first issue

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About Catamaran

Catamaran is an idea born of the tremendous creative energy among South Asians in North America. The list of "newly discovered" writers grows. As the second generation seizes and gives artistic shape to experiences here in North America, not only will South Asian names become prominent on bookstore shelves, in art galleries, and auditoriums, but also increasing numbers of South Asians will likely feel compelled to identify themselves as "writers," "poets," "playwrights" and "photographers." It is our hope that Catamaran will provide the vehicle to host and carry this creative talent. The artists featured in Catamaran are not individuals you will encounter on the celebrity circuits today, but they all have the potential for such recognition.

We'd like to think of Catamaran as encouraging and sustaining writers who have recently found their creative voice and vision and need a forum to hone their craft. Catamaran will be published twice a year-once in the Fall and once in the Spring. Next issue of Catamaran will come out 2009 April-May.

The word "catamaran," although colloquially associated with a high-speed boat, has its origins in South Asia. It is an anglicized form of the Tamil phrase "kattu maram" (which translates literally as "tied wood/log") for a raft. For us, therefore, "catamaran" has multiple evocations-South Asia, the shared colonial history of South Asian nations, the contribution to English of South Asian languages, the sense of adventure in setting out on a raft, the energy of movement, the turbulence of the oceans.

This first issue of Catamaran is dedicated to Agha Shahid Ali, the deeply loved and respected poet from Kashmir who lived in the United States from 1975 until his death from a brain tumor in December 2001. Shahid wrote eight books of poetry, the most recent of which was nominated for the 2001 National Book Award; translated the poems of Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz; wrote a critical work on T. S. Eliot; and edited an anthology of ghazals. We commemorate Shahid's dedication to the craft of poetry and his ebullient spirit and hope that other writers will find inspiration in his life and work.

Our excitement at launching Catamaran is not without sadness as well. We are deeply shocked at the sudden and untimely death of one of our editors, Reetika Vazirani, and her son. Reetika was an accomplished poet; we will miss her astute reading of poetry and her keen ear for the word and phrase that surprises and illuminates.

We thank all those who submitted to the first issue. We look forward eagerly to submissions for forthcoming issues.

~ Rajini Srikanth

Editorial Board

Rajini Srikanth
Samir Dayal
Shona Ramaya
Roger Buckley
Bandana Purkayastha
Subhashini Kaligotla

Consulting Editors

Tahira Naqvi
Vijay Seshadri