Project Description

Usha Kishore


Usha Kishore, an English Teacher who was won a UK Poetry competition

Photograph: Courtesy Isle of Man Newspapers

Indian born Usha Kishore is a British poet, writer and translator, resident on the Isle of Man, where she teaches English at Queen Elizabeth II High School. Usha is internationally published and anthologised by Macmillan, Hodder Wayland, Oxford University Press (all UK) and Harper Collins India. Her poetry has won prizes in UK Poetry competitions (the most recent is the Exiled Writers Ink competition, Voices in a New Land), has been part of international projects and features in the British Primary and Indian Middle School syllabus. The winner of an Arts Council Award and a Manx Heritage Foundation Award, Usha’s debut collection On Manannan’s Isle was published in January 2014 by dpdotcom, UK. Usha’s second collection, Night Sky Between the Stars has been published by Cyberwit India (2015). Forthcoming in 2015 is a book of translations from the Sanskrit, Translations of the Divine Woman from Rasala Books India. Usha is now working on her third collection of poetry and her first novel.

Postcolonial Poem

You are the enterprising seafarer,
in search of adventure.

I am the wild orient, waiting
to be discovered.

You cast your imperial net.
I welcome you like a God.

You trade. You invade.
You conquer. You divide.

I bleed in saffron and green. I sing
patriotic songs in mumbo-jumbo.

You exorcise my pagan spirit
with cross and book.

You teach me your language.
I curse in your language.

I unite. I shout slogans.
I subvert. I burn you down.

Your guns thunder down
at me. I die. But I rise again.

You imprison me. You call me
traitor, in the name of the crown.

I employ non-violence. I desire truth.
I non co-operate. I fast unto death.

My swelling masses flood you out.
Your sun is set. You saw me into two.

Yet, I rise again. I build new nations.
You seek new horizons.

We pretend to ignore each other.
But we need each other.

I dream of the western skies.
You dream of a new empire.

I come. I see. I conquer.
I teach you your language.

Together, we journey through Prospero-land.
My pagan spirit resurrects in mumbo-jumbo.

I people your island with little Calibans.
You hurl abuse. You show difference.

I resist. You make new laws.
I teach you my language.

You mumble my name
in your alien tongue…

{published in Muse India and The Dance of the Peacock, Anthology, Hidden Brook Press, Canada}

Journeying into a Foreign Tongue
{After reading Meena Alexander}

Journeying into a foreign tongue
is like re-incarnating yourself
in an unknown form.

I do not need passports and visas
to journey into a foreign tongue,
I just need to lose myself.

I line up my Hindu Gods,
adorned in monsoon winds
and trespass into English verse.

A new horizon opens itself out
to me and I, dressed in borrowed robes,
journey into a foreign tongue.

A child, holding the hand of postcoloniality…

{published in Fire, UK )

© Usha Kishore, Jan 2015