Do You See?

PS Q&A with Arshia Sattar; Tintin pic; “the art of memory”

I normally cross-post my articles that appear elsewhere. Travels took up some time. But posting the June article, a Q&A with Arshia Sattar on Prairie Schooner literary journal from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Read it HERE.

An excerpt:

ND: There’s a strong trend now, especially in Dalit writing, to bring to the fore a re-telling of the mythologies as different from the mainstream, “upper-caste” renditions. Feminists have given us Sita’s Ramayana. What about Ekalavya’s version or Shambuka’s version? And stories that were part of the epics and yet remained untold?

AS: Everyone has the right to tell any story they want in the way that they want. Each decides whether or not that telling appeals to us–on the basis of our own politics and ideology and aesthetics. I don’t think there are stories from the epics that remain untold. The epics are at least 2,000 years old; so, imagine how many people have mined them for inspiration. Because of our own gender and caste identities, we may not have access to some of the stories that have been re-told for centuries, but they are out there and always have been. Sometimes, we choose not to access the stories that others tell. And I don’t think there will ever be a time when we have enough re-tellings. Or a time when we know them all–that would be so boring, not to have a new version around the next corner.

And feel free to comment on this or the whole interview. I’ve had some good feedback elsewhere.


When I don’t have a cool photo to upload — I must, for almost all my posts — I go for a Tintin pic or some such interesting one. I already told you I’m a fan and I subscribe to this Tintin website.




And how does one do without poetry? I have stumbled upon this today (that’s right, I’m posting not at night now). I wonder why the poet lapses into ellipses towards the end of the poem. But interesting, even I think of “room” as a vessel, a carrier for emotions. Of certain moments. Of a certain presence. Some words that constitute the rather grand sounding “the art of memory”.

Christian Mott writes on Poetry Foundation: “This poem is about the folly of intellectualizing passion. It begins as a thoughtful meditation on love and tries to capture love in thoughts, images, and metaphors. The attempt is futile. The thoughts fracture and melt away as the sensuality of the moment becomes overwhelming.”

Please read —

This Room and Everything in It


Lie still now
while I prepare for my future,
certain hard days ahead,
when I’ll need what I know so clearly this moment.
I am making use
of the one thing I learned
of all the things my father tried to teach me:
the art of memory.
I am letting this room
and everything in it
stand for my ideas about love
and its difficulties.
I’ll let your love-cries,
those spacious notes
of a moment ago,
stand for distance.
Your scent,
that scent
of spice and a wound,
I’ll let stand for mystery.
Your sunken belly
is the daily cup
of milk I drank
as a boy before morning prayer.
The sun on the face
of the wall
is God, the face
I can’t see, my soul,
and so on, each thing
standing for a separate idea,
and those ideas forming the constellation
of my greater idea.
And one day, when I need
to tell myself something intelligent
about love,
I’ll close my eyes
and recall this room and everything in it:
My body is estrangement.
This desire, perfection.
Your closed eyes my extinction.
Now I’ve forgotten my
idea. The book
on the windowsill, riffled by wind . . .
the even-numbered pages are
the past, the odd-
numbered pages, the future.
The sun is
God, your body is milk . . .
useless, useless . . .
your cries are song, my body’s not me . . .
no good . . . my idea
has evaporated . . . your hair is time, your thighs are song . . .
it had something to do
with death . . . it had something
to do with love.



People apparently read blogs, I’m told. Just saying.


4 comments on “PS Q&A with Arshia Sattar; Tintin pic; “the art of memory”

  1. Mihir Vatsa
    June 26, 2012

    People do read blogs. Like I do. haha. Welcome back! 🙂

  2. Do You See
    June 26, 2012

    Yeah, thanks, MV.

    Do you… did you read Lee’s poem? And did you finally read up some Tintin?

    • Mihir Vatsa
      June 27, 2012

      Yep, read Lee’s poem and went to the website. I might order Tintin books. Very expensive though, but chalta hai. 😀

  3. Do You See
    June 27, 2012

    MV, Tintin books might be up for cheaper on some other sites, not on THIS Tintin site. Also, Indian bookstores keep them. Look there too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on June 24, 2012 by in Arshia Sattar, LI-YOUNG LEE, Nabina Das, poetry, poetry foundation, Prairie Schooner, Tintin.
%d bloggers like this: