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Anniqua Rana

Anniquas debut novel, Wild Boar in the Cane Field was shortlisted for Pakistans UBL Literary Award 2020. She co founded the blog Tillism Magical Words from around the World. Her writings on gender, education, and books have appeared in TNS, Naya Daur TV, International Education, Ravi Magazine, Bangalore Review, Fourteen Hills, The Noyo River Review, Delay Fiction, Listening to the Voices: Multi-ethnic Women in Education, and other publications. Her doctorate in International Education focused on the implications of technology for women of Pakistan in higher education. She has taught at San Mateo Community Colleges, University of San Francisco, Lahore University of Management Sciences, and Stanford University. She travels, writes, and lives between California and the Potohar region of Pakistan.

Afternoon Verse in Cádiz

The sunshine, the bubbles, the cathedral, and the history of Cádiz inspire me. And in From Cádiz to Málaga I pay homage to Gloria Fuentes, Carlos Edmundo de Ory, Federico Garcia Lorca, and Allen Ginsberg. All these poets are connected through time, space, and words.

The Poetry of Sala de Dos Hermanas (the Hall of Two Sisters)

Boabdil’s mother, Aixa, lived in the Hall of Two Sisters, Sala de Dos Hermanas, named for two marble flagstones on the floor. But it’s the ceiling that takes your breathe away.

Simone de Beauvoir and Margaret Atwood Travel with me to London

Simone de Beauvoir is a stranger to me. Her exotic name is familiar, but I know nothing of her work, until, of course, I pick up the Economist at the airport, and open it at the review Fiction, feminism and philosophy-Simone de Beauvoir’s lost novella of friendship.

El Escorial: Where we Begin to Discard the Non-Essentials

The mathematically precise splendor of Monasterio Real de San Lorenzo de El Escorial pulls me through the last stretch of our uphill walk from the Phillip IItrain station. It’s exquisite.

I Fell in Love with the Moon

I fell in love with the moon when I was five years old. My mother forced me to sit still in front of the television and watch as the Eagle crept down and settled on the powdery surface of the moon.

Tillism: Karin Michaëlis i haven med sin hund Mika" is licensed under CC Dangerous age

Women of the Dangerous Age

In Danish, Den Farlige Alder, in German, Das Gefährliche Alter, and in English, The Dangerous Age. Karin Michaëli writes about it inThe Dangerous Age: Letters and Fragments from a Woman’s Diary. Dangerous because Elsie Lindtner divorces her husband, attempts other relationships, and spends the rest of her life traveling the world, risky choices in the 1920s.

Anniqua Rana Tillism in Spain

Getting to know Spain through books and poetry

We continued our trip and I tried to lose myself in Washington Irving’s The Alhambra: a Series of Tales and Sketches of the Moors and Spaniards, which was published in 1832. I held on to it to force myself into the magical space that I remembered from that black and white photograph in my sixth grade reader.

Wonderful Memories of Dilip Kumar’s Movies

I snuck out with one of my cousins in the afternoon. We were in my maternal grandparents house in Quetta. While everyone was having a siesta, we found our way to DELIGHT cinema which was less than a kilometer away and I watchedmy first movie TARANA,ترانہ तराना, starring Dilip Kumar.

One immigrant the other no more an immigrant: Mummy and me

I’m tired of being an immigrant

Does our mother’s life then become the grisaille to our own? That monochromatic grey scale underpainting to which we add the color of our lives.

Selma and Anniqua in Zoom

Art on Zoom: Falling in love with in-between space

Social Media shows us meticulously curated imagery and art: that perfect face, the choreographed tik tok video, the manipulated political message. Through my art, I hope to uncover the beauty in the hidden imperfections that my mind is not yet trained to see.  The blurriness in my lines indicates my feeling about the nebulous nature of life. I continue to capture the complexity of my culture and background in the images I create.

E-Max-Ernst-Leonora-in-the-Morning-Light-1940-Detail-by-Cea.-is-licensed-under-CC-BY-2.0

How to end a story? And other fascinating thoughts

The “open-endedness” of the The Hearing Trumpet by British writer, Leonora Carrington, represents life. In the afterword to the newest edition, Polish Nobel Laurette, Olga Tokarczuk, praises the “wild metaphysics” of the story as well as its open-endedness. Here Tokarczuk questions what we look for when we read a story, and then answers that question, thus: “We are seeking a shared communal order, each of us a stitch in a piece of knitted fabric.” As readers, then, we are knitting ourselves into the yarn, till the end and beyond.

Isabella Hammad

From Palestine to Paris: The Parisian by Isabella Hammad

Undocumented immigrants in the US, persecuted minorities of Pakistan, people nostalgic for life under tyranny in Eastern Europe, how do we empathize with those who experience such trauma? Journalists tell us what happens to them; poets, artists, and fiction writers make us feel with them. So if you’ve been following the latest news about Palestine, and you want to feel with the people of Palestine, consider reading or listening to Isabella Hammad’s The Parisian.

Marlena Maduro Baraf author of her memoir At the Narrow Waist of the World,

At the Narrow Waist of the World: a memoir

An excerpt from Marlena Maduro Baraf ‘s memoir At the Narrow Waist of the World, a mother-daughter story and immigrant story that begins in her native Panama.  In this chapter,… Read more At the Narrow Waist of the World: a memoir

A rescued Asiatic black bear at Balkasar Bear Sanctuary [Image by Fakhar-i-AbbasA rescued Asiatic black bear at Balkasar Bear Sanctuary [Image by Fakhar-i-Abbas

Horrors of a bear dance

Reflecting on the interaction of humans and other living beings helps me understand life. That is why I’ve chosen to write about bears as they bridge two of the many places I call home: California and Chakwal, located on the Potohar plateau famous for the Himalayan Salt Range.

Wild Sea and the Milky Way Athwart the Island of Sado Series: The Haiku Series, #4 Edition: 17 of 50 Portfolio: Haiga Portfolio Stanton Macdonald-Wright (United States, Virginia, Charlottesville, 1890-1973) United States, 1966-1967 Prints; woodcuts Woodcut Sheet: 21 3/8 × 17 3/4 in. (54.29 × 45.09 cm) Image: 19 7/8 × 15 7/8 in. (50.48 × 40.32 cm) Gift of Modernage Photography Service, Inc. (M.85.215.4) Prints and Drawings

Because some people like to watch the world learn

araumi ya
Sado ni yokotau
amanogawa
the rough sea
stretching out towards Sado
the Milky Way

A library at home or at home in a library

With so many bookshelves in the background of Zoom calls, it’s clear we like the look, but is it really necessary to horde books?

Dogwood tree in Yosemite May 2011 Dogwood" by Trace Nietert is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Happy to hug a tree in Yosemite

Take the case of the dogwood tree, Cornus florida, belonging to the Phylum Spermatophyta—if you’re wondering. It’s a Native American plant that has been burdened with a heavy crime for its 40-foot frame. Granted it is strong enough to make golf clubs and wooden mallets, but its main crime does seem biologically questionable.

Near Delhi gate in Lahore - Victory

Victory though verse in Lahore and Delhi

The cities also house two literary shrines. In Lahore, Urdu Short Story writer, Saadat Hasan Manto is buried. And in Delhi is the mazar of the father of Urdu poetry, Mirza Assad Ullah Khan Ghālib. They lived in different times but they are connected by the words they wrote.

Who knows why springs dry up and why words get left unspoken

Joy in the Alphabet of Life

Each letter has its place related to lines that have already been drawn. At times, a letter grandstands at the opening of a sentence, and at others a it announces the end. Sometimes it must connect with the letters on each side, smoothly, mixing in becoming one of the group. And then there are those that connect awkwardly and prefer their own space, distant from others.

"File:Whitney cabinet1a.jpg" by Aliza Nisenbaum is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Immigrants Find Home at Cantor Art Center

I connected with the work of Aliza Nisenbaum. Like me, she teaches English to immigrants. She taught English at the Immigrant Movement International, a community space in Queens started by the Cuban-born artist and activist Tania Bruguerahe.

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