The essays in this volume try to get behind the apparent continuity of normative discourse on the household in India from the ancient to the early modern. They try to locate moments of disruption, transformation or critique, in texts that are often read as simple reiterations of the Manusmriti through the ages.
My first reaction after finishing Manohar Shetty’s Morning Light was the fear of his name being lost like a beautiful tender leaf crushed beneath a pile of dried flowers that blossom only in winters. The second was the sadness of this already happening retrospectively, and the third was of being a responsible reader.
Not quite belonging to the domain of international English poetry, nor integrated with the literary traditions of other Indian languages, Indian poetry in English has often been projected as a homeless genre. The poetry of H.K. Kaul demonstrates, to the contrary, that Indian English poetry possesses the power to express a sense of cultural rootedness in a language that connects it with the rest of the world.
These two sets of lines from two dif-ferent poems of K. Srilata’s Bookmarking the Oasis succinctly depict the vast range of experiences and metaphors she employs in her poetry. The collection offers its readers a spectrum of poetry that speaks of history and memory, politics and subjectivity, natural habitats and urban spaces, and the sensuous and cerebral.
The skilled restorer of porcelain will collect not only the visible chips of a broken pot but also the dust
on the table where it rested,’ is a statement made by sociologist Richard Sennett and serves as the epigraph of the poems in the present volume. It proclaims the microscopic and macroscopic range of Hoskote’s compositions.
Kazim Ali’s poetry allows us more than a glimpse into his rich oeuvre of work resonating with a commitment to creating a language of spiritual and political urgency that walks with soft footsteps. If there was one word to describe Ali’s poetic style and methodology it could well be ‘palimpsestic’. The range of the poems in this collection is wide, poems that are re-imaginings of Quranic and Islamicate myths and figures, translations of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, and prose-like poems mapping cities through an autobiographical lens, but in spite of the diversity of engagement they all work with a sense of an ‘always already’.
A Certain Way is an interesting debut in more ways than one. For Word Masala Foundation and its publishing wing Skylark Publications, this is the first time that they have employed crowd-funding as an innovative method of raising finance to fund a book’s publication. It was clearly a successful venture; the outcome is a well-presented paperback—a first collection of poems by ‘Word Masala New Voice Award Winner’ Mona Dash.
The book with the yellow cover arrived in a thick yellow envelope on a Sat-urday. It was mid-December, and winter in Delhi was late, though the days had started growing shorter. Over the next few days, I carried it around with me, reading it everywhere I could: in the metro, at work, in bed, and in the bathroom.
The moment Arundhathi Subra- maniam’s book came to my hands I was reminded of a song and a story. The song, composed by the eighteenth century Bengali Bhakti (Sakta) saint-poet Ramprasad Sen, is themed around the act of devouring the Goddess Kali (the opening words are: Ebar Kali tomay khabo ….) by Ramprasad, her ardent devotee.