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Bashabi Fraser is a poet, children’s writer, translator, critic and editor. She is a transnational writer who  traverses continents as she brings the East and West together in a blend that is distinctively her own. She has been widely published and anthologised. Her recent publications include Letters to my Mother and Other Mothers (2015), Rabindranath Tagore's Global Vision, Guest Ed issue of Literature Compass (2015), Ragas & Reels (poems on migration and diaspora , 2012), Scots Beneath the Banyan Tree: Stories from Bengal (2012); From the Ganga to the Tay (an epic poem, 2009); Bengal Partition Stories: An Unclosed Chapter (2006; 2008, for which she was awarded a British Academy research grant)), A Meeting of Two Minds: the Geddes Tagore Letters (2005, which received a Moray Foundation grant) and Tartan & Turban (poetry collection, 2004). She is the Editor-in-Chief of the international peer reviewed academic and creative e-journal, Gitanjali and Beyond, and has published the first issue entitled, Tagore and Spirituality, November, 2016.

 

Her awards include the 2015 Outstanding Woman of Scotland awarded by Saltire Society,  Women Empowered: Arts and Culture Award  in 2010 and the AIO Prize for Literary Services in Scotland in 2009. She has had several writing residencies.

 

Bashabi is a Professor of English and Creative Writing and co-founder and Director of the Scottish Centre of Tagore Studies (ScoTs) at Edinburgh Napier University and an Honorary Fellow at the Centre for South Asian Studies, University of Edinburgh.  She has been, till recently, a Royal Literary Fund Fellow based at Dundee University and then at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. She has been awarded the ICCR International Research Fellowship to write on Rabindranath Tagore.

 

She is a Council member of the Association of Scottish Literary Studies (ASLS), Patron of the Federation of Writers in Scotland,  executive committee member of Scottish PEN, Writers in Prison (Scotland) and the Poetry Association of Scotland. She is a Trustee of the Kolkata Scottish Heritage Trust, a  Director  on the Board of the Patrick Geddes Memorial Trust and on the Management Committee of the Scottish Association of Writers and Ambassador for the Workers Educational Association.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry

 

138 x 216mm

 

34 pages

 

£6.00 + P&P UK

 

ISBN 978-1-910834-34-3

 

PUB: APRIL 2017

 

 

ORDER HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Homing Bird explores the diasporic experience of living between two worlds. It enters that interstitial space that all migrants must inhabit as they bring the ‘elsewhere’ with them to a shore whose shingle will always bear the imprint of their footsteps which mingle with those who are already there and with others who will come after them.

 

Like the migratory bird, the poems scour continents as the poet herself does, never forgetting the warmth of the tropical sun where her journey began, and always  aware of the cool refreshing breeze that beckons from her home now in a temperate zone.

Borders are challenged as nations reach across shadow lines in a dialogue that has continued between Britain and India through time.

 

 

 

The Homing Bird

 

Bashabi Fraser

This Border

 

There was a time when you and I

Chased the same butterfly

Climbed the same stolid trees

With the fearless expertise

That children take for granted

Before their faith is stunted

 

Do you remember how we balanced a wheel

Down dusty paths with childish zeal

Do you remember the ripples that shivered

As we ducked and dived in our river

Do you remember what we shared

Of love and meals, and all we dared

Together – without fears

Because we were one

In those past years

Before we knew that butterflies

Were free to share our separate skies

That they could cross with graceful ease

To alight on stationary trees

On either side of this strange line

That separates yours from mine

For whose existence we rely

Entirely on our inward eye

This border by whose callous side

Our inert wheel lies stultified

This border that cuts like a knife

Through the waters of our life

Slicing fluid rivers with

The absurdity of a new myth

That denies centuries

Of friendships and families

This border that now decrees

One shared past with two histories

This border that now decides

The sky between us as two skies

This border born of blood spilt free

Makes you my friend, my enemy.

Fog on Hill Cart Road

(between Darjeeling and Siliguri)

 

It was the same fog

That heavy treaded

Down the mountains

Slurping round

The shadowy bends

Its black humour

Gleefully revealed

In lurching

Threats to throw

Us over its

Shoulder, down

The slope

That deft

Nepali drivers

Avoided

With the skill

Of the blind,

More wily

Than the pall

From hell.

 

 

 

Christmas: Burra Deen

 

We had turned from the white streets of London

From carol singing on a wintry afternoon

The snowman looking up to admire

The glinting Christmas tree at the window –

To reflective blue skies

A warm wrap-around sun of fun

And of trees with paper leaves

Cut into frills of fir foliage, defying

The ambient green branches and colourful

Butterfly hues on bushes redolent

Of colonial migrations of dahlias,

Cosmos, petunias, poppies and

Chrysanthemums in white plenitude

Snow-like on a soft Christmas night.

We had picked a sparkling star

Of Bethlehem to hang at our window

A nativity scene in clay, tinsel streamers

And holly that didn’t quite look like holly

In its plasticky obviousness

From New Market’s grand arcades

Which Hogg Saheb had built in Calcutta.

We had come home with Dundee cake in

A round tin, with sweet aromatic

Darjeeling oranges, to supplement

Ma’s homemade fruit cake, her

Bengali Bhetki fries

Her roast chicken, subtly spiced cauliflower

And peppered potatoes tumbled in ghee

That we ate before the Christian millions

Set out to sing carols in India’s churches

At Midnight Mass, and the nation slept

To wake up on a national holiday

On Burra Deen – the Big Day of Christmas.

 

 

BF amend Fraser