Department header
Bewildering Stories

Prakash Kona writes about...

Poetry and Appearance

hi don...

i like the writers of your page. they are the most uninhibited writers that i’ve seen on the net. perhaps the idea that you don’t have to tailor yourself to suit the editor’s requirements brings out a certain idiosyncrasy in the writer. often for the best i can say — though it sounds like a romantic notion which it is. but i don’t believe myself when i say this. i’m sure that as an editor you’ve your own biases or what we call in more elegant terms — a “world-view.” all intelligent people have one. but these days even world-views have become commodified.

there’s a famous indian actor who talks of alienation. i seriously wonder given his wealth and fame if he even knows what it means to be really alienated. but i would believe it if marilyn monroe said that. for some reason it sounds more real coming out of the lips of a shopgirl rising to fame and eventual self-destruction. not that i ever liked her. but the touching poem by ernesto cardenal “prayer for marilyn monroe” made me see the sad life behind the image.

i’m sending you some poetry for a change though i don’t see myself as a poet. i never did in fact. i always insisted that my writing comes from action — sometime imagined and sometime real — but more imagined than real.

i went through your biography. aren’t you glad that you look like donald sutherland. i like him. he’s a great actor. but the only actor i ever wanted to look like was montgomery clift with vulnerability written all over him. i admire cary grant but would never bother to look like him. too successful for my taste...



Hello, Prakash...

On behalf of our contributors and editors I thank you very much for the compliment. Coming from an avant-garde writer like yourself, it carries a lot of weight. “Most uninhibited” implies that Bewildering Stories is devoted to freedom of expression rather than to a “party line” of any sort. As long as that can be said of us, we fulfill a high calling.

Bewildering Stories has esthetic standards, as you say, but they’re intended to serve the authors, not the editors. Our mission is not to ride our own horse but to use the Internet to bring to readers literature they may not find easily or at all in magazines and books.

We have a few unofficial mottoes. One of them is: “We love to be surprised.” By what? New viewpoints, new styles... or even old ones; in short by literature as an image of personality. Another motto is: “There is no story so bewildering as reality.” And that means that literature is — sometimes despite appearances — rationality in action. Even surrealism is an interepretation of reality’s unfathomable transcendence.

Which came first: speech or song? Historically, one would think that song — hence poetry — is primordial; prose came later. Be that as it may, we now have both. I’m very glad you’ve tried your hand at poetry; your lyric vision in the essays we’ve published certainly calls for it. We’ve received four poems from you so far; considering issue length they will appear separately beginning in issue 172.

Thank you for reading my bio sketch! I think you’ve gotten its point: I am not what I look like, nor even what I may seem to be. But that’s no mystery: it’s true of everybody. There is no literary persona so rich as reality; and may all our surprises be good ones.

Kind regards,


Copyright © 2005 by Prakash Kona
and Don Webb for Bewildering Stories

Home Page