, then you are the one for us.
If your vowels are illuminated in hell like Rimbaud, then you are the one for us.
If your words plop like Basho’s frog, then you are the one for us.
If you have carved your verse on Sanchez’s tongue, then you are the one for us.
Just like John Baldessari, we don’t believe in making boring art. So send us your neurosis!
Don’t send us the ordinary. Send us the aberration!
When Jennifer Robertson and I were discussing the Brown Boat at Jaipur Literary Festival 2014, I was sure that such a wonderfully illustrated Call for Submissions will attract nothing less but good.
Contrary to Elliot’s statement quoted in the beginning, this April has been kind enough to us by awarding Vijay Seshadri, The Pulitzer in Poetry for his ‘3 Sections’ besides introducing us to the genius of late Tristan Tzara.
I recede here congratulating Vijay for emboldening the spirit of poetry. Leaving you to Tzara’s words to start a meal of 50 pages with:
“There is a literature that does not reach the voracious mass. It is the work of creators, issued from a real necessity in the author, produced for himself. It expresses the knowledge of a supreme egoism, in which laws wither away. Every page must explode, either by profound heavy seriousness, the whirlwind, poetic frenzy, the new, the eternal, the crushing joke, enthusiasm for principles, or by the way in which it is printed. On the one hand a tottering world in flight, betrothed to the glockenspiel of hell, on the other hand: new men. Rough, bouncing, riding on hiccups. Behind them a crippled world and literary quacks with a mania for improvement.”
E J Koh
Gayatri Lakhiani Chawla
Sudha K F