Biography of Mukesh Williams
Mukesh Williams is a professor of English in the Faculty of Letters at Soka University, Japan. He is also a distinguished poet, fiction writer and a political analyst. His poems have appeared in Campus Poetry, Youth Times, Indian Verse, The Journal of Indian Writing in English, Muse India, The Stephanian, Udichi, Indian Verse, The Lyric, Impressions, Kavya Bharati, The Istanbul Literary Review, Centrifugal Eye, Autumn Leaves, Forward Press UK, Asahi Haikuist Network, Poetry Plaza, The Blue Fog Journal of Poetry, Foliate Oak, Plankton, The Daily Mainichi, and Best Poem: A Literary Journal. His short stories have been published in The Copperfield Review. His works have been quoted in reputed journals around the world. Professor Shyamala A. Narayan mentioned his book Nakasendo in an article entitled ‘India’ in The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Volume 42, Issue 4,2007.
Williams’ first book of poems, Nakasendo and Other Poems was published in 2006 from Writers Workshop, Calcutta. His poetry possesses a startling mixture of Japanese minimalism and Foucaldian coups and carries with it an uncanny postmodernist signature. His works have been quoted in reputed journals around the world from The Journal of Commonwealth Literature to The Other Voices International Project. He has been interviewed by many reputed poetry magazines including The Copperfield Review. Professor Williams is listed in the World Poetry Directory of UNESCO, Marquis Who’s Who in the World, UK Who’s Who, The Encyclopedia of Indian Creative Writers in English and The International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England.
As one literary critic has pointed out his poetry “reverberates with the unrealized potential of the universe” and captivates the reader with its mellifluous sounds and linguistic prowess. Professor John G. Cawelti of the University of Chicago finds his poems “very expressive and moving” especially the way he “blends Greek allusions with Indian stories to evolve universal human feelings of love and longing.” One of the early reviewers of his poems finds echoes of Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, Rabindranath Tagore and Ogiwara Seisensui in his poetry. Williams’ evocative lyricism and controlled cynicism makes him a truly postmodern poet who captures and represents the pulse of our times.
Williams has taught English, American Studies, and South Asia at St. Stephen’s College India, Keio University Japan and Soka University Japan. He has published research papers, editorials, poems and books on American Studies, India and Japan and delivered keynote addresses at international conferences. His co-authored book, Representing India: Politics, Identities, and Literatures, was released by Oxford University Press in January 2008 and since then has been favorably reviewed in Business India, Muse India, The Telegraph, The Hindu and other journals. He has many years of teaching experience at St. Stephen’s College Delhi, Keio University and Soka University.
Nakasendo and Other Poems (2006)
Moving Spaces, Changing Places (2007)
An English Paradise,2007 http: //www.boloji.com/stories/217.htm
The Snow Leopard,2007
A Remembered Life,2009 http: //www.copperfieldreview.com/fiction/A%20Remembered%20Life.htm
Adviser to the Partitionist Cartographer (2009)
The Library Story (2009)
The Maharajah’s Ephemera (2009)
One Last Cherry Blossom (2009)
http: //www.boloji.com/index.cfm? md=Content&sd=Articles&ArticleID=3646
The Golden Lizard King (2009)
http: //www.boloji.com/index.cfm? md=Content&sd=Articles&ArticleID=3695
The Porcupine Hunt 2010
The Woman in the Painting (2010)
Short Stories for Children
Mousy, Mousy Story http: //www.bolokids.com/2007/0454.htm
The Rabbit and the Mouse http: //www.bolokids.com/2007/0474.htm
The Frog and Duck Friendship http: //www.bolokids.com/2007/0458.htm
The Birdies and the Boy http: //www.bolokids.com/2007/0475.htm
The Yajigawa Frog http: //www.bolokids.com/2007/0459.htm
“Round Robin Interview” with Guest Editor Karla Linn Merrifield in The Centrifugal Eye, Oh Canada! Volume 2, Issue 4, Autumn 2007
“Nothing is Outside the Framework of Poetry: An Interview with Mukesh Williams By Rohit Wanchoo, ” The Copperfield Review,2010 http: //www.copperfieldreview.com/interviews/williams.htm
Selected Extracts from Pre-Publication Evaluation and Recent Book Reviews
…you have done a most interesting job in synthesizing the diverse strains of language and imagery that are a part of your cultural heritage, India, the western classical tradition and the English language. The way in which you blend Greek allusions with Indian stories to evolve universal human feelings of love and longing is very expressive and moving.
—John G. Cawelti,
Former Professor of English, University of Chicago
The poems of Mukesh Williams reverberate with the unrealized potential of the universe. They are self-reflexive, witty, passionate, oblique, and filled with the surprise of the moment. Since these poems were never meant for publication they retain an uncontrived freshness and immediacy. I am always struck by his openness to new topics, to new experiences and to new people. I am also fascinated by his open-heartedness, which is to a large extent related to his ingenuity and poetic creation. He loves nature and is intrigued by the trivial things in life—be it a face, a leaf or a train. Nothing seems to be excluded from his sharp observation He seems to easily connect disparate things and give them a special meaning. Who can say, the deepest meaning of things in this world might lie in ordinary things of life! His poetry creates a new genre, a new way of looking at familiar things. Though his poems are slightly reminiscent of traditional Japanese poetic style and sensibility, they also posses a highly intellectual quality. At times they are succinct and poignant and at others suddenly jump into witticism and subtlety. There is a typical minimalism and symbolism in his style that makes his diction racy and evokes diverse associations in the mind. His poetry reflects his innermost feelings and inspires us to transcend the mundane world of reality and enter into a world of spiritual experience even when the subject is palpably secular.
—Kaoru Kinoshita, Soka University
About Nakasendo and Other Poems,2006
The new collection of fifty poems by Mukesh K. Williams written between 1975 and 2006 covers three decades of lived experience in eleven cities and two countries. These beautifully crafted poems possess a focus and sharpness that most Indian poetry invariably lacks. There is no glibness here but a pursuit of the mot just, the exact word, to capture the experience directly and without much ado. As Williams points out in the Acknowledgements, that these poems are directly connected to his “Indian and Japanese experiences” and support the idea of “inhabiting these two cultures.” It is precisely the fact of inhabiting the two cultures that gives a Diasporic uniqueness to these poems. The subtle interplay of Indian emotional intensity and Japanese controlled minimalism provides a fresh nuance to the imagery and a new twist to the denouement. …Nakasendo poems are a must read for those seeking a fresh perspective and a new voice.
—Gemini Yadav, Negotiating the Nakasendo, Boloji,2007.
About Representing India: Literatures, Cultures, and Politics,2008
He can be contacted through his blog site, http: //beyond-the-shadows.blogspot.com/
Mukesh Williams Poems
Tokyo Train Travel
With a hum and a buzz The train surges, Picks up speed,
Princess Kaguya At My Window
The effulgence of the night moon Illumines the latticed shoji, Confounding the moment.
The Consummate Gift
(for Derrida) Give me a gift without equivalence, Par excellence, For which I cannot thank you enough,
She alliterates with Memory, music and the magniloquent style, Growing out of a malmsey drunk moment Into a photomontage,
Dev Sahib, Uff! Yun Maa
(1923-2011) There is no regret in his passing. He was a national Adonis for six decades Who chose his Persephone, his Aphrodite,
A French Café
There's always a narrow passage In a big city that Leads to a quiet cafe Unhurried, quiet, half lit,
Tell Me A Lie
Unless I am Pinocchio A lie that hurts others is calumny And subject to litigation.
She came from a faraway land without an ethnos cascading into breathless petals as when it happens in spring with flowering trees
Takao Mountain Road
The old chuff and huff Trekkers carry backpacks, Artists concentrate on margins With paint brush on the easel,
Sannen-Zaka Street, Kyoto
The child stirs In the womb In a breathless decent down the narrow
On a sunless afternoon Water speeds doglike Down the mountains Along river channels,
Nakasendo, Hime No Kaido
Dry morning cold Snow piling up silently Houses curving slowly Along the winding road
The Consummate Gift
Give me a gift without equivalence,
For which I cannot thank you enough,
For which I cannot erase my debt
In any language, idiom
Or matching memento.
Give me a gift which I cannot encircle
With my munificence,
To which I cannot say thank you!