A Poetry Showcase from K.S. Subramanian

Bio:  K.S.Subramanian, India has published two volumes of poetry titled Ragpickers and Treading on Gnarled Sand through the Writers Workshop, Kolkata, India.   His poem “Dreams” won the cash award in Asian Age, a daily published from New Delhi.  

He is a retired Senior Asst. Editor from The Hindu and lives in Chennai.  His poems and short stories have appeared in several web sites, anthologies published at home and abroad.

Aging with Grace?

Ease into the evening of life,
a time honoured idiom;
Grey hairs alone do not uncover
the valley of wisdom. 

As your bones feel the tremors,
you inch away from the whirlpool
of emotions;  Doesn’t the world
change faster than the batting
of an eyelid?

You are a cloud of the Past,
shrinking in memory as time
ticks by;  Soon the cloud is gone!

The new generation, on a tenuous
toehold,  speaks a language
that waltzes over mind;
A bridgewide gap or a mouse trap?

You have reached a stellar stage when
what happens is only a happening;
It may anger or please but is
only a passing of breath, no more.

Growing old is refining the gild of memory.

To live life all over again

Let me not do a U turn 
of my neck to see the past. 

Skill sets that lost their sheen in time, 
high hopes slithering down a slippery slope
and scorned by ingrate times that 
sang an ode to Darwin. 

Warm a pedigreed chair with emaciated stare,
or a rickety one unfit for your pedigree.

My chagrined inner voice said 
“Fruit is not the milestone, karma is”
Me, fellow mortals, were never shy  
of bending our backs, cerebral sparks  
that lighted many, pleased a few. 
But landed as always where destined
with a sickening thud and inner nudge
“this is not what you strove for….”

 Soon days wove into burdened years
when stars shone less in a dark dawn,
my own halo eclipsed in the oblivion.

An old raging song that stirred the chords
of a crowd lost suddenly in the eerie!
Years later had an awkward timbre 
when resung on a changed string!  

I sense the new faces, old hopes 
straining to carve a frame, new light!

I go back to my dusky sky, see where I 
slipped amid the stars which shone once. 

Portrait of my mother

Beneath those solemn eyes quiver
the vague outlines of a dim past.
The early days when she was just
a marriageable burden;
Heart was bland in a milieu of 
unbroken tension, gripping scrutiny.

The early outpouring of natural warmth
brimmed on the day of wedlock;
The pulse trembled, like the unfurling
wings of a bird, for a maiden takeoff;
Soon calmed down, it never came
failed her like a distraught monsoon.

Now caught on a new wave of bond,
love for her offsprings, soothing
the pulse in pleasure, not peace!
But the beat, low-keyed, stayed.

Strapping and restless, they have grown
with a distinct tone of their own;
She has found the chords no more
in her power, salty moments of disgust,
ashy distaste recur. 

 Bonds might crack, wither
 away in Time’s journey;
 But I find her eyes, somber and ready.

A discarded cloth

A discarded cloth winks from a corner
awaiting the final shove to its fate. 
In a few years it lost its sheen, hubris 
whittled away by wear and tear. 

It played host to its owner for a time 
braving the nuances of vagabond weather - 
rain, soaking heat or embalming chill.
It knew Time had nothing to reclaim. 

Its owner, ever short of care or foresight,
was too besotted with his daily chores –
building a life out of the visible avenues.
No thought to spare for a cloth’s plight.

Its clever design or artful artwork is 
a contrivance  for only a passing notice.
A shred of beauty awaits its own twilight.
The owner’s day too awaits the hearse. 

Its prankish wink was lost on the owner.
After all age is only a fading number. 

The footfall

I hear the slow footfall of New Year
whispering sweet tidings.  

“Place hope on a rising swell,
Keep out the ides of the dark. 
I come on the back of every 
Rolling cycle, see through the 
Layered tissues of pain and joy –
Let the clouded days leave no trace,
Verdurous moments refresh a memory
of the smell of spring and ever 
out to undress a new haven.
The morrows always have a mystery,
Like the cusp of a coconut.

Stellar orbits feel no fatigue.
I have seen them too, often wondered.
If they don’t why would one 
whine about the roll of the cycle?”

The footfall is close to the ear now.
Tip-toed by a joyous ring tone.

Poetry inspired by Nick Cave from hjarta

From hjarta (on Instagram) name means ‘heart in Icelandic’

Into Your Arms

Home and space
A moment for my head to clear at last
We’re moving together
Hearts beating fast
Sounds of love spinning in sweet circles of sensuality.

You say we are serendipity personified
Spinning skywards,
I know I’m falling but too scared to say
I want to play you a song to tell you how I feel 
You say.

But my head is playing a song already
Into my arms, Oh Lord
Into my arms, Oh Lord
Into my arms, Oh Lord
Into my arms.
I’m heading down that glorious downwards spiral, 
And yet upwards, out of control
An out of body experience that hasn’t been present for oh so long, 
My head keeps playing that same sweet song.

Our clear cool river
We’re drowning in our own space and time
With lightness of touch
On sensitive skin
Collective warmth…our closeness
Together we merge as one

We’re orbiting in our glorious galaxy
Dancing to our own collective symphony
We move to the music
That plays in our heads
Sensual sounds with rhythm and flow
Orbiting virtual worlds below

We lay at peace, 
Our place of sanctuary 
And notes that reverberate again in my head
Into my arms
Oh Lord
Into my arms
Oh Lord – into my arms.


Poetry from Alexander Poster inspired by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis’ album “Carnage”

Apollo One-Six by Alexander Poster

The stain of beetroot on my hands 
As I hammered the patrolman
Negative space
Remains unsanitized.
All astronauts have blue eyes.

The spaceman with the round moon face 
Proclaimed, demanded
One small step for a man
A proud man,
A gilded man,
An armored man,
A man in stack formation,
A man, rabid, foaming bullets inside the atrium,

He brought loaves and fishes and an amplifier 
And promised us dreams in still images only 
Of an unchanging
Topography like Mars.
A shining city on Olympus Mons. 
We prayed and tore our raiment 
At the moonlight of His visage. 
He will rise!
He will launch!
Because I gouged the patrolman 
Because we died for His sins.

But fruit when it sits
In its own juices
Tends to putrefy.
Out, damned spot!
These rancid, ruddy hands
Now reek with iniquity.
But still, they will stain any white flag that,
in weakness,
I may wave
Into the blackness of space.

Alexander Poster is a poet and fan of Nick Cave from Washington D.C. this song from the album “Carnage” strikes a chord with them due the Capital Insurrection even though the song pre-dates the event but feels in a way it predicted in a way.

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Donna Vorreyer

Q1: When did you start writing and who has influenced you the most?

Donna: I can’t remember when I started writing because I was always doing it as a child. Even if I couldn’t read words, I would copy them- I loved the feeling of making letters on paper. I have poems my mother saved from as early as grade one, but I didn’t start working on my writing seriously until I was in my thirties. Early influences would have been the classic poets I had access to in my young life – Frost, Dickinson and Shakespeare, though I wouldn’t say I write like them. Currently, I don’t know who influences me most, but many poets inspire me to be better. I do use nature imagery a lot in my poems, so maybe Mary Oliver could be named as an influence.

Q2: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Donna: When I started to take workshops to see if pursuing writing was something I wanted to do, an early mentor, Diana Goetsch, mentioned in class that the best writers had a fire that she could see in their work. When she signed her book for me at the end of the workshop, she told me that I had that fire. That was an a-ha moment for me, one that occurred in my early thirties. That has been enough to carry me through thirty more years of many, many rejections, fallow times, and bouts of imposter syndrome.

Q3: Who has helped you most with writing and career?

Donna: Early on, mentors like Diana were crucial to me as I didn’t have a writing community. I don’t have an MFA, and my career was in middle school teaching (I’m retired now), so my networks were non-existent until I found a community online. Blogging poets like Kelli Russell Agodon, Molly Spencer, Carolee Bennett, and Dave Bonta gave me access to a world of writers and poems that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. And as that online community grew, I found Sundress and Erin Elizabeth Smith, who were kind enough to publish my poems in their journal Stirring and then take on my first book after it had been making the rounds for years. Writers Rachel Bunting, Kristin LaTour, Donna Huneke, and Mike Nees are my stalwart first readers and workshoppers, and I rely on them for their honesty and intelligence. Really, anyone who has ever read and/or shared one of my poems helps me grow.

Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence you? Have any travels influenced your work?

Donna: I grew up in the suburbs just outside of Chicago, and I still live in the same general area. I think a Midwestern practicality as well as the fickle and lovely changing seasons have influenced the images and topics I choose to tackle in poems. I have been lucky to have traveled extensively around the world, and every experience I have influences me as a person, which then finds its way into the poems somehow. I haven’t written much directly about the places I’ve traveled – I find that rendering experiences like that are much more difficult than traversing internal or imaginary landscapes.

Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively to you?

Donna: I’m not sure how to answer this question, but I’ll try. When I write outside of my own experience, those poems, when they are successful, make me proud, My second book Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story is an example of a crafted narrative that has resonated well with others despite the fact that it is not confessional. Much of my other work, more confessional or even sentimental in nature, is meaningful to me (and I hope others), but not as much of a creative reach.

Q6: What are your favorite activities to relax?

Donna: I have recently rediscovered how much I enjoy creating visual art, but I’m also a fan of long walks/hikes, good books, and just hanging out with family and friends. It doesn’t take much for me to relax now that I’m not working.

Q7: What is a favorite line/stanza from your writing?

Donna: This is like asking someone to choose a favorite child, which for me would be easier since I only have one. I am particularly fond of this line from my poem” Declaration”: “A great love swells in my body like a successful ad campaign.”

Q8: What kind of music inspires you the most? What is a song or songs that always come back to you as an inspiration?

Donna: I started writing poems in my teens by writing songs, so I always pay attention to structure and sound in my work. I love live music, particularly rock music, and it gets into my body in a way that nothing else does. But I can’t listen to music with vocals while I write, so my favorite go-to writing music is Explosions in the Sky or the Ghost tracks from my favorite band, Nine Inch Nails.

Q9: Do you have any upcoming books, events, etc that you’d like to promote?

Donna: I am currently working on a fourth manuscript, but it is in its earliest stages. I am the host of an online reading series called A Hundred Pitchers of Honey that is free on Zoom every third Thursday at 6:30 Central. All of the readings are also cached on YouTube, so I’d love for people to give our readers a listen. Promoting the work of other writers is important to me, and I love hosting the series.

Bonus Question: Any funny or strange memories that you’d like to share during your creative journey?

Donna: Most steps of this writing journey are funny or strange or awkward for me, so I will choose to share a happy/strange occurrence. Once I got my butt kicked at ping pong by Stephen Dunn at a writing conference – that is one of the favorite memories that writing has given me.



A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Alycia Pirmohamed

ALYCIA PIRMOHAMED is a Canadian-born poet based in Scotland. Her debut collection, Another Way to Split Water, is published with Polygon (UK) and YesYes Books (US). She is co-founder of the
Scottish BPOC Writers Network and a co-organiser of the Ledbury Poetry Critics. Alycia received an MFA from the University of Oregon and a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, and she currently teaches on the MSt. Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge. She is the recipient of several awards, including a Pushcart Prize, the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize, the 92Y Discovery Poetry Prize, the Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Award in Poetry, the Gulf Coast Poetry Prize, and the 2020 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award.

Q1: When did you start writing and whom influenced you the most? 

Alycia: I feel like I was always writing. As a child, I wrote stories for my younger sister and my love for
 prose writing continued on into adulthood. I encountered poetry a little differently. What I learned in school never really resonated with me, or at least, never compelled me to attempt writing poetry
 for myself. I actually started writing poetry after joining an online community, a writing forum for teenagers where we’d post and critique each other’s work. This format, seeing poetry written almost
 in real time, was thrilling and opened up a world of possibility for me. It was basically my first workshop experience, and this is probably why I feel community is so integral to my writing practice
 itself. My early influences were writers like Bhanu Kapil (who is still a major influence on my work), Richard Siken, Nazim Hikmet, Derek Walcott, and Brigit Pegeen Kelly. I feel like I still learn from the works of these poets even today. More recently, I’ve been influenced by writers like Sandeep Parmar, Julietta Singh, Aria Aber, Diana Khoi Nguyen, and Dionne Brand. I’m actually constantly reading and finding new influences/inspirations, so this is a difficult question!

Q2: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Alycia: This moment, if there was one, was probably during my final undergraduate poetry workshop. I decided then to apply for an MFA (even as a bio major!) because I realised I was happiest and most
fulfilled when writing. I also met some of my very best friends, Nico Lachat and Adi Onita, in that workshop and they are still pursuing writing like I am. It was really special and transformative for a
lot of us, I think.

Q3: Who has helped you most with writing and career?

Alycia: To be honest, I have had so much help from so many people I couldn’t really name them all! It really took guidance, kindness and generosity from so many teachers and mentors and friends.

Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence you? Have any travels influenced
 your work?

Alycia: I grew up in Alberta, Canada, and I think this has deeply influenced my work. A lot of my poems reflect on and articulate my different formative experiences in cities like Edmonton, and in very
small rural towns like Vilna. I also write a lot about the landscapes present in Alberta – some poems follow journeys or experiences in the Rocky Mountains, or meditate on the long stretches of prairie
that were so prominent where I lived. I hope that Another Way to Split Water echoes with these different spaces; I hope it illustrates the love I have for the land.

In terms of other places influencing my work, I also have an interest in figurative homelands. I’m interested in crafting figurations where physical spaces coexist, where language crosses borders. The
environment of Scotland, where I currently stay, is also present in my work. I find myself drawn to writing about bodies of water here, from rivers to the seaside. I also visited Dar es Salaam with my
father in 2019; this is where he was born, and though this place/those travels are absolutely an undercurrent in this book, I do find it difficult to write about that experience explicitly still. The poems I’ve written that orbit those travels don’t feel right, or they feel forced. I’m still figuring out whether that means I let them go, or if it means the poems are yet to arrive.

Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively to you?

Alycia:  Although I cherish Another Way to Split Water, because it took so long to put together, and so many years of attention and care, I have to say Second Memory is the most meaningful to me. Writing collaboratively with Pratyusha brought out so much more in my work than would have ever happened alone. Responding to her words ignited different thoughts and prompted me to navigate
material I might already think about often in new and exciting ways. Also, two publishers, Baseline Press and Guillemot Press, created beautiful physical versions of the work. The book feels like a
 special piece, an artefact almost.

Q6: Favorite activities to relax?

Alycia: I love being outdoors and in nature, and especially love camping and hiking. Some of my favourite places include the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest, and I’ve more recently enjoyed
visiting the east coast of Scotland. Another thing I love to do, and really miss since moving away from home, is have a really good laugh with my sisters.

Q7: What is a favorite line/ stanza/lyric from your writing?

Alycia: ‘Faded’, which was originally published in Glass Poetry Journal, and which opens my collection has
the following favourite lines:

Remind me that I am not a swan —
I am a long night of rain
with my mother's eyes.

Q8: Do you have any recent or upcoming books, music, events, etc that you would like to promote?

Alycia: I have a few events lined up in London, Newcastle, and Edinburgh in early October, and a digital event with the Sylvia Plath Literary Festival on the 22nd of October.

Also, the US Edition of Another Way to Split Water will be released in mid-November with YesYes Books! It’s currently up for pre-order with 20% off.