Special Supplement: Glass House Festival 2024

    We are proud to be the official publication partners for the winning poems of the Glass House Poetry Awards 2024.

    First Prize:


    By Dr Chayanika Saikia

    Living next to a forest 
                            you learn,
    that only the best things thrive unaltered
    in memories; in dreams we remake to survive.  

    Trees have ways of telling things.
    Green, yellow, brown then
    I invited four of them to my place, 
    their eyebrows raised, at paper flowers
    in the porcelain vase; nibbling amber fruits 
    on plates, they whined. Flowers were
                            first to fall, rest followed;
    leaves aground, soul to soil, deep down,
    tracing roots, to learn again from memories
                            how to bud, flower, fruit.

    Drifted seeds homecoming with birds,
    With ripen palpable hearts, you learn, 
    Forest is that forever kind of place you seek. 

    Paper flowers avowed the tale of woe, 
    spring was short-lived, summer was sturdy,
    fruits were the thing that came handy. Aah!

    the vanity of giving away obsolete dreams,
    the nirvana of autumn’s perishable guilt !

    I returned with the trees, to lie down
    in fecund ground; winter piercing my
                            homeless body,
    with their soporific hum,
                            to sleep.

    Living next to a forest
                            you learn,
    the epiphany of a dead seed,
    cocooned in memories, awaiting
                            the first rain,
                            to green again.

    Second Prize:

    Genetically Modified

    Landscapes of My Town

    By Teji Sethi

    bouli : first milk 
    tota : sexually appealing woman
    baanjh : a woman who cannot bear a child 
    aab : river 
    aaj akkhan Waris Shah nu: I call upon Waris Shah 
    rudaali : professional mourners 

    Third Prize:

    Abandoned Vocabulary

    By Sahana Mira S

    My mother’s vocabulary is a collection of familiar words, 
    from her household, passed to me like generational wealth,

    like her wrath inherited from her father, like an eruption 
    of molten rock in Sicily whenever I sank for bad boys, 

    like her entangled fear in her molar teeth, grinding
    to say a sharp no to my past midnight kulfi rides.

    My mother’s vocabulary settles in crevices in my palms, 
    Or in our ancestral home where we played Pallanguzhi.

    All the words from my tongue are from hers.
    I abandoned my mother’s vocabulary in a highway motel

    in search for unfamiliar words from strangers’ mouths.
    I detested her recipes for Malai Kofta in my almirah 

    her postcards to her father, her dog-eared literature.
    My mother’s vocabulary is a collection of familiar words.

    Now there’s nothing under my pillow, my cupboards bare.

    Note from the writer: When I was away from Chennai, studying in Lancaster, this poem was born out of a longing for home. It is a part of my Creative Writing Masters dissertation collection, ‘Home on my Collarbone’ where the entire collection is centered around how home was slipping away through my fingers.

    Warrior clan

    By Suchi Govindarajan

    There are no medals for the wars our women fought
    It’s only valour if it is land that you defend,
    It’s only courage when the enemy is alien.

    There were no prizes for my hardy grandmothers
    My aunts climbed mountains without flags to claim them
    My mothers ploughed fields and sowed seeds for no harvest.

    Now the priest traces my unbroken lineage through men
    and instructs worship of ancestors who were sumangalis
    —It’s only honour if women die before their husbands.

    You hold out a jar of kumkum to me like an ornament
    but what if I descended from a thousand widowed daughters?
    What if my palms hold the lines they could not cross?