A Wayside Collection
Saleem Peeradina
HERS: AN ANTHOLOGY OF POETRY IN ENGLISH BY INDIAN WOMEN by Mary Ann Dasgupta Writers Workshop, Kolkata, 1980, 87 pp., 15.00
Jan-Feb 1980, volume 4, No 1-2

An anthology offered under the label Indian Perspectives, ought to have two things: an Introduction—preferably a strong one; and a Selection that is discriminating—and therefore strong. Hers has no introduction and may be half a dozen real poets out of its presentation of thirty. If the book is offered, as indeed it is, as the voice of women writers, then it must reveal a characteristic tone and vision. If this is strong, then the sociologi­cal insights in the writing could perhaps redeem its literary shortcomings. This is not a sexist criterion. A poet like R.S. Thomas, who is linguistically conventional and unexciting, is considered important because of his peculiar situation—an anglican priest in a Welsh agricultural community. Dalit writing, likewise, has a cultural significance that overrides the strictly literary one. Hers unfortunately is weak on both counts.

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