Wednesday, September 1, 2021





For all the violence imposed on her

For all the humiliation she has suffered

For her body that you have taken advantage of

For her intelligence that you have stepped

For the ignorance which you have left her in

For the freedom you have denied her

For the mouth you shut, and for the wings you clipped


W. Shakespeare from Stand Gentlemen in front of a Woman.


Among the themes that have most fascinated poets of all time, women certainly occupy the most important place. The female gender has always inspired deep emotions and passions giving life to wonderful poems and texts of great value.  Women have permanently been in male thought and writing as beings to sing for their beauty and virtues. Rarely for their strength and intelligence. Poetry is rich in verses dedicated to them and among the poems considered the most beautiful of all time are the timeless lines by William Shakespeare in “Stand up gentleman in front of a woman” that, beyond the uniqueness of the style, and despite the slow but long passage of time remains a fresh, modern portrait of the female condition.

Women have been for long the object, not the subject of poetic narration. The numerical disparity between the works of male and female matrix depends on a series of variables that sees, in every society, them considered as beings to be relegated to domestic environments, their education and entry in social contexts denied. They had to fight with sagacity and determination to conquer, and in small steps, each freedom that was them precluded. Nonetheless women poets have been able to give their own personal reading of the world, giving voice to fundamental themes in the life of individuals up to the definition of a self that is not individualistic but collective, the female self.

The first known poetess, that the history of poetry remember, is Enheduanna, a Sumerian priestess who lived approximately in the XXIV BC. After her, one of the most beloved name in women's literature is that of Sappho, a Greek poetess who lived, more or less, in the 6th century BC.  Originally from the island of Sappho, she took care of the education of young girls from aristocratic origins. Her only composition preserved intact is the Hymn to Aphrodite, goddess of love.

Many centuries go by before poetic compositions signed by female authors appear again. In the 13th century, under the pseudonym of Compiuta Donzella, an Italian from Florence breaks the silence with three sonnets. And it is in the second half of the 1300s that Christine de Pizan, author of both philosophical and poetic texts, marks a historical moment in women's literature as the first author who lives by writing. But it is after the Renaissance that in Europe  women become real protagonists of verse writing. And if in all this long period of time they had been considered marginal figures in the literary field at the end of the nineteenth century, they are recognized equal dignity in relation to their male colleagues. This is the time when the names of Emily Dickinson, Madame de Stael, Eveline Cattermole emerge.

At the international level it is during the twentieth century that the richest production of female poetry is recorded and that counts some figures still of great inspiration today. Among them, worthy of mention are Sylvia Plath credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry;, Anne Sexton who was the first to tackle problems such as abortion, sexuality and women's rights becoming one of the first feminist authors like Virginia Woolf; Ada Negri nominated to the Nobel Prize in 1927, Grazia Deledda who summarizes in her poetics all the main currents of the time and the first and still the only Italian woman to receive the Nobel Prize for the literary section in 1926.

The women poets distinguished themselves for the investigative perspective and the spirit of observation with which they described the world around them, complex and difficult both from a literary and a social point of view and which saw the woman at the beginning of her political and cultural emancipation. Their gaze towards this world is not central, but observes from the margins of the society in which they are locked up as wives and mothers, rather than as poetesses. Their analysis is very far from the masculine one which includes the narration of the war. Their verses delicately describe the point of view of the most humble, marginalized part of society or the hypocrisy of the more educated social classes.

The international scene today boasts a long list of names of poetesses who describe, with different styles and sensibilities, every aspect of female everyday life. Capable of probing the human soul, they produce compositions of great emotional impact, which tell reality with a new gaze and the condition of women with a surprising sincerity, moving the consciences of readers with passionate and intense reflections.

Maria Miraglia







NILAVRONILL: Why do literature and poetry in particular interest you so much? Please give us some idea about your own perception of literature or poetry in general.

GOPA BHATTACHARJEE: Only a very emotional person who does not calculate the integrities of life, in order to find solace will be a hard-core prose and poetry lover. I guess that’s what I am. To me, poetry is like loving your lover trying to unveil him slowly each day and discovering something new that makes you fall in love each day.

NILAVRONILL: How do you relate your own self existence with your literary life in one hand, and the time around you, in the other.

GOPA BHATTACHARJEE: Well, being a Post Graduate in English love and interest for literature has always been into my life and curriculum. Though I am an entrepreneur for almost 26 years now but I always found time to grab all kinds of literary books to quench my thirst. Being a multitasker for many years I have been able to balance between work life and love life


NILAVRONILL: Do you believe creative souls flourish more in turmoil than in peace?

GOPA BHATTACHARJEE: In both of course. It depends upon in which mood the creative soul is. While Rabindranath Tagore has written “Where the mind is without fear” when our nation was in a politically turmoil situation, he has also written peace poems like ‘Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf’ in his poem “The Gardener”. It applies even to other creative souls.


NILAVRONILL: Do you think in this age of information and technology the dimensions of literature have been largely extended beyond our preconceived ideas about literature in general?

GOPA BHATTACHARJEE: It has largely extended beyond our preconceived ideas as today the market is more global more digitalised and a budding writer can reach millions of readers through the right use of social media. Literature has spread its wings. Readers are observing, reading your articles and if you have quality you will reach the hearts of millions.


NILAVRONILL: Now, in this changing scenario we would like to know from your own life experiences as a poet, writer and a creative soul: How do you respond to this present time?

GOPA BHATTACHARJEE: The present pandemic time period which we are all going through taught me a lot of things about life and people. It Inspires. The present time is very difficult and we all need to combat it together with patience and hope. With so much leisure time in hand we can develop our literary capabilities.


NILAVRONILL: Do you believe that all writers are by and large the product of their nationality? And is this an incentive for or an obstacle against becoming a truly international writer?

GOPA BHATTACHARJEE: Absolutely. Never an obstacle, today there is no bar raised between nations when speaking about acclaimed writers. A good literature piece if the publisher and the writer can promote universally it will be appreciated by the mass. It will reach the hands of the people in every nation around the world he might be sitting in a small town in Bareilly or in a popular city like Boston.


NILAVRONILL: Now, if we try to understand the tradition and modernism, do you think literature can play a pivotal role in it?  If so, how? Again, how can an individual writer relate himself or herself to the tradition and to modernism?

GOPA BHATTACHARJEE: Though there is a vast difference between traditional writing and modern writing. I think any creative soul should be open minded towards both the style of writings and learn to appreciate both. In that way he/she will be able to create something unique.


NILAVRONILL: Do you think literary criticism has much to do with the development of a poet and the true understanding of his or her poetry?

GOPA BHATTACHARJEE:  Criticism can be of various kinds. In today’s self-conscious social media, negative criticism can kill a budding poet. But the right kind of criticism can help a creative soul to develop, realise mistakes and help to achieve success.


NILAVRONILL: Do you think society as a whole is the key factor in shaping you up as a poet, or your poetry altogether?

GOPA BHATTACHARJEE:  Yes society, its people, the environment, my own life experiences, helped me to be sensitive towards different feelings and helped me to write poetry and shape me up as a poet.


NILAVRONILL: Do you think people in general actually bother about literature?  Do you think this consumerist world is turning the average man away from serious literature?

GOPA BHATTACHARJEE: The day Art and Literature will die history will rewind its pages and humans will be considered as cave men once again. In this consumerist world there is still a large number of literary lovers. Some express, some don’t. Too much of consumer culture can affect people’s mental well-being and only art and literature can give them holistic peace and satisfaction.


NILAVRONILL: We would like to know the factors and the peoples who have influenced you immensely in the growing phase of your literary life.

GOPA BHATTACHARJEE: It’s a long list which includes my jethu, pishi (uncle, aunt) who were product of partition and the stories they read and narrated when we were small, my parents who still possess their collection of Bengali Sahitya, my professor who taught me to feel and vision poetry, my husband and son who are themselves very creative have been my greatest critics and motivators, my friends and readers who still continue to support and encourage me.


NILAVRONILL: How would you evaluate your contemporaries and what are your aspirations for or expectation from the younger generation?

GOPA BHATTACHARJEE: The young generation creative souls inspire me a lot. The world is more open to them they are more sensitive, and experimental. I get to learn a lot from them.


NILAVRONILL: Humanity has suffered immensely in the past, and is still suffering around the world. We all know it well. But are you hopeful about our future?

GOPA BHATTACHARJEE: Nothing is permanent, why would suffering be considered to be so. With patience and determination, we will reach a better world.


NILAVRONILL: What role can literature in general play to bring a better day for every human being?

GOPA BHATTACHARJEE: Pen is mightier than sword and the right kind of literature can create new thoughts of hope and positivity among human beings. 


GOPA BHATTACHARJEE: An entrepreneur, a romantic poet, actor of the poetry film Kolkata Cocktail, a free-lance journalist who still loves the first showers of monsoon, eighty’s Hindi songs and maccher jhol bhaat cooked by her mother. Her debut poetry book ‘Unturned Verses’ was published in the Kolkata International Book Fair.







Winter Warmth

Now that you have left me behind,

I hate sleeping under the winter sky

listening to the cooing of the doves,

calling his mates to warm his nest.

Eavesdropping the sounds of the television

couples cuddled to watch the late night movies,

silhouettes visible from the glass windows.


I would love to sense

Your warm tight hands from behind

under our cosy blankets of memories,

Your hot breath, falling on my neckline,

our fingers intertwined,


As you fall asleep, your slight snoring

sensations of your presence.

Grasping palms loosen unconsciously

with the slight movement of my fingers.

you tightly grip them, a mark of possession.


I want to feel the winter warmth,

along with you in my emotions,

sipping coffee cups, stained by your lips.


Keats Nightingale

Can you please tell them?

I don’t want to be a fairy.

Fairies are too white, too bright.

They seldom tell lies.

I love the grey shades of my life.

Not too white, nor too black.

Just a tinge of both.

That makes me feel like a cloud.

That can explore.

I can be a bird instead

Maybe Keats’s Nightingale.

An uncaged city Life.

Spreading my wings.

To taste freedom galore.




I can just sit down leisurely

like a stone carved idol

looking like a stoic.

Imagining, reasoning, recollecting moments

but doing nothing at all.

The heartbeat of the clock

keeps pacing time.

When suddenly, I realize

that I have heaps of work

that remains incomplete.

But still......

I remain inactive.

Cursing, my existence




And then my pillow tells me.

I am good for nothing.


Caged Bird of Angelou

My diary pages are filled

with half-written verses

Of unidentified concealed thoughts.

My ebony ash tray is filled.

with half-burnt cigars

of sorrow and pensive clots.


The terrace is lined

with half soaked garments

of previous days forced passion blots.

My windows are filled

with half rays of sunshine.

expecting hope of future lots

I, like a pensive caged bird of Angelou.

saw the shadows of the street lamps as

human’s exhaust. ..

Kept contemplating

What lies in the future?

What is to be gained?

And what is to be lost?

Love The Stranger. 

One day, we will meet again. But as strangers,

That day. I will wear a crimson red sari

My bun will be adorned with palash flowers.

You will look at me from a distance.

As you once glanced, oblivious of the crowd,

That day will be my day.

A day remembered forever.

(Inspired From The Poem, ‘Hothath Dekha’ 

By Rabindranath Thakur)



GOPA BHATTACHARJEE: An entrepreneur, a romantic poet, actor of the poetry film Kolkata Cocktail, a free-lance journalist who still loves the first showers of monsoon, eighty’s Hindi songs and maccher jhol bhaat cooked by her mother. Her debut poetry book ‘Unturned Verses’ was published in the Kolkata International Book Fair.





The Clock Cell


Something happens to die

And the sunlight which has been soaking is wet and obscure

If I carry on the lines

The frozen object which has been captured in your hands will drop

Otherwise, the day has come to an end.



When I get home; staring at all those cubical shapes;

Standstill current of water

And the sunlight which is never damp

On the blank sheets of writing

bursting into tears over old sheets on my bed.


The elements

Its essence has been painted by my blood

The rain of cats and dogs on my field

The moon is encompassing the land!


Here with the frostbite on the iron post,

I left the time on the river bank

Time was a whim slipped away from my fingers

The moments have been cleaned and cleared.


The wall has turned blue

Me and the black gown

Have taken the flow of the river.


It's a calf death breast-fed.


What is it?

Sediments on a neutral background

It could be in a different colour

It's been many days since I started walking on the rope

The creased moon is hanging down the ceiling.



A flimsy stone

The frostbite on the window glass

The bridge has fallen down

Silence on a metal tape

Ending to a blind full stop.





The Fern


I was a seven-story being, covered in scarce species of a plant

And it was a funeral ceremony

and I was the only single mourner

First I picked a gemstone from this very soil,

And then sealed and knocked it over my forehead

I returned and had a glance at my homeland again and I shed tears on this very soil

My father was the phoenix; My mother a restless Goddess in Shush and Ecbatana and on the tomb of Mordechai

But God was with me

My far-sighted binocular eyes are a camera in this deep darkness, a whole dark loophole!

And I'm the dumb and voiceless Myth of clashes of spoons and forks at the dinner table

Deity of The Nawab Highway, heading the cemeteries

At East End of this city... What's pouring over your head blow by blow and nonstop, incessantly?

What is this entire dirt and filth in thorns and dust?

Which is covering things in a very slow pace, gentle and soft!

What's it like? What could it be?

The fairies had nested on my dark hair,

And I had washed the fairies, drained them, brewed them like rice.

You knew the time well, the moments are lingering, it's yawning and sleepy,

That very frozen moment and then absolute silence

While with my wounded nails on the stove, I was boiling over the saucepan!

When I covered the whole scene of the Revolution Square and erupted like a volcano

Perhaps I had just kept my face pale with bleaching...


I am the Fern

The Orphan Land

The Stepchild

Fostered Land


And forbidden

And infected with all kinds of diseases, fake gurus, lies and manipulations


What has captured your heart and attached you to this land, brother?

The country which has been completely burned, half buried and the other half contaminated with Lead,

The smokes are left...


The Fern I am!

The Goddess of wild growing flowers,

The Lady of thorn and thistles

Upon the sorrow of the Talisman woven into my country,

And how I dug the mountains,

What have you done then?

Only a handful of soil which has been displaced

Makes me bewitched forever

Ashes which have been sprinkled over Bozorgmehr and Yazdgerd and the Great Republic

My ashes which have been spread over the seas and over the far oceans

And I have been resided in the waters of the River Euphrates forever

The stale smell of dampness;

The spider which has nested right over my head

And you had foretold all this,

You had already seen it...


The Naming ritual is over.

Turn off the lights. Tomorrow is a Saturday,

Oh, I will not sigh!

Mirrors have grown over my index finger!

For I have wept the waters of seven seas in six thousand years

And I have taken refuge in the corner of a chair in fury


The sidewalks are deserted.

Passers-by are the perpetual dead

And this deserted Military Zone

Has no longer been residential.


I yielded to the winds

And packed

Giving away my body

And giving my soul to the windshields

It came to pass in a second when I became a yard bird

A captive for thousands of years

To the bitter end,

My words were ashes and carbon dioxide; coal...

The Fern is an ill-bred wild seed, off the rails that is not given a name, not called by a name

It's exactly like a lettuce leaf: not happened to be named,

But it's been peeled, sliced

Misshaped, warped and deformed

Why should it be named in the first place?




Visual Error


Right at the center of universe

They opened my tied hands

And they let me go

This is the Land you have long yearned for…


(A dark thick veil was drawing black circles over my eyes

In a very early second, the time was set with my watch.

My hands hadn't been shaped yet,

They were immature

My dusty clay-made face

My Profile on a sculpture was the same since the Genesis

Just thick dark circles over my eyes

And my throat was silenced, its vibrations sealed and forbidden.


I've been blinded and ransomed to sit there and count tambourines that we had divided yesterday and finished the other day

I have been walking on rivers, splitting the seas

Ask the chronicle for how many years I split the seas


A tight eye pupil has encompassed the whole world

Yet me,

In desperate need of a 7-millimeter space to write on the margins of the pool

What are you speaking about?

You've been sleeping in my arms for so many years

Worms have covered the centre of universe

And this bending round shape which lingers for ever has dispatched me

What are you speaking about?

The Fahrenheit thermometer says

My temperature has increased one degree


Just the time we could reach the centre of the earth

We would be a landmark for you

Right, it's the land I desired for

It's pettier than what I had imagined

Its interior shell is peeling me off

They have told the sweepers to sweep us in a way nobody could be left

It's worth more than the cost of what has blinded me

It's excavating my throat tunnels

And this labyrinthine soil

Its lime shell

It's a land from here to seven millimeters there

I couldn't have dreamt this fragmented dream


They had untied my ropes

And I didn't know where my journey took me to, they had abandoned me on a wasteland, they didn't want me anymore!


Oh, wait, sister!


I have endured all this!


But this wound has left a scar on my body

The one which you cannot erase it

What are you speaking about?

While they have stolen the right hand of God

I have turned to a profile stone on this famine-stricken land

I have turned round and round to reach the most mysterious spot on this circle

Here is a piece of land to dig

With a naked torso of God

In the middle of a pool full of blood

How much do you pay for this labour?

The air which tightened my neck is blowing gustily

You are chasing me like a shadow

I'm a light and lantern on your shady way

It's two at midnight

Ask the chronicles for how many thousand years I have walked on the sea

We had come to watch the eclipse


Right at the time we stepped on the centre of the earth

Just a shady vein from my right atrium

Like a corner ends in a dead end alley

Oh, wait sister



It was unprecedented

And had disappeared from my eyesight.




Chesslike City, Tehran


You see the city in my veins fast asleep

Like the obscure web over my brain

As if destroyed the fragments of my memory.


In the morning things were perfect

Just a watchdog which is penetrating incessantly into the eyelids

Things for sure were perfect in the morning.


Signals, signals, and parasites bombarded the satellite TV!


Like a white sheet, stagnant on the washing hanging

Still, things are perfect,

Waves moving around me;

This wretched scorching hot sultry weather


I'm the only driver turning into the highways

Railings like parallel lines keeping us all together


Is the turning forever?


Lack of iron and minerals,

Mercury as fast as death is shadowing the table frame now

Temperatures just dropped!


Tehran is the city in my veins fast asleep!


Railings are putting us into sleep

The ruins of the city have been left over the frame.


Done with your breakfast?

Shall we exit from the right?

The prism, turning and turning into the wind

As if our torn-up parched lips and the garments in the whirlwind


By watching I feel pins and needles in my arms

The chessboard you made

With all its dead bodies,

Surfing over the waters and waters of the metropolis!




Two Black Buttons


My eyes are used to the dark mood

For I have sewed two black buttons into my eye SOCKETS

And you are gonna touch me

In this Bleak House

All over the blackness...







ROSA JAMALI (Born 1977) is an Iranian poet, playwright, and translator. She studied Drama & Literature at the Art University of Tehran and holds a Master's degree in English literature from TEHRAN University. She has published six collections of poetry so far. Her first book," This Dead Body is Not an Apple, It is Either a Cucumber or a Pear”, was published in 1997, and opened new landscapes and possibilities to Persian contemporary poetry. Through broken syntax and word-play, she described a surreal world in which words have lost their meanings and have become jumbled objects within contemporary everyday life. In her other collections, she adapted a kind of music from classical Persian poetry and imbued it with the natural cadences of speech, juxtaposing long and short sentences. In her recent poems, she creates some layers of intertextuality with Persian Mythology and mysticism. Since then she has created works that have always been strictly engaged with the forms and conscious of styles in poetics, digressing in between various literary styles and traditions. experiencing crystal, condensed and language-based imagery taking its inspiration from the style of visionary writings of Persian transcendentalists like Suhrawardi,... Rosa Jamali’s poetry also enjoys a rich influence of English poetry. She is also an active translator; with an anthology of Anglophone poets translated to Persian. A lecturer on Persian poetry at the British Library, US Persian Study centres and has contributed to so many poetry festivals worldwide. She is a Judge in a number of prestigious poetry Prizes inside the country and has written a number of scholarly articles on Poetry, Literary theory, and Creative writing. Selection of her essay titled "Revelations in the Wind" discusses the Poetics of Persian Poetry.