Yugen Quest Review, Spring-Summer Edition, March/April, 2022


The Spring-Summer edition of Yugen Quest Review, 2022, joins old routes and new trails in the WE literary journey -tracing crucial moments, honouring people and their contributions, envisaging a greener future. It has the pleasure of introducing three gifted young poets - Sankalpita Mullick, Sharmista Sen Gupta and Nameera Anjum. 

This issue looks at the evolution of the WE Literary Community over six years of existence, and presents aspects of my own journey that led to its foundation.

The collective love of poetry and nature is what binds us together at WE. During the deeply introspective pandemic years, in some 'Back to Earth' moments, a handful of my earthy artworks and poetry shone with new meaning, connecting the dots. Artworks like -  'Turning into Trees' (Spring 2016), that I had created featuring poets and friends in Spring 2016, Tree-Woman (watercolour, 2003), Peepwood (oil, 2003) offer a vital focus and speak to our core. In 2022, they assume centre-stage due to the pandemic and climate change, both necessitating a revised and renewed look towards a greener earth. Also, because returning to nature was the way we dealt with the pandemic here, writing for forests, rivers, oceans, and trees, in an immersive experience of love during the previous two difficult poetry writing months.

This is the moment that connects our past, present, future, circling between spring 2016 and 2022, as a new green award is introduced. The WE Poe-TREE Green Hearts Award 2022 acknowledges and honours great writing and contribution during the pandemic years at our poetry writing space #CeWoPoWriMoWE (’20, ’21), and at WE Awards '20, respectively. The awards comprise prize money and saplings/seeds, and will be announced every two years. 

The 2022 Awardees were announced in March 2022, and the three categories  (Earth, Diva, Meritorious) along with awardees are presented in the 'Recipients' and 'Community - People' sections in this issue. 

The following outline is a glimpse of the WE literary journey so far. This issue highlights its salient points.

Smeetha Bhoumik

The WE Literary Journey

WE Literary Community
Essence of the New Recognition
Poe-TREE Green Hearts Award 2022
Backdrop - Turning into Trees – Spring ‘16
                    Poetic Atmosphere (Spaces, Poets, Readings)
Connecting Dots : Founder, WE, Community, Creations, Belonging

WE Women & Earth – Founder’s Focus
        Earth, Trees, Women, Universe
        Art – She Is (Oils, Pen & Ink), Tardigrades (Acrylic)
        She Is (Video), Tree-Woman (Watercolour, 2003), Peepwood Oils, 2003
        Main theme of work – The Universe series
        Video - Turning Into Trees, 2016. 
        Poetry – S-TREE (2012)
        I Speak Earth (2017, published – Writing Language, Culture..Anthology, 2018)
        Book - Where I Belong- Moments, Mist & Song – Reviewed by Urna Bose in this issue 
        Poem – Glow (Sestina form). Written at GloPoWriMoWE 2017. 

WE  Come Into Being – Spring – Autumn ‘16
       The Summer of '16
       Conscious Healing
       Compass Reset
       WE Launch – Sept 2016

WE Highlights, Pandemic Times
WE  Awards, Evolution
        Life & Learning in the Pandemic 
        Small Miracles in Slow Time
        Poetry Party
WE Awards Announced – Dec ‘20
        Learning Bears Fruit

WE  Tree – Literary Community
         Founding Members, Panel of Judges
         Award Winners
         Advisory Panel
         Editors.  Contributors.  
         New Young Poets
         WE Poe-TREE Green Hearts Awardees 2022
WE   Towards A Greener World

WE  Timeline At A Glance

          Anthology – Equiverse Space – A Sound Home in Words (Editors -Smeetha     
          Bhoumik, Kala Ramesh, Taseer Gujral, Abha Iyengar, Md. Farhan. Notion, 2018)

          Modern English Poetry by Younger Indians (Editor Sudeep Sen. WE poets writing at GloPoWriMoWE 2017 by TMS, selected by   
          Smeetha Bhoumik. Sahitya Akademy,2019)
         Awards Established
         Year ‘18 -   WE Kamala Das Poetry Award, 
         Year ’20 -   WE Eunice de Souza Poetry Award (English)
                             WE Eunice de Souza Poetry Award (Languages)
                             WE Trailblazer Poet-Teacher Award
                             WE Gifted Poet Award
         Year  ’18     Received the MAP Leadership Award
         Year  ‘22     WE Poe-TREE Green Hearts Award 2022 (Roots in 2016, Fruition 2022)

         Proud Member CLMP
         Year ’18      CLMP Membership. Featured in CLMP Round-ups (2019, ‘20)

          Readings, Collaborations
          Year ’16 – ‘22 - WE Readings, Awards, Collaborations, Launches, Recordings


WE  Poe-TREE Green Hearts Awards 2022
WE Poe-TREE Green Hearts Award (Earth) Recipients
         For Exemplary Poetry & Participation during #CeWoPoWriMoWE ’20, ‘21
       Amita Paul, Rituparna Khan

WE Poe-TREE Green Hearts Award (Diva) Recipient
         For Exemplary Poetry & Participation during #CeWoPoWriMoWE ’20, ’21 and WE Online Readings, Celebrations
       Lily Swarn

WE Poe-TREE Green Hearts Award (Meritorious) Recipient

      For Exceptional Contribution to WE Literary Community & WE Awards
      Nishat Haider, Taseer Gujral, Somrita Urni Ganguly


WE Literary CommuniTREE, Spring 2022


Yugen Quest Review Special Edition 2, Aug/Sept ’21

Yugen Quest Review

  • Special Edition, Issue 2, Aug ’21
  • WE Core Poets, Translations
  • Art, Essay, Book Review, Author Space
  • Cover Art ‘The Reader’ by Shweta Rao Garg

The second Special Edition of Yugen Quest Review is a translation special issue, adorned with beautiful art, and carries a book review, a book excerpt, an essay and author space . It presents poetry in English & languages, along with translations. The languages highlighted are Punjabi, Marathi, Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, French, German, Spanish.


Making Moments Count

Weaving through the long, arduous hours of Mostly@Home time, poets and artists have once again spun myriad dreams and emotions into offerings of love.
The mystical powers of the human mind to process experiences of all kinds and transform them in creative ways is evidence of  the ‘yugen’ so precious in all art and beauty. 
The process is as important as the outcome.

Yugen, a Japanese word at the heart of aesthetics in Japan, is of ancient Chinese philosophical origin, suggesting mysterious depths and beauty. It evokes rather than states, hinting at profound experiences. Its many shades and nuances are an invitation to be ever ready for a fleeting glimpse, an elusive touch of something quite simple yet hauntingly beautiful, almost indefinable, that the human spirit seeks in its journey through life.
In the words of Zeami Motokiyo -‘To contemplate the flight of wild geese seen and lost among the clouds.’

I have held my breath and then breathed out in wonder at the way everyone of us has responded to recent challenging, difficult and tragic situations with all our humanity.
This issue carries art created from the depths of feeling and love. The artists are Shweta Rao Garg and Sonali Pattnaik, both gifted poets, writers, artists and academics.
The issue is a special edition because it continues to feature the work of WE Core poets, and poetry from our #CeWoPoWriMoWE writing space, including the work of three new poets; and presents startling ideas in an essay ‘The Art of Writering’, penned by lightweaver, expert NLP facilitator, scholar Bhavana Nissima.

Gayatri Lakhiani Chawla’s poetry collection ‘The Empress, is reviewed by Antara Banerjee. Antara shares her thoughts on her latest venture Tales of a Nocturnal Sojourn‘.

A delightful excerpt from Sujatha Mathai‘s novel ‘Sheuli’s Star‘ finds space here.

Special felicitations once again to Rituparna Khan, for the admirable feat of writing exquisite poetry everyday starting April 1 and culminating July 31, 2021. Kudos Rituparna !

The poetry featured in this issue is extra special for the flavours of different languages it carries. It is a melding of emotions and linguistic expression, a quest for oneness with words….

Gratitude to everyone for sharing their work. Special thanks to Bina Sarkar Ellias and Priya Sarukkai  Chabria for participating with their treasures of translation.

Smeetha Bhoumik


Yugen Quest Review, 2nd Special Edition, Aug ’21, carries the works of Sujatha Mathai, Bina Sarkar Ellias, Priya Sarukkai Chabria, Anju Makhija, Amita Paul, Smita Bahuguna Agarwal, Vinita Agarwal, Taseer Gujral, Somrita Urni Ganguly, Shweta Rao Garg, Peter Fogtdal, Lily Swarn, Abha Iyengar, Gayatri Lakhiani Chawla, Jasmine Khurana, Antara Banerjee, Baisali Chatterjee Dutt, Rituparna Khan, Bhavana Nissima, Jagari Mukherjee, Paramita Mukherjee Mullick, Sonali Pattnaik, Amrita Valan, Lina Krishnan, Sudeshna Mukherjee, Neha Mishra Jha, Sanjeev Kaushal, Priyal Panchal, Debarati Sen, Isabel Miguel, Philippe Safavi, Johannes Beiharz, Smeetha Bhoumik


Yugen Quest Review, Special Edition, Issue 1, June,’21

Selected Poems from #CeWoPoWriMoWE’21 and WE Awards ’20

Celebrating the magic of poetry at #CeWoPoWriMoWE this year again has been very special, as we wrote together keeping fears at bay and infusing hope all through the pandemic days of April, May, June ’21. In the growing gloom, we brought our minds to bear on the wonders of nature, scaling snowy peaks of verse, singing paeans to our rivers and bountiful forests. Awash in oceans of love we kept the poetry flowing. The tears came, the fear ebbed and flowed, but poetry swept on…and is still going on…

April ’21 – #CeWoPoWriMoWE

and in the deathly gloom we lingered,
       into breaths
so rhythmic

flames leaping
      all around…

flickering candles of
in hand

we dreamt

of miraculous nature

and kept writing on….


Poetry During the Pandemic


In a quiet moment of contemplation, while I tried to clear the mind of all thought, the above lines had presented themselves.

An April aflame, searing through flesh and blood and flowing into the mind, its fear kept inching forward, incipient as the heat.
In a parallel poetic universe though, there were rosy river paths and forest treks deliberately sought and celebrated in this atmosphere of hopelessness. To stay afloat in times of crisis, the inner work required becomes as vital as the essentials of exercise, healthy intake, prayer and meditation. One needs to consciously work on inner strength, building a stubborn resilience and staying power.

Augmenting hope in the face of everything that tries to negate it, is the biggest challenge, and it can be learnt. Not only for oneself, but to be of service to others, for care-giving is an arduous and often underrated task, rendering a person vulnerable in many ways. In this deadly pandemic raging in India, we needed every tiny precious bit of it.

Believe me when I say that we needed a dogged persistence to keep our spirits up just when they were plummeting rock bottom, and many around us were losing hope, or worse, tagging it as ‘toxic positivity’. Words have power as life ceaselessly teaches us, and this pandemic has not just eaten away at our bodies, but played with our minds too.

The very term ‘toxic positivity’ is a slap in the face of all that is resilient, beautiful, full of hope and courage. One cannot be positive enough.

If the absurd term is being used to denote a cosmetic positivity not backed by right actions, then it is a failure on the part of users who do the notion of true resilience great disservice, especially in these times when mental health is paramount. ‘Empty Sounds‘ would have been a much better choice of words perhaps, for an affected positivity. But of course, drama lay in the debilitating one !

Staying immune to such suggestions that bring guilt to bear upon our greatest gift is not an easy task. It requires work. Thankfully, there are great books out there, like Viktor Frankl’s The Search For Meaning, that continue to offer radiance and hope to readers.

Okay, ‘nuf said !
Did you hear me say ‘forest treks‘?
Yes, and not only that, we entered more spaces of wonder and delight this summer of poetic expression at #CeWoPoWriMoWE !

There were glorious, living, breathing moments of tear-soaked joy as we wrote and composed, accented by the raging pandemonium outside, safe within our fragile poetic bubbles, so ephemeral, so transient, it could burst the very next moment. Oh, how we clung on for dear life ! We wrote of love and tears, our dreams and fears, white crested peaks, foaming rivers and the very edges of existence where only hope and prayers prevail.

Poetry for us has never been an add-on elective, or a luxurious choice; poetry is at our core . It forms the axis around which we keep spinning wheels of hope. No Poetry- No Life, seems to be our mantra as chaos rages outside, and locked down, we trek on poetic trails. The grief, the loss permeating everything is palpable, and somehow we make it through April and keep writing into May and beyond, buoyed by the rhythmic tone of our togetherness. Each one of us, like countless others, carries a blistering awareness of the virus coming closer and closer….its tentacles bared….snatching away  life and bonds.

The act of writing bestows a measure of grace and an intense appreciation of the present moment, for the true gift it is.

A special note of admiration and appreciation for Amita Paul here, who, besides writing exquisite poetry every day, survived the dreaded virus and emerged healthy at the end of April. It is an honour to have written with her. Her poetry has received immense appreciation in many poetic platforms this summer, acknowledged with awards and accolades.

Adoration also for Lily Swarn, our WE Diva of the World, whose beauteous creations leave us inspired and enthralled.

Special mention for the dedicated, diligent, brilliant academic and poet Rituparna Khan, who has the unique distinction of writing to all prompts starting April 1 all through May and June till date. Kudos !

Thanks to all the gifted poets who shared their luminous thoughts generously and with love.

May happiness form
in the glow of your

chiding darkness
pain :


in the


Smeetha Bhoumik

Soaring on the wings of poetry

Of Guiding Lights & Glimmering Hope

Judges – WE Awards

Nishat Haider, Taseer Gujral, Somrita Urni Ganguly

Smeetha Bhoumik

Guests of Honour @WE

Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal, Kala Ramesh, Priya Sarukkai Chabria, Dr. Radhakrishnan Pillai, Nisha JamVwal, Menka Shivdasani, Anju Makhija, Bina Sarkar Ellias

Advisory Board

Kiranjeet Chaturvedi, Pervin Saket, Maya Sharma Sriram


WE Our Space Anthology

Kala Ramesh, Taseer Gujral, Abha Iyengar, Mohd. Farhan,

Smeetha Bhoumik (Chief Editor)

WE Awards ’17, ’18, ’20

2017 – Special Awards – Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal, Menka Shivdasani, Priya Sarukkai Chabria

2018 – Kamala Das Poetry Awards – Sujatha Mathai

’20 – WE Awards – Kamala Das Poetry Award Sanjukta Dasgupta. WE TRailblazer Poet TeacherKala Ramesh. WE Eunice de Souza Award (Eng) Menka Shivdasani. WE Eunice de Souza Award (Hindi) Savita Singh. WE Trailblazer Poet Teacher (Posthumus)- Eunice de Souza. WE Gifted Poet Award – Rukhaya MK and Jagari Mukherjee

ICWP Prize – Abha Iyengar, Srividya Sivakumar, Lily Swarn, Pervin Saket, Shweta Garg, Jasmine Khurana, Maya Sharma Sriram, Tikuli Dogra

WE Special Recognition Certificates – WE Glowing Diamond Somrita Urni Ganguly. WE Diva of the WorldLily Swarn. WE Sci-FiShuchi Kapoor, Neha Mishra Jha, Urna Bose. WE Divine VersePervin Saket. WE, the Force Maya Sharma Sriram. WE Poetry FairyRochelle Potkar. WE Spoken Word DivaJasmine Khurana. WE Glowing Aesthete Shweta Garg, Tikuli Dogra. WE Core, Gifted SoulsNishat Haider, Vinita Agarwal, Taseer Gujral, Somrita Urni Ganguly, Gayatri Chawla, Shuchi Kapoor. WE SASSYSreemoyee Piu Kundu, Bhavana Nissima.

Curator/ Host/Poet/ Collaborator

Menka Shivdasani, Kala Ramesh, Bina Sarkar Ellias, Priya Sarukkai Chabria, Santosh Bakaya, Gjv Prasad Anju Makhija, Charanjeet Kaur, Smita Agarwal, Zeenat Khan, Upal Deb, Kalpna Singh Chitnis, Hemant Divate, Smruti Divate, Sudeep Sen Steffen Horstmann, Sanjeev Khandekar, Arundhathi Subramaniam, Rochelle Potkar, Nishat Haider, Taseer Gujral, Vinita Agarwal, Pervin Saket, Maya Sharma Sriram, Nabina Das, Shuchi Kapoor, Sumana Roy, Lina Krishnan, Mallika Bhaumik, Jayashree Hari Joshi, Sita Murugan, Gayatri Chawla, Antara Banerjee, Abha Iyengar, Somrita Urni Ganguly, Urna Bose, Sanket Mhatre, Sudeep Pagedar Ankita Shah, Neha Mishra Jha, Ishmeet Nagpal, Inam Hussain Mullick, Amit Shankar Saha, Mbizo Chirasha, Tendai Rinos Mwanaka, Jhilmil Breckenridge (Inauguration), Anjali Purohit, Smita Sahay,


US Consulate, Women Scream Poetry & Art Festival, Sahitya Akademi, The Goethe Institut, Max Mueller Bhavan, 100 TPC, TPC, MAP Fest, All Aboard Crossover Poems, Write & Beyond Group, G5A and more…

In This Inaugural Issue



WE ’20 Awards


Special Selection

Poetry Through the Years