Tag Archives: Indian poetry

A Shawl: A poem by Divjyot Singh

A Shawl

divjyot

Divjyot Singh has been writing poetry for some years now. A graduate of Lucknow University, he believes poetry to be his medium of creative expression. He has dabbled with playwriting and his radio play ‘For a piece of paradise’ received recognition at BBC international’s annual radio play contest. He lives in Lucknow.

New Release: Suspected Poems by Gulzar

gulzar“He had the blue cow tattooed on his right shoulder

He would have been killed in the riots yesterday

But they were good people—

Seeing a cow, they let him go!”

Written in Gulzar’s inimitable style, the poems in his newest volume of poetry reflect and comment, sometimes elliptically through a visual image, sometimes with breathtaking immediacy and directness, on the political reality in the country today. Powerful, poignant and impossible to ignore or gloss over, the fifty-two threads that make up Suspected Poems unfold across the entire political spectrumfrom the disturbed climate in the country and the culture of intolerance to the plight of the aam aadmi, from the continued oppression of Dalits and minority communities to fluctuating Indo–Pak relations.

Published by Penguin, Suspected Poems has been translated into English by Pavan K. Varma. Suspected Poems will be available in a special keepsake bilingual edition.

About the Author:

Gulzar is one of India’s leading poets; he has published several volumes of poetry and short stories (many of which are available in translation) and is also regarded as one of the country’s finest writers for children. A greatly respected scriptwriter and film director, he is one of the most popular lyricists in mainstream Hindi cinema. He gained international fame when he won an Oscar and a Grammy for the song ‘Jai ho’. Gulzar received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2002 and the Padma Bhushan in 2004. In 2014 he was awarded the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award. He lives and works in Mumbai.

About the Translator:

Pavan K. Varma is the author of The Great Indian Middle Class, Being Indian, Becoming Indian and several other books. After a long and distinguished diplomatic career, he served as cultural adviser to the chief minister of Bihar, and was a member of the Rajya Sabha from 2014 to 2016

 

Book Review: Managing the Journey through Rough Terrain by Gouranga P. Chattopadhyay

By Debakanya Haldar

journey

The advent of autumn always brings with it an innate sense of solitude and the smell of the approaching winter. Such is the idea present in the autumnal season of the human life as well. This is the prevalent emotion in Gouranga P. Chattopadhyay’s second collection of poems, Managing the Journey through Rough Terrain. What is most interesting about this collection is that even though it dwells mostly on the sentiments of loss and longing that become the inevitable part and parcel of old age, this collection of poems promises to appeal to the emotional recesses of the mind, irrespective of the reader’s age.

The collection opens with a poem entitled, “Old Age Should Rave and Burn at Close of Day”, which allows the poet to make his position clear in front of his audience — he is not afraid to “rage against the dying of the light.” Thus begins the reader’s journey into a world seen through the spectacles of a matured poet enriched with experiences. The poet skillfully strikes a balance between the nostalgia of the past – “Images of those whom I loved flashed by” (“A Glass of Margarita at Hand”) –and the anticipation for an unknown future – “How many more do I have to overtake before my remains go up in smoke?!” (“Yet Another Gmail”) The poet weaves lucid and rich description of the mundane aspects of nature, thus supplementing his own personal experiences with a myriad of vivid images. My favourite of these have to be the description of the old laburnum tree in the poem “The Laburnum Tree in Madhuwanti” –

“It stands like a sentinel on the parade ground, ramrod straight,
Displaying the many coloured ribbons pinned to its chest,
Witness to past glory of years of braving Santiniketan’s
summer:”

Mr. Chattopadhyay’s journey in his second collection of poems is unabashedly personal and yet, he never fails to include the reader in this “journey through the rough terrain”, to allow the reader to make it his or her own.

 

The reviewer is a final year M.A. English student at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. She appears as a guest author with the short story “The Last Meeting” in the collection of short stories, Wrinkles in Memory, published by LiFi Publications in 2016. Debakanya is originally from Kolkata and currently lives in Delhi.

Manoharrai Sardessai: The crown prince of Konkani poetry

By Gauree Malkarnekar

Celebrated lyricist Gulzar, on a visit to Goa in December 2009, said of Goan poet Manoharrai Sardessai’s literary work, “It is the saltiness of the winds that blow in Goa that give his poems flavor and the swaying palms that give his words the rhythm.”

Gulzar, in one line, described the same vivid imagery from Goa that dominated Sardessai’s poems, while also demonstrating how this Goan’s words stirred a strong longing for one’s home, irrespective of the reader’s origins.

Sardessai was born on January 18 1925, a date that happens to fall just two days after Goa celebrates ‘Goem Asmitai Dis’. It is on January 16, 1967, that Goa voted against its merger with Maharashtra, a verdict in which Sardessai’s poems played a critical role. Read more

Source: The Times of India

Book Review: The Remnant Glow by Meera Chakravorty and Elsa Maria Lindqvist

By Nilesh Mondal

remnant-glowIt isn’t rare for a poetry book to plunge its readers into uncertainty regarding how to perceive it. The Remnant Glow does the same, at times feeling like intriguing monologues between two strangers who’ve met at a convention or on a flight to the said convention, and then switching into an interesting back-and-forth banter between two friends who have known each other all their lives. These two voices, sturdy but distinctive, bring a much-needed balance to the book, and can be considered probably the greatest triumph of this beautiful collection.

The Remnant Glow is published by Writers Workshop, and in all respects, bears the trademark exquisiteness that comes with every WW publication. Gold embossed, hand stitched, hand-bound with handloom sari cloth, this book is a joy to possess, if only for its sheer aesthetics. The book is divided into two parts, one for each poet, with each section containing 20 poems.

The first part, which contains poems by Meera Chakravorty, manages to successfully set the tone for the collection, as well as give us a detailed insight into the poet’s perception of the city around her. The poems deal with a myriad variety of themes, but the unifying trait they all possess is the intense voice of the poet, which doesn’t falter at any point. An example of her unwavering narration is found in the poem “In Harmony”, which talks about the time when at a children’s play, the actress playing Sita decided to willingly accompany Ravana, much to the amusement of the audience. Another poem, and one of my personal favourites, is about a coconut tree which was struck by lightning and in the process, saved the poet from being the victim instead.
“That day I felt the agony of living at the cost of someone,
whose roots and tendrils I will never see again.
The tree stands still in our garden, but not solitary
totally un-green but straight
without any vile shadows ever and yet; we address ‘his’ species in neuter gender.”
Although a couple of her poems teeters on the brink of becoming pedantic, the majority of her work features minute observations, a strong sense of nostalgia, and multiple mentions of those who have influenced her, from Chinua Achebe to Sherlock Holmes.

After a strong first act, I wondered if the second act would be able to weigh up to the expectations I had subconsciously let flock into my mind. Would the transition be smooth, or would the two parts have too much distance between themselves?

Read more

Wordsmiths ahoy!

By Sudeep Sen

2016 was another great year for Indian poetry, with accolades, international recognition and some memorable debuts

In the The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry (by Indians), which I had edited and curated in 2012, I had stated in the introduction that the best of English-language poetry by Indians is far superior to the vast amounts of average English-language fiction that is being published regularly. That anthology, spread over a mammoth 550 demi-sized pages, contained 85 poets born after 1950.

An exuberant new anthology of young poets, 40 under 40 (Poetrywala), published this year, is one of the many proofs validating my statement of four years ago. This volume updates and enhances the map of contemporary English-language poetry by Indians. The scene is now truly vibrant and full of the energy that poetry demands and thrives upon. India has now reached a critical mass where high-quality English-language Indian poetry is readily available to anyone who wishes to find it.

When Imtiaz Dharker wins the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, Vijay Seshadri wins the Pulitzer or Vahni Capildeo wins the Forward Prize (UK) or when Karthika Nair wins Book of the Year at the Tata Literature Festival in Mumbai — all this must indicate something genuinely positive and uplifting for Indian poetry, nationally and internationally. Read more

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Always trust the witches: Keki Daruwalla on poetry from the Northeast and elsewhere in India

Let’s draw a circle on a sheet of paper and call it earth, say these poets.

The instruments of darkness, by which Shakespeare, and perforce I mean the witches, came to me a few nights ago and they first said:

“I see through dark, take my call

The queen will win but still she’ll fall.”

The second witch, more explicit, said:

“Double double toil and trouble

Trump will win. All will be rubble.”

The third:

“Fair is foul and foul is fair

Poisoned will be Delhi’s air.

New York? Worse, if you walk in

to a liberal’s affrighted lair.”

Being less credulous than Macbeth, I paid no heed and am left with regrets. If I knew a bookie and had trusted the witches, I could have made some demonetised money by betting on Donald Trump. Moral of the story: never underrate a huckster or a groper in an election.

To poetry then. There are some poets you feel honoured to write about. Two of them — Eunice de Souza and Saleem Peeradina — have published recently. Peeradina, once from Bombay (not Mumbai then), lives now in Michigan and teaches at Siena Heights University. His fifth collection, Final Cut, published from Valley Press, Scarborough, U.K., is as effortlessly chiselled a volume as you are likely to find. The poems are still life vignettes on birds, fruit, and ruminations. To quote Craig Raine, “These poems are hymns of praise — to birds, to objects, to fruits and to our human bodies…” He goes on to say that “Saleem Peeradina is one of the most important Indian poets writing in the English language.” Read more

Source: The Hindu

Book Review: For the Love of Pork by Goirick Brahmachari

By Neeti Singh

love-of-pork

For the Love of Pork, 2016, by Goirick Brahmachari comes through as a collection of brilliant and ambitious verse that is intensely contemporary, thickly layered and imagistic, and reads like beat poetry as it interrogates on one hand the presence and forms of borders in daily life; and celebrates on the other hand the excesses of modern living with its new-found freedoms that thrill in the flouting of social taboos. Brahmachari, who belongs to a younger line of Indian poets writing in English, draws profusely from his readings and understanding of literature, history, cultural theory, culture and politics. His writing explores the matrix of socio-political and existential issues, as it negotiates at the same time, the paradox of acceptance and irreverence in the lives of the middle class. In terms of poetic style and content, Brahmachari’s is a strong and impressive voice, equipped with both the conviction and the courage that a poet needs to explore new pathways in poetic craft, experience, and creative expression.

Goirick Brahmachari, who is an economics research consultant settled in Delhi, hails from Silchar, Assam. This fact is amply reflected in For the Love of Pork, his first book of poems, which is a collection of forty-five poems that map the poet’s years at home, the pain of borders in the hilly terrain of Assam, and that strange sense of being away from home – free, footloose and available to cosmopolitan lifestyle issues far away in dynamic Delhi. As happens with most cities, the Silchar of his growing up years has decayed and is reduced now, to –

Stinking gutters

of hypocrisy and mediocrity.

Broken roads, of hope once,

of disgust now, ignored

through years of slumber

and laziness, and an age

of rage-less youth.

Your universities

do not speak. (18)

Read more

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