The Sufi in “Bare Soul” | Reading Kalpna Singh – Chitnis

It is mystery which unfolds in and through her poetry. Reaching the height of soulfulness and mysticism, she reveals the spirituality which can be achieved, as per her sensibility, through nothing else, but ‘self’.

“Rummaging in our souls, we often dig up something that ought to have lain their unnoticed.”
– Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

And that’s what Kalpna Singh – Chitnis traces out from the depth of cavernous darkness. She removes the petrifying layers and lays the soul bare, uncovered, in its real self for us to notice “our wild inner beauty!”

A seeker of freedom, Kalpna Singh travels not far away in search of awakening, but within herself, the inner being.

You want me to free you from guilt,
but I’m neither the lock, nor the key;
both are in your hands my friend,
set yourself free !

– Rustling Winds, III

The “Jungle”, wherein she roves with her poetry is mysterious, yet riveting.

Every birth in the jungle is a celebration,
there is no death in the jungle
ever to be ever mourned.

The jungle breathes life in all deceased,
in the jungle
everyone resurrects,

every tear is counted,
and becomes an offering
to the river of eternity!

– Jungle, IV

The ever flowing “River of Songs” adorns Chitnis as a poet of acute sensibility while sliding with vision of truthfulness and serenity. She urges to find the truth, even at the cost of truth itself !

Who claims to know
what the river is all about?

Those who came in their boats of pride,
could barely make it to the shore.

Those who came without any prejudice,
could never surface to tell its depth.

Who claims to know the river?
Not the river itself …

River of Songs, III

Kalpna Singh is not a poet of ordinariness, but she is the one who traces extraordinary threads out of the mundane aspects of life and world. The collection of poetry, Bare Soul does it really well, as with each sub-section it spills classic themes pickled with the essence of Sufism in them.

The poems of this collection are incarnation of spirituality, faith, love, pain, belief, truth, mystery, fantasy and much more.  However, it becomes essential to rectify and mention, that more than anything, the verses of Chitnis are living beings, not just one, but numerous. One may never bind them in single time-frame, as these incarnations are gracefully timeless because of their temperament and nature.

To put up crystal clear, Kalpna Singh – Chitnis is sheer magic!

Kalpna Singh-Chitnis is an Indian-American poet and filmmaker based in the United States. Author of Bare Soul (winner of the 2017 Naji Naaman Literary Award) and three collections of poems in Hindi, she received the prestigious Bihar Rajbhasha Award given by the government of Bihar, India, for her first poetry collection, Chand Ka Paivand (Patch of moon), in 1987, and the title of Bihar Shri (Jewel of Bihar) in 1988. She is also the recipient of 2014 Rajiv Gandhi Global Excellence Award for her contributions to literature and cinema. Kalpna Singh-Chitnis participated in the Silk Routes project of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa from 2014 to 2016, and published her work as a poet, essayist and translator in notable journals like World Literature Today, California Quarterly, Levure Litteraire and others. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Life and Legends and works on independent film projects in Hollywood. More about Kalpna at –


Varsha Singh (M.Phil., Ph.D.) is an Independent Researcher, Critic, Poet, Translator and Editor from Jharkhand. She writes in English and Hindi. Along with being the Managing Editor of Reviews, she edits for several national and international journals.

She got her Ph.D from Vinoba Bhave University for her thesis entitled “The Midnight’s Grandchildren: Articulating the Postmodern Spirit in English Fiction of India” which was followed after her M.Phil from Indian School of Mines (now IIT – Dhanbad), with a dissertation titled “Translation of Flight of Phoenix: Some Linguistic and Cultural Issues”.

Her published books include Deluges: A collection of poems, 2014, (Authorspress),Unbangled and other Poems, 2015, (Authorspress), Bhor – A Collection of Hindi Poems, 2016 (Authorspress), The Midnight’s Grandchildren: Articulating the Postmodern Spirit in English Fiction of India, 2017, (Authorspress), Parbati the traitor and other poems, 2017, (Authorspress), Recluse: Contemporary Verses, 2017 (Authorspress), Building Bridges: Kannada and Hindi Poetry (Co-authored), (Upcoming in 2017 from Authorspress). She has been widely featured in several journals, books and magazines.

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