Yogesh Patel: a ride on The Rapids

Yogesh Patel’s new poetry collection.

By Phil Hall

The Rapids is a collection of poetry published by The London Magazine, (Price £9.99)

Daring, sophisticated and playful- Patel’s poetry is a calligraphy of the soul made visible. It is a rare achievement.

Steven O’ Brien, Editor of The London Magazine

Deservedly, Yogesh Patel received an MBE for literature last year, in 2020. He runs Skylark Publications UK and a non-profit Word Massala project and we are honoured that he is currently also the poetry editor of Ars Notoria.

Yogesh has nurtured and encouraged many poets to greatness, in particular poets of the diaspora. Yogesh was awarded the Freedom of the City of London. He has LP records, films, radio, a children’s book, fiction and non-fiction books, and three poetry collections to his credit. The Rapids is his latest collection of poems.

My poems are very unconventional. Writes Yogesh. Madness! As I am. Where the poems are a free form, they do not always scan. But I use a conventional tone. My brain, I suppose, is wired up, all tangled, broken up. Jazz, but in tune! The punctuation left behind, or introduced, or created with spaces, is in a different style. The Rapids are jostling, disorientating, with all the excitement of a Thunder River Rapids Ride!

In The Rapids Yogesh Patel unveils a vigorous new poetic form, which looks set to give writers and readers pleasure for years to come. What doubles the pleasure is the way these poems bring the human and natural words in together on a single, generous breath.

Fiona Sampson, poet
Photo by Gaurang Amin

The Rapid: Cogito, ergo sum

Go for a treasure hunt     in a fragmented poet
Where am I?     “Love cannot live without trust.”
Psyche heartbroken  Find me, I’ll be
disconnections:   images, legends
I am rules          chaos in a pirouette

Thunder River            a torrent-in-kicks

bread food plate dinner
Photo by Anand Raj on Pexels.com


We came together in a pledge
with an allusion of gravity
you winning most coins
in a wedding-game thali.

Eyes locked, sentences with bindi,
we talked around thali.
The aroma absorbed our pasts
in daal, roti and bhaji.

Thali now spins:
centrifugal forces
at work, words are
coins flying like bullets!

crop faceless woman embracing knees and sitting near window
Photo by Teona Swift on Pexels.com

It’ll be Alright on the Night

A bargain         An offer from COVID
                        2021         half lockdown 
            Buy 2 Get 1         Half Price
        Clotted Brexit         Devon cream?
                         502         A bad gateway

Once the sale ends         Reboot!

The poems take you to places of high tension then turn away to face others as if the world itself were restless and constantly on the move. It is like being engaged in the overheard dialogue with language.

George Szirtes, poet

For me, The Rapids express the life of the poet’s thoughts as they flow between rocky outcrops of words; sometimes along the River Wandle in Morden Park, and sometimes along the river Vaitarani in hell. Yogesh carefully tears apart his poems allowing in the reader’s own world, allowing in water, air, light and thereby creating a roiling forward movement.

A milkman’s round

history doesn’t repeat bottles

at four in the morning as it used to

now I stumble over empties we collected

at the doors we erected as monuments

the change is a clock without keys

 to wind back for                   fresh orders

What are the rules for writing Rapids?

Yogesh Patel, MBE
  1. The poem is a 5-1 sestet of short lines
  2. The maximum line length is accentual tetrameter. If shorter, try to maintain a pattern.
  3. As no exception to the rule, the sixth line must be in tetrameter, accentual or otherwise, separate and must be split equally in the middle as 2-2
  4. The two-stress end phrase helps on its own in extending the allegory being handled
  5. The title increments poem’s meaning. It is not a repeat of the theme.
  6. Along with disrupted connectivity, the suggestiveness through metaphorical, folklore or mythical stories and characters is an important aspect of this form.

Yogesh Patel has received MBE for literature in the Queen’s New Year Honours list 2020. Internationally celebrated, he edits Skylark and runs Skylark Publications UK as well as a non-profit Word Masala project to promote South-Asian diaspora literature. Previously he has received the Freedom of the City of LondonWith LP records, films, radio, children’s book, fiction and non-fiction books, and three poetry collections to his credit, he is a recipient of many awards, including an honour in April 2019 at the New York University as a Poet-of-Honor. Amidst many venues, he has read in the House of Lords and at the National Poetry Library.

If you want to know more about Yogesh Patel and his poetry, you can listen to the essay he wrote recently for Writer’s Mosaic.

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