Copyright©Yogesh Patel & all respective copyright holders of the material published
In the eastern village we are making ghosts,
although our seductive imprecation –
“Come in our house, we want to hurt you!” –
is not having the desired effect. Perhaps
we should have chosen a different venue,
one where distressed bricks don’t offer up
scratches as hugs, or the white-
avoid incarceration behind rusting bars.
Instead all we have to give is the ferocious
smell of modernity rotting, disguised as a
tidal wave of black rubbish bags. Oh for any
sheen of beauty the arc light of history might
find: it touches the only art left to us:
the sepia haze of a fading cloud.
My starting point for any poem is that it should aspire to be sung speech – long before I discovered literature I was passionate about pop music in particular, and I hope that through my writing I can transport a reader – give them an emotional hit – that the best music does.
Beyond that, I write from a traditional English lyric perspective, but I like shaking it up, shoving too much modernity into older forms that can barely bear what they’re being asked to. What else? A keening sense of romance, geographic yearning; riffs on capitalism, geopolitics, identity and technology; and now and again, the gods and other mythic beings must intervene and have their say too.
Rishi reading his work at Waterstones Piccadilly, London, at the launch of his book
Ramanujan believed there are three types of poems: Text conversing with some other text, text conversing with the reflected text and text conversing with the text mirrored inside it. But we know, in some poets, the conversation overwhelms itself with a personal indulgence; in others’, it crushes itself with the intellect drawn from various references applied! In many, it is about the observations and their context! But for poets like Daljit and Rishi, it is not enough. Their focus is on the language itself, as a tool. It becomes a part of their craft. Rishi explores the landscape of language, tossing the net to his poem’s universe to capture the plethora of contexts at work. He is political in the sense that capitalism bothers him in all its aspects. He claims that music has played a great part in his poems. I must plead ignorance. Its presence in his poems is lost on me because Western music is not part of my life; I am much more at home with Indian music. But beware: he also draws a lot from history and geography. Rishi’s work is not for hitchhikers of poetry who expect an easy ride with the cheap shringar rasa of Mushaira. His poems make a heavy demand on you, but if you give yourself fully to them, the reward is a great enlightenment.
For example, the poem he has specially written for this issue, on its first reading, will not reveal its treasures. You will find clues by visiting this photograph at Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/jarahe/2481516055. Another clue is “gentrification, especially that which is artist-
Rishi Dastidar’s poem: http://tinyurl.com/m925vl5
Read a review of Rishi Dastidar’s Ticker-
An Extraordinary Achievement of Excellence as a Poet
Rishi Dastidar’s poetry has been published by the Financial Times, Tate Modern and the Southbank Centre amongst many others. His work has featured in the anthologies Adventures in Form (Penned in the Margins) and Ten: The New Wave (Bloodaxe). His debut collection Ticker-
In 2016 he was commissioned by the BBC to write and perform a poem for National Poetry Day. He has been a runner-
A fellow of The Complete Works, the Arts Council England funded programme for BAME poets, he is a consulting editor at The Rialto magazine, and also a member of the Malika’s Poetry Kitchen collective. He serves as a chair of the London-
Patrons: Lord Parekh & Lord Dholakia
Active Champion: Baroness Prashar
Word Masala Award
‘Rishi Dastidar’s extraordinary debut collection, Ticker-
‘These poems are perfected eccentricities who dance through the techno world. Urban wit rubs alongside innovative love poetry. Dastidar is at home “forglopned", in his “blipverts", on the way to Stavanger without a signal, enjoying a "Potluck Kinfolk style” or selling love at the Tsukiji fish market. Wherever he is, whatever he’s up to, I declare Dastidar to be one of the most ingenious, modern, thrilling, hilarious and tender poets writing today.’
Photograph by Naomi Woddis