Review: Central Time by Ranjit Hoskote

central_timeThe 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.

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