In September-October, 2017, Coldnoon celebrated six years of publishing, and travelling with you. To mark our anniversary, we got together with writers, intellectuals and stalwarts of the art of thinking (and travelling). Here is an interview with Kushanava Choudhury.

 

We believe making travel arrangements; we subconsciously tend to eliminate those possibilities which we deem unfit to perceived etiquettes, or norms or occasions. Our understanding of travel is based on premises that define what travelling is not. Is writing for you a similar activity, where you are conscious of what writing is not? If so, what according to you is not writing?

Money, mafia, moaning is not writing.

 

Besides writing what would you most like to be known for?

I would to be known as my late mother’s little son in my small Punjabi town. Shanti’s son.

 

In 1794, the French author, Xavier de Maistre, wrote the renowned book, Voyage Around my Room, during a month and a half of solitary confinement, in consequence of a duel. Besides being a satire on the contemporary literary culture of voyages and adventures of colonial sailors to prospective new worlds, the book proved to be a demonstration of how an individual is almost always travelling, but perhaps does not recognize the value of their domestic travels, mobility or even touristic acquisitions. How do you see or understand travelling? Do you think it is a necessary activity for a writer?

Traveling is most crucial elements in a writer’s life. Kabir says, I am standing on the cross roads of life, if you want to be a poet, first put your house on fire and come with me and be a poet. In my case, it was my encounter with Annapurnas that opened up my world and made me what I am today. Had I not resolved to quit my teaching stint at the Tribhuwan University to travel to the Himalayas, I wouldn’t have achieved anything substantial in my life. Most of my writing involves a celebration of the Himalayas. It’s my devotion to these magnificent daggers of snow and my tireless travels in the Himalayas that I have been able to write and travel worldwide. So, my head bows in reverence to the spirit of snow that gave me enough food to eat, enough ease to fill my mind to sing of the shimmering glaciers, a sacred mission to survive for the rest of my life.

 

Your favorite or most striking lines by another author; or if you will, any composed by yourself?

The kisses you refused
were the best

like the poems
on the lake I did not write (Best Poems, From Annapurna Poems)

 

Do respond to the following words:

“Where there is no imagination, there is no horror.” ― Arthur Conan Doyle.

To write you need to imagine like Alfred Hitchcock the guy standing on the other side of the shower with a knife. Or death and your demons waiting for you. So to address your demons and your society’s, you need imagination.

 

What do you think of Coldnoon?

Lovely magazine, so proud to be part of this grand mission. Namaste!

 

Yuyutsu Sharma

Yuyutsu Sharma

Recipient of fellowships and grants from The Rockefeller Foundation, Ireland Literature Exchange, Trubar Foundation, Slovenia, The Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature and The Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature, Yuyutsu RD Sharma is an internationally acclaimed South Asian poet and translator. He has published nine poetry collections including, A Blizzard in my Bones: New York Poems (Nirala, 2016), Quaking Cantos: Nepal Earthquake Poems, (Nirala, 2016), Milarepa’s Bones, 33 New Poems, (Nirala, 2012), Nepal Trilogy, Photographs and Poetry on Annapurna, Everest, Helambu & Langtang (www.Nepal-Trilogy.de, Epsilonmedia, Karlsruhe, 2010), a 900-page book with renowned German photographer, Andreas Stimm, Space Cake, Amsterdam, & Other Poems from Europe and America, (2009, Indian reprint 2014) and Annapurna Poems, 2008, Reprint, 2012).

He brought out a translation of Irish poet Cathal O’ Searcaigh poetry in Nepali in a bilingual collection entitled, Kathmandu: Poems, Selected and New (2006) and a translation of Hebrew poet Ronny Someck’s poetry in Nepali in a bilingual edition, Baghdad, February 1991 & Other Poems. He has translated and edited several anthologies of contemporary Nepali poetry in English, most recently the Himalayan Arts Folio of American magazine, Drunken Boat, and launched a literary movement, ‘Kathya Kayakalpa’ (Content Metamorphosis) in Nepali poetry.

Three books of his poetry, Poemes de l’ Himalayas (L’Harmattan, Paris), Poemas de Los Himalayas (Cosmopoeticia, Cordoba, Spain) and Jezero Fewa & Konj (Sodobnost International) have appeared in French, Spanish and Slovenian respectively.

In addition, Eternal Snow: A Worldwide Anthology of One Hundred Twenty-Five Poetic Intersections with Himalayan Poet Yuyutsu RD Sharma has just appeared.

Widely traveled author, he has read his works at several prestigious places including Poetry Café, London, Seamus Heaney Center for Poetry, Belfast, New York University, New York, The Kring, Amsterdam, P.E.N, Paris, Knox College, Illinois, Whittier College, California, Baruch College, New York, WB Yeats’ Center, Sligo, Shi Shangzhuang, Hebei, China, Gustav Stressemann Institute, Bonn, Rubin Museum, New York, Cosmopoetica, Cordoba, Spain, Beijing International Book Fair, The Irish Writers’ Centre, Dublin, Columbia University, New York, Lu Xun Literary Institute, Beijing, The Guardian Newsroom, London, Trois Rivieres Poetry Festival, Quebec, Arnofini, Bristol, Borders, London, FIP, Buenos Aires, Slovenian Book Days, Ljubljana, Royal Society of Dramatic Arts, London, Gunter Grass House, Bremen, GTZ, Kathmandu, International Poetry Festival, Granada, Nicaragua, Nehru Center, London, Beijing Normal University, The Beijing Bookworm, Universidad Abierta Interamericana (UAI) / Indian Embassy, Buenos Aires, March Hare, Newfoundland, Canada, Gannon University, Erie, Frankfurt Book Fair, Frankfurt, Sahitya Academy, New Delhi, Indian International Center, New Delhi, and Villa Serbelloni, Italy.

He has held workshops in creative writing and translation at Queen’s University, Belfast, University of Ottawa and South Asian Institute, Heidelberg University, Germany, University of California, Davis, Sacramento State University, California, Beijing Open University and New York University, New York.

His works have appeared in Poetry Review, Chanrdrabhaga, Sodobnost, Amsterdam Weekly, Indian Literature, Irish Pages, Delo, Modern Poetry in Translation, Exiled Ink, Iton77, Little Magazine, The Telegraph, Indian Express and Asiaweek.

The Library of Congress has nominated his book of Nepali translations entitled Roaring Recitals; Five Nepali Poets as Best Book of the Year 2001 from Asia under the Program, A World of Books International Perspectives.

Yuyutsu’s own work has been translated into German, French, Italian, Slovenian, Hebrew, Spanish and Dutch. He just published his nonfiction, Annapurnas & Stains of Blood: Life, Travel and Writing a Page of Snow, (Nirala, 2010).

He edits Pratik, A Magazine of Contemporary Writing and contributes literary columns to Nepal’s leading daily, The Himalayan Times.

He was at the Poetry Parnassus Festival organized to celebrate London Olympics 2012 where he represented Nepal and India. Yuyutsu is the Visiting Poet at Columbia University, New York and has just returned from China where had gone to read and conduct workshops at Beijing Normal University.

Half the year, he travels and reads all over the world to read from his works and conducts Creative Writing workshops at various universities in North America and Europe but goes trekking in the Himalayas when back home.

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