Swimming with Whales

Swimming with Whales : Whales as Never Before

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The book will be introduced at the National Poetry Library, Southbank Centre with the help from the British Council and the Poetry Library. All profit from this book will be channelled to the whale preservation and literary charities.

Through these poems, the poet wants readers to enjoy a meaningful whale experience transcending to a new level of comprehension. The separate sections referring to sea, land and sky allow the poet to negotiate whale's global space with unique perspectives to create the breathtaking opus of whales as never before. These are the whales connected to us in every aspect of our cultural and general ambience. Utterly revealing, rejoicing and questioning our very existence as their own without any physical boundaries. Swim with these whales if you dare!

Whales can allow us to juxtapose their world with ours through poetic eyes, allowing an inventive experience that can manifest into human sentiments too. This idea creates a fresh universe with a whale at its centre, be it as a migrant, a lost child or a mother watching the child being harpooned. Whales swim to take us through a yogic journey and mocking of academics and politicians. The whale's world here offers us a chance to confront religions, the inhumanity of wars and the challenges we face in normal life. It also plays with a guilt a mankind feels for hunting it to extinction and then building whale temples. In the process, it mocks, laughs, cries, plays, wishes, falls, jumps to stars and swims in the oneness waters which we have divided and named as territories.

Ignoring all preconceptions, readers here can simply enjoy these poems as a carefree beast's wild and magnificent play trying to connect to their own and our environments and cultural behaviours. The collection offers an entirely original steal of a distinct imagination about these magnificent creatures, but with the realism as its fertile playfield.

Chariots of Fire

The wave had an upper hand
The sea was at its command
A race to the finish, a wager
Whale too won't cower
And so it began


You can be a storm, hurricane
A vortex or anarchy

Only the one who swims deep
Knows the secrets of a true conquest


Poet-publisher-activist Yogesh Patel's latest collection Swimming with Whales is an awesome tour de force that has as its recurring metaphor the largest animal on the planet. The images are arresting and the language lingers in the memory. This panoramic opus assures Patel a permanent place in the front rank of Asian origin poets in the West.

You don't become the ocean, you'll be seasick every day, was discovered by Leonard Cohen and Patel has adopted that as his mantra. His references are wide and he uses them to good effect. And he has certainly been swimming with the great and the good.

He says that his poems are a journey and not a destination. Very true. Nowhere as in poetry is it better to travel than to arrive.

- Reginald Massey
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Product details

  • Paperback | 76 pages
  • 138 x 216 x 4.06mm | 99.79g
  • Morden, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0956084052
  • 9780956084057

Review quote

With marvelous twists and turns of language and breath, Yogesh Patel's book length meditation draws us into the life and death of the young whale lost in the Thames river, a poignant icon for the migrant self. The voice moves through wit and sparks of joy, through bitterness and loss, rising into a fine balance -- the metamorphic life of the speaker pitched to the rhythmic harmonies of poetic language .'Come swim with me/ swim the lithe language ' the poet tells us and we follow him across the dark yet clarified borders of the past, through the difficult present, into the fluid zone of the imagination. Swimming with the Whales is relevant to our lives in a world of nationalisms gone awry, where our common humanity is so often ignored.

Meena Alexander, Guggenheim Fellow in Poetry, author of Birthplace with Buried Stones

Swimming With Whales leads us into a liquid, liminal language-space. "The whale dives as a question" a curved gesture uniting air, water and a land we cannot see. In the moment of reading, the reader moves in the shape of this curve, towards meanings on the other side of words.

Zata Banks, Director: PeoryFilm

Yogesh Patel is Jonah, Ishmael, Queequeg and Moby Dick himself: he knows what is owed to whales, how mighty and how vulnerable they are, and what we owe them by way of nourishment and light. His whales are enormous symbols swimming all the seas of the world and defining us as they go.

Michael Schmidt OBE FRSL, General Editor, PN Review, Managing and Editorial Director, Carcanet Press Limited

Our endangered world is celebrated by Patel in poems that hop, skip and transform the mundane into a magical adventure. No subject is too distant for Patel's keen eye and leviathan powers.

Daljit Nagra
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