Kashiana Singh(http://www.kashianasingh.com/) calls herself a work practitioner and embodies the essence of her TEDx talk – Work as Worship into her everyday. Her chapbook Crushed Anthills from Yavanika Press in 2020 is a journey that unravels memory through 10 cities. She proudly serves as a Managing Editor for Poets Reading the News and her voice be read and heard on various international platforms. Kashiana’s first poetry collection is called, Shelling Peanuts and Stringing Words. Her newest full-length collection, Woman by the Door has just been released with Apprentice House Press.
Kashiana’s latest collection of poetry; Woman by the Door is a series of poems that crystallized over the last 9 years, beginning when Kashiana moved from India to the US in 2013. She relates that: “These poems are born of necessity and travel in and out of that doorway into many spaces before and after that point in time. Serving as a problem-solving tool, poetry has continually helped me focus and refocus towards a center of gravity.”
Coming together in this knitted collage are poems rooted in lived experiences and saturated with the poet’s varied sensibilities and influences. The poems flow through three sections – Aperture explores poems of memory and family, Portal opens the door to transition and growth, Detours holds our hand through loss and ache. The woman herself is an intersection, always kneeling by the door – coming, going, waiting, leaning in. Witnessing. Relentlessly she receives and offers lifetimes. Woman by the Door is ultimately preoccupied with paying tribute to that woman.
Kashiana lives in North Carolina and carries her various geographical homes within her poetry.
Her poems have been published on various platforms including Rattle, Poets Reading the News, Visual Verse, Oddball Magazine, Café Dissensus, and others including anthologies like The Kali Project. Besides being a learner of poetry, Kashiana’s latest corporate assignment of 16 years was as Vice President, Health and Benefits Operations with Alight Solutions.
Indie Blu(e) talked to Kashiana on the publication of her latest collection of poetry, Woman by the Door – which we were lucky enough to review. Duly impressed by Kashiana’s fluidity of expression and willingness to speak truths, we were reminded of why her work featured powerfully in Indie Blu(e)’s The Kali Project. To say Kashiana can give life to truth, is to underestimate the poised impact of her deftest writing. She is a gentle giant in her approach to poetry and a magnificently astute observer of humanity, not least our interior lives.
What does it mean to bring your background and heritage to your work? How does it influence your writing both in terms of content and language?
“What I mean by that is that background and heritage is not just a guest participant but fully immersed within the poems through their inspiration, source, language, music or form. Each/All of these elements stay in gestation till the final piece takes birth and are ingredients that add fragrance to our work. The tapestry we stitch together is richer when suffused with elements of stories, sounds and shapes of buzzing words and drunken language.”
Singh is always in search of new beginnings as she distills deeper into her core as a poet-practitioner… The book is a ‘portal’ that summons and reveals, it offers a quiet introspection of memory as well as is vulnerable in it’s discourse with loss, each poem a witness to the spirit.
“The process of navigating through these poems gave me both the permission and the fortitude to remember and transmit aspects of my own background, my journey as a woman and as a global observer of dailyness. As is often stated and recently reinforced by Nobel Prize winner Gurnah: “writers come to writing through reading,” I firmly believe that writers come to writing with their heritage and history.”
In an interview with THE POET Kashiana made the following observation of how her cultural and ethnic and spiritual identity ties together:
“I am a Sikh and it is part of my lexicon without necessarily ever thinking about it. The Guru Granth Saheb, which is the holy scripture of the Sikhs, is really a compilation of approx. 4000 hymns, that are both exhilarating and uplifting. Second, I have had an ever-present influence of Sikh values – speaking for the truth, a keen awareness of the larger order, and work as worship. So, in that context I would say Sikhism does factor in organically into my writing in terms of the traditions of both oral and written forms of poetry, and the philosophical attributes of being a Sikh.”
“I am a fusion of all my sensibilities and geographies. The language and words I bring into my poems come from all the places that I have directly and indirectly been influenced by, and is inherent to my poetic refrain. I say that my poems help me continually focus and refocus towards a center of gravity.”
“I cannot ignore my skin color, my accent, nor my Indian descent, but I think of all of these as enablers to my poetic output. I bring to my writing table a larger canvas and a broader range of perspectives and some days that is an advantage and other days a burden but never something I can ignore. I think Ada Limon said it best in one of her interviews that we are like a ‘collage‘ – that is beautifully stated.”
(For the full interview please visit Kashiana’s Q&A with THE POET HERE. )
Kashiana Singh speaks about her book Woman by the Door on Wedneday Night Poetry (Kai Coggin) HERE: : https://www.facebook.com/535429421/videos/317120953704473/
Here is Kashiana Singh reading her poem Miracles, which was featured in Rattle. She’s a natural reader and has great clarity in her natural reading. https://www.rattle.com/miracles-by-kashiana-singh/
Instagram – @kashianasingh
Twitter – @Kashianasingh
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/authorkashianasingh
Indie Blu(e) Publishing is extremely proud to showcase and highlight our anthology contributors including superb world poets like Kashiana Singh. Her accomplishments may speak for themselves but sharing her work and passion reminds us why we put together anthologies and the joy of working with multi-talented poets and artists throughout the world. http://www.indieblu.net To read Kashiana’s valuable poetic contribution in Indie Blu(e)’s The Kali Project – get your copy via Amazon HERE or any good bookseller.