P.V. Pillai
Life Signs by Jayanta Mahapatra Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1984, 48 pp., 25.00
March-April 1984, volume 8, No 5

In the last two lines of Mahapatra’s final poem (‘In the Fields of Desolate Rice’) he tells us:
In the end
I come back to the day and to the rain.

This is good news, though distant in tone and spirit from the rest of this volume.

At first reading, Life Signs impressed me with its techni¬cal qualities, the fluidity of the style and the power of the imagery; attributes strong enough to still, if not dissolve, a certain latent disquiet. Sub¬sequent readings, however, affirmed this sense of unease. The reservations which arise have little to do with a re-evaluation of the technical or formal aspects of the poetry—or, at any rate, not directly so.

Continue reading this review