The purpose of doing this series of profiles on authors in Indie Blu(e) Anthologies is to highlight just how talented, hard-working and brilliant our contributors are. It’s not bragging if it’s real and they deserve the limelight because of their devotion to the themes of our anthologies, all of which are social causes and their brilliance as writers/poets and artists.
Anu Mahadev submitted to The Kali Project and is an outstanding poet and thinker. Perhaps because she’s an engineer, she has a wonderful combination of intellect and creativity that we think is show-stopping. Anu lives in New Jersey and has been in two Indie Blu(e) anthologies including; collaborating with her on a LIVE reading of Indie Blu(e)’s collection: Through The Looking Glass: Reflecting on Madness and Chaos Within.
This is a great LIVE read of poems in this anthology, including Anu’s work and her thoughts on the subject.
Given her prodigious talent and packed work schedule we were so honored for Anu to be one of our LIVE readers at the BIG BLUE MARBLE BOOKSTORE (held virtually due to Covid-19. It was a perfect platform to discuss the themes in Through The Looking Glass. Being an anthology of 158 writers and artists from across the globe, this collection sought to unveil the truth about life with mental illness. Diverse, raw, and urgent, the poetry, prose, and art work in this anthology dug deep into the experience of living with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other neurodivergent conditions, as well as the challenges of loving someone who struggles with such an illness. Having contributors read their work and join in this meaningful discussion was priceless.
Having submitted beautiful pieces to both The Kali Project and Through The Looking Glass, Anu Mahadev has now published a stunning collection of her own work. ‘a mouthful of sky’ – with incredible cover art. She’s a respected talent in the writing world and this beautiful poetry book promises to collect together some of her most unforgettable work.
Anu Mahadev is a left-brained engineer who morphed into a right-brained poet. She is a 2016 MFA graduate of Drew University, and her work has appeared in many journals and anthologies as well as the Olentangy Review, Silver Birch Press, Sonic Boom, Bending Genres Journal, Tin Lunchbox review, DIN magazine, the Wild Word and the Electronic Pamphlet,.
Incredibly she fits into her busy schedule, time to serve as Editor for THREE literary publications:
The wonderful Jaggery Lit, where she’s Editor-in-Chief.
The very respected Woman Inc., where she’s Senior-Editor.
and the very cool Wild Word. where she’s the Poetry Editor.
Her collection of poetry titled “A Mouthful of Sky” is upcoming from Get Fresh Books LLC this month (April). You can pre-order her book HERE. and when preorders are finished you can purchase via Amazon and others.
“In Anu Mahadev’s A Mouthful of Sky, sensual and sexual pleasures, joys, and freedoms are woven together with gendered inequities, misogyny, and cruelty. The narrator is exceedingly matter-of-factly vulnerable and courageous as she shows the complexities, contradictions, cruelties, and depths of this relationship with complete self-acceptance. With a solid certainty in spite of circumstances. And with forthright insistence of her own pleasure. But it’s never simple. Mahadev’s voice is like none I’ve ever heard–complex, often heartbreaking, strong, and forthright into her lyricism.” — Sarah Vap, author of Winter: Effulgences and Devotions.
“These are poems of resilience, converging confidence and doubt, freedom and entrapment: the “desperate alphabet” of a “disposable heart.” Fraught with sexuality and distress, dualities mirror and split throughout these poems of hunger, ravishment, and, ultimately, discovery.” — Stacey Balkan, author of Oil Fictions: World Literature and our Contemporary Petrosphere.
Anu can be found on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amahadevpoet. Instagram handle : amahadevpoetry
After Sarah Gambito’s “Grace”
You will surpass your ancestors.
You will fix a leaking roof, cause a blue shadow to fall upon itself.
You are in fact, the roof.
Beams hold you up, shingles frame your structure.
You have been firm for far too long.
You sag with moss from the monsoon moisture.
The children’s scribbles are blessings, you say.
Collecting kerosene from the ration shop is an errand.
The cool yogurt-rice is home. The banana is dessert.
Like the wrought-iron gates that close together,
so do your hands, folded in supplication.
You could say, this is not a birthday wish.
But a prayer that finds you before dawn rushes in.
Anu shared: “The poems in this book (a mouthful of sky) were written over the span of a year, my most fruitful, creative and prolific year. Perhaps Goddess Saraswati was watching over me, my muse, even as I rode the crests on a wave of mania. Yes, I suffer from bipolar disorder. While anyone observing me would have felt that I was in no way “suffering”, I knew that what I was going through was thoroughly unnatural. My body felt like a prison, my brain a cage, where my mind paced about restlessly like a hungry panther. I was here, there and everywhere at once. Catapulted thoughts from the past made me race into an imaginary future where I had no desire to settle into a present riddled with discontent. Adrenaline flowed freely inside me.”
“Maybe all this sounds wonderful to someone who can’t keep a positive thought afloat, but I had a sinking feeling inside that all this would come to a grinding halt, and it did. You can’t climb forever. Somewhere there would be a snake after all those ladders, waiting to pull me down. “
“When people say that everyone has “mood swings“, I don’t think they understand the depths or the crests that a bipolar person experiences. Either everything is excellent and brilliant, or else the worst, the absolute pits. It took me a long time to get up after my fall from grace, and perhaps I lost a few friends along the way, maybe more. But life, in its infinite patience, continues to be a kind teacher. With talk therapy, the proper drugs and a healthy lifestyle, I am limping my way back to recovery.”
There is undoubtedly a price to be paid for burning so brightly, but let us not forget how many talented artists throughout history have been subject to this mercurial rise-and-fall. In some ways it is that incredible galvanized energy that permits the individual to create such powerful work and produce such excellence, when others simply cannot find the get-up-and-go. It may be a double-edged-sword but the sheer brilliance of those mercurial writers cannot be denied.
Anu’s courage as a writer of experience and truth, is particularly valuable. She doesn’t flinch from revealing her rawest experience. Surely this is the definition of what a poet must be in order to truly break through convention and trope and set fire to pretense. Her truth is something we can all in some way, relate to, and her candor helps us realize that when we too struggle, we are not alone, and we do not have to measure up to some false ideal. We can just survive and in doing so, thrive.
Clearly Anu does far more than simply survive, for all her genuine modesty over her talents, she writes electrically and charges the poetry scene with stunning verses that are utterly without guile. She isn’t just smart, she’s wicked smart. She isn’t just creative, she’s stunningly so. And her poems are individual testimonies to her willingness to go all in.
Talking to the water
You do not care
whether or not I show up
soapy in the shower
Perhaps you do not sense
the mediocrities –
of standing naked
You do not know
that your rivulets
don’t curve across
my pockmarked skin
my bloated body
like they show in the movies
You do not promise
to wash off any sin
You are in cahoots with the mirror
to dilute my worth down to nothing
as I disrobe furtively
So I don’t disturb the universal reign
of beauty and symmetry
Mine is a vast and empty landscape
that self-love does not inhabit
And you still want to know –
why I detest you
why I hate your amorphous form
© Anu Mahadev September 2021
Through The Looking Glass is available HERE: Bookshop: https://tinyurl.com/3hmts5d9Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/3dd7vb6uPothi: https://tinyurl.com/sp2tm86r
The Kali Project is available HERE: Amazon and via all good bookstores including Pothi in India.
Remember to pre-order and then order Anu Mahadev’s collection a mouthful of sky, when it publishes APRIL 1. It will be available nationally via all good bookstores. MARK THE DATE~
Indie Blu(e) Publishing is VERY proud of our authors / poets / artists and contributors to our anthologies. We love highlighting their accomplishments. If YOU are a IB contributor and wish to have a profile here, please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) including information we’d like to promote on our website such as: Bio, photo, live readings, links, interesting information and one short exert or poem. http://www.indieblu.netHERE.