Guest Post | “Storytelling through Poetry” by Sweta Srivastava Vikram (a special feature on the “Saris & a Single Malt” blog tour!

Posted Saturday, 20 August, 2016 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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I definitely enjoy hosting a wide variety of guest features on Jorie Loves A Story, as it helps to establish a common thread of creative expression and the conjoined joy of seeing how creatives fuse their creative voice to the works they are creating for us all to appreciate finding! This is why sometimes I yield to the author’s selection of topics, however, in this particular case I cannot remember if I picked this topic or if Ms Vikram surprised me! To be honest, I had so much happening at the time when this essay first came into my Inbox, I’ve completely forgotten!

I am delighted I could host her for a second time on the blog tour, as I found her poetry to be simply emotionally evicting of her topic of choice: the gutting reality of unexpected loss & the aftermath of putting the pieces of your heart back together whilst accepting a loved one’s ending chapter from your life. It was beyond powerful and it was underlit by hope, faith and a bent towards acceptance out of the raw emotions that consume all of us in the height of our tangible grief.

It was an honour and a pleasure to be on a blog tour to celebrate the brave hours where Ms Vikram’s pen did not fail her nor did the words fail to etch out her emotional warring heart to come to terms with letting go of ‘Mum’. It’s such a difficult transitional period for a daughter to ‘let go’ of her supportive best mate and partner. I felt she not only honoured the relationship and love both her and her mother shared but she found a way to write a truism caught inside that chaotic moment of death and loss that all daughters can personally identify as being a part of their own journey. To that end, she wrote a collection of poems we can all fuse directly into our hearts, minds and souls.

Let us take a step back from the poems, and listen to how she approaches crafting a story out of poetry of which she eloquently has found a way to communicate with us.

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Saris and a Single Malt by Sweta Srivastava Vikram

Saris and a Single Malt is a moving collection of poems written by a daughter for and about her mother. The book spans the time from when the poet receives a phone call in New York City that her mother is in a hospital in New Delhi, to the time she carries out her mother’s last rites. The poems chronicle the author’s physical and emotional journey as she flies to India, tries to fight the inevitable, and succumbs to the grief of living in a motherless world. Divided into three sections, (Flight, Fire, and Grief), this collection will move you, astound you, and make you hug your loved ones.

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Storytelling through Poetry by Sweta Srivastava Vikram

I can’t remember the exact time when I started to call myself a poet. I have known poetry for as long as I can remember. I started to write poetry when I was a little girl. They were mostly rhyme poems and odes to people and places. In the beginning, that is.

My father, an engineer by training and profession, was a writer and poet by night. Friends and family loved his work. He was urged to share them at social occasions. No parties or weddings or farewells were ever complete without his poetry. He was and still is such a gifted poet. I am such a proud daughter.

I grew up around the notion that poetry was a beautiful way of telling stories. But I also realized that I couldn’t write just because others wanted or expected me to produce something.

I have been an observer from the time I was a little girl. Growing up across three continents, I made sense of the displacement through writing. I quickly started to notice that my stories and poems came from a place of introspection, reflection, travel, and socio-political situation. I also understood that while fiction offers a mask and nonfiction can’t offer true anonymity, poetry allows me to tell stories at the pace and depth I choose.

Life has always been the biggest inspiration for my poetry.

Living in North Africa, I quickly saw the differences between men and women. How there were separate living rooms for the two genders. How the local men visited our home without their wives. How their wives sat in the back of the pick-up truck while the sheep sat upfront. How no one saw anything wrong with this picture.

In India, I noticed the dirty hands of patriarchy. Oftentimes, different rules were for men and women. Hypocrisy ran in the blood of most families. A woman was, often, seen as a commodity—someone’s daughter, sister, wife, daughter-in-law, or mother. A woman barely had her own identity. Again, I am talking about the late eighties and nineties.

When I moved to New York City, I noticed that people were better at hiding their challenges. Yes, the west might not have been as crude as what I had seen in North Africa or India. But sexism, gender inequality, and sexism were pervasive at every step of the way.

I didn’t wake up one day and decide that I would write about feminism or violence against women or cultural misrepresentation. But those were the stories that picked me. Sharing true survivor stories of widows or female survivors of trauma, without victimizing them, became my commitment. Women felt comfortable sharing their life stories with me. They said that my poems made them stronger.

While Saris and a Single Malt is a personal collection of poems, you will notice elements of patriarchy and sexism in the book … as in, my efforts at fighting them or questioning them.

While poetry has allowed me to lend a voice to the voiceless and also has helped me heal from my mother’s sudden demise, I felt that sharing stories via poetry was only part of the journey; I needed to help women find peace and happiness. Help them with their NOW.

After finishing my basic, 200-hour yoga teacher training, I also did a special training to help female trauma survivors. I now teach yoga for Exhale to Inhale and bring the healing practice of yoga to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Showing up to the yoga mat with dedication is very similar to showing up to my pen and journal. They both tell stories and heal wounds, but the individual approach is different.

About Sweta Srivastava Vikram

Sweta Srivastava Vikram

Sweta Srivastava Vikram, featured by Asian Fusion as “one of the most influential Asians of our time,” is an award-winning writer, five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Amazon bestselling author of 11 books, writing coach, columnist, marketing consultant, and wellness practitioner who currently lives in New York City. A graduate of Columbia University, she also teaches the power of yoga, Ayurveda, & mindful living to female trauma survivors, creative types, entrepreneurs, and business professionals.

Sweta is also the CEO-Founder of NimmiLife, which helps you attain your goals by elevating your creativity & productivity while paying attention to your wellness.

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Poetic Book Tours

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I am beyond grateful for this wonderful honest response and insight on behalf of a poet I look forward to seeking out again in the future. I truly applaud her tenacity and her fortitude to writing even in the darkest moments of her life to draw out the light & the love which is always guiding her forward. To have found a way to give back to others despite personal adversity is one of the best ways to find a re-balance of purpose but also, a way to lighten the soul’s anguish for what is lost. I find her truly remarkable.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 20 August, 2016 by jorielov in Author Guest Post (their topic), Blog Tour Host, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Equality In Literature, India, Indie Author, Literature of India, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, New York City, Poetic Book Tours, Poetry, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author

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2 responses to “Guest Post | “Storytelling through Poetry” by Sweta Srivastava Vikram (a special feature on the “Saris & a Single Malt” blog tour!

  1. Sweta Srivastava Vikram has mastered the remarkable art of storytelling in her poems–no easy feat! And her words reflect great strength and courage. Another wonderful post!

    • Hallo, Hallo Suko!

      So very happy you’ve dropped by my blog twice in a row and were sweet enough to leave me your thoughts! I appreciated knowing you’ve enjoyed your visit here. I agree – Ms Vikram articulates herself so very well by how she chooses to connect to her audience through her words! I found her poetry and her guest post full of compassionate courage with a spark of light holding fast to the hope and love she felt as the words found her to express her innermost emotions in those moments of anguish. I was blessed by your visits, thank you!

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