The book’s title, Central Time, is both an allusion to Ranjit Hoskote’s mid-life output, as much as how the idea of time is so obliquely central to his work. This volume contains a hundred poems written between 2006 and 2014, and it serves a perfect sequel to his Vanishing Acts: New & Selected Poems 1985-2005.
The anthology is divided into a quintet of enigmatically titled sections: ‘Zoetrope’, ‘The Pilot’s Almanac’, ‘Gravity Leaps to the Eye’, ‘The Existence Certificate’, ‘The Institute of Silence’—each, like a variation, containing movements that shift subtly, effortlessly in pitch and register. Hoskote expands his formal space here. I particularly like his explorations of the prose-poem form and poems that highlight, through their working, the powerful sense of understated minimalism.
Hoskote acts as a sutradhar in his poems, a storyteller weaving in characters and landscapes as varied and resonant as Ovid, Ghalib, Bihzad, Magritte, Fujihata, Kaleka, Claudel, Brocan, Lannoy, Turner, Srinagar, Goa, Indore, Bombay, Berlin, Dortmund, Utrecht, Kabul, and others.