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Oct 24th Session 1A
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in collaboration with The English Department, Hunter College (West Building) at 68th Street and Lexington Avenue

OCTOBER 22-25, 2015
October 24th, 2015 - 10:45 - 11:45 am
Session 1B
Authors: Dr. Patrick Basu, Dr. Neal Hall, Rafiq Kathwari, Manav Sachdeva Maasoom, Vinay Tuli
Moderator: Meena Alexander

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Dr. Neal Hall Dr. Neal Hall is a medical-surgical eye physician and graduate of Cornell and Harvard Universities. An internationally acclaimed poet, he has performed poetry readings throughout the United States and internationally to include: Kenya, Indonesia, France, Jamaica, Morocco, Canada, Nepal, Italy and India. His poetry speaks not just to the surface pain of injustice and inhumanity but deep into that pain, we label and package into genteel socio-political-economic-religious constructs to blur the common lines of cause, that is our shared story. A shared story that should unite us in a common struggle to be free. Dr. Hall is the author of four books of poetry.
Dr. Neal Hall Appalling Silence - As I’ve learned more about oppression within and beyond the U.S., a common thread is sown throughout. Martin Luther King captured this thread in his remarks:  “ . . . the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”  His words were true then and truer now.

Many of the poems in Appalling Silence were selected and translated by India’s esteemed poets Jameela Nishat (Urdu), Volga (Telugu) and Vasanth Kannabiran because they speak not just to the surface pain of injustice and inhumanity but deep into that pain we self-servingly label and package into genteel constructs to blur the common lines of cause that is our shared story, . . . the appalling silence of the so called good people.  

Rafiq KathwariRafiq Kathwari is the first non-Irish recipient of the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award, in the forty four-year history of the award. He lives in Ballyoonan (Baile Uí Mhaonáin), County Louth, but has lived most of his adult life in New York. Born, as he puts it, “a Scorpio at midnight” in the disputed Kashmir Valley, Rafiq has translated from the original Urdu selected poems of Sir Mohammed Iqbal, one of the handful of great South Asian poets of the 20th century writing in Urdu. He obtained an MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia University and a Masters in Political and Social Science from the New School University. He divides his time between New York City, Ireland and Kashmir. In Another Country is his debut collection. 
In Another CountryIn Another Country - ‘Vivid, fearless vignettes of the displaced denizens of our global village, poems and prose poems that encompass a myriad of moods and situations, humour and horror, tradition jostling with modernity, autobiographical and family sketches with an aura of magic realism and sheer cussedness about them. In Another Country is a bloody marvel!’ - Gabriel Rosenstock, author of The Naked Octopus (Evertype) ‘Rafiq Kathwari’s poetry - often set in Kashmir - is breathtakingly beautiful, piercingly honest, wildly exotic yet universal too, as if you put Derek Walcott, Salman Rushdie and Jhumpa Lahiri in a blender.’ - Susan Shapiro, author of What’s Never Said (Heliotrope) and The Bosnia List (Penguin).

Manav Sachdeva MaasoomManav Sachdeva Maasoom is a Luce Foundation Poet Laureate 2015. Published first book, The Sufi’s Garland, by Roman Books Kolkata in 2011. Studied Poetry and Policy Studies in Master’s at Columbia University, and Harvard University Olympia Program in Comparative Literature, Society, and Culture through a full Kokallis Foundation Scholarship. Grew up in Ludhiana, Punjab, India till fifteen, went to high school and undergraduate in California, dropped out of seven year UCR-UCLA Biomed program for the love of poetry writing and social reform as a shock decision for a scion of doctors, pursued love of literature and languages through an arduous journey at various universities and through various loans and scholarships.
Open ConversationsOpen Conversations - "Open Conversations continues the sufi conversations started in the first book, The Sufi's Garland, and go further into a preponderance on death and dying, on summer love and kaafir iftaars or breaking of fasts by the unbelievers, of freedom's lips and sufi moments, of ignorance of garb and piety of rapists, of stormy afternoons in sub Saharan Africa, of waiting for pilgrimage to Afghanistan, and of hiding and revealing, of seashores and roses, of how to be born next time and how to be dead this time, of jackals in the skin, and the vagrancies of the birds in the Balkans, of rudraveena and kernels of beauty disguised as pearls.  Ultimately Open Conversations is about there being some seeing whom we break into a smile; and then ones seeing whom nothing is visible; only the heart smiles"

Vinay TuliVinay Tuli - Many Moons ago Vinay, arrived on the doorsteps of a wonderous world,The Lawrence School Sanawar. Up in the Himalayan Range in North India, this Pine Scented Red Roofed ageless charming Oldest Co Ed Residential School in the World enfolded her into its magical arms. Adventure seemed to beckon at every turn. This place gave a solid platform for many achievements, nothing seemed impossible. One or many Seeds were sown in the Mind....Never Give In ....was the motto of the school and it stood all in good stead.

Vinay lives in Gurgaon India. She has taken part in many Poetry Readings and thus encouraged is in the process of Publishing her first Book. She has a collection of over a hundred poems.She is also compiling a slim book of essays and short stories.
Portrait On The WallPortrait On The Wall - The root of inspiration is the spirt not the head, that's what my poems reflect. Some are written with many questions, some try to give many answers.. My sense of wonder, and humor get the better of me. I write about what a picture, a painting or a photograph says to me.

A collection of poems is not about the same subject and therefore is difficult to write a synopsis of, unlike a novel which deals with a story.

Patrick BasuDr. Patrick Basu was born in an aristocratic family in Bengal from long lineage of literary geniuses such as Bankim Chandra Chatterjee. He went to Cambridge schooling and college in Cambridge, UK. He was accepted in the most prestigious medical school in India and graduated at the top of his class. Subsequently, he became an expert in virology and worked for state department of US in Asia. He pursued liver disease at Royal Free Hospital, London. In US, he trained in Medicine and Gastroenterology in Weil Cornell School of Medicine and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He met his life partner Pina, a brilliant architect and designer who has been an inspiration to him, remains a strong scaffold of his life. The author's passion for poetry started in his teens in the solitude of the mountains, brooks and deep woods. His creativity is diverse from poetry, film making to script writing. He is an exceptionally astute clinician and investigator with unmitigated compassion for medicine. He is the combination of science,art and films entwined in single matrix. His work in poetry is a spectrum of life sculpted with stupendous challenge, that he experienced longing for friendship and love as a child, teenager and adult.
Perhaps LovePerhaps Love is a compendium of romantic poems composed by the author over many decades, intimately reflective of serene storgic dying entity of "true self sacrificing love". It is written beautifully with a style so sublime, such that the interpretation is left open to the reader, depending on their individual context and frame of mind, which could range from lovers to best of friends. The style is rich and varies from sonnets to horatic and Pindaric odes dedicated to the lover and his beloved. "Perhaps Love" is an enjoyable read for anyone at any level. People with a passion for literary art can appreciate its full depth.

Meena AlexanderMeena Alexander, recently described in The Statesman as “undoubtedly one of the finest poets in contemporary times.” brings us a brilliant new collection of poems Atmospheric Embroidery (Hachette India, 2015) The poems in her latest book  evoke themes of migration, war, dislocation, conflict, love and divinity in lines of precise grace. Her poem `Bright Passage’ included in this book was featured on the wall of the Smithsonian for the 2014 exhibition `Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Remake the Nation’. Alexander’s Illiterate Heart won the PEN Open Book Award and she has received awards from the Guggenheim, Fulbright and Rockefeller Foundations as well as the Arts Council of England. Praise for her previous book Birthplace with Buried Stones: 'With one hand on the things and textures of the material world and the other reaching into the mysteries beyond us Meena Alexander does what poetry does best conveying us from the Known to the Unknown with grace and formal care.' - Billy Collins. For more information see
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