Gondwanalandings and other happenings
October has brought me a new poem, some creative time, a change of seasons and scenery. I am writing this from West Yorkshire….
but I don’t want to forget September, just because it was so hectic. September sparkled. Starting out with a group of Asian Australian poets meeting in Wollongong in a discussion with Alan Wearne which proved how vibrant this genre is becoming; the poets were by turns ironic, politically impassioned, edgy and precise. There was ample evidence of experimentation and improvisation. We seem to have cast off the clichés of Asian Australian tropes and we are able to speak with confidence individually and as a group, sharing differing perspectives and experience.
The following week we took the conversation to Melbourne with a different group of poets, many from the South Asian/South East Asian diaspora. Ann McCulloch was the moderator and her questions on designation, language, trauma, stimulated an illuminating discussion by Sudesh Mishra and Hoàng Nguyễn. Lian Low, editor and activist from Peril has been a huge support and we were privileged to have the expertise of Nicholas Walton-Healey. Nicholas photographed the occasion with his artistic style of portraits which probe into exile and identity. We intend to publish some of these in Mascara, and Australian Poetry’s website.
I managed to get back to Sydney in one piece in time for Tegan’s piano exam, a pile of administration and then back to Melbourne for the wonderful symposium, Gondwananlandings, which brought together a range of practitioners, researchers, writers and emerging voices from the South Asian diaspora. Highlights were presentations on early Indian-Australian cultural exchange by Devleena Ghosh, an update on reciprocal Koori Australian Dalit translations by Mridula Chakraborty, Pallavi Sinha’s perspectives on Gender and Migration and Ana Tiwary’s heart-breaking documentary on the difficulties that may be faced by Indian students. The creative component featuring Sunil Badami, Manisha Jolie, Subhash Jaireth and myself contrasted our different voices. It was really good to read fiction to an audience. They seemed to like my story, which was pleasing. Great to see Chris Raja and meet Polash Larsen. And the city, of course, charmed me as ever. It was fun…
Thanks to Roanna Gonsalves, Sukhmani Korana, Monani Devaki and Amit Sarwal!
(Australia India Inter-disciplinary Research Network)