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The Nepali Poet Who Never Gave Up
Yuyutsu RD Sharma: A distinguished poet who grew along with his own poems
Bhuwan Thapaliya (Bhuwan)     Print Article 
Published 2008-10-17 16:39 (KST)   
This article is only lightly edited.  <Editor's Note>

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[Review] ' Annapurna Poems '


Yuyutsu RD Sharma
©2008 Bhuwan Thapaliya
When I started reading the poems of Yuyutsu RD Sharma from his new poetry book "Annapurna Poems," I thought there were two towering geniuses -- Keats and Milton. Now I think there is only one. Good-bye, Keats. Milton, good-bye. No other poet in my entire life (except our own immortal bard Devkota) has mesmerized me with their poems as Yuyutsu's poems did.

His poems aren't only poems; they are the fusion of hope, dreams and reality. He is a realistic poet and he writes as he sees it. He doesn't sing the glory of stars and the Moon, but he writes about the hardship of the mules and about the porter's plight in their struggle for existence. At times he sounds mystic, romantic, and confessional, but the way he handles his themes are fundamental expressions of life longing to be free as the salubrious zephyr over the Himalayas.
On the great Tibetan
salt route they meet me again

old forsaken friends....

On their faces
fatigue of a drunken sleep

their lives worn out,
their legs twisted, shaking

from carrying
illustrious flags of bleeding ascents.

(Mules)
His literature is the literature of purely personal experience; of the common life of man as man and the literature which treats of nature and the literature which treats of literature and art. Some of his poems are written from the personal point of view but in most of his works, instead of going down into himself, he has ventured into the world of external human life, their condition and their exploitation.

Yuyutsu RD Sharma, second from the left, chief guest
©2008 Bhuwan Thapaliya
Furthermore, he writes from a universal standpoint, and it is combination of realistic uplifting lines and rock solid qualities of the poem that make Yuyutsu's poem stand out. And one of the reasons why Yuyutsu's poems are of high caliber -- other than hard work and sheer determination- is the fact that he grew up along with his own poems.
A hope
that someday I shall sprout

like a tree
on the edge of a remote hillside.

A hope
someday at Queen-of-the-Night

shall bloom in my chest
and suck all the smoke

I have inhaled
in these malignant cities.

(Glacier)
Yuyutsu was born at Nakodar, Punjab and educated at Rajasthan University, Jaipur. He started his career as a lecturer and taught at various campuses of Punjab University, and Tribhuwan University, Nepal. A decade ago he left his teaching job to concentrate fully on this creative job. And what a turning point it turned out to be for his literary career.

Although the last couple of years have seen Yuyutsu basking in the limelight, his story has not been peaches and cream all the way.

He has struggled, suffered, but fortunately for him he never gave up. The poet in him guided him through the boulevard of hope and dreams and with the series of success with "The Lake Fewa" and "A Horse," "www.WayToEverest.de: A Photographic and Poetic Journey to the Foor of Everest" (Epsilonmedia, Germany, 2006) with German photographer Andreas Stimm and his recently published collection "Annapurna Poems" ( Nirala, 2008), things really started happening for him.

But despite his poetic achievements and his success, he remains a humble soul. There is not an iota of ego or superiority complex in him. He doesn't talks about his own poems or boasts about his poetic achievement - he talks about other poets and encourage them all the time to excel further and he leaves no stones unturned to help these poets. This has been his hallmark throughout his literary career and as a consequence he has numerous disciples the world over.

Yuyutsu's perseverance, his never say die attitude, contributed greatly to him becoming one of the best poets in the sub-continent with a fan following all over the world. The man just wouldn't give up! Beneath all his macho writes, Yuyutsu is a soft guy -- and he really believes in the literature and luckily for him the literature believed him too.

A huge audience enjoyed the book launch
©2008 Bhuwan Thapaliya
He is gaining global recognition not only because he is a widely traveled author and his works has been translated into German, French, Italian, Slovenian, Hebrew, Spanish and Dutch but because you cannot keep his verses away from your heart and mind once you read them -- they have the power of intoxicating your soul evermore.

There is no short cut formula of success for him. He believes in keeping everything simple and working hard to meet his goals. He is a role model for other South Asian Poets writing in English. He is the recipient of fellowships and grants from The Rockefeller Foundation, Ireland Literature Exchange, The Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature and The Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature.

Mr. Sharma is a widely traveled author and he has read his works at several prestigious places including Poetry Cafe, London, Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, Belfast, Western Writers Centre, Galway, WB Yeats Centre, Sligo, Gustav Stressemann Institute, Bonn, Irish Writer's Centre, Dublin, The Guardian Newsroom, London, Arnofini, Bristol, Royal Society of Dramatic Arts, London, Villa Serbelloni, Italy, Ruigoord, Amsterdam, Rubin Museum of Art, New York and in various other prestigious places.

He has also held workshop in creative writing and translation at Queen's University, Belfast, and South Asian Institute, Heidelberg University, Germany.

Currently he resides in Nepal and his contribution to the Nepali Literature is enormous. He has translated and edited several anthologies of Nepali Poetry in English and launched a literary movement, Kathya Kayakalpa (Content Metamorphosis) in Nepali Poetry. The Library of Congress had nominated his book of Nepali translations entitled, Roaring Recitals; Five Nepali Poets as Best Book of the year from Asia under the Program, A World of Books International Perspectives.
With the palms
with open, crushed

by the gorilla- tyres
of an over-loaded truck

an adolescent boy died.

Long , very long
was the life-line

in his rosy palms,
like my shattered

dreams of the past.

(My dreams of the past, Bhupi Shercan - translated by Yuyutsu RD Sharma)
The first thing you need to understand about him is that he worships literature but in order to understand him more, he has to be studied as a whole, not at piece. The 48 years of his life have made a literary institution out of him. Hence, let us explore him to know more about him and his works.

Finally, when Sharma took the stage at the Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu as the chief guest to launch my book, "Our Nepal, Our Pride," on Sept. 5, 2008, a sizeable section of the crowd erupted in response when he started to recite poems. This single fact goes a long way in describing the hold that Yuyutsu have over the audience of this country who has never been known to be kind to the poets writing in English.

When Yuyutsu started reciting the poems, the crowd roared approval and hundreds of people were stunned by his oratory skills. Frankly speaking, he stole the show that day and made the book launch, an unforgettable one, not only for me, but for everybody who were there that evening.

Furthermore, though he has traveled the long and hard road that leads way to stardom -- he has not compromised the poetic integrity and has made people accept his point of view by sheer dint of his profound verses and professional attitude. English writing in Nepal, mainly the poets writing originally in English from Nepal has only just come to popular acceptance, however, it would not be amiss to say that when English writing finally makes big in Nepal, poets all over the country will owe a lot to the pioneering efforts of Yuyutsu RD Sharma -- the poet who didn't give up.
'Truth left behind,
in the fragrant villages and the world'
I said to myself
after I climbed
the summit, weary and breathless,
wind whipping my eyes,
head giddy
from the inconceivable heights.

(Sumit)

Yuyutsu RD sharma and Bhuwan Thapaliya
©2008 Bhuwan Thapaliya

©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Bhuwan Thapaliya

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