Prerna Bakshi is the author of Burnt Rotis, With Love (Les Éditions du Zaporogue, Denmark, 2016), which was long-listed for the 2015 Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in the UK and cited as one of the '9 Poetry Collections That Will Change The Way You See The World' by Bustle in the US. She is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and her poetry has been widely published in numerous literary journals and magazines, most recently in the Red Wedge Magazine, The Ofi Press, TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism, Wilderness House Literary Review, Peril magazine: Asian-Australian Arts & Culture and Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature, as well as anthologized in several collections, including America Is Not The World by Pankhearst. Her political essays have been published in The Huffington Post, The Hindu, The Wire, Countercurrents, India Resists, Amar Ujala, Deshbandhu, among others. Her work explores issues of class, gender, and identity. She holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Linguistics from Monash University, a Master of Arts by Research (Sociolinguistics) from the University of Sydney, and is currently undertaking a PhD in Linguistics at The University of New England, Australia.
Burnt rotis, with love
"If you think that political poetry is out-of-date, well, think again. Prerna Bakshi's first collection, "Burnt rotis, with love" is an amazing shout of freedom that will leave no-one unaffected, and prove that yes, poetry can and will make a difference."
Praise for Burnt rotis, with love
“Burnt Rotis, With Love is an extraordinary work. It is both a clenched fist held up to patriarchy and the exploitation of human labor, and a lilting call for a renewed spirit of resistance and struggle, animated by a revolutionary love.”
Peter McLaren, Distinguished Professor in Critical Studies, Chapman University, and author of Pedagogy of Insurrection.
"Prerna Bakshi's Burnt Rotis, With Love is a dreamer's book of poems: a dreamer who loves the world and so wants to change it, standing it on its head. The poet does not fight shy of partisanship and empathy with the suffering, the oppressed and the marginalized. A deep humanitarian impulse runs beneath these poems, defining their choice of themes as well as forms. This book is a scream of pain, anger and hope in a world fast succumbing to despair."
"Prerna Bakshi’s debut volume of poetry captures the essential feminist experience of third world women today. It explores women’s experience, their multi-faceted ghettoization, redefines identities that have been solidified in patriarchal construction, and confronts the horrors of state based sexual violence. It also marks the passage of generations, and joyously celebrates the resistance. All power to you, Prerna."
Ilina Sen, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and author of Inside Chhattisgarh: A Political Memoir
"Prerna Bakshi is an electrifying poet of Indian heritage and global consciousness. She represents a new generation of social movement poets working in the tradition of Margaret Randall, Audre Lorde and Marge Piercy. Burnt Rotis, With Love blends rage, politics, desire and hope. May we look forward to many more years of her work."
Budd Hall, University of Victoria, Canada
"Prerna Bakshi's poetry collection, Burnt Rotis, With Love, is an unusual book. It is exciting to read work that deals with the gendered politics of language, and about a part of the world of which I know little. Women in so many different cultures come together these days demanding to be seen, heard, and taken into account. Bakshi's poems speak eloquently.”
Margaret Randall, author of Haydée Santamaría, Cuban Revolutionary: She Led by Transgression
"Prerna Bakshi is not only a poet, but an activist for democratic struggles of exploited peoples be they are workers, peasants, Indigenous Peoples, displaced people or women. She has not only participated in their actual struggles, she has created poetry depicting their lives and struggles as well. The poem – ‘The Fight for our Rivers, Mountains and Forests’ is depiction of most recent and ongoing Indigenous struggles against corporate greed.
One feels happy reading Prerna Bakshi’s youthful and refreshing poems, which cover a wide variety of human situations with sensitivity. These poems are highly subversive of servile Indian middle class values and argue for new democratic values. These poems have a revolutionary spirit and focus on class struggles, they are not middle class romantic tales. The poems depict the hard fought struggles of workers, peasants, Indigenous Peoples and women.
This is a poetry which is most needed in contemporary India, and indeed in a world going through the most violent struggles and where the struggling masses face a state of oppression. A poem in pre-industrial period England, changed the lives of workers there whose struggles forced the system to adopt the eight hour working day. If a poem had that much power then, perhaps Prerna Bakshi’s poems will one day help create a better society. A society which she has herself expressed in a dream prose poem - ‘Another World’.
The poems in this collection are not only pleasing in an aesthetic sense but also alert readers to their surrounding social reality, forcing them to take a side."
Prof. Chaman Lal, author of Understanding Bhagat Singh (an extract from the Foreword)
"Writing in the tradition of the great feminist, political poets, Prerna Bakshi challenges the patriarchy’s construction of the female mind and body, and illuminates the feminist experience shared by women living in the developing world today. Her narrative poetry is dedicated to the world’s stateless people, a murdered daughter, a Chinese migrant factory worker, survivors of domestic violence, and all those affected by the Partition — to name just a few of Bakshi’s poetic inspirations. Writing about everything from sexual assault to what happens, as she writes, “When the Poor Woman ‘Leans In’,” she wants you to be moved, and haunted, and angry, and empowered. And the poems in Burnt Rotis, With Love will do just that."
- 9 Poetry Collections That Will Change The Way You See The World, Bustle
To read the full article, click here http://www.bustle.com/articles/161046-9-poetry-collections-that-will-change-the-way-you-see-the-world
"Wendy Doniger's book on Hinduism had been just pulped and most poetry books read like odes to trees that bore fruits and flowers that were in full bloom. Bakshi's strong imagery and metaphors obviously stood no chance. Her poems encourage women to burn rotis, to be imperfect, to be immoral, to be unruly, to upset the status quo. Bakshi's poems pull one out of the comfort zone. Through her 54 poems Bakshi has become the voice of workers, peasants, Indigenous people, women and children. Bakshi has given women a voice in her poems. Bakshi is a fiery feminist. She articulates their fears, their shame like no one else."
- For Women: How To Burn Rotis & Fight Patriarchy, Catch News
To read the full article, click here http://www.catchnews.com/culture-news/for-women-how-to-burn-rotis-fight-patriarchy-1471965632.html/fullview
"The messages that she delivers are vital stories about oppressed people around the world that Westerners should especially be made aware of, and it’s clear that Prerna Bakshi deserves critical praise and recognition for her brave and touching new work, Burnt Rotis, With Love."
- Sean Lynch, Poet and Editor of Whirlwind Magazine.
To read the full review, click here https://issuu.com/whirlwindreview/docs/whirlwind_issue6/c/spx9ba5
"Prerna Bakshi’s poetry is not for the meek or sheltered. In the collection, Burnt Rotis, With Love, Bakshi is unashamedly feminist, unashamedly Indian, unashamedly herself. It is raw and unencumbered, which contrasts the subjects she devotes her prose to. Her work, candid and heavy at times, serves as an icebreaker to bigger discussions and experiences that we all have been through. The collection, as a whole, is a response to mainstream feminism, which often times leaves out perspectives of women that are not a certain size, color, or race. Burnt Rotis, With Love, gladly fills the gap and without asking, includes all of us."
- Ev Petgrave, Linden Avenue Literary Journal
To read the full review, click here http://www.lindenavelit.com/book-reviews.html
"I found it impossible to keep my balance and remain on the surface of these poems. This collection is powerful and unsettling, and Prerna Bakshi pulls you in deep and doesn't let go. In this body of cohesive, tightly woven poetry she explores and interrogates the narratives of Partition of India/Punjab post British colonialism, women's identity, gender, and class struggle. Her poems are connected by setting, imagery, challenging themes, and autobiography; and she casts the net wide... Violence, oppression, exploitation, abuse, struggle, survival and resistance.
I found her poetry startling and urgent and written in a voice that seeks--no, make that demands--answers to our most basic humanitarian questions. She is a force for change and I'll be watching as her body of writing expands and she ultimately takes her place among the important new literary authors of this generation."
- Janine Pickett, Editor, Indiana Voice Journal
To read the full review, click here http://www.indianavoicejournal.com/p/blog-page_19.html
"Indian poet Prerna Bakshi writes searing, stark, powerful political poetry and in her collection Burnt rotis, with love, she tackles a huge range of social, political, and personal issues. Her explorations of colonialism, identity, and struggle are already receiving worldwide praise and this text is a necessary addition to any poetry library."
- S. E. Smith, Editor, Global Comment
"This poetry stands in solidarity with all struggles of emancipation, is not afraid to being called partisan and wears its irreverence with a just pride. And yet, there’s a thread of compassionate humanism in all her poems which binds together the noisy struggles and pained silences of the oppressed. ’Burnt Rotis, With Love’ is an important work of radical poetry today."
- Rahul Vaidya, Vikalp: People's Perspective for Change
To read the full review, click here http://www.vikalp.ind.in/2016/06/book-reviw-burnt-rotis-with-love-by.html?m=1
"Bakshi is a fervent feminist with a unique gift of language, which she uses in this book to spit in the face of the double-standard patriarchy and all of its crimes. Bakshi uses powerful words in a story telling form to grasp the reader by the face and demand that they see modern society for what it is committing: femicide. Inside you will find many references to the Hindu religion and Indian culture, which Bakshi, as an activist, uses to confront and dismantle modern hypocrisy; whether it take the form of religion, state repression, or sexism. The author is obviously sickened and angry by the torment which feminine-identified people face in this world and this book is a rally cry for feminists everywhere. This is a real page turner, as it enlightens with every word. This book is excellently written and I recommend it to everyone, to get a fair viewpoint of what happens to women every day, hour, and second in this world."
- Adam Levon Brown, Five 2 One Magazine
To read the full review, click here http://goo.gl/xkJSY3
"What also makes the collection striking is its unapologetic political-mindedness. In poems such as ‘A Day in the Life of a Migrant Factory Worker’, a story is told, only to reveal in its footnotes that it is based on a true account of a Chinese migrant factory worker at Foxconn called Xu Lizhi, who died by suicide at age twenty-four. She also speaks for the necessity to look at issues of gender from an intersectional perspective, responding to Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’ philosophy, by describing ‘When the poor woman leans in/it is to plough the land, sow the seeds…’ and providing a much-needed backlash against middle-upper-class neoliberal ideas of so-called feminism."
- Carmina Masoliver, The Norwich Radical
To read the full review, click here http://bit.ly/2fkQBiL
Purchase Burnt rotis, with love
They, too, are part of society - The politics of disability: Through an Indian lens [Hindi],
Amar Ujala, 2012 http://bit.ly/1TjFW9m
Sexual violence and censorship, The Hindu, 2013 http://bit.ly/1cXJEe2
Vedanta talks of "pride" post shame, Countercurrents, 2013 http://bit.ly/P1FePv
Vedanta talks of "pride" post shame [Hindi] , Deshbandhu, 2013 http://bit.ly/21fltSe
I Was Sexually Harassed At Delhi Airport. This Is My Story, The Huffington Post, 2015 http://huff.to/1LNTwPC
Reflections on Kanhaiya's speech after release, India Resists, 2016 http://bit.ly/1Yq70TJ
Why I Won't be Saying 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai', The Huffington Post, 2016 http://huff.to/209frDG
If He's Concerned About Indian lives, Here's Something Ajay Devgn Can Chew On, The Wire, 2016 http://bit.ly/2dQxyhS
Press and Interviews
Interview with Pankhearst in the US - April 2016