Yak Horns: Notes on Contemporary Tibetan Writing, Music, Film & Politics
Tibet has been written about, commented on and described by travellers, ‘experts’ and scholars for centuries – each presenting their own version of reality. This title brings together a collection of essays on contemporary Tibetan arts and social issues, expressed through the eyes of a Tibetan writer in exile who experienced and lived through many of the events narrated here.
'Bhuchung D. Sonam articulates the voice of a new generation of Tibetans in exile – voiceless and stateless – longing for a space to call home. He eloquently describes the hopes and aspirations of young Tibetans. He is perhaps one of the very best spokespeople for the youth of his generation.'
Tsering Shakya, author of Dragon in the Land of Snows
'The canvas of Yak Horns is vast, peopled with personalities drawn from history and from our own times, who through their writings and meditations have enriched Tibet and expanded the scope of its culture and literary traditions. In making his canvas large by bringing in Tibetans from history, from the other side of the Himalayas and from all fields of endeavour that excite and spark their creative fire, Bhuchung Sonam has rendered inestimable service to the Tibetan people and their struggle.'
Thubten Samphel, author of Falling Through the Roof
'Sonam is an intrepid chronicler, and little seems to have escaped his prolific pen in the years represented in the book. What one also gets is a sense of the secular literary and cultural traditions of Tibet, through his cataloguing of the works of individuals such as the inveterate traveller and controversial writer of the early twentieth century, Gendun Choephel, who could be seen as a precursor to the secular Tibetan intellectual movement of which Bhuchung D. Sonam is a contemporary representative and to which he owes allegiance.'
Swati Chopra, author of Dharamsala Diaries
'... provides an alternative, and Tibetan, view of the varied cultural, artistic, journalistic and literary output of the Tibetan community in exile.'
SONGS FROM A DISTANCE
... an all-encompassing spirit. for a poet it is his words, for a farmer it is his land, for a shepherd it is his hut, for a factory worker it is his tools, and for an exile it is his rivers, the mountains and a house he left long ago; for a nomad it is his tent on the grassland, where he can churn his butter and sing his songs without a giant shadow hovering.
'And this is perhaps what pushes writers like Sonam and Tsundue to their desk every morning to sing the songs of freedom on behalf of their silenced brethren behind the pale hills of the Himalayas. Their songs are sad and touching of course, but they are never depressing.
We might want to listen.'
Tsering Namgyal, author of The Tibetan Suitcase
CONFLICT OF DUALITY
Most of us write primarily to exercise creative expression and to assert our identity in a world where we have neither political status nor definite direction; to declare our colour in a spectrum where our wavelength has become subservient to patterns not our own; to make clear in the minds of the listeners the fantastic illusions of life lived in our land churned, chanted and chained through the ages.
'His words are the window to his room without a door. And what we find inside echoes the feelings of an entire generation of exiled Tibetan youth. In the title poem, he shows us the paradoxes of life, alluding to his own personal conflicts as he longs for the peace that can only be found in his own land, in the land full of icy white peaks.'
Tenzin Dechen in www.tibet.net
'I am particularly struck by Bhuchung’s profound knowledge about Tibetan culture, traditions, religion and history considering his young age and the fact that he was brought up and educated in exile. The images and words he use in all his poems give the whole book a very “Tibetan” feel, irrespective of the fact that the book opens with a Tibetan poem. No Tibetans will be unmoved after reading this book because it speaks directly to their hopes, pain, values and roots.'
Tsering Tsomo Chatsug in www.phayul.com
Muses in Exile: An Anthology of Tibetan Poetry
Edited by Bhuchung D. Sonam
For the first time, the voices of Tibet’s diaspora find expression in an anthology of poetry composed in English: Muses In Exile. History teaches us that artistic and intellectual creativity reach their zenith under the most adverse con- ditions. And so it has been with Tibetan verse.
Of the thirty writers published here, some have already died young. One at home in Tibet; others in Alaska, Toronto, New Delhi and in the mecca of their exile Dharamshala. However, far flung their lives, the longing for a homeland, the emigre’s estrangement, is expressed here in unison to a variety of literary tunes. This collec- tion is testimony to the anguish, rootlessness and unwavering destiny of a displaced people still mentally marching homeward across the Himalayas.
'...major achievement is that it was able to offer readers - through these poems, which are otherwise not readily available - an opportunity to unlock the minds of their earlier predecessors in the wilderness of the foreign lands. They have written these poems in places like India, Sri Lanka, Hawaii and California.'
Tsering Namgyal, author of The Tibetan Suitcase
DANDELIONS OF TIBET
'What I have written down here is an expression of surviving as a refugee for the last twenty years. Of being wrenched from where I belong, of facing the conflict of duality .. being Tibetan living Indian, thinking Tibetan speaking in Hindi, wishing Tibet landing in US, desiring to be among the yaks and sheep but having to live among thoughtless fuming vehicles.'
Life I define not
Death I know not
Days I see not
Nights I feel not
Only confusion reigns
Chaos to a lunatic point
Mind engulfed in emptiness
Darkness shells me through
A deep tunnel of sublime clamour
I came out noise by absolute silence
Raised to a lunatic point ...
- 14 October 1996 -