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Monday, January 09, 2006



Poet and writer, Janet Naidu,
releases new book, RAINWATER


"Rainwater" is a groundbreaking work of stories in poetic form which contains a ‘glossary’ of words that remind readers of the diversity of Guyanese and Caribbean society.


Guyanese Canadian poet and writer has released her second collection of poems, Rainwater, at a brunch held recently which saw nearly 100 attendees. RAINWATER is a literary work of stories in poetic form that contains a ‘glossary’ of words that remind readers of the diversity of Guyanese and Caribbean society.

A collection of 51 poems, the absorbing book begins with the long voyage of Indians traveling from India to Guyana and some of whom returned after their Indentureship contract ended.

The book brings to life a recollection of a period of IndoCaribbean history with poems that invoke the imagination of travelers making their journey across the Kala Pani (dark water) and their struggles in their new place of settlement. Moreover, it highlights part of the minorities of indentured labourers who migrated from Madras (now Chennai in Tamil Nadu) to then British Guiana. The themes of the poetry take the reader on a journey of the Caribbean experience of Indian Indentureship and their movements from place to place and a further exploration of a second wave of migration to other lands, i.e. Canada where the author resides.

In addition to Naidu’s watercolour titled “Settlement” that graces the cover, the book contains four of her pencil sketches that reflect the themes of the collection.

Poems such as “Destination”, “El Dorado Gyal”, “Buckets” and “Pardesi”, meaning “Foreign Traveler” reveal a journey stained in struggle and longing. Naidu states, "Indo-Caribbean experience from India to Guyana as well as the Caribbean and their movement elsewhere, as in Canada for example, has been a journey within many journeys that continue to be haunting and nostalgic.” She also expresses that movement to another landscape that brings a different imagination in a second resettlement and new challenges. Poems such as “Lines in the Passport”, “White Sugar” and “Wilderness” reveal different degrees of experiences of migration, exile and alienation. The dominant themes of this work are memories of distant lands, life in Guyana as well as Canada where Naidu resides.

Written for those interested in Caribbean experience and for a study of cultural identity, the book can be used:

• as a study of Caribbean literature in secondary schools, colleges and universities.

• as resource material to learn more about Indian culture and experience, both in the Caribbean region and the diaspora (through migration to places in the Caribbean, UK, USA, Canada and other places).

• as increased awareness of multiculturalism and as an insight into Caribbean identity.


“If the poems in Winged Heart, Janet Naidu’s first volume, disclose an earnest desire to escape from colonial confinement, those in her second volume, Rainwater, revel in altogether more affectionate, balanced and lyrical evocation of her bitter-sweet Guyanese past, and its layered issues of migration, identity, love, and the role of women in the modern world..”

– Frank Birbalsingh
Professor Emeritus, Department of English, York University, Toronto, Canada.

“These poems are heartbeats in ‘the tunnel of leaving and returning’. They move from birthplace to places stained in struggle and longing. Like rainwater, they are awash with cleansing light and beauty.”

– Arnold Harrichand Itwaru
Professor and Director of Caribbean Studies: New College,
University of Toronto. Poet, artist and author of the classic Shanti.

“Janet Naidu’s work reads like a poetic mosaic that is specifically Indo-Caribbean and universal at the same time. Emotions and experiences such as exile, nostalgia, feminist self-assertions, cultural identity, and desire are brought to life in imagery that remains vivid, lush, sensual, and poignant.”

– Brinda J. Mehta, Professor of French and Francophone Studies: Mills College,
Oakland, California and author of Diasporic (Dis) locations: Indo-Caribbean
women writers negotiate the kala pani

___________________________________________________________________

The author Janet Naidu was born in Covent Garden, East Bank Demerara and
immigrated to Canada in 1975. She holds a leadership position in a large
corporation, promoting equal opportunity and overseeing human rights issues in
the workplace. In her spare time, she writes poetry, memoirs and short stories.
Her first book, Winged Heart (published in 1999 and was short-listed for the
Guyana Prize for Literature, Poetry Category in 2000), contains themes of
migration, resilience and survival, also spanning similar movements from place to
place, most specifically reflecting experiences of Guyana and life near the sugar
cane fields.
____________________________________________________________________

Here is a poem from Rainwater:

Buckets

Quite early in the morning
we heard more than once,
words like leaves
leaping in the wind – Tamil, Telugu
Hindi and Urdu – other tongues too.
They come as music in the fields.

Then decades of separation increased.

We now yearn for a single moment
of that old friend in the field
who closed the distance between
our pain and fury with his sweet bhajans.

We search for him
near a narrow roadside;
There, a barrel full of rainwater –
To reclaim that body,
this miracle in buckets
showering my head with thunder –
This barrel, the only vessel
carrying my single desire
to return and discover
that shadow in the field,
his voice in the wind:

Ah who dah?

To obtain a copy of Rainwater, contact:

Guyana Journal, 105-27 Liberty Avenue, Ozone Park - Tel: 718 . 835 .1530
OR
Guyana Outpost at: http://guyanaoutpost.com/bookstore.shtml

Ah me bhai, Darshan

____________________________

Rainwater
Janet Alamelu Naidu - 2005 - Greenheart

ISBN 0-9685868-1-3

2005-1003


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"Rainwater" is a groundbreaking work of stories in poetic form which contains a ‘glossary’ of words that remind readers of the diversity of Guyanese and Caribbean society.


A collection of 51 poems, the absorbing book begins with the long voyage of Indians traveling from India to Guyana and some of whom returned after their Indentureship contract ended. The book brings to life a recollection of a period in IndoCaribbean history with poems that invoke the imagination of travelers making their journey across the Kala Pani (dark water) and their struggles in their new place of settlement. Moreover, it highlights part of the minorities of Indians who migrated from Madras (now Chennai in Tamil Nadu). The themes of the poetry take the reader on a journey of the Caribbean experience of Indian Indentureship and their movements from place to place.

Posted by jebratt :: Monday, January 09, 2006 :: 1 comments

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