Tuesday, April 29, 2014

For National Poetry Month: Poet Sweta Srivastava Vikram

In 1996, the Academy of American Poets created National Poetry Month, to be celebrated each April.  During the month of April, schools, libraries, booksellers, poets, and bloggers throughout the U.S. celebrate poetry by participating in readings, festivals, workshops, and other special events.

April has gone by too quickly!  I wasn't organized enough to be on the schedule for the National Poetry Month: Reach for the Horizon Blog Tour hosted by Serena from Savvy Verse & Wit, but I did want to post something worthwhile in honor of National Poetry Month.

Over the past few years, I've had the pleasure of reading four powerful books of contemporary poetry by award-winning writer Sweta Srivastava Vikram, Because All is Not Lost, Kaleidoscope: An Asian Journey of Colors, Beyond the Scent of Sorrow, No Ocean Here, as well as her striking novel, Perfectly Untraditional.  I've reviewed each of these books on my blog, and I also posted an exclusive interview with Sweta in 2010.  If you visit her website, you'll learn more about this prolific, multi-talented author, and you'll be amazed (but not surprised if you've read any of her work) at all of the honors and awards she's won!  When I heard the recent news that her poetry books were traveling to Scotland to a university library as well as to the Glasgow Women's Library, I decided I'd found the perfect subject for my poetry post.

In the nick of time, before National Poetry Month draws to a close, I'm privileged to present one of her poems from the book No Ocean Here, a collection of poetry published in 2013, about women from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.  This book, which has become an Amazon bestseller, gives women a voice against the violence and oppression they face far too frequently.

Sweta Srivastava Vikram

The poet prefaces her poem, "Superwoman", nominated for the Pushcart Prize, with the following statement:

Even in educated, modern families, men and women are not expected to do an equal share of housework despite both the husband and wife keeping jobs.


Her poems smell of onions,
even the raw air disapproves.

She is tired of being a superwoman--
slicing her dreams,
for dinner, running
from wall to cement,
picking up pieces
of wishes not her own,
looking beautiful during the day,
abandoned by prayers at night.

She turns on the water in the sink,
it drowns the sound of her tears.
Sighing, she pounds her fist into bread dough
until the blue veins on her fingers squirm
and she blames the onions.

I think this poem will resonate with women worldwide, with those who work outside of the home, as well as "only" in the home (man may work from sun to sun, but women's work is never done).

Thank you for graciously sharing your poem on my blog, Sweta.  Your poetry possesses style, eloquence, and depth, and I look forward to reading your new work.

Comments are welcomed.

(PUBLISHING DISCLAIMER: “Superwoman” excerpted with permission from the book No Ocean Here published by Modern History Press.  Copyright (c) 2013 Sweta Srivastava Vikram.  All Rights Reserved.)


  1. That's a great poem. I read Beyond the Scent of Sorrow a couple years ago and was very impressed with her work.

  2. Great post Suko.

    Based on that poem Sweta Srivastava Vikram seems to be very talented and I would like to read her more.

    You wrote,

    "I think this poem will resonate with women worldwide, "

    Lets hope that it also resonates with a lot of men.

  3. I'm sure most women can relate to that poem. Poetry is a genre I often overlook. Thanks for spotlighting the book.

  4. Not a big fan of reading poems, I prefer them being read to me. Still, I did quite enjoy Superwoman and the thought of fists being pounded into bread dough.

  5. I'm adding her books to my list. I just read a novel by a poet I'd never heard of before and now I want to devour everything she's written. I would be greatly surprised if I didn't have the same response again. Thank you!

  6. What a great poem! I loved reading your post.

  7. Thanks for sharing this wonderful poem. I am sure it resonates with many.

  8. Beautiful poem indeed. I wish I learned to enjoy poetry and read it regularly when I was younger.

  9. Thanks so much for highlighting such a great poet and friend. I adore her! This is such a great poem....and it is one of the truest I've read...I live that life now with a kiddo and full time work and a husband

    1. Serena, thanks for your comment, and for hosting the poetry blog tour!

  10. Dear all,

    Thank you for taking out the time to read and comment. It means a lot to me. Thanks for the honor, Susan!


    (I am posting Sweta's comment for her as her "OpenID credentials could not be verified".)

  11. Wonderful post Suko. I have had the chance to read Sweta Srivastava Vikram's work when I won a copy of Beyond the Scent of Sorrow here at your wonderful blog :)
    I like the poem Superwoman, and like you say, I'm sure women can relate to those lines. I surely can. It seems so many of us women are 'superwomen'.
    Happy Sunday :)

  12. What a great poem! I must admit that I haven't read much poetry in years. Your post definitely makes me realize that I need to revisit poetry and discover new authors.


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