“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
I have lost that floor…
You can find the book on Amazon HERE:
A Gentle Reminder – Please do not forget to submit to the anthology Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women.
You can find the call for submissions HERE. Please follow the guidelines for submissions. Poetry that does not follow the guidelines will not be taken in consideration.
Have a great weekend everyone.
Gabriela Marie Milton
#1 Amazon Bestseller Author
Woman: Splendor and Sorrow :I Love Poems and Poetic Prose
Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings