The half-Indian, half-Jewish, Brooklyn resident appeared a bit reserved as she stood before a crowd of about sixty in Riverside’s not-so-spacious Alumni Conference Room.
Her Indian-style shawl wrapped neatly over her shoulders, she stood in silence and waited for her introduction.
As hands clapped to welcome her presence, poet Lynn Chandhok broke from her reserve.
A smile brightened her face, and she dove into her first poem of the evening. “Marketplace” it was called, coming from her recently published book of poetry, “The View from Zero Bridge,” which was awarded the Morton Marr Poetry Prize in 2006.
The book consists mainly of poetry devoted to Chandhok’s memories of a childhood in Kashmir, India- the project of putting all of her poems in one place began eight years ago in New York, where she is currently a high-school english teacher.
Chandhok went on to read about eight of her poems with titles such as “The Bund,” meaning “closed” in Hindu- Chandhok’s native language. “Artemesia,” inspired by the scent of native Kashmir flowers, and one devoted to memories of her father whom she considers “a hero” called, “Revision”.
Some of her most interesting poetry confronts her internal conflicts with being half-Indian and living in America.
Chandhok says that her poems are an expression of my struggle with identity.
Though she is constantly writing poetry, Chandhok says that her next project may be non-fiction instead of poetry.
She definitely hopes to write more as she tries to figure out how the next project will take shape.