Tuesday, 16 February 2010
Brian Reads at St Stephen's College
Gandhi Study Circle
St. Stephen’s College, Delhi
invites you to a poetry reading session with
Dr. Brian Mendonça
traveller-poet \ musician \ blogger
An evening of scintillation and cultural re-invention
16th February 2010 (Tuesday)
6:30 pm, SCR Lawns
A day before Ash Wednesday, Brian shared his poems with students of St Stephen’s college at the SCR lawns, St Stephen’s College, Delhi University, North Campus, New Delhi. As daylight dripped into dusk, students silently filed in and occupied chairs – as if in a performance play – as Brian softly plucked ‘Greensleeves’ – the Elizabethen tune -- on his classical guitar. Robinson Raju, Final Year BA student at Stephen’s and the coordinator of the event, introduced Brian as a traveller-poet at 6.30 p.m. -- the scheduled time for the event to begin. In tribute to the synergy which made the gathering possible, Brian opened with the hymn ‘You are my hiding place’ on the guitar.
BLOG : The first clutch of poems were from Brian’s blog and included the Udaipur/Jaipur poems (Forthcoming in Journal of English Studies, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, 2010) and ‘Morning Walk- Delhi South’ and ‘Autumn Woman’ -- two poems recently published in the debut issue of South Asian Ensemble (Canada, Autumn 2009). Brian invited the students to contribute to the Ensemble for which he is on the advisory board. The Stephen’s reading of 16 February 2010 is Brian’s 90th blog at www.lastbustovasco.blogspot.com
POEMS for CHILDREN: ‘Hymn to Ravi’ (Published by Oxford University Press, Delhi, 2009) and ‘Barefoot Child’ (OUP, 2007) were read by Brian, bringing up the rear with ‘Childhood’ (Parmal, Goa, 2009). The little boy in the poem who pushes his tyre up the hillside and watches it roll down with glee recalled, observed Robinson, the myth of Sisyphus.
LAST BUS to VASCO (Self-published 2006, reprinted 2007): Next, the group set sail for Goa via Brian’s first poem ‘Requiem to a Sal’ (1989). ‘On the Run’ and ‘Sea in the Sky’ brought giggles with its staccato style leading on to the lyrical ‘Sonya’ and the acceptance of ‘Bells of St Andrews.’ ‘Fugitive’ was recited in Portuguese followed by the translation. ‘Praxis’ recalled the search for the poetic voice. Social issues were showcased in ‘Londa Station.’ The last poem in this section was ‘A Peace of India’ which was promptly followed by a Portuguese song ‘En Costa tua Cabecinha’ and the riotous Konkani medley ‘Undra Mhojea Mama.’
A PEACE OF INDIA (Forthcoming): A request for a poem from Bihar took us to Brian’s poem on the Sonepur mela and its ‘absent elephants.’ The pungency of ‘Kamariya lachke lupa lup’ made many blush. ‘Kali Gandak’ on the ‘black river’ followed. Nainital was next with the pathos of ‘Gargia’ lamenting the tragic death of a village girl to a speeding mini-truck in the hills: ‘You went away /when we came to love you’, the first lines, made a deep impression on the listeners. ‘Kundun’ an early poem, written in Dharamshala, evoked ‘The oracle [which] warns / of imminent danger.’ ‘Deep South’ took us all South of the Cauvery and a memorializing of the tsunami dead.
SAHITYA AKADEMI (2004): The moment of truth in Brian’s poetic career was the 14 poems published in the SA journal Indian Literature. From here Brian read the much-loved ‘I am not alone’ and ‘Traveller’- a manifesto to his destiny.
Fellow-travellers were impressed with the plenitude of Brian’s themes. Among his influences Brian mentioned, TS Eliot, Yeats, Pessoa, Sofia Andresen, and a host of Romantic music composers with Schumann leading the charge. ‘Do you write full-time?’ one student asked. Brian replied that he needed to work so that he could travel. Asked where he saw himself in the tradition of Indian poetry, Brian replied, ‘I enjoy writing. Let’s leave the theorizing to someone else.’ ‘Avalon’ (Parmal 2009) written in Anjuna was ample evidence of that. ‘Dr Brian Mendonca – traveller-poet, musician, blogger: An evening of scintillation and cultural re-invention’ said the poster. The evening certainly lived up to that!
Dr Brian Mendonça, traveller-poet, musician, and avid blogger works in New Delhi as an ELT publishing professional. His self-published debut volume of poems Last Bus to Vasco: Poems from Goa (2006, with audio CD) was reprinted within a year. It also inspires the name of his blog. He is currently working on his second collection of poems entitled A Peace of India: Poems in Transit.
An ‘India-vidual’ Brian travels widely across India to read his poems and interact with poetry-lovers. 13 poems of his were published in Indian Literature, the journal of the Sahitya Akademi in May 2004 – his watershed moment, poetically.
Brian's poems, articles and travelogues have been carried by local and national dailies, and also in scholarly journals. In March 2009 he read a paper on Cuban poetry at the Centre for European and Latin American Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
Born in Mithapur, Gujarat, he schooled in Don Bosco, Mumbai and did his graduation at St. Xavier’s College, Mapusa, Goa. His MA in English Literature is from the University of Bombay and his M.Phil from the University of Poona, Pune. His doctorate from the English and Foreign Languages University (formerly CIEFL) is on irrationality in the English Gothic novel.
He studied the Portuguese language at the Instituto Camoes in New Delhi and learnt classical guitar at the Delhi School of Music.
He divides his time between Goa and Delhi and any other place, which beckons him.
He can be reached at (0)9818432507