April 21, 2008

"Walcott, Heaney, Muldoon & Co." by Sasenarine Persaud

Sasenarine PersaudSasenarine Persaud is an essayist, novelist, short story writer, and poet. He is the author of nine books: six poetry collections, two novels, and a book of short stories: The Wintering Kundalini (Peepal Tree Press, Leeds, 2002); A Writer Like You (TSAR Publications, Toronto, 2002); The Hungry Sailor (TSAR, Toronto, 2000); Canada Geese and Apple Chatney (TSAR, Toronto, 1998); A Surf of Sparrows' Songs (TSAR, Toronto, 1996); The Ghost of Bellow's Man (Peepal Tree, Leeds, 1992); Dear Death (Peepal Tree, Leeds, 1989); Between the Dash and the Comma (author, Toronto, 1989); Demerary Telepathy (Peepal Tree, Leeds, 1989).

His awards include the K.M. Hunter Foundation Award (Toronto, 1996), the 1999 Arthur Schomburg Award (New York) for his writing and his pioneering of Yogic Realism, and Fellowships at the University of Miami and Boston University. Persaud has a Master's in Creative Writing from Boston University. His fiction was shortlisted for the 1997
Journey Prize (Toronto) while his poetry was nominated for the 1998 Canadian National Magazine Award, and twice (1989 and 1998) shortlisted for The Guyana Prize for Literature.

Sasenarine Persaud has pioneered Yogic Realism, a term he has invented to describe his literary aesthetics; his essay, “Kevat: Waiting on Yogic Realism” was published twice in India. Yogic Realism and Sasenarine’s work has been the focus of a doctoral dissertation.

Sasenarine Persaud was born in Guyana and has lived for several years in Canada. He presently resides in Tampa, Florida.

Walcott, Heaney, Muldoon & Co.

But for those unfamed
not this trudge and toil
of backside on swivel chair

Eyes glued to monitors and digital
counter adding minutes and hours
eight Internet Explorer windows

Open to funds moving between
Europe, Asia, the Middle East,
Americas: Where are the money

Launderers? You can track money’s
pathways and cannot find your own
you can justify an electronic transfer’s

Journey and forget your name’s
origin until a remittance’s laneway
lands you an alert in MP, UP, or AP.

Where is that? Uttar or Andhra Pradesh
are states in I—a Cebanova’s in Romania
Lorca’s nostrils flared by a Roma

Andalusia performance perched
in a Boston library in oil mostly black
the cloth of flamenco dancers skirts

And singers shirts enough to encircle
sun like a yolk rising over water
invisible from the highway’s tar-top snake

Lined with pepper-red eyes on SUVs’
behinds; those unfamed lower down
on a Ford road—another day chasing

Arab entities or Chinese investing in the chair
you sit, the backlit screens you examine

For rent, or an hour to compose yourself.
Would we not prefer “fame” and Sunday’s
emptiness, the whoredom of a poet: words

You do not write a poem, the anointed and their acolyte
critics say: you attempt to write…they have, of course,
you eat put-you-down pie and serf for a Saudi Prince

For those without Arkansas or other testaments,
for the visionaries who said, once, the chosen
dwell in a certain region, and only gods could fly


Throughout the month of April, National Poetry Month, poets from the Caribbean and South Florida will be featured on this blog.

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