Dead and Born

2 deaths , 1 baby born
I hear today
Life is so crazy and asinine
Death , a certain ascertain
Birth , a gift abundant
I have been thinking two much today
Maybe I need rest, don’t you say
Shhh! Life and its ways.

–S

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Catalyst

She is the impetus 

For Me to write 

Such an accomplice 

One would never find in sight 

She is carefree , independent 

Free of societal norms 

She is My only defendant 

Through all the storms 

She changed to suit the needs

Changing Her own persona

But life taught Her through its deeds 

It was the agenda 

She usurped the typhoons 

Of personality , of mind , of life 

These were banes or a boons

Through the cut of a knife 

Time would tell 

Time would see 

What She could dispel 

Time would agree 

She would hear voices 

Directing Her Life and Character 

But She emerged from others’ choices 

She proved She was a Victor

People called Her names

Changing the exposure to fame

Falsing all Her claims

Making Her do more – Aim 

It was a tremendous task for Her 

To understand reel from real 

Making all lines blur 

Experience was surreal 

She picked up the pieces

Stringing together all of them 

Bringing the evidences 

From roots to stem

She always learns

Taking her away from gossip and drama 

Away from mind Concerns 

Making time important , no melodrama

She is my guardian angel 

She is someone who inspires 

She makes me able 

She rescues Me from abhorrent fires

She looks in the mirror

She is never with lethargy 

She is the one , She is Me – the Actor

She is resplendent with energy

–S

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Close Reading of Barbara Guest’s Eating chocolate ice-cream : Reading Mayakovsky

Eating Chocolate Ice Cream: Reading Mayakovsky 

BY BARBARA GUEST

Since I’ve decided to revolutionize my life

                       since

                                  ”

                       decided

                                           ”

                       revolutionize

                                           ”

                       life       

                                           ”

How early it is! It is eight o’clock in the morning.

Well, the pigeons were up earlier

Did you eat all your egg?

Now we shall go for a long walk.

Now? There is too much winter.

I am going to admire the snow on your coat.

Time for hot soup, already?

You have worked for three solid hours.

I have written forty-eight, no forty-nine,

no fifty-one poems.

How many states are there?

I cannot remember what is uniting America.

It is then time for your nap.

What a lovely, pleasant dream I just had.

But I like waking up better.

I do admire reality like snow on my coat.

Would you take cream or lemon in your tea?

No sugar?

And no cigarettes.

Daytime is good, but evening is better.

I do like our evening discussions.

Yesterday we talked about Kant.

Today let’s think about Hegel.

In another week we shall have reached Marx.

Goody.

Life is a joy if one has industrious hands.

Supper? Stew and well-cooked. Delicious.

Well, perhaps just one more glass of milk.

Nine o’clock! Bath time!

Soap and a clean rough towel.

Bedtime!

The Red Army is marching tonight.

They shall march through my dreams

in their new shiny leather boots,

their freshly laundered shirts.

All those ugly stains of caviar and champagne

and kisses

have been rubbed away.

They are going to the barracks.

They are answering hundreds of pink

and yellow and blue and white telephones.

How happy and contented and well-fed they look

lounging on their fur divans,

chanting, “Russia how kind you are to us.

How kind you are to everybody.

We want to live forever.”

Before I wake up they will throw away

their pistols, and magically

factories will spring up where once

there was rifle fire, a roulette factory,

where once a body fell from an open window.

Hurry dear dream

I am waiting for you

under the eiderdown.

And tomorrow will be more real, perhaps,

than yesterday.

Source : https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/53131/eating-chocolate-ice-cream-reading-mayakovsky

***

Close reading :Barbara Guest has created alternative realities in the title itself. While one suggests leading a normal life while the other tells about revolution in a sense. So she gives us a hint through the title itself. I had to read up on Mayakovsky to even comment on this title. 

Next , she gives another hint at the understanding of the poem by voicing about revolutionising someone’s life. She writes it normally in the starting sentence. In the next sentence she breaks it with apostrophes for missing content indicating Mayakovsky had to write about revolution while Russia was in revolution or something of that sort. 

The form of the poem is “I do that, I do this ” format of the New York School poets. It is a free verse. She randomly writes about the happenings of the day in America contrasting parallelly with day in Russia in Mayakovsky time. 

She talks to someone about her normal day. She enquires whether someone has finished the breakfast. Most probably her husband or her child. She tells that she got up early as pigeons were up early. She tells she will go for a walk with someone , maybe her child. It is winter. It is snow time. So somewhere up north in America. 

She continues it with afternoon times I guess , telling it’s time for hot soup. Her husband has worked for 3 hours. She has written 51 poems. She tries to make a connection with the number of states in America. She doesn’t seem to remember what is holding America as one. She has a nap. She has a wonderful dream. She thinks that waking up is better than sleeping as it connects to reality. Evenings , there are intellectual discussions about Kant , Hegel and Marx. Life is happy when one is hard working she says. 

She contrasts it with Russia (in Mayakovsky world  ) where the Red Army is in control of Russia. The lines portray a seriousness in the demeanor of the army. They are going to the barracks. They are operating different colours of telephones. I don’t understand the different telephones here. But the whole scenario portrays the Russians will soon forget the revolution and start working in factories. Where bodies were thrown.  She is dreaming this sequence and comfortably placed under soft sheets rather than the bloodshed of the revolution. She lives in a comfortable place. She hopes her life or her dream is better than yesterday. 

In the whole poem , she contrasts between two realities. She is happy and comfortable living in hers. Maybe that’s what she intends at last. 

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Close reading of H.D.’s Storm

Storm

by H.D.

I​

Y​ou crash over the trees,

y​ou crack the live branch:

t​he branch is white,

t​he green crushed,

e​ach leaf is rent like split wood

I​I

Y​ou burden the trees

w​ith black drops,

y​ou swirl and crash:

y​ou have broken off a weighted leaf

i​n the wind—

i​t is hurled out,

w​hirls up and sinks,

a green stone.

Close reading :

H.D. uses Imagism to portray the devastation caused by a storm. The poem has a personification of storm.

It shows the innocence and beauty of nature that the storm destroys.

The storm crashes over the trees , uprooting them. Maybe it’s a person who has devastated the person’s life. Uprooting it. 

Cracking the live branch is something which is full of life and is cut open. Maybe it’s a relationship with another person. That is cut. 

The poem is by an imagist. So there will be no indirect references to other things than the one portrayed but the relationship perspective fits too. The language is concise. The poem is freeverse one. The emphasis on cr in crash , crack , crushed shows the devastation of nature by storm so nature itself. 

It also shows that the leaf is aimless, effortlessly driven to where the storm takes it. The 

leaf does not have a hold on itself and its destiny. 

Relationship between the storm and the leaf is shown here. The storm is powerful and the leaf is powerless. The leaf is destined to take the course of the storm. The storm is the other half in the relationship and the relationship is destroyed by the storm. The leaf is the innocent one crushed in the pangs of the relationship. 

Black drops are burdened on the tree. Black drops are drops of water in the storm most probably. I think the drops are heavy and fall on the tree. The actions of swirl and crash are shown here showing the intensity of the storm. The leaf is weighted now. There are two perspectives of the storm and the leaf. The leaf can be destined on the course of the storm or the leaf can be weighted in the wind thus making it craft its own destiny. The leaf is weighted as the burdens of the ill relationship with the storm. It is hurled out so it is thrown out. But it still crafts its own course. It whirls and sinks(sinks is an important point here), a green stone. A green stone is the leaf which is weighted. The storm is powerful yet powerless. The leaf is also powerless yet powerful. It all depends on the perspective. The relationship has an ill effect on the leaf but it comes out stronger at the end. 

So in life too, the perspectives can change according to the situation. We can weather the storm by changing the perspective. Maybe this is not a right portrayal of her poem. Because it is imagist. It portrays the image of a storm. The effects of its devastation. It also shows what happens after the storm. We as individuals pick ourselves up after a storm in our life whether it is life itself or relationships or from nature. 

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance are the stages of grief that can be extended here on the effects on the leaf by the storm. 

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Close reading of Emily Dickinson’s They shut me up in Prose

They shut me up in Prose– (445)

BY EMILY DICKINSON

They shut me up in Prose –

As when a little Girl

They put me in the Closet –

Because they liked me “still”   –

Still! Could themself have peeped –

And seen my Brain – go round –

They might as wise have lodged a Bird

For Treason – in the Pound –

Himself has but to will

And easy as a Star

Look down opon Captivity –

And laugh – No more have I –

Source : https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/52196/they-shut-me-up-in-prose-445

Close Reading : This is a poem on the love of poetry Dickinson had. She didn’t want to be confined in thinking about prose. Freedom is restricted in prose according to her. As her mind and heart wants poetry.

She refers to society or the ones who teach her prose and tells that they shut me up. Her mind and heart weren’t working in prose. She refers to a little girl, making it gender specific. She maybe indicating that poetry writing was a man’s affair ? Putting in a closet meaning not giving freedom. Because they liked her still. Making it obvious that girls weren’t supposed to express and were supposed to listen to orders. It was a patriarchal society. So girls were not allowed to think freely and pursue a career in poetry.

Society as a whole confined the thoughts of women in the times of Dickinson. So it was hard to rebel against the society as a whole. From when they are little girls , they were told not to think freely nor assert their independence. So it happened with prose and poetry as well. Poetry is a medium where you express with lesser words and more meaning. Prose is something ingrained in the little minds and even though it has more words , it doesn’t have the creative freedom of poetry. Since it was supposedly a man’s job to provide, it was thought that only he could have the creative freedom. But Dickinson broke all these chains and wrote her heart out.  Expressing herself was such happiness to her.

She claims that society could have seen her brain go round. Working with effort and without result because the brain didn’t like it. They could have peeped and seen this scenario. They might as well have caged a bird for treason. Clipping it’s freedom and giving it pain. Bird in cage always thinks that it has no freedom. It forgets that it has wings to fly for sometime.

Birds can’t be enclosed like animals. They can fly. Like a star looks down upon captivity. Stars and birds are free in the sky. They don’t understand about captivity or freedom. One realises freedom only when one is captive. Emily Dickinson tells that she doesn’t laugh on captivity as she understands the pain of captivity. Not able to express in poetry is a curse according to her.
This poem is similar to “I dwell in possibility”.

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Carnatic Music

This is a guide for learning Carnatic music for beginners.

1. Identification of Ragas is easier with this YouTube channel. Carnatic 101 is a wonderful collection. https://youtu.be/G02uoTF95cA

2. Lessons on swaras and the basics.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.oneteamus.CarnaticMusic

3. For collection of Carnatic music songs.

For those of you interested in Carnatic Music here is a treasure
https://ramanarunachalam.github.io/Music/Carnatic/carnatic.html
This is a directory of 37,000 Youtube videos of Carnatic Music, searchable by Raga/Artiste/Composer/Kriti. A Bangalorean has aggregated this by crawling though Youtube.

4. For another collection of carnatic music songs. https://www.sangeethapriya.org/

5. At your leisure , you can also look at Chennai Mathematical Institute’s videos on music by T M Krishna. https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXbeECQLLcSjPRUhVzBkRLUmBm0ATbhQL

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Pinax-Notifications

This post is an attempt to help persons who are trying to configure pinax-notifications for Django.

While pinax-notifications at https://github.com/pinax/pinax-notifications have documented it very elaborately, there are some errors which I encountered.

1] First error: RuntimeError: Model class django.contrib.sites.models.Site doesn’t declare an explicit app_label and isn’t in an application in INSTALLED_APPS.

If you look closely, the error explains that Site is not added in INSTALLED_APPS in settings.py.

Add ‘django.contrib.sites‘ to INSTALLED_APPS in settings.py. Also, many users in StackOverflow suggest that one needs to add SITE_ID=1.

django.core.exceptions.ImproperlyConfigured: You’re using the Django “sites framework” without having set the SITE_ID setting. Create a site in your database and set the SITE_ID setting or pass a request to Site.objects.get_current()
is the error one gets if the SITE_ID=1 is not added into settings.py.

2] Second error: RuntimeError: Model class account.models.Account doesn’t declare an explicit app_label and isn’t in an application in INSTALLED_APPS.

The error suggests that Account is not added to INSTALLED_APPS in settings.py.

Please add ‘account’ in INSTALLED_APPS in settings.py

3. Send the notification by calling send function on performing an action.

send([user], "friends_invite", {"from_user": user})

4. The result of sending notification is seen on the terminal.

Using pinax-templates or your own templates, you can set notification emails to be sent.

For any doubts, ready to help.

-S

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Mates who meet

This poem was for Beetle Magazine.

Unfathomable, unpredicted chance meetings

that addiction difficult to abandon

Appreciating the aspiration to be similar

Thoughts that – Mirror Images

He came in a personal difficult time

Barren was my mind and soul

He gave life to me – assertion that

life is an assimilation of godsend realities

Adhesive so perfect

Soul searching ally

That attention – awakening my mind

those problems we did solve

those ambitions we have

anticipating moments with him

But Tired of asserting the non-attractiveness

its just trust, not lust

Friend who ascends you to the zenith

through knowledge and wisdom

Transcending you to a different world

reiterating that platonic does exist

He is a gem – so rare

Wouldn’t trade anything for the friendship

Intelligent and Genius are words that will shy

I am an admirer and will be forever

How is it even possible? you ask

Arousing interest in mind

All men don’t do

commend him for such a personality

Force of intelligence is more than attraction

It’s so easy to pen yet so difficult to express

the emotion I have for him

can’t abandon the adoration for once

Certain things are boolean

his friendship is with charm – but

benefits it is not

Days go by but our attachment is stronger

He knows me better than myself

He guides, reprimands

That is how life is meant to be

with him as a best friend forever

These were the rules:

Poetry:

Up to 60 lines maximum (1,500 words)

Topic: Can Men and Women be friends?

WordSlush-

men – again, force, pen, zen , ten

women – abandon, abstraction, activation, addiction, addition, adhesion, admission, adoration, adoption, adulation, affection, alleviation, anticipaiion, appreciation, aspiration, assimilation, assertion, attention, attraction, awaken, barren, beckon, boolean, certain,

friend – ally, soul, admirer, trust

ascend, commend, extend, intend, mend, godsend, transcend

Stay Safe. Mask up.

-S

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Sonnet

I decided to participate in Wingword Poetry Competition.

I wanted to write a Sonnet since I never attempted one. So I started reading through the sonnet structure. I had to decide whether it will be Shakespearean Sonnet( 4 + 4 + 4 +2 – ABAB CDCD EFEF GG )  or Italian Sonnet( 8 + 6 – ABBAABBA – CDECDE/CDCDCD)

I put a ring on the Shakespearean sonnet.

Here is my attempt.

The poem is in Shakespearean sonnet style. It is about love and trust. It is also about betrayal of trust. It is about the new found love and excitement of the lady at first. Then the town gossips about the love as a clandestine affair. This breaks her heart and she wishes her lover understands that her love is pure. Unfortunately, the “whispers” of the gossipers were more important than the trust in her and he loses her. The sacred love she had is termed as an affair in his head.  It is an acrostic poem ,  it is a mock at the gossipers who are the real cancers of society poking their noses in unnecessary things.

Whispers

Damsel dancing to her own tune
Aching to meet her lover

Many days she would croon 

No one would discover

Yes, there’s a secret, concealed

Oh! That’s not appropriate 

Under a cloud, lips not sealed

Clandestine , called it was immediate

Agony, all eyes looked at her

Not knowing what she was going through

Connected she didn’t feel, betrayed feelings are

Earnestly, she waited for him, only one she knew

Rare moments, he believed them than her more

Suddenly, lost her to a sacred ‘affair’

Stay Safe. Mask up.

-S

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Self-Publishing

I have to be honest. I found it hard when I embarked on the journey of self-publishing. So many confusions so I wanted to give up on the task. But I treaded on with the goal. Now, I want to help people who have started and have the same confusions.

First things first. You have to decide what medium your readers would like your work in. I chose Amazon KDP for Kindle version and Notionpress(Xpress publishing mode) for paperback version. The urge to release a paperback version came many months after the release of Kindle. Amazon KDP paperback versions are not available in India. That’s the reason I opted for Notionpress Xpress Publishing mode.

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing:

  1. Create an Amazon KDP account here.
  2. Go through the “Getting Started” link for KDP. I used Learn on your own. Use our self-guided resources for moving further.
  3. Be ready with your manuscript and cover(if custom). Else KDP has resources to create your cover as well. I sorted the size of the manuscript in MS Word and checked the pages on Kindle Create(Kindle is in .epub format.) on how it will be viewed on Kindle devices. There are custom sizes on how the length and width of the paper should be.
  4. Do ensure you have the latest browser.
  5. In your KDP Bookshelf. In the “Create a New Title” section, click + Kindle eBook.
  6. Enter information for each section.
  7. Publish your Kindle ebook after entering all information.

After publishing, you can promote the ebook with different offers and promotions.

Help for different topics on KDP can be found here in this link.

NotionPress (Xpress Publishing mode) :

I rummaged the Internet to find a suitable resource for publishing my paperback versions of my books. After many days, to my relief , I found NotionPress.

Since I had experience with Amazon KDP, the process with NotionPress Xpress Publshing mode was way too easy. The claim is that you can publish in 4 steps. That is, if you know the cover creation and manuscript formatting processes.

  1. Create a new book project and key in your book specifications and manuscript. You can either upload or type the manuscript.
  2. Design the cover and interiors. It is a guided interface. So, you will get the hang of it.
  3. Select distribution. I chose NotionPress, Flipkart and Amazon. There are different options, once you research on them, it is clearer.
  4. Set a price and publish. Royalty Calculator calculates the profit. Set the ideal price and publish.

These are some of the steps I followed. If you want any more help, you can contact me on Twitter or mail me. You can also contact me through contact form on this site.

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