I’m very proud to highlight our next contributor from two Indie Blu(e) anthologies – Dr. Sonali Pattnaik is a poet, artist and academic. Her poetry and writing has been published in journals and anthologies throughout the world including: Journeys by Sampad, UK, The Indian Express, Muse India, Cafedissensus, Wordgathering, Writer’s Asylum, Women’s Web, Intersections and TheShoutNetwork.
We met Sonali through Indie Blu(e)’s The Kali Project and from the first communication, felt she had a special talent that was undeniable and striking. She’s an artist in all senses of the word, highly gifted with words, both in poetry and prose, and a tremendous creative. We were so thankful to accept her work for Kali and also for our anthology Through The Looking Glass. One thing you can guarantee with Sonali Pattnaik, she’s going to give you her best and her best will be unparalleled.
Aside being a highly accomplished scholar, poet, writer and visual artist, Sonali also teaches Literature in English in India, with a special interest in feminism, film and literary theory. Her PhD thesis explored the body politics of contemporary cinema. She is a committed mother who homeschools her daughter and tries her best to raise her with dignity, love and freedom. Sonali believes in making all voices heard and dreams of a gender-equal world. Her work often reflects this and she’s got her finger on the pulse of modern Indian women who want to see more gender-equality and will not remain quiet.
Picture of the author with her just released debut collection of poetry: When the Flowers Begin to Speak.
Sonali’s first solo book of poetry When the Flowers Begin to Speak has just been published by The Writers Workshop (India) She can be found at http://www.sonalipattnaik.com. HERE. The incredible thing about The Writers Workshop is they create these heirloom quality works of art with each publication. This is no ordinary book. They hand-bind, hand-print, hand-write many aspects of their collections including the use of sari materials woven into the cover. As you can see by the pictures, the quality is outstanding.
She shared with us what Prof. Ananda Lal (of Writers Workshop) told her when she sent him her poetry manuscript. “I have read your collection and find it eminently worthy of publication. Its narrative nature and poetic intensity make it an arresting volume, containing the original voice that Writers Workshop has always looked for in an author […] Making it an excellent and formidable volume.” ~ (Ananda Lal of Writers Workshop). Sonali said she couldn’t believe her eyes because periodically she struggled with self-esteem issues, something she fought successfully to overcame and was plunged right back into through some challenging experiences. Renewing that self-love is an everyday practice for Sonali and Prof. Lal’s response filled her with joy and confidence.
She has this to say: “To anyone reading this who thinks that it’s not in their capacity to author a book, please know that is not true. If you wish to, then you can. The path may not appear immediately, not will it look the way you thought it would, but if you keep walking it will get you where you wish to be.”
Sonali’s recent successes included winning the Orange Flower Award for Poetry 2022 presented by Women’s Web for her debut collection of poetry.
“the falling from above
of water reminds us
that the story of water
remains half told
water gives, takes, dances
it surrenders without
relinquishing a drop
of its power
it’s a paradox,
a talisman of
the truth in resistance “
(water’s story) – exert from Sonali Pattnaik’s poem in the award-winning anthology, The Kali Project: Invoking the Goddess Within / Indian Women’s Voices which you can purchase HERE. Published by Indie Blu(e) Publishing.
In the short time I have known Sonali Pattnaik I have seen her work tirelessly to produce her first book of poetry as well as regularly contribute to a plethora of poetry and writing in addition to working full time and raising her daughter. She’s a gentle giant, with the constitution of a fierce goddess when she speaks up for those less fortunate.
Sonali’s work is deeply politic in that she doesn’t shy away from what matters and what should be spoken about. Her striking artwork alongside her powerful writing, really make her an person to watch in the world of poetry. It’s been such a pleasure to witness this from first meeting her through our anthology KALI.
Artwork designed for Sonali’s book When the Flowers Begin to Speak, which was not used, but demonstrates her talent as an artist.
Gorgeous KALI artwork featured in The Kali Project, by Sonali Pattnaik.
Striking black and white line drawing by Sonali Pattnaik for The Kali Project.
The front cover of Through The Looking Glass, Reflecting on Madness and Chaos Within – an Indie Blu(e) anthology on mental illness.
“a poem is a place for sorrow
a home in the womb of solitude
a sanctuary of broken plenitude
a palimpsest of an endless today
written upon the promise
(A Place for my Sorrow by Sonali Pattnaik). Featured in Through The Looking Glass, an Indie Blu(e) Anthology.
Sonali reading from her debut book: When the Flowers Begin to Speak.
Check out this interview with Sonali at Yugenquest: https://yugenquest.com/sonali-pattnaik/
Sonali’s work is also featured in the anthology: ‘Of Dry Tongues and Brave Hearts’ edited by Reema Ahmed and Semeen Ali, published by Red River, 2022, and is available for sale HERE. https://www.amazon.com/dp/8195305687
https://www.amazon.com/dp/8195305687 We can attest that Red River have produced some really superb anthologies and we’re always excited to see their collections – well done to all who are in this.
Sonali’s debut collection of poetry published by The Writers Workshop (India).
Through The Looking Glass is available for purchase through Amazon (print & Kindle editions), B&N, Book Depository, and Pothi (India only). Through The Looking Glass: Reflecting on Madness and Chaos Within is also available for wholesale purchase through the Ingram Group ISBN: 978-1-951724-08-5
You can also purchase The Kali Project via these sites. Here is the Amazon link HERE.
Another poem read by Sonali from her debut collection of poetry.
Aside her website, http://www.sonalipattnaik.com you can also follow Sonali via LinkedIn:
Here is her link to the Writers Workshop in India, it’s an incredible publisher, check out some of the titles: https://www.writersworkshopindia.com/category/books/poetry/
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