VANCOUVER: Only a handful of people in the Indo-Canadian diaspora have pursued literary pursuits.
Ashok Bhargava is one of them.
In fact, as president of Writer International Network (WIN) Canada, he has made it his mission to encourage budding artists and writers to pursue their literary passions.
Recently, Bhargava’s poem Fortune Cookie was selected as a winning poem, in a blind reading selection process, held by the Chuckanut Sandstone Writers Theater and the Bellingham Repertory Dance Company of Washington State in the US. He went over as he was requested to read his poem to the live audience.
The reading selection process, called `Phrasings in Word and Dance,’ is the joint work of the Bellingham Repertory Dance Company and the Chuckanut Sandstone Writers Theatre, says Bhargava.
According to him, the aim of this literary endeavor, held annually since 2007 at the Firehouse Performing Arts Center in Bellingham, is how “joining the serious and diverse communities of dancers, writers, and choreographers could result in some especially exciting new opportunities for these creative artists to express their ideas and talent.”
Each writer appearing in this collection represents original voice laced with personal and regional influences. Some poems are selected by choreographers, some with choreographers and some as standalone readings – all from an annual call for writers.
Phrasing can be described as the way something is done – it is a way of reading poetry, playing music or pulse of dancing etc that separates the words, notes or rhymes into phrases, he says.
Phrasing also refers to an expressive writing of a poem, musical notes or dance steps. It basically relates to the manner of reading a poem, rhythmic playing of notes or execution of gestures of dance of expressing sentiments and feelings that can be distinguished by the audience – not only factually but perceptively as well.
Phrasing is the sentences and paragraphs, made up of body language, through which dancers communicate their interpretation of the music and poetry to expresses feelings of joy, yearning, sadness, separation or melancholy.
So finally here is Bhargava’s winning poem:
In the backyard
standing beside dark green
cottony aster hedge,
she puts her hands inside my pockets
In the sleeveless blouse
her body is chilled by
the early spring wind of the prairies.
She shivers as I put my
arms around her.
She holds my hand tight and
looks at me
as we try
to find our shadows
in each other’s eyes.
And today, after lunch
at the Bamboo Palace,
she jokes about Manila drivers
and I tell her about the
Hindu temples of Bombay.
Popping a cookie open,
sudden calm descends her
as she reads the fortune.
I want to know you more,
not the temples, she said.
Overhead radio blurts an oriental tune,
quietly we both pretend we understand.