Chronology Of The Cuntree
Uttaran Das Gupta
NEW AND SELECTED POEMS by Mani Rao Paperwall Media & Publishing, 2017, 118 pp., 250
April 2017, volume 41, No 4

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. There were 84 poems, almost all in unrhymed free verse in contemporary fashion; most of them quite short—some even only five or six lines—yet, they completely eluded my powers of comprehension. It was as if I had encountered a language so different from the ones I am familiar with that there was no way I could penetrate their meaning.

To begin with, let me discuss the book’s greatest fault: it has no organizing principle; at least, none that I could discern. The poems follow each other in a seemingly random fashion, as if tumbling out from a tear in the bag of the writer or publisher. Individually, some are humorous;
Four in the audience at Marshalltown Public Library.
The librarian, the lady who laid out cookies, and a brave couple
Out on their first date. I did the love poems; they bought a book.
—‘Iowa Romancing’

Some surreal:
It may be early unlit but the birds have begun to boil buds
are growing wings and the trees will rise featherborne
…Chirping chandeliers will swing in from the sky in time for dusk \
—‘So That You Know’

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