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.
Jan-Feb 1980, volume 4, No 1-2