Kalpna Singh-Chitnis

Three Poetry Films by Kalpna Singh-Chitnis

In early 2020 when I booked my travel to Vietnam, Thailand, and Korea, I had no idea that an unprecedented event would change everything all of a sudden for the whole world in the most harrowing way. I was supposed to be in Hanoi, Hue, and at the Plum Village Monastery in Thailand, with a group of Buddhist practitioners on a retreat and possibly meeting Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. Prior to my traveling abroad, I was supposed to moderate a panel at 2020 AWP in San Antonio, but the Pandemic dismantled every plan.

The way the world events were unfolding, gripping lives with severity after the spread of the virus, literature, art, and meditation were the only things to anchor me on a safe island, preventing me from sinking in despair. I turned my confinement at home into a retreat. I began to meditate on the impermanence of life, more fervently than I ever did before. The result of this meditation brought me a sense of urgency to appreciate life more and take upon things I always wanted to do but not finding time for them.

Dreadful days came to renew my commitments to life with added beauty and creativity. And one day, I decided to turn some of the poems into poetry films. My education of Film Directing at NYFA came in handy, and I selected a few verses from my poetry collection Bare Soul, a meditation on life, to translate my vision into moving images now before you.

Poetry Films, The Jungle (I) – https://youtu.be/y8JHb8lSZDU, The Jungle (II) – https://youtu.be/DLYv79aYi0I and River of Songs – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZcHzLKoYQQ are based on a series of short poems published in Bare Soul, a full-length poetry collection by poet and filmmaker Kalpna Singh-Chitnis.

“River of Songs” poetry film has been included in “The Polaris Collection” Lunar Codex Time Capsule and will head to the Moon with SpaceX launching in 2023 to the Lunar South Pole with Astrobotic Technologies’ Griffin Lander / NASA VIPER Rover.


Kalpna Singh-Chitnis is an Indian American poet, writer, and Editor-in-Chief of Life and Legends. Her works have appeared in notable journals like World Literature Today, California Quarterly, Indian Literature etc. She has authored four books, and her poems have been translated into many languages. Her poetry collection Bare Soul was awarded the 2017 Naji Naaman Literary Prize for creativity. Her poems and translations have been included in several anthologies. A former lecturer of Political Science, Kalpna Singh-Chitnis holds a degree in Film Directing from the New York Film Academy and works as an independent filmmaker in Hollywood. Website: www.kalpnasinghchitnis.com


You can find Kalpna on Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook for more creative content!

Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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