About the Author

Pooja Mittal Biswas

E-Mail: pooja.biswas@sydney.edu.au

Pooja Mittal Biswas is the author of eight books. She has been reviewed and interviewed in The Age, The Australian and ABC Radio National’s The Book Show, and anthologized in both The Best Australian Poems and The Best Australian Poetry. Biswas has written for Writer’s Digest and has been widely published in literary journals such as Bellevue Literary Review, Meanjin, TEXT and Jacket. She was also selected as the national representative for UNESCO’s project Babele Poetica. Biswas holds a Master of Research in Creative Writing from Macquarie University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Sydney, where she was appointed as LINK Critical Fellow in 2020. She is a sessional academic teaching Creative Writing at both the University of Sydney and Western Sydney University, and several writing courses of her own design at Writing NSW, Writers Victoria, and the University of Sydney’s Centre for Continuing Education.

Contributions by Author: Pooja Mittal Biswas

12/15/2021 _Perspective

The Divine as Non-Binary

The Ambiguous Transpoetics of Three Trans, Genderfluid and Genderqueer Figures from Hindu Mythology

s/he around shiva’s neck is a ring of moonflowers. ardhanarishwara, part-man, part-woman, shiva & parvati are fused in the same body. a divine union. their third eye of liquid fire opens like a crimson mouth, from which      songs of wrath & serenity emerge. snakes   garland their one-breasted torso            just as the flowers do but brighter, more luminous, scales a pearly silver under the moon. the moon itself is mounted    on shiva-parvati’s head, the ganga crashing down to earth from their long, black hair  in a shining rush of cacophonic water                    that thunders like        the sky does before lightning. the river of life, the river that gives life. relentless. but shiva-parvati sit undisturbed, lost in the ecstasy  of meditation, of dhyan, the mirror-clear contemplation   of the universe. a constellation of thoughts as   distant & irrelevant to us as the galaxies spinning outwards from their joint mind. their loins are half-phallus & half-vulva, half-shisna & half-yoni, simultaneously conceiving & birthing      the world as we know it:           matter & energy                        particle & wave.   when I was a child, I felt    small in comparison, dwarfed by the enormity of this unified being, the masculine & the feminine rendered pointless by a beauty so immense that under its weight, cracks of want appeared in my psyche — I wanted this. I wanted to be neither, to be both. I wanted to be garlanded by snakes, tied to this mortal realm only by a bond as insubstantial as that necklace of flowers,                held here only by love & not by      any duty beyond that, any duty to shape or form, logic or illogic. I wanted to contemplate   & become the universe as they did. I wanted to sing & for my songs to become fire, for my dancing      to become destruction, for my flesh to glow   like a blood-red kiln & for sparks to glance off my skin        as it melted away, leaving only the bronze gleam of my spirit within:                         becoming nataraja       as I danced away the limitations of body & mind. let the humans keep me now. let them                                      try.   translations ardhanarishwara: half-woman and half-man dhyan: concentration, particularly in the context of meditation shisna: penis yoni: vagina nataraja: another name for Shiva, generally used to refer to his dancing form  …