Junoon's Mumbai Local: 'Slicing the Sky' with Urvashi Bahuguna

Kitab Khana

What we knew for certain is that Mr Joseph pushed us
as hard as the boys. He expected us to the slice the sky

as cleanly to slip our bodies into mud as willingly
to taste the dessert of a win as raucously. Our screams

filled the football field with pride. I don't know how
many of us still empty our lungs. But we know the feeling

know where to find the spigot...

- excerpt from Terrarium by Urvashi Bahuguna

In a time of strident voices, Urvashi Bahuguna's gentle poetry dips back into the experience of the self. She seems to pause at moments and experiences that could seem everyday - the love for a parent, learning to play football, a lover losing a gift - to unpack worlds of meaning and feeling. Her debut poetry manuscript Terrarium won the Great India Poetry Collective's Emerging Writer's Prize, and has been described as "charming and powerful [with the] terrain and radiant heart of these poems prickling and shimmering with a vibrancy hardly ever seen in a debut."

Urvashi Bahuguna, a poet and essayist who is interested in ecology and mental health, will talk about her poetry, her inspirations, and her journey in becoming a poet. While her nature and early environment in Goa made writing a natural immersion for her and her MA in Creative Writing honed her craft, it was "a village that made me a writer," she says, referring to the poets and writers who have nudged, challenged and guided her on her way. 

Join us on Friday for an evening with a fascinating young writer, to delve into the poetry she is writing and wishes to write, and into the worlds that make it possible. 

Curated by Bishakha Datta

Urvashi Bahuguna's debut poetry collection, Terrarium, was selected for the 2017 Emerging Poets Prize by Aimee Nezhukumatathil and published in 2019 by The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective. Her work has been recognized by a Charles Wallace India Trust Fellowship, a Sangam House fellowship, an Eclectica Spotlight Author Prize, a TOTO Award for Creative Writing, a Wingword Poetry Prize, and nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. She was awarded an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom in 2014. She grew up in Goa, and currently lives and works in Delhi. Her essays on culture, books, and mental health have appeared in OPEN Magazine, The Hindu Business Line, Verve, Scroll, Brown Paper Bag, DailyO and others. Over the years, she has interviewed poets, novelists, and graphic novelists from India. In particular, she has focused on the work of women writers. Her second book, a collection of personal essays on mental health, will be out with Penguin Random House in 2020.


यदि देहं पृथक् कृत्य चिति विश्राम्य तिष्ठसि. अधुनैव सुखी शान्तो बन्धमुक्तो भविष्यसि.. -- अष्टावऋ गीता