NYCTOPHILIAC CONFESSIONS – Sheikha A. and Suvojit Banerjee

“Night Etudes 130” by Robert Rhodes


We are delighted to bring you the latest poetry chapbook from Praxis Magazine Online, NYCTOPHILIAC CONFESSIONS by talented poets Sheikha A. and Suvojit Banerjee, accompanied by paintings from artist Robert Rhodes, and introduced by Tariro Ndoro, Praxis Magazine Online’s new Associate Editor. Read Tariro’s introduction here, then:

download and read Nyctophiliac Confessions


“The night is cold enough to inspire poetry,” says Sheikha A. in her poem, “Reading My Bones.” This is the basis of Nyctophiliac Confessions – poems that are introspective and luminal, poems that require a certain amount of silence and space to be fully formed and appreciated. Reading these poems, I imagined that they were the kind of poems that assert themselves unbidden during a bout of insomnia. (A nyctophiliac being someone who loves the night or loves darkness).

Nyctophiliac Confessions is the 17th installment of Praxis’ chapbook series and contains twenty-six poems written by two poets, Sheikha A. and Suvojit Banerjee, interspersed with abstract paintings by Robert Rhodes.

download and read Nyctophiliac Confessions

The poems of Sheikha A. are quiet, using imagery from the natural world to convey a sense of pathos:

There will always be more than one way
of keeping you alive. You did not think
like rose petals plucked away from its bud
while talking aloud to the wind about a love
as if the petals would carry like a smart human

In “Adagio,” Sheikha A. explains this preoccupation with night as being something that can’t be ignored. Once a “dark place” exists it must be acknowledged:

I sit pondering the route this poem ought
to take: you can’t call a dark place anything
else, but what it is: the typical black between
the typical grey

The two poets meld and complement each other well. Sheikha A.’s poems speak of the wind and the chrysalis and flowers; Suvojit Banerjee’s demonstrate a deep affinity for the night and the ethereal. His poems highlight the ache of sorrow against the surreal backdrop of images such as stardust and nebulae, invoking history and mythology.

download and read Nyctophiliac Confessions

Thus he addresses Leonidas of Sparta in the poem, “Choose Wisely, Leonidas” and using the imagery of Vesuvius and Pompeii to illustrate the depth of his heartbreak in the poem, “Ignis Urit Semper”:

Yet I’ve arisen, and now
Vesuvius inside me,
I am to burn down our paradise with my
own hands, this fire burning

In this vein, it seems his duende is an aching, unreciprocated and failed love. Banerjee considers night in the city as both a trigger and conduit of loneliness in the poem, “Day 382: Another scamper through the city”:

My eyes are stained red, my
vigour famished, my body
aching for another

Although both poets speak of and to the dark, these poems are by no means lachrymose but instead, invite the reader to a silent space of introspection and meditation.

download and read Nyctophiliac Confessions

Tariro Ndoro
August 2018

Tariro Ndoro is a Zimbabwean storyteller. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Afreada, Fireside Fiction, Kotaz, The Kalahari Review, La Shamba, New Contrast and other journals. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Rhodes University and participated in a Digital Arts Exchange programme for poets and photographers in 2017. Tariro was longlisted for the Writivism Short Story Prize in 2017 and shortlisted for the 2018 Babishai Niwe Poetry Prize. She is Associate Editor (Fiction) at Praxis Magazine Online.

scroll to top