Wet Silence: Poetry Drawing Attention to Social Injustice Against Hindu Widows

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The Modern History Press announces the publication of Sweta Srivastava Vikram’s new poetry book Wet Silence: Poems about Hindu Widows.

Actor & Producer Kate Campbell Stevenson says, “Sweta Vikram captures bold raw passion, poignant reality and crafts a powerful voice for the voiceless.” In the spirit of her previous work of poetry No Ocean Here: Stories in Verse about Women from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (Modern History Press, 2013), Wet Silence bears moving accounts of Hindu widows in India.

The book raises concern about the treatment of widowed women by society; lends their stories a voice; shares their unheard tales about marriage; reveals the heavy hand of patriarchy; and, addresses the lack of companionship and sensuality in their lives.

wet silence cover

This collection of poems covers a myriad of social evils such as misogyny, infidelity, gender inequality, and celibacy amongst other things. The poems in the collection are bold, unapologetic, and visceral. The collection will haunt you. One question that distinguishes this work from her previous one is a more particular focus on women of Hindu ethnicity.

About the focus on women in Hindu culture specifically, Vikram says, “It was familiar, perhaps, that’s why. Growing up in a liberal Hindu home and surrounded by mostly Hindu families, I saw that most Hindu widows weren’t ostracized or left to suffer in an ashram. They were well-to-do and lived comfortable lives with their families, but I noticed the lack of companionship and infusion of patriarchy despite everything.”

She tells that she wanted to lend a voice to the questions and issues that have been gnawing at her for a while, and that is what led to zooming in on the life of Hindu widows.

Praise For Wet Silence

“Nothing short of sacred genius, Wet Silence reads with a sensual and dangerous grace. It is a body of work that ushers presence into absence and love into a world that has all but done away with the word.”

– Slash Coleman, author of The Bohemian Love Diaries and blogger for Psychology Today.

“Sweta’s poems did a powerful job at highlighting the mental and sexual abuse, violence, loneliness and the pain experienced by millions of widows in India. Why I ask, is being a widow a crime?”

– Shruti Kapoor, Founder of Sayfty, an organization that helps women protect themselves against violence

“In a gorgeous choir of reclaimed voices, Sweta Srivastava Vikram tells the stories of women forgotten and passed over, women silenced and without choices, women who ‘don’t exist’-Hindu widows. Through the magical breath of her poetry Vikram not only animates these women’s hopes, sorrows, dreams, and defeats, she lovingly restores them to honor.”

– Melissa Studdard, award-winning author of I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast.

Learn more at www.SwetaVikram.com.

From the World Voices series at Modern History Press

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Ernest Dempsey is a writer, editor, blogger, and journalist based in Orlando, FL. He runs a popular blog Word Matters! at http://www.ernestdempsey.com/ and edits the journal and its blog Recovering the Self. Dempsey is a skeptic, vegetarian, and advocate for animal and human rights.