When Miriam sent me the French translation of my poem Souls I was waiting for a train to nowhere at the corner of Friday and Saturday.
Oh, fragile blossom of my dreams how friendship and beauty go together.
Miriam, thank you for bringing tears of joy into my life. Thank you for being you. Thank you for this marvelous translation. Thank you for giving me “the kind of things that money just can’t buy.”
Souls by Gabriela Marie Milton
I had to go through your soul to get to mine once in mine I wish I would have stayed in yours boats memories of that port where demons haunted you empty chests our hearts taken out every evening mornings pumping despair and agony no blood left between your soul and mine an autumn naked sky
French translation by Miriam Descendres
Il me fallu traverser tes méandres Pour revenir en moi-même; une fois parvenu, combien aurais-je désirer alors être encore en ton âme.
Les bateaux… Mémoires de ces ports où les démons hantent Les battants de ta poitrine.
Et nos coeur laissés là à l’abandon; chaque soir; pour de nouveau pulser sous les feux de l’aube, entre désespoir et agonie.
De sang, il n’en reste plus goutte s’écoulant en mon âme, la tienne. …
“Dear Mama: An Immigrant’s Secret Cry” author Shailja Sharma, published by Pittsburgh-based Setu Publications, a merit-based, peer-reviewed publisher with a preface by Gabriela Marie Milton.
When Shailja sent me the manuscript of her book and asked me to write a preface I was sure I was not going to do it. I had too much work to do: too much research, too many responsibilities, too many hours helping various communities, including the poetry community. I definitely was not going to do it. That was valid before I opened the manuscript. The moment I opened it I could not put it down.
First, here is Shailja talking about her book:
“Dear Mama: An Immigrant’s Secret Cry” is a secret tear flowing from an immigrant’s heart. It’s the tear that is hidden from mama for many years while settling in a land away from home. It feels better when it finally flows. These poems depict lacks and memories, struggles and hardships, as well as hopes, promises, potential, and empowerment. Some of these pieces were recently published world-wide. Due to an excellent readership, the author was compelled to extend and compile this book.”
Below is my preface and the Amazon link where you can find the book.
In 2017, Jessica Traynor, wrote an opinion piece in The Irish Times entitled “James Joyce, the emigrant who left Dublin in body but not in mind.” The theme of immigration has been a constant presence in world literature. Most recently, contemporary novels such as Julie Otsuka’s The Buddha in the Attic, and Cristina Henriquez’s The Book of Unknown Americans excellently depict the challenges and struggles of immigrants.
Shailja Sharma (Ph.D.), a psychologist practicing in the USA, steps on the same roads with her beautiful poetry volume entitled Dear Mama: An Immigrant’s Secret Cry. The book reflects the trauma immigrants endure when settling in new lands. The opening poem screams alienation: “I missed telling you how much I missed you.”
In order for the new life to keep as least a semblance of past – a past where the familiar lies – the author tries to reproduce in her place of settlement Indian customs. Lines like: Hold your Deepak/Flaunt the sari, are representative. Shailja decries the lack of free-play, discrimination, prejudice, and longs for the smoothness and protection that once she felt at home.
Dear Mama: An Immigrant’s Secret Cry, stands apart not only because of the theme the author addresses – immigration being a major subject in multiple societies these days – but also by the power of its astonishing verse, the talent of its author, and the empowerment the author offers. In the pages of this book the reader will find poetry at its best. Shailja Sharma’s verses are the mirror in which immigrants can find themselves and, equally, the highest expression of poetic endeavor.
Here is a snippet from the book
There used to be a wall with a hook that anchored my belongings. Some wet memories have pickled over the years. It’s raining and my feet are running to the backyard to save grandmother’s pickle jars. I know it’s too late, but I continue to stand in prickly rain drops. My wounds are wet and I am shivering. I am crying for the concrete floor, on which, sat a folded towel holding her steaming pressure-cooker. I have lost that floor…
Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women (an Anthology) – Call for Submissions
With great pleasure I announce that submissions are now open for the anthology: Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women. This anthology will be edited, and curated, by me and published by Experiments in Fiction.
For those of you who do not know me, I am Gabriela Marie Milton a #1 Amazon bestselling poet, and an internationally published author. My literary work appeared in various magazines and anthologies. I am the author of the #1 best-selling poetry collection ‘Woman: Splendor and Sorrow’ (Vita Brevis Press, July 2021) and, the author of ‘Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings’ (Vita Brevis Press, April 2020). Under the name Gabriela M I was awarded 2019 Author of the Year at Spillwords Press (NYC). My piece ‘If I say I love you’ was nominated for 2020 Spillwords Press Publication of the Year (Poetic). Presently I am the editor of MasticadoresUsa.
I am honored to have this anthology published by Experiments in Fiction, a publishing house owned by Ingrid Wilson who is herself a successful poet and writer, nominated for Spillwords Author of the Year 2021. Her previous publications include ‘The Anthropocene Hymnal: Songs of a Self-defining Era’ in July 2020: a poetic response to the climate and ecological crisis.
That said, let’s get down to business.
I seek poetry that addresses the challenges women face in our society, and the diversity of means they use to overcome pain and accomplish their dreams. How you interpret the theme is up to you.
I chose this theme because I wanted to underscore how powerful women are, and how much they can accomplish regardless of the adversities most of them go through. Women are strong. Women can stand up for themselves and be successful under very difficult circumstances. Please tell us about your struggle and your successes.
I did not choose this theme as a social posture. If I had done so some people would have thought – perhaps – that women’s work is inconsequential unless grouped under the label of feminism and/or similar categorizations. Let me be clear. No matter how one looks at this anthology, the featured poems included in it will be outstanding and consequential. That much I can promise you.
If your work is selected for publication, please remember that it is not a certificate of belonging to one group or another. Your work will be a testimony of your poetic talent, and your power to overcome difficulties and reach for the sky.