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Editor Speak

September 2022

The turquoise blue of the Pacific Ocean, the white foaming shoreline, the craggy rocks that suggest tenacity and the azure sky spreading a serene canopy over the picturesque  landscape. The Wise Owl Team savoured these breath-taking images during their visit to San Francisco and the quaint little towns that make up the Bay area. So here we are, ready to dress up the September edition in varied shades of blue and call it the Azure Edition.

Our edition is graced by creative and literary stalwarts. We are delighted to feature an interview with Dr JR Thorp, a writer, lyricist and librettist. She was ranked as one of The Observer’s top 10 debut novelists of 2021. Her debut novel, 'Learwife', was a 2021 Waterstones Book of the Year and Apple Books Book of the Month in November 2021. We are also honoured to feature an interview with The Singh Twins, contemporary British artists, whose fabulous art has won them international accolades and awards including the coveted MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for ‘Services to the Indian miniature tradition of painting.’

Our September Edition is a Senryu Special showcasing poetry of senryu poets from across the globe. To make this edition even more special, we have an exclusive interview with Mike Rehling, the Grand Old Man of Senryu & Haiku. Neena Singh, our Guest Editor and an established haikuist, quizzes Mike about his craft and creativity. A video of this insightful and interesting interview is available on our YouTube channel for all our Japanese poetry enthusiasts. Our Senryu poets, Kala Ramesh, Terri French and Srinivas S have also rendered their senryu verse for our podcast segment making this edition very special. Dr Pravat Kumar Padhy has penned an article, clearly and concisely narrating the journey of the senryu genre.

Our storytellers, Ilene Dube, Doug Jacquier, Chitra Singh and Gomathi Sridevi have spun some interesting yarns while our creative non-fiction specialist Toti O’ Brien muses about the characteristics of the poetry genre, in a beautiful piece called ‘Brittle Muse.’ The travelogue by yours truly takes the reader on a spectacular 17 Mile drive through the beautiful Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula in California. In this armchair sojourn, the reader can also enjoy a round of golf at the iconic Pebble Beach Links Course, treaded by the likes of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Don’t miss the film review of ‘Don’t make me go’ by Ramandeep Mahal and Book Review of ‘Run Rose Run’ co-authored by the country music queen Dolly Parton & thriller stalwart James Patterson.

The Visual art segment offers a rich repast with a friendly chat with Mike Callahan, Nevada artist and creative mentor who has generously offered a discount on his online courses for readers/subscribers of The Wise Owl. Our gallery, displayed along with his interview, hosts his art works. Anhad Singh and Monica Reddy train their cameras on Filoli, a country house set in 16 acres of formal gardens, in Woodside, California for some gorgeous photographs of the mansion, filmed in the Television series ‘Dynasty.’

Our Montage segment features a short film, ‘Women in Frames’ directed & produced by Vedantika Varma. Using powerful imagery, the film highlights the inferior place of women in society, especially in the fashion industry.

Dear Reader! Sit back, relax and take a refreshing dive into our freshly minted edition.

~Rachna Singh

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JR Thorp

Writer, Lyricist and Librettist

The Wise Owl talks to Dr J.R. Thorp, a writer, lyricist and librettist. As a writer Dr Thorp has worked across a variety of genres, from novels to traditional motets and operatic texts. She was ranked as one of The Observer‘s top 10 debut novelists of 2021. Her debut novel, Learwife, was a 2021 Waterstones Book of the Year, Indie Book of the Month and Apple Books Book of the Month in November 2021. The novel also won an Audiofile Earphones Award and has been longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize and the Authors Club Debut Novel Award. JR Thorp was awarded a Markievicz Award by the Irish Arts Council in 2021. Her work has been published in the Cambridge Literary Review, Manchester Review, Antithesis, Wave Composition, among others. JR Thorp wrote the libretto for the highly acclaimed modern opera Dear Marie Stopes and has had works commissioned by the Arts Council, the Wellcome Trust and St Paul’s Cathedral. She is the musical composition partner of award-winning British composer Toby Young and has also worked with acclaimed composer Alex Mills. Born in Australia, she now lives in Cork, Ireland.

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The Singh Twins

Contemporary British Artists

The Wise Owl talks to The Singh Twins, internationally renowned, contemporary British artists whose award-winning work explores important issues of social, political and cultural debate and re-defines perceptions of art, heritage and identity. Their work has pioneered a modern revival of Indian miniature painting within contemporary art practice. The Twins are also published illustrators, writers, filmmakers and designers. The Singh Twins have received many awards and official recognition for their work - including an MBE for ‘Services to the Indian miniature tradition of painting within Contemporary Art and three Honorary Doctorates for their contribution to contemporary art. They  were recipients of the UK Asian Achievers Awards for Media, Arts and Culture. Solo exhibitions of their work have been hosted by prestigious galleries around the world.

Their ground-breaking and hugely popular exhibition Slaves of Fashion is showing at Firstsite Gallery, Colchester until 11th September 2022 and then opens at Norwich Castle Museum Gallery and East Gallery on 1st October 2022.

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Eloquent Emotions

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Travelogues Musings Essays

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A Drive through Paradise

The 17 Mile drive through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula in California offers breath taking vistas of the Pacific Ocean coastline and a peek into the most iconic golf courses of the world. A round of golf on the Pebble Beach Links course, walked by the likes of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, is on the bucket list of golf enthusiasts the world over. Rachna Singh takes you on a stunning sojourn.

~Rachna Singh

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Senryu: The Literary Genre & its Journey

Dr Pravat Kumar Padhy walks the reader through the structural framework, history and nuances of senryu poetry. Using senryu verse, he explains concisely and clearly how the senryu genre is different from its sibling, the haiku.

~Pravat Kumar Padhy

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Brittle Muse

What is poetry? Is it fragile and unsubstantial like will-o'-the-wisp? Is it robust? Is it volatile? What endangers the identity of the poem? Is the essence of a poem lost in translation? The writer muses about various aspects of poetry and articulates her musings in a beautiful article. A must-read for all poetry enthusiasts.

~Toti O' Brien

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Stories of Fantasy Romance History

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The Solar Motel

Emil’s next-door neighbor Rob has a little secret. In a strange twist of events, Rob finds himself in a terrible bike accident near Solar Motel. But he cannot recall a thing about the accident. To his shock, Emil chances upon his bike, damaged beyond repair, in his garage. Are Emil and Rob puppets in the hands of a master puppeteer? Who is pulling the strings?

~Ilene Dube

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A mother’s death, even before she hit puberty, had pushed Vidya’s life into a dark, cavernous, claustrophobic cave. Will she emerge from the darkness and find her way in life or will her misadventure in school make that impossible for her?

~Chitra Singh

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Know thy SELF

A riveting satire on the exaggerated strategies and tools used for becoming a popular commercial writer.

~Doug Jacquier

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The Perfect Ending

The Earth has been ravaged by man's greed. The last man on earth finds himself face to face with the fruits of his misdeeds.

~Gomathi Sridevi

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Movies Books OTT Releases

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Film Review

Don't Make me Go

Hannah Mark's emotional rollercoaster 'Don't Make me Go' delves into a father-daughter relationship with sensitivity. John Cho and Mia Isaac do justice to their roles as father and daughter whose relationship strengthens into an unbreakable bond during a road trip.

~Ramandeep Mahal 

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Book Review

Run Rose Run

'Run Rose Run' is co-authored by country music queen Dolly Parton and thriller genre veteran James Patterson. A fast paced drama, the book comes with a songbook of 12 original songs of Dolly Parton. The album 'Run Rose Run' is a collector's gem. 

~Lilette Sandhu

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Mike Rehling

Poet & Editor

The Wise Owl has a friendly chat with Mike Rehling (born Michael Joseph Rehling, April 21, 1946, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.), a poet and editor. Mike retired from banking and finance. He has been writing short poetry since the 1960's and has been both a poet and editor. Rehling was the founder and editor of a number of online sites and journals, including HaikuHut's Short Stuff, the United Haiku, and Tanka Society's Kernels and Cattails, as well as an editor for Under the Basho, and The Living Senryu Anthology. More recently he founded and edited the senryu journal Failed Haiku, where he now edits the Failed Haiku video site on YouTube. He has served as contest judge or sponsor of, among others, the Harold G. Henderson haiku contest, the Gerald Brady senryu contest, the Nicholas A. Virgilio student haiku contest, among others. He is a panel member for The Haiku Foundation 'Touchstone' book awards for 2020 to 2022. 

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Visual Arts
Treat for the soul

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Mike Callahan


The Wise Owl talks to award winning artist Mike Callahan, a fourth generation Nevada native who counts himself privileged to have grown up in one of the most beautiful places on earth, the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains near Reno, Nevada where he still lives today. Mike Callahan is an expert not only in Sierra Nevada landscapes but also enjoys painting Western themes as well as portraits.

Mike’s work has been featured in numerous solo, group, and juried shows including the 54th and 56th Juried Exhibitions at the Haggin Museum in Stockton, California, the Oil Painters of America’s National Juried Show of Traditional Oils 2008, and the National Oil and Acrylic Painter’s Best of America Juried Exhibition 2009 and 2010. Mike has won recognition and awards in each of the aforementioned shows. 

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Visual Arts: Painting & Photography

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Beauty of Nevada

Mike Callahan, is a fourth generation Nevada native who counts himself privileged to have grown up in one of the most beautiful places on earth, the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains near Reno, Nevada where he still lives today. Mike says, "I live in a very beautiful part of the world. And so I'm really oftentimes inspired by the beauty that I see around me and I sometimes feel really compelled to paint that. I internalize that beauty but then I have to put that out. I have to let it kind of flow through me and so that's kind of what inspires me to paint the landscapes that I paint."

~Mike Callahan


Filoli: A Rare Gem

Filoli, also known as the Bourn-Roth Estate, is a country house set in 16 acres of formal gardens, surrounded by a 654 acre estate. It is located in Woodside, California about 25 miles south of San Francisco, at the southern end of Crystal Springs Reservoir on the eastern slope of Santa Cruz Mountains. It is now owned by the National trust for Historic Preservation. Anhad Jai Singh & Monica Reddy train their lens on the beauty of this magnificent Estate.

~Anhad Jai Singh & Monica Reddy 



Podcast of Top Articles, Features, Poems and Stories

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Short Story Podcast

The Solar Motel

Writer & Narrator:

Ilene Dube

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Poetry Podcast

Senryu Verse
Poet & Reciter
Srinivas S

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Poetry Podcast

Senryu Verse
Poet & Reciter
Terri French

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Poetry Podcast

Senryu Verse
Poet & Reciter
Kala Ramesh

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Women In Frames
Concept, styling, direction, acting & Editing  by Vedantika Varma

The Montage section showcases 'Women in Frames', a short film written, produced & directed by Vedantika Varma. 'Women in Frames' highlights and tackles the subordinate position women are given in society as also in the world of fashion. This film was the winner of the Gold TFO Award in a short film contest held by Talking Films Online, an initiative  that encourages quality film-making.

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Vedantika Varma is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Creative Direction at  the London College of Fashion. Her interdisciplinary approach is what led her to make this short film - Women in Frames, which highlights and tackles the subordinate position women are given in society. She continues to integrate fashion into film to create powerful imagery. 

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