We are happy to announce that the long-awaited new full-length, a book of poem-diary entries by Kolkata-based poet and visual artist, Kushal Poddar, is now available for pre-orders from Ice Floe Press. The volume includes a revised section from his on-going contribution to our web-based, Dispatches from a Pandemic series, and a totally new section of commissioned poems, covering a recent month of entries that focus on life under lockdown during the second wave of the global COVID19 pandemic.
Now for Sale:
Postmarked – Quarantine, click below.
These remarkable poems by Kushal Poddar, Postmarked — ‘Quarantine,’ begin at an end that is the middle, just as we remain in the middle of the pandemic they traverse backwards to its beginning. Starting 78 days into the pandemic, like Merlin in The Once and Future King, the readers grow older as they move backwards in time to the first day of lockdown / quarantine. Time melts like Dali’s Persistence of Memory, which persistence the poems insist on, taking us from surrealistic nightmare-scapes of escape to droplets of hope. The deft imagery and language Poddar skillfully crafts pulls time into images of psychic and emotional isolation on this wizardly journey standing still that reveals pandemic as a crushing microcosm of the human condition. Moments of relief come through children, love, and sex—but the backward-looking poet remains as alone as Merlin in his oak tree. The surreality evokes both Persistence of Memory and Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory. We see, perhaps, a glimmer of the wreckage Benjamin’s Angel of History witnessed. Poddar’s Angel of History is we readers, as “We turn back to see us/ walking behind us, and another we running past,/ their heads turned toward the origin.” – Michael Dickel
“Kushal’s writing slices through, paralyzes you in the Images during an Isolation, the truth, the unknowing, the bravery, Overcoming the mindas it swims through the sands of the pandemic” – David L O’Nan from Fevers of the Mind Press
There is an ache in these poems. The tight capture of moments transports the reader into snapshots of someone else’s time and a surreal bend to the view memorialises the specifics. Sometimes this is a scene glimpsed through a window, sometimes a framing of thoughts of life and death. Those who have lived in the time of the pandemic will feel it resonate and those who read it later will sense the strangeness. Poddar can pull us closer in when reminding us of “the handprint on the cave/seventeen thousand years vatted” or when introducing us to their “blue” which tangoes on a slippery floor. They also invite us to join them in taking a look back at moments in time which frame the universal nature of loss and finding oneself. There are echoes throughout the book of inheritance and of choosing what we keep from someone we love and how we pass this on. – Sue Finch
Day Thirty Three – What Day is It?
I should tell you, you enter
into this world like an ant
down the neck of a jar of jellybeans.
The other thousands ants ropewalk
up spine, down spine of mine. Rain heads
this way, and my eyes, foggy, see the signs
birds draw against the sky. I should tell
you, you have a name already, chosen by
your mom and me, and the fear that hospitals
shall remain inattentive in a pandemic has
driven us far to a care unit beyond our reach.
Doors are closing. Doors are opening. Doors.
I listen to the elevation whisperings.
May six. Half the world sneeze, and the other
dread sternutation. Hushed gesundheit, amen.
I should tell you, daughter, moon looks
magnified in silence through the thick
glass of the clinic. Doors. I wait outside
in hazmat suit. The automated voice
of the elevator closes and opens. Signs, I can read.
An author and a father, Kushal Poddar, edited a magazine – ‘Words Surfacing’, authored seven volumes including ‘The Circus Came To My Island’, ‘A Place For Your Ghost Animals’, ‘Eternity Restoration Project- Selected and New Poems’ and ‘Herding My Thoughts To The Slaughterhouse-A Prequel’. His works have been translated in ten languages.
Find and follow him at amazon.com/author/kushalpoddar_thepoet
Author Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/KushalTheWriter/
Book Cover, design and editing by Robert Frede Kenter (c) 2021