27 Feb|Fri|6.30 PM|’ Escape Artist’ – A Poetry Reading

ALF invites you to a Poetry Reading at ALF by Sridala Swami from her new collection Escape Artist followed by a conversation on the prose with playwright Swar Thounaojam.


Friday, the 27th of February

6.30 pm


“Poised, subtle, luminous, Swami’s poetry clothes the ephemera of everyday life in an intimate tangibility and secures them against the insistent attritions of history and nature. The finely gauged frame is Swami’s chosen instrument.

Through it, she effects surprising juxtapositions of myth and contemporary experience, investigates whether the finality of extinction is preferable to the self-parody of repetition, revisits Paul Celan’s cryptic notations, Odilon Redon’s enigmatic images, Abbas Kiarostami’s deceptively quotidian cinema, and pays homage to that re-discoverer of lost myths, Giorgos Seferis.

At the core of Escape Artist is a visceral awareness of what words can do: they can induce ‘temporary insanity’, voice ‘inaudible stories’, and remind us that ‘the measure of love is not loss but residue’.” – Ranjit Hoskote

Sridala Swami’s Escape Artist, published by the Aleph Book Company (2014), is the first book to appear under the aegis of the Jehangir Sabavala Foundation (JSF). The Foundation was established to promote the lifelong interest that the late Jehangir Sabavala (1922-2011), one of India’s most distinguished modernist artists, took in the visual arts and in poetry. As part of its commitment to poetry, JSF has undertaken to support the publication of one book of poems every year, and is proud to inaugurate the series with Sridala Swami’s new collection. Escape Artist was shortlisted for the inaugural Khushwant Singh Poetry Prize (2014).


Sridala Swami is a poet, essayist and photographer. Her first collection of poems, A Reluctant Survivor (2007), was published by the Sahitya Akademi/ National Academy of Letters. It was shortlisted for the Shakti Bhatt First Book Award. Swami has written four books for children, published by Pratham Books in 2009 and 2012. She was the 2011 Charles Wallace writer-in-residence at the University of Stirling, Scotland, and a Fellow of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, 2013.

Swar Thounaojam is a playwright, theatre director and performer based in Bangalore