What do you do when faced with nothing much to quarrel about with a book under review? Concur. Quote. Applaud. Celebrate. Concurrence, however, breeds few words, and a lot of yawning space. Quibbling, on the other hand, might come to your rescue. New Poetry in Hindi offers both the paths. Lucy Rosenstein has produced a fine anthology of eleven modern—and modernist— Hindi poets. Her introduction to the ‘landscape of Hindi verse’ is almost perfect—precise, largely unbiased, Touching on the major turning points in both poetry and poetics. As it is, modern Hindi is among the youngest of Indian languages and the life-story of its verse is just out a century-old. Yet, the twists and leaps idem in its ongoing match ate almost amazing—nourished, influenced, bruised, but rarely overawed by manifold sources, old and new, Indian and foreign. Lucy Rosenstein is, I think, right in seeing e flow of ‘New Poetry’ as ceaseless to date, n the multiplicity of modernist impulses the world over. Opening up in the late 1930s, under rubrics such as experimentalism, progressivism, ‘new poetry’ and various other mini-movements, the thrust for experimentation in themes, styles, poetic languages, etc. goes on. To some extent, Nirala had already covered a t of ground and laid out a few prototypical formations for the future generations.
February 2004, volume 28, No 2