Architecture of Flesh
Author: Ra Sh
Price: INR 225
“He (Ra Sh) distances the body, makes it a myth of its own, and inhabits that space to write into the flesh. His poems read like the textual equivalent of tattoos and body piercings–the constant need for pain and masochism, the jubilation that follows an act of self-mutilation. He writes of shredded testicles and existential clots, immersion pumps and pet corpuscles, night emissions and silent embryos. In an act of inversion, he treats words like bodies too, dissecting and deconstructing them, tracing their etymology or transposing English coinages with Tamil songs, all in an act of sarcasm and effrontery, fully self aware that he can get away with such experimentation as long as it reads brilliantly. And it does.”
– Meena Kandasamy
Clawing into Water’s Skin
Author: MK Ajay
Price: INR 250
The poems in ‘Clawing into Water’s Skin’ grapple with the fragility and beauty of our existence within the larger cosmos, and use nature imagery in a fresh way to both depict our alienation as well as etch humanity in its natural environment. The poems tackle aging, parenting, family history, memory, connection to homeland and culture, intimacy and the individual’s place in the universe, finding meaning most often in connection to the five elements, to the past, and in poetry itself.
The verdant landscapes of Kerala, the monsoons and an ancestral childhood home that were recurring images in his earlier works still retain their hold on the poet. But you also sense an outward sweeping of the senses in search of newer landscapes, feelings, surprises and elements, and also a deeper inward wrestling with a joyful sadness of the human mind assaulted by modernity and isolation. The themes that come through most in this collection include knowledge/knowing, celebration of the ordinary moment, desolation – both personal and environmental —built and natural, poems responding to art, as well as curious images from science fiction. Metaphors trickle easily out of many of these poems like the trickling of raindrops through tiled roofs, setting the words on fire and cooling them in equal measure. This is a poetry about place, about slowness receding in a fast world, about the past residing effortlessly in the present moment, about fantasy walking into everyday living, and about the slow turmoil bubbling up beneath the surface in the epicentre of our selves.
This collection reveals a home grown sensibility somewhat ruptured by displacement and exile, at once playful and brooding, and introduces a distinctive voice to fans of Indian English poetry.
Selected Poems (1990-2015)
Author: Hemant Divate
Price: INR 399
“Hemant Divate creates an idiom of his own out of everyday words picked up from our near-virtual postmodern existence, a new dialect for the consumerist world fed on advertisements, television channels, tweets, timelines and the growing violence that engulfs the dreams of a new world.”
– K. Satchidanandan
“Divate has an appetite for the contemporary, devouring both its poisons and its nourishments with gargantuan ease. A rich feast, but not for weak stomachs.”
– Adil Jussawalla
Broomrider’s Book of the Dead
Author: Mukta Sambrani
Price: INR 400
“Mukta Sambrani’s poems in Broomrider’s book of the dead are notable for their extreme strangeness. The book-length sequence is presented as the working manuscript of its fictional protagonist, Anna Albuquar, whose project is to “renegotiate the idea of authorship.” There are asides, hesitations, false starts, instructions to the reader, and throughout, a steadfast regard for language.”
- Jeet Thayil
Author: Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari
Price: INR 250
“One can easily find a rare native flavour in Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari’s poems, born out of a mixture of a deep sense of tradition and a self-learnt kind of modernity. One can consider this the hallmark of his creative genius. This can be seen in his entire oeuvre, but this quality can be seen at its best in the poems he has written on his mother.”
– Kedarnath Singh
Author: Vasant Abaji Dahake
Price: INR 300
Hieroglyphs, a collection by the eminent Marathi poet, Vasant Abaji Dahake is a translation of his Sahitya Akademi Award winning book Chitralipi.
Dahake’s sharp, discerning metaphorical verse provides an insight into the world around him: like birds from an uncharted territory alphabets arrive.
The peacock of agony descends on the tall buildings, the waves of the sea, on the streets, huts. Questions cannot be contained within the mind.
Words of poetry, neither simple nor figurative, or any other sort can move a single leaf on the tree.
Trying to hide behind the sheer black cloth of the present we become increasingly exposed, the skin ripped off to the bone.
It is futile to make a hole in the ground lie in it and expect the arrival of a thousand years of happiness.
We now realize that we cannot get any support from any word.
This realization, this is all that is the meaning of the poetry of the universe.
Everything else is futile.
No one could unravel the hieroglyphs of the present.
Author: Vijay Nambisan
Price: INR 250
“When Vijay Nambisan’s poems appeared in a two-poet volume in 1992, Dom Moraes said the work was “an indication that Indian poetry, after many years of striving, ha(d) at last arrived at maturity.” That volume is now out of print. More than two decades later, Nambisan delivers his first full-length collection, in which learning and insight are animated by lightness of touch and an unmistakeable tone. Nambisan’s view of humankind is bleak, his view of the possibilities of poetry even bleaker. The gods are lonely and turned away by ‘the mobs . . . at every border’, and no amount of poetry can breathe life into a dying city. We have art so that we may not perish by the truth, Nietzsche says, and Nambisan’s art is of the highest order, a reminder of what English-language poetry in India can do when the language is handled with skill and passion by someone who is so clearly in love with it, in all its moods, from sombre to playful, from dark to light. This love is on display in every page of First Infinities, whose every line is worthy of his great precursors–’Arun and Dom and Nissim’–whom Nambisan so lovingly invokes in the book’s opening poem.”
– Arvind Krishna Mehrotra
Author: Bina Sarkar Ellias
Price: INR 300
“Bina Sarkar’s slender poems hang visually like stalactites down the cool white page. Unlike stalactites however, they are warm, lyrical and pellucid, talking of friendship, love, nature and politics. Indeed, it is a case more of floating rather than hanging, the poems suspended by a kind of phrasal or musical lilt proceeding out of emotional confidence. They talk directly of human affairs. They need and deserve their air.”
– George Szirtes
Author: Menka Shivdasani
Price: INR 200
“A sardonic, spiky edge has always graced the work of Menka Shivdasani. In this, her third individual collection, maturing for over a decade since her last book ‘Stet’, Shivdasani has honed and fine-tuned her claws to draw blood: ‘I have talons too/ which sink perfectly into the eagle/with his beady eyes’. This is a book which presents a woman’s perspective from various angles: alternately tender and savage, caring and reckless, defiant and mellow. A striking and original volume worth the long wait.”
– Manohar Shetty
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