Aug 17, 2015
Jayanta Mahapatra (1928-) As A Poet
Among the exponents of modern Indian English poetry, as such Nissim Ezekiel, Purshottam Lal, Keki N.Daruwalla, Shiv K.Kumar, Adil Jussawalla, Kamala Das, Shiv K.Kumar, Dom Moraes, Pritish Nandy, Arun Kolatkar, Dilip Chitre and a host of others, whom we presume to be the harbingers of modernism, Jayanta Mahapatra is definitely one of those who have furthered it with one collection after another.
Before discussing Jayanta Mahapatra and his poetry, one should keep in mind that Jayanta is first of all an Odia poet of Odisha then anything we say about him from the identity point of view. First, he is an Odia then an Indian, a regional then national and then international one by one. If we discuss as a poet, he is but an imagist and poetry is image-making. The other most important thing we have forgotten about him is this that he is professor of physics, not of literature and poetry comes to him through physics, via it, not properly, but through the channels of light and darkness theories, astrophysics and metaphysics.
There are so many things in his poetry and it is not easy to discuss him at a stretch and this is for which he is called complex and tedious one; a poet whose poems it is difficult to analyse and paraphrase. He is abstract that the lines mean they not exactly.
As a poet he is historical and the history, art and culture of Orissa have influenced him greatly and he just represents them. The Ganga Dynasty kings and the Kalinga Empire we have forgotten them, just the history of Delhi cannot be the history of India.
As a poet, he is of human hunger, want and scarcity which he has felt in the wide Indian countryside.
A realist he is down to realities and it can be marked in several of his poems when he speaks of the fate-lines of the girl, the poverty of the fisher girl, the defeat of Kalinga and the sun-burnt hamlets of the country. In the poem, Temple, he carries the same age-old story of hunger. The things are just the same; only the shapes keep changing with time.
A feminist he has written keeping in view the poor fate of the country girl, atrocities inflicted upon the Indian women folk doing household works namelessly without any credit given to her as for home-keeping. The tales of Indian backwardness, poverty and un-culture, illiteracy and un-education, how to say to? The woes of a developing third-world nation, none, but those who live and suffer can know it well. In his long poem, Temple, he has resorted to rape and violence, basing on news items. What it maligns us is the gang-rape of the girl child and dumping of her beyond recognition.
A romantic, he is Wordsworthian, Keatsian, as and when he talks of mornings and evenings, dawns and dusks, noondays and midnights. A poet of the place, he is Lawrentine as for his references to Cuttack, Puri and Bhubaneswar and Hardyian too as they have referred to Nottinghamshire and Essex.
Silence is the prime thing through which the images germinate in a vacant mood of reflection. Sights and scenes are to see, pictures and images. Though silence is the main thing or crux of his poetry, but instead of it, there are ingredients of it. The silence of mornings and evenings, middays and midnights, dawns and dusks, daybreaks and twilights is one aspect while the silence of the solitary and secluded countryside with the hamlets and thorps against a backdrop the another thing of deliberation. At noonday the solitary pyres burning, the cremation work going on, voices resounding and the wife yawning and taking a siesta oblivious of all, tell of another bewitching silence.
A poet of the sea, he describes it otherwise in terms of J.M.Synge’s Riders to the Sea and livelihood, the rituals going on in the aftermath of the cremation, as such the asthi-kalasha and the panda-dana.
Sexuality is another bewitching and intriguing aspect of his poetry which is but the Lawrentine quality.
A poet of the country, he tells of the mud-housed and straw-thatched hamlets and thorps scattered across a vast stretch of land.
Jayanta Mahapatra had not been a modernist, post-modernist but has become as for the specialties inherent in his poetry naturally. Generally, we call him modernist or post-modernist, or post-colonial as for his handling of the theme and the grasp and grip over the language, the grip over it.
Silence is the key-word of Jayanta Mahapatra; the key-board and he keeps tapping them to play with words, juggling as a juggler, solving word-puzzles and cross-words. A ludo or chess player of words, he gives a tougher fight in coming to terms with him; his poetic words, sentences and stanzas and those stanzas are the stanzas of nothingness, existentialism, what it seems to be is not and what it seems not is to be. In a word, the gist of which is, his poetry borders on the theme of nothingness and meaninglessness, nothing is what it seems to be and what it seems to be is nothing. Apart from a poet of silence, he is very much bewitching and intriguing. Against the backdrop of all this, the conspiracies and whispers of silence can be marked in the whorehouse and fisher girl images and pictures.
Eco-centric quality is the cardinal feature of his poetry. The sea, lakes, rivers, hills, water bodies, turtles, forests, empty spaces, vacant moods ns minds and the blank sheets of paper-like feeling possess the poetic self of the writer and he longs for an expression in them. The poetry of Jayanta Mahapatra is eco-centric and environmental-friendly as and when the talks order on the theme of nothingness, existentialism and he shows us through the morning and the evening, their incessant coming and going, the passage of time. Solid mass or mater remains the same. Just the shapes of the things go changing and this is what he says, communicates and relates to in his poetry.
Linguistically rather than thematically, he goes on keeping us on the tenterhooks. His language is more powerful than being poetical and literary simply as because his is a language of science, that of physics and secondly he is a Christian too and thirdly he has studied in convent schools.
There are so many reasons for it.
Word-play is one of the bewitching characteristics of Jayanta Mahapatra and many struggle to catch the rhythm of his lines in order to mean them, but meaning is not in between the lines, just the images lie in. The images of the vacant skies, sunny and silvery with the spaces blankly lifting us and of the landscapes solitary and secluded, the herons and storks flying over a vast surface, these baffle and perplex us in grappling with.
For the foreign audience, not the Indian readers, some say it, he has written his poetry as had been famous before or in contact with them even before being recognized here. The foreigners too appreciated and admired him as for the bare details of India and the intriguing facts, cramming and compressed. The tales of hunger fascinate them; the tales of want and scarcity, moral depravity and corrosion.
The poems of Jayanta Mahapatra are the lyrics of silence which but a few have come to realize it. He is a poet of silence and his poetry the poetry of silence which is but one phase of his creative dimension.
There is Vedic incantation, Upanishadic recapitulation in Jayanta Mahapatra. The prayers, hymns and psalms recited in the Jagannatha temple can be overheard in his poetry and this is the mantric quality as well as incantation of his poetry. Such a thing is Vedic, Upanishadic and Puranic which it is available in him indirectly. The wooden frame from which the idols are made and changed every nineteen years is another time of festive celebration.
To read him is to know that he is a professor of physics turning, converting the matters and materials of physics into poetry. His base is of physics, not of literature, more especially poetry. He has come to understand and comprehend poetry just through physics. It is the theories of physics which tell of the history of the world in a different way seen through the creation of the universe and the theories doing the rounds.
He is a poet of the dark daughters whose trouble, tribulation we have failed to comprehend which is in other words the myth of feminism, how have we neglected our daughters, how have we treated them? Our patriarchal bias has ruined it all what good it was in us. The inequality and empathy with which we see our daughters hurts us, not only us, but the good and thinking people of the world. Such a thing struck it Derozio and he wrote The Fakir of Jungheera and it benumbed Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.
He is a poet of Orissa, his mind one of it, his heart and soul. His mind can go nowhere except Orissa. His heart still beats for the rathyatra, the chariot festival of Puri.
His poetry is a departure from the conventional norms, rules and regulations of verse and he takes liberties with the fancy and imagination of his type, dream and reflection, leaving any a question asked and unasked, answered and unanswered.
This too is a fact not to be suppressed that fame came knocking at his door as there was a dearth of poets and he had been famous with his just Close the Sky, Ten by Ten and Svayamvara and Other Poems. Herein thought and meaning are not, juts image and word-play, abstract brooding and vacant thinking. On the chess-board of silence, he plays his moves tactfully with so much word-play and intrigue.
Waiting is without any doubt a book of Orissa, Orissan history and culture. Written against a historical backdrop, it stands for its crystal and contradictory imagery, surreal expression, change and shift in styles and transitions of thought, idea and imagery. The frequent references to Puri, Cuttack, Konark and Bhubaneswar make it an Oriya poetry-work.
The False Start contains in his famous Balasore elegy just to be placed by the side of Gray’s Elegy. A poem it startles us with its vivid imagery and clear-cut poetic conception and description. There is no ambiguity herein. Luckily, he is so meaningful here as that no one can doubt it that he is meaningless elsewhere. A poet of images, imagery and imagism, he has dealt with poetical themes, but he stuns us here.
A poet of rains and rites, he is very ambiguous as because he has little to do with the rains as it is a common phenomenon of the coastal area. Poetry to Mahapatra is an album of photographs and you just keep seeing them rather than asking him; poetry to Mahapatra is images fleeting and captured into the camera.
Close the Sky, Ten by Ten, Dialogue Publication, Calcutta, 1971,
Svayamvara and Other Poems, Writers Workshop, Calcutta, 1971,
A Father’s Hours, United Writers, Calcutta, 1976,
A Rain of Rites, University of Georgia Press, Athens (USA), 1976,
Waiting, Samkaleen Prakashan, New Delhi, 1979,
The False Start, Clearing House, Bombay, 1980,
Relationship, Greenfield Review Press, Greenfield, New York 1980,
Life Signs, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1983,
Dispossessed Nests, Nirala Publications, Jaipur,1986,
Selected Poems, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1987,
Burden of Waves and Fruit, Three Continents Press, Washington, 1988,
Temple, Dangaroo Press, Sydney, 1989,
A Whiteness of Bone, Viking Penguin, New Delhi, 1992,
The Best of Jayanta Mahapatra, Bodhi Publications, Calicut, 1995,
Shadow Space, D.C. Books, Kottayam, 1997,
Bare Face, D.C. Books, Kottayam, 2000,
Random Descent, Third Eye Communications, Bhubaneswar, 2005,
The Lie of Dawns: Poems 1974-2008, Authorspress, New Delhi, 2009,
Land, Authorspress, New Delhi, 2013.
Relationship, is a story of his relationship with the land of his birth, nativity and historicity of art and culture. With an Oriya mind and heart, he sings of Orissa, the Orissan scenes and landscapes and it is the book for which he has won the Sahitya Akademi award in 1981.
His poetry is the poetry of silence and on the dashboard of it, he keeps uploading the images. A photographer of the rock-cut temples, he goes picturing the sculptures and figurines in love, war and devotion, telling of sociologically, dharma-artha-kama-and-moksha.
From the sea beach he sees the dawn flashing, the evening descending upon and enveloping the area, the solitary pyres burning.
The things of the dark consciousness the poet explores about through the nocturnal flight of imagination.
The poem Dark Flight may be quoted in:
The sky darkens. The afternoon wind
drifts through the streets of the old city
and wrecks the images on the placid river
that holds the sudden terror
of a man falling into its chilly depths.
My eyes are getting used to the dark.
From time to time
my father comes at me
with outstretched arms of judgement
and I answer from no clear place I am in.
If I could get up and move about,
seeking the quick swifts in the halflight in the rain,
trying to feel the wind on the wings
that overcome the earth. In a dream
I hear someone’s laughter and it’s
no longer the same. In a wind
that carries the smoke and the fear,
the slow, doubled voice of wings
we are always afraid to hear.
( Prevalent Aspects of Indian English Poetry, Edited by H.S.Bhatia, Sita Publications International, Khanna, Punjab, 1983-84, p.28)
What he feels, what he thinks and what he puts down on paper, it is not easy to grasp, express that as because he is so psychological and internal. The exterior not, but the interior at work is the chief property of the poet.
Loss is one of the poems which deserve to be mentioned:
Outside the house, the trees have grown.
Tonight a dark wind drops down
through the congested leaves
and the fidgets on the steps leading to my door:
it has a lonely voice
of tides spilling up over the beaches of our dreams.
The grass going bare unknown under our feet,
the pigeons sailing across the uneven heart,
the acres of water lying beyond our thirst:
each a key that refuses to turn in a lock.
that memory concealed with ominous heights.
Now when I open the door
is it the green grieving wind which pushes through
and disturbs the things hanging on that instant
or is it the breath of someone once loved
trying to shake something out of the mind?
(Modern Trends in Indo-Anglian Poetry, , Edited by H.S.Bhatia, Sita Publications International, Khanna, Punjab, 1983-84, Reprinted: October, 1982, p.15)
Illness as a poem can be read for our interpretation:
The wind veers. Suddenly, around me
in the darkness of evening.
The old cottage has taken on
a comfortable look,
the afternoon sun’s warmth
has seeped in through my shirt.
But this body
thrown up on its own thoughts.
Of warm water, clean sheets on a bed,
a naked whiteness thrust into summer,
swelling of mangoes and cashews.
And the brazen wind
just trying to talk about itself.
I try to touch things.
No one has come yet to turn on the light.
(Bridge-in-Making, Editor Pronab Kumar Majumder, January to April 1999, 24th Number, p.8-9)
The myths of Jayanta are the myths of Orissa and the Oriyas; the folktales doing the rounds in his poetry. The myths of the dark daughters are but feministic and archival, historical and sociological.
As a poet Jayanta Mahapatra is Wordsworthian and Yeatsian, but first of all Ezra Poundian. Imagery and myth-making are the chief priorities, properties of the poet which he excels in profoundly. Rains of rites and rituals are the things of deliberation rather than pattering rains of the coastal area. The monsoon wedding is not the theme of Jayanta Mahapatra nor do the showers of Shravan or Bhadra month of the Hindu calendar. Jayanta is very confused in his art and craft of poetry-writing as the poems come to him as word-puzzles, cross-words and he likes to frolick with word-play.
A poet of summer, he can tell of the scent of the mangoes, raw and ripening, leafy green and sour, yellowish and ripe. A poet of summer, scorching heat and no respite from, he can suggest of passing the day under he shade of the mango groves. But side by side in that sweating can tell of conjugal love; wet man-woman relationship.
Who does not know Jayanta Mahapatra, a modern Indian English poet who has received many coveted prizes and accolades world-wide? Let us see how he weaves poetic images and myths privately and personally.
To discuss Jayanta Mahapatra is to come to know it that he is first of all imagist than anything we presume about him. First of all, an Odia by identity, he is a poet of Odisha, the and of his birth and nativity and thereafter anything else we think about him. In a writer like him, there are so many aspects and perspectives to be perused.
Aug 13, 2015
A Gallery of Portraits In Poetry (Indian English Poets)
Bijay Kant Dubey
Indian English poetry
There is nothing as Indian English poetry
Though some have called it
As is there anything
Like British English,
King’s or Queen’s Standard,
Not even the local one
And what it pains us is this
It is nowhere spoken in India,
Nor does it have a feeder dialect
To vitalize it
And even it is, it is but written English,
Solve the grammar exercises
And try to be correct,
Speak you not,
Even if you, you will keep mugging,
Haltingly, full of hitch and obstruction?
Indian English poetry has a history of its own,
It is but a part of India Studies,
Indology, Asiatic researches, Oriental studies,
But rather deriving from,
It has differently
In the negation of Indian art and culture,
Thought and philosophy,
Indian themes and delineation,
To Western theories and texts,
But fails to be of that order
Standard and presentation,
Somewhere weaker no doubt.
There is nothing as Indian English language,
If it is not spoken anywhere
How to call it Indian English,
A misnomer is it,
Is there anything like
Zimbabwean English, South African variety,
There is nothing,
Nothing like this,
Indian English is nowhere,
Which is but Bihari English,
Which is but Naga English,
Lepcha English, Bhutia English,
The speakers of English
Here in India
Come from different
Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Chinese
And that is why
The Anglo-Indians switched
Over to local languages,
Barring the foreign elements
On the people of
Pondicherry and Goa,
Telling of Portugal and France.
Even the Bhojupurains
Speaking in English,
The rough and tough people,
Clumsy and uncouth,
The indentured labourers
And their sons and daughters
In Mauritius, Kenya and others,
The predecessors of V.S.Naipaul,
Coming to Gorakhpur,
Tracing the roots,
So are Magadhi, Angika and Maithili speakers
The Hindi dialects.
The Mad & Maniac Poet
Poetic frenzy took to
Michael Madhusudan Dutt
And he like an Englishman started thinking
A poet under the draughts of
English education and culture,
European way of life
As did Gandhi emulate the English,
So did he write,
The Captive Ladie,
But fame did not come to him as usual
And he turned to Bengali,
Really, a great poet
Who had talent,
But the times had not been his.
Savitri And the Age After
Rather than calling the pre-independence period
Or the post-independence period
Of Indian English poetry,
I would like to call it
The age of Savitri and the age after,
The golden age of epics
A return to Vedism, Upanishadism and Puranism,
The ashrama trend,
Whose fragrance is it
In Jayanta Mahapatra too
But in a different way.
There Were Poets Before
There were poets before Nissim and his friends
Whom we know them not
And remember we not,
As we call him
The father of modernism in Indian English poetry,
Modernism is not at all related to poetry,
It comes from all the streams,
Fashion, apparel, time, manner and etiquette,
Understanding and comprehension,
Experience, hearing and learning,
Tour and travel,
P. Lal Has Not Done Justice
P.Lal has not done justice
To the poets of the beginning,
Those at the start of modernism
In Indian English poetry,
Just in the fifties,
Adi K.Sett, P.R.Kaikini and others.
Writers Workshop, Calcutta founded in 1958
Is but a factory of poets,
P.Lal just published them
Taking the charges,
As for talent search
As well as damaged it too.
To Khushwant Singh, it was just
Like the vanity publication
And many papers reviewed them not
Taking to be a commoners’ press
A sadhvi or a yogan
In the ashrama,
Or one of Vatsyayana?
Who she is,
A poetess of love
Or sex and bodily lover,
One of flesh,
Erotic and sensual?
Kamala Das not a yogi, but a bhogi,
Just like a fraud and fake
In the ashrama
With his disciple love.
Kamala Das too is the same,
One of Lawrentine guru-shisya prem,
A Rajneeshite disciple
Talking of sambhoga to samadhi,
Sex to bliss,
A modern-age yogan
In the rudraksha rosary.
She is not a Mira, but a Radha,
Mad after duplicate Krishna,
False and fraud Krishna,
A love woman,
A hysteric gone mad
And her works of kaam-vasana.
Purshottam Lal is first of all
Rather than a poet,
A romantic not,
But a faded and jaded romantic,
Even in the negation of Aurobindo
Seems to be drawn to metaphysics,
A poet of a mediocre merit,
Or has evolved in course of time
As others have,
But emboldening his stature
Just as a translator
Of the Mahabharata.
Nissim Ezekiel, a poet of Bombay
Like his Bombayan friends,
He is of Bombay,
Writing about Bombay,
A Maharashtrian Jew
His mind and heart lies it in Israel,
Suffers from the quest for identity,
How far Indian is his Indian English poetry,
Devoid of Indian thought, culture and tradition,
Myth, mysticism and spirituality,
Religion, ethics, religion and philosophy,
He treads a path of his own,
A modern man
From the city spaces,
That too from metros and mega cities
Telling about city-life and living,
Townsliving, art and culture,
Manners and ethics,
Not the rural countryside
Where dwells it the soul of India
Into the nondescript, far-off villages
Of hamlets and thorps
Clustered and littered around
Over a vast stretch of land.
The Poetry of Nissim
Nissim as a poet and his poetry,
Poetic themes of his,
What to say it,
Nissim is a poet of
Pleasantries and good manners,
Doublespeak and irony,
Just cutting with his tactics,
A poet of please and thank you,
Bye and goodbye,
On saying please,
I love you, I like you,
How are you?, I am fine, how you,
So nice of you,
See you again,
An Englishman in India,
If not, a London returned,
Wanting to date,
But the heart a Jewish heart,
Papa wills cold,
Wanting to see a film in the cinema hall
With the beloved,
To write love-letters to her
Under the pretext of meeting
Or exchanging books,
Out in the a park,
Meeting with and talking to
The Elizabethan lyrics and metaphysical,
Forget me not,
I am writing on the sea-beach,
Going to see his coy mistress
And awaking he not with the rising sun.
The Drawbacks of Nissim
Though he lived in India,
But lived as a minority man
Without understanding India,
The history of the land,
Its thought and philosophy,
Religion and spirituality,
Morality and ethics,
Cosmology ad theology,
A Jew was he
Without smacking in the aroma
Coming from the Vedas, the Upanishads
And the Puranas,
Right or wrong,
Mythical or reasonable,
At least we could have heard
Nissim suffers from the quest for identity,
An Indian in India
Whether a foreigner or Indian,
Just like Dom,
But the theme of Indianness
Bails him out
And he is a poet of
The urban space,
The city-bred culture and ethics,
City-dwelling and culture,
Birthday gift, marriage party, tea party,
Picnic and honeymoon,
The talks of his.
Nissim is of the Gandhian freedom fighter
A follower of satya, ahimsha and swaraj,
Going on the ways,
In the khadi cap, dhoti, kurta
And with a bamboo lathi in hand,
Drawing pension after independence,
Decorating the dais,
Of Gujarati English,
Saying hi-hello to Miss Pushpa,
Giggling and grinning with
Doing bye-bye to Pushpa
At the airport,
A foreign returnee he
Giving tips to her in departing for
Doing the drama
With a scorpion bite,
And showing to,
Making a fuss out of
Ad the critics after,
The whole of India
And the academics,
Just the scorpion bite
The thing of discussion,
The thing of poetic debate and deliberation,
The others too into the footsteps of his.
Jayanta Mahapatra is the first poet
To have received the Sahitya Akdemi award
For his book, Relationship
Which is but a fragment of
Whitman’s Leaves of Grass
To show connection with
Odisha and the Odias,
The Ganga and Kalinga dynasties.
The sea and the Konark Sun Temple,
The sea beach and the Jagannath Puri Temple,
The Khandagiri caves,
The River Daya,
The Chilika Lake,
He remembers them in his poetry.
There are different aspects of his poetry
And for it his poetry is complex,
Imagistic and picturesque,
But not descriptive at all,
Abstract and terse,
Difficult to mean them.
A poet of Odisha, its topography and demography,
Scenes and sites
He is a poet of the place,
A poet of silence,
Of the sea-beach,
The veiled woman.
A poet feministic,
He clings to the roots of nativity
As well as his base of subject,
We mean physics,
Dealing with light and darkness,
The origin of the universe.
Nothingness, angst and bewilderment,
Skepticism and atheism,
Engage the poetic space
Of the poet
And he lapses in dreams,
Landscapic and vacant,
A dreamer and a visionary.
The space and its vacuum,
The realm of his reflection,
Light breaking at dawn
And retreating at twilight,
Strike the poetic mind
And he loses in.
A Reading of Keki N.Daruwalla
Keki N.Daruwalla the Parsi poet
Displaced and dislocated,
Searching for roots,
In the IPS
Of the U.P.,
Mostly the Uttarakhand region,
A DIG promoted
To switch over
To the RAW
Of the Minorities Commission
A Sahitya Akademi award winner,
A Padma Shri,
Is a poet of the brave heart
Dealing with tragedy and drama talk mainly,
Painting violence, wrath, human anger,
Curfew-clamped towns with
The shoot at sight orders,
Riots and tension brewing;
The flood-hit areas
Submerged or drowned,
Muddy waters swirling
Flowing above the danger level.
A poet of the night of the jackal,
The wolf howling,
Bloody, brutal and bestial,
When it is dark
With the hunter,
One of the kite, vulture and hawk,
The Towers of Silence,
He thinking of the laws of nature,
Wild and mystical,
Calm and ruffling,
He marking the tiger
With the rifle in hands.
A poet verbose and bombastic,
He is wordy and textured,
Old, archaic and obsolete,
Hard and tougher,
Deriving and drawing from
The RAW visits and studies
Even going to Iran,
Searching the roots of Zoroastrianism
And the stuffs of international relations
Which the RAW men have to undertake
For diplomacy and reading.
The birds of a feather flock together,
The same first poem writers
Or the first book authors,
The ramshackle poets not,
But poetasters, rhymers, non-poets and commoners
Are the poets of modern Indian poetry in English,
Getting prizes one by one
And the branded critics recommending them.
After finding none as the buyers and takers of their poetry,
Poetry not exactly, but the verses,
They founded Writers’ workshop, Calcutta
To publish themselves
Or those who contacted them
Or got the favour with
Rather than representing the whole of India,
Represented they a coterie,
A section of acquaintances,
The Bombayans, the Calcuttans
And the Madrasis,
A factory of Indian English poets and poetesses
Leaving as the burden of the anonymous critics
Rather than historiographing them,
Biographing in who’s who?
Whom Did He Not Publish?
Whom did he not publish,
P.Lal published Kamala, Pritish,
Whose books did he not bring out,
Those of Shiv K.Kumar,
A woman-lover, a wine-drinker and a chain-smoker
Dom thought of himself
But was an Indian,
A Goan Christian,
Though he tried to be
A Dylan Thomas,
But could he be,
A journo he was.
After publishing Land’s End and Missing Person
Went he missing
And resurfaced after
A thirty-five year break,
With his new launches
The Right Kind of Dog and Trying to Say Goodbye.
A Parsi poet, he is of
What he wrote about,
The half-said words and sentences,
Broken rhythms of earlier verse
Just brought in confusion
And we failed to mean
All that in his verses.
Arvind Krishna Mehrotra
Arvind though in the white glistening beards
Long and flowing
Is not the Tagore,
But it looks to be,
One from Lahore
And the English Deptt. of Allahabad Univ.,
A poet surreal,
A writer of a few,
Inclusive of tidbits, chit-chats
And the trifle
Though he had been a contestant
For the Professor of Poetry
Which he perhaps deserved it not
Though got the lobbies with
To be in the picture.
Hurriedly Called We
In a hurry, a haste,
Called we them
Modern Indian English poets,
But they were not,
Are not even,
As India had been in search of,
Just to represent
The literary taste in India
And the feedback to be returned
To the West,
They are but P.Lal’s findings,
The Editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India.
Reading bad verses
Submitted by the Indians,
The mind eroded it, corroded it
And the moderns were not so
As they are,
These are the poets of today
Evolved and developed
Otherwise could not have been
The poets of India.
Modern poetry is the poetry of exile and alienation,
Angst and bewilderment,
Dislocation and displacement,
Annihilation and deconstruction,
Malaise and crisis.
Without reading Eliot, Yeats, Auden,
We cannot talk of modernity and modernism
In Indian English poetry.
Modern Indian English Poets
Modern Indian English poets
Just make a mockery of
Want and scarcity of foodstuffs,
Slum-dwellers and cottagers.
Isms In modern Poetry
There are several isms and tendencies
In modern English poetry
Which Indian English poetry cannot escape it
As they derive and draw from
And keep track of
Imagism, surrealism, symbolism,
Decadentism and lyricism
And the ‘ies’,
The thirties, the forties and the fifties,
Running as thus.
Has Poetry Died With R.Parthasarathy’s Anthology of Ten Indian English Poets
Has poetry died with the publication of R Parthasarathy’s
Ten Indian English Poets,
Will there be no more poets after
Which is but a wrong notion
And what it hurts me is this that
R.Parthasarathy writes about himself
In the same,
None but he himself
About his own poetry?
Is Indian English Poetry A One-book Ph.D.?
Indian English poetry is a one-book Ph.D.,
Where to get material from,
The books not available,
The poets unrecognized,
Whose whereabouts unknown?
Rabindrananth Tagore’s Gitanjali
Is one-book Ph.D.,
R.Parthasarathy’s Rough Passage,
Vivekananda’s In Search of God & Other Poems,
Intermixing their poetry with prose.
Anglo-Indian Poetry, Indo-English Poetry, Indian Poetry In English Or Indian English Poetry?
Is it Anglo-Indian poetry to Indo-English poetry,
Indian poetry in English or Indian English poetry,
This is how Indian English poetry has evolved
All through the ages,
It was European
Then turned it anglicized of Indianized
Now the theme of Indianness bails it out
For the translation
Contemporary Indian English Poetry today
There are different types of poets into
The realm of Indian English poetry,
One is of the Writers Workshop, Calcutta publications,
Another of the independently published authors,
Another of the media-propped and lucky draws,
Another of the book houses,
But one should keep it in mind
That Vikram Seth’s first book was
Also rejected in the West
And it was by P.Lal’s press.
Strange Is It That You're Talking About English Poetry From The Northeast
Strange is it to hear about
That you’re talking about
English poetry from the northeast,
You say it,
Is there anything like
Indian English poetry
And if it is not
Then how to talk of
English poetry from the northeast,
Poetry not in oral dialects,
But written English,
From Nagaland, Assam, Sikkim,
Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya,
Now I can see it
That the academics from academia
Will manoeuvre and manipulate it
To be poets and poetesses
Then poetasters, rhymers, petty poets
To come to light
Through politics or poetry
As the so-called Indian litterati
Are editing literary journals
To be poets, critics, reviewers,
Research guides, university professors
And external examiners for the Ph.D.
The Seven Sisterly States, if You Are From The Northeast
If you are from Nagaland, sing of it,
The land of the nags,
Its tradition and modernity,
If from Manipur, tell us
About the myth and mystery of it,
If from Sikkim, tell us
About the land of Buddha and Buddhism,
The art, culture and language of it,
If from Assam, tell us about
The Karbis, the Bodos and others,
The Bihu songs and dances,
If from Mizoram, about ancient tradition
And the shift to Christianity
And also the Burmese borders,
If from Arunachal the land of the rising sun,
The monastery and the passes
Leading to China,
If from Meghalaya, the clouds glistening
And the rains.
There Is Nothing As English Poetry From The Northeast
There is nothing as English poetry
From the northeast,
Actually, the academics
After marking the authority absent
And literary vacuum prevailing,
The students and teachers are trying
Their best to be poets
Of India fame
Through the branding
Northeast English poetry,
But one should mark it
Fame is not all,
Awards is not all,
Think of those who are scholars
But without recognition,
Without name and fame,
Without any awards in their bag.
Indian English Poetry—A Re-assessment & Revaluation
Indian English poetry, as the history and origin of it,
Is but a study in
Slender anthologies and minor voices,
The first poem writers,
The first book authors
And those who are going to write.
The trend continues in,
Of contributing a few
And contributing it,
One calling oneself a poet or poetess
Of state-level not,
An editor introducing
The acquaintances of his.
The critic too a no-man
And the verse practitioner too a no-man
And Indian English poetry
A study in no-men,
Even those who do researches
On Indian English poetry
Start calling themselves poets and poetesses,
Is it not a repudiation of morality and ethics?
Indian English Poetry Itself
Indian English poetry itself
Is a study in
Self-styled poets and poetesses
Say, who is not,
Sri Aurobindo’s books arrived
From his Pondicherry Ashrama,
Vivekananda’s Ramkrishna Mission,
P.Lal’s from his Writers Workshop?
Even Arun Kolatkar, Adil Jussawalla,
Dilip Chitre and Arvind Krishna Mehrotra
As for clearing house, Pune,
A joint collaborative venture
Of self-styled poets,
As there had been no takers
Or buyers of their theories then.
What you see Nissim Ezekiel today
He was not,
Today we extol him,
But know it not the base
As his was of one of
The Elizabethans and the Metaphysicals,
Thomas Wyatt, Edmund Spenser and Shakespeare,
Marvell and Donne
And this is about his love poetry.
While in the latter written later on
He plays with irony and humour,
Tries to smile,
Mock at and burst into
Guffaws and laughters,
Chuckling and grinning
Do You Know That?
Do you know
That K.R.Srinivas Iyengar, V.K.Gokak and M.KNaik,
They too are writers of verse,
But we read them not,
Which but we should have.
Only Nissim Ezekiel, Kamala Das, Jayanta Mahapatra,
They cannot form the course of our studies,
We need to include the poets
Of the forties and the fifties,
A few more from the Pondicherry School
Can also be studied
Together with Aurobindo,
Which but do we not.
There Was A Time
There was a time when the researchers
Like it not to do their theses
On evolving Indian English poetry
And even by the way
Some did their works on Indian themes,
The English departmental teachers
Old and sober,
Schooled in classical and British texts
Used to frown upon
As for something Indian
And frankly speaking, the dull and bogus professors
Used to take up Indian English.
To day it is a matter of funding,
People taking money for major and minor projects
From the UGC
As it has pressurized the teachers
For the Ph.D. programmes
Seminars and symposia
Relevant under the Career Advancement Scheme.
English Is Here
English is here
Of the Purdahwalli, the ghumtawalli,
And if this be the picture,
How to call oneself modern,
Medievalism cost heavy
And we paid the price
For intra-conspiracies and rifts,
The invaders looted and plundered India
All that was good in India.
The woman under the veil
Like the missing person
Saying it not her name
Or the name of her husband,
Just the tattoo saying it,
Backward, uneducated and below the poverty level.
There Were No Takers Or Buyers of Indian English Verse
There were no takers or buyers
Of Indian English verse then,
O takers of them,
No buyers of their theories,
People had not been in knowledge
That there existed one
Like Nissim Ezekiel or P.Lal.
But when the UGC made it essential
To introduce the Indian poets
And the Ph.D. a must for promotion,
The teachers started exploring possibilities,
Not on British literature.
But on Indian matters,
Be it the first class or third-class matter,
But the Ph.D. essential
Not for knowledge,
But for career advancement,
Do it somehow.
From the eighties the departments
Have started to read,
Before that it used to be sporadically
As we are today,
Indian English poetry,
Kamala Das, Kamala Das, Nissim Ezekiel, Nissim Ezekiel.
Decline of Poetry In The Modern Age
With the advancement of science and technology
In the modern age,
The age of information technology,
Some say it,
Poetry has declined in the modern age.
The Trend of Today
The poets of today, I mean the contemporary times
Are involved in mutual-praise and admiration,
One praising another,
One beats one’s own drums,
One writes about oneself.
Any edit the journals just for to be poets,
Just to get articles published
On their poetry,
I know them,
I can name them,
You call me a poet,
I shall too call you,
Where have we gone to?
Poetry of The Hollow Men, Modern Hollow Men
Poetry of the hollow men,
Modern hollow men,
The poets as the hollow men,
The readers as the hollow men
All but hollow and shallow
Modern men the hollow men,
Mechanical and technical.
Science or Poetry?
Science or poetry,
Fact or fiction,
Faith or doubt,
Whom to attach to
As science too not less than?
For a man of physics,
Poetry is in physics,
One for of mathematics
It is in mathematics.
The world is not the creation
But of science too
And the poet is not all.