Author of ‘The Arithmetic of Breasts and other stories’ and ‘Four Degrees of Separation’, Rochelle Potkar is the alumna of Iowa’s International Writing Program, and Charles Wallace Writer’s fellowship, Stirling. She was the winner of the 2016 Open Road Review story contest for ‘The leaves of the deodar’. Her story ‘Chit Mahal (The Enclave)’ appears in The Best of Asian Short Stories, Kitaab International. Her poem, ‘The girl from Lal Bazaar’ was shortlisted for the Gregory O’ Donoghue International Poetry Prize, 2018.
She is co-founder of the Arcs-of-a-Circle artists’ residency program, Mumbai. (A U.S. Consulate project). She acted in a small role in the Tamil feature-length film Taramani. (Director: Ram). Co-editor of the Joao Roque Literary Journal that promotes literature around Goa with editor Selma Carvalho. She is also editors of the Goan-Irish anthology, ‘Goa: a garland of poems’, with transcreations by Gabriel Rosenstock; and ‘Golden Goa’ by Joseph Furtado.
Her poem, ‘Skirt’ has been adapted into a poetry film by Philippa Collie Cousins (UK) for the Visible Poetry Project 2018, USA.
Her latest book ‘Paper Asylum’ released in May 2018 by Copper Coin Publishing.
Website address: https://rochellepotkar.com/
Blog address: https://rochellepotkar.com/my-blog/
You Tube Videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIt2Q3Gv3h8
Other Social Media: https://vimeo.com/266295836
Paper Asylum (Prose poetry collection)
Four Degrees of Separation (Poetry collection)
The Arithmetic of Breasts and Other Stories (Short fiction collection)
Amazon or other bookseller links:
Synopses of books
‘There is something very unique about Paper Asylum that continues to draw you in. I dare you not to get to the end of this one. Every haibun poet has a unique style, and the work by Rochelle is no exception. She has found the core of the form and expressed it in a way that makes it her own. Some of the haiku in this collection would be standouts on their own, but when combined with her fine toned prose they just sing the haibun form. Her choice of topics is varied and sometimes startling. This is a book for poets, and especially poets who love haibun. The Japanese may have created the haibun form, but Rochelle Potkar has it at home in her world entirely. A wonderful read indeed!’
– Michael Rehling
‘Rochelle Potkar is the ideal travel companion—adaptive, incisive, witty—and in Paper Asylum she invites us to pay closer attention to our surroundings, with delightful results. She takes the measure of the world in haibun and free verse, enlarging our perspective by yoking together unlikely things, reminding us that ‘everything grows, not just love, hope, and memory’. This book will grow on you. Enjoy!’
– Christopher Merrill
Four Degrees of Separation:
Potkar speaks with the cutting clarity of a woman wholly engaged with the world. She writes from the gilded moment vulnerability becomes knowledge, and then when knowledge becomes wisdom. The result, in all cases, is the poem: clever and crafted to a kind of broken perfection—the cracks show, but the shattered places are dusted with powdered gold. “If a day is a life, a word is a story,” Potkar writes. Her poetry condenses life into a gilded day, a story into a single word, as only a masterful poet can do it, or a woman can feel it.
Four degrees of separation is a book to be opened like pulling down the covers of a lovers’ bed, pages of poems like sheets to be inhaled, scents that will invade dreams. Jaguars stalk through these poems; mangoes, the sweet, salty vinegar of bodies in love, bodies falling out of love–and the city of Bombay too is omnipresent, ripe with cats and blossoms, heaps of saris, “anklets clinking to camel bells.” This book is a conversation, an invitation to heed the advice of a wise grandmother, who says, “Don’t love a man more than he knows what to do with it/like chocolate over a child’s face/or a small body in a large shirt….love him a little less/So he comes, wagging his desires.” This book is also a cry of lament to a grandmother who “cherished sons over daughters.” The tangles of lovers, of love lost, and of family relationships, all fuel these poems. We are all connected, for better and for worse, these poems insist, as an aunt “searched for zeros in every person/like ingredients in a soup.” “A grudge is a wound that never seeks healing,” writes Potkar in one of the many wise observations guiding this collection, where even amidst the chaos of life and love, “every tree holds the silence of the earth/under its armpits.”
– Rachel Rose
The Arithmetic of Breasts and Other Stories:
A cluster of 7½ literary short stories presenting the romantic-sexual facets of: Narain who lusts for Munika, Old Jaganlal who wants a favour from young Dia, Jackie who is in love with Nic, a surgeon who is changing more than a patient s hairline, nose, lip, and chin, Shonali and Neel who are realizing that infidelity might not be such an easy thing, a woman who walks the tight rope between tradition and sexual exploitation, and Sunil who meets the woman of his desires through an adult dating site. Through these stories, Rochelle Potkar explores the intensely personal unrelationship that exists alongside its conventional and socially articulate twin, the relationship.
Awards & Prizes:
For short stories:
‘The Point of Irish coffee’, gold place, Revenge Ink publications.
‘Dream warriors: Ramayan redux’, Editor’s choice award, Triangulation: Parch, USA.
‘Salad’, Goan short stories competition, 2015 shortlist, Fundacao Oriente, Goa.
‘Symbols of a life’, longlisted, Hourglass Literary Magazine award 2016 & shortlisted at the Breakwater Fiction contest, 2016
‘The leaves of the deodar’, winner, Open Road Review contest, 2016
‘Honor’, longlisted, DNA-Out of Print contest, 2017
‘Knotted inside me’, shortlisted, The RLP India award, 2013
‘Swing’, second place, Wordweavers contest, 2014
‘Airport diaries’, shortlisted, Hourglass Literary award, 2016
‘Gathering’, shortlisted, Hourglass Literary award, 2016
‘Marital Triptych’, longlisted, Hourglass Literary award, 2016
‘Cellular P.O.W.’, shortlisted, Hungry hill competition, Ireland, 2017
‘Ground Up’, third prize, David Burland poetry prize 2017
‘The girl from Lal Bazaar’, shortlisted, Gregory O’ Donoghue Poetry Prize, 2018
Literary Festival Appearances:
Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2009, 2015
Prakriti Poetry Festival, 2014
Iowa Book Festival, 2015
Goa Arts and Literature Festival (GALF) 2015, 2016, 2017
Hyderabad Literary Festival (HLF), 2015, 2017
Lviv International Literature Festival, Ukraine, 2017
Pitch to Publishers & Festival Organisers:
Can read poetry from her two poetry collections
Can conduct 2-4-hour workshops on poetry and haibun (Japanese prose poetry)
Can moderate a session on poetry
Can be in conversation with a poet for a new book launch
Can be judge to a poetry competition, poetry slams
Contact email: rochelle[po]email@example.com (remove square brackets from email)