Thursday, October 7, 2010

IN SHIVA'S ARMS by Cheryl Snell

Cheryl Snell
is the author of ten books of fiction and poetry, and has published over four hundred poems, stories, and book reviews online and in print. A multiple Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominee, her work was selected by Dorianne Laux for a recent Sundress Best of the Net Anthology, and she won the Lopside Press competition for Prisoner's Dilemma, poetry inspired by game theory. She cooks in the Indian idiom and plays a mean classical piano, and Shiva's Arms is her first novel.

About the Novel

When Alice marries Ramesh, she is plunged into a battle of wills with her mother-in-law. Namesake of a god, Amma reigns over Alice's household until a family secret is revealed that costs the old woman everything. Now it is up to Alice to heal the rift, as Shiva’s Arms evolves into an exploration on cultural identity, the power of reconciliation, and the meaning of home.

Order from her Amazon Author's Page.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Poetry of Sharanya Manivannan

Sharanya Manivannan was born in India in 1985, grew up in Sri Lanka and South East Asia, and has lived in Chennai since 2007. Her first book of poems, Witchcraft, from which this selection is taken, was published in 2008 to critical acclaim, and was described by Singapore Literature Prize winner Ng Yi-Sheng as being “sensuous and spiritual, delicate and dangerous and as full as the moon reflected in a knife” in The Straits Times.

Sharanya’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in journals including Drunken Boat, Softblow, White Whale Review, Kritya, Clementine, Istanbul Literary Review, Danse Macabre, A Café In Space and Pratilipi. A personal column, The Venus Flytrap, appears biweekly in The New Indian Express. She was the recipient of the Lavanya Sankaran Fellowship for 2008-2009.

Since 2001, Sharanya has done readings extensively – a selection of recordings of her poetry is here. She is working on a novel and a second book of poetry, and more of her work can be found online at


That November I washed
my hair with rabbit's blood -
just once, just to tell you I had
done it. You met me at the
airport, unwashed and sleepy
off a late night flight that blurred
into dawn, and I told you this
then. Seven in the morning,
your country, with its highways
so neat they bewildered me in
the taxi home; still full of my
month in the monsoon, my hair
still smelling of blood and oil
and nine kinds of winds.
"I have something to show
you," you said, and opened
your palm. In it lay a small,
hard crescent, translucent where
it wasn't flaked with red. A
toenail, one I must have cut
weeks before, sitting in the
centre of your hand like a
little sickle. "It was painted,"
you said. "You cared for it."
This was romance to me,
playing at the morbid,
asking if you would eat
my ashes if I died first.
The curls of hair I kept
in a pouch for years,
breathing you in like
an old religion. I loved
it. I loved you.
I did not know then that
there is only so far you
can scratch before you
haemorrhage, that however
tight the lid of skin, you
cannot stop the seep.
I did not know then
that we would both
draw blood, that we
would both
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