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WINTER 2019-2020


Pramila Venkateswaran


Anarkali is caged within brick walls
Shaped into a myth, romanticized.
No one declares her death a homicide.

How many pillars house dead women? Slaves,
Courtesans, rebels in mansions
Reeking of glory.

Isis transforms into a sparrow in the king’s palace,
Flies around the pillar in which Horus
Is buried in order to release him.

Isis revives her lover to regenerate the earth.
Women, how do we revive ourselves from the walls
Burying us?

Pramila Venkateswaran, poet laureate of Suffolk County, Long Island (2013-15) and co-director of Matwaala: South Asian Diaspora Poetry Festival, is the author of Thirtha (Yuganta Press, 2002) Behind Dark Waters (Plain View Press, 2008), Draw Me Inmost (Stockport Flats, 2009), Trace (Finishing Line Press, 2011), Thirteen Days to Let Go (Aldrich Press, 2015), Slow Ripening (Local Gems, 2016), and The Singer of Alleppey (Shanti Arts, 2018). She has performed the poetry internationally, including at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival and the Festival Internacional De Poesia De Granada. An award winning poet, she teaches English and Women’s Studies at Nassau Community College, and is also the 2011 Walt Whitman Birthplace Association Long Island Poet of the Year.





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