That Elusive Equivalence
N. Kalyan Raman
WILD GIRLS, WICKED WORDS: POEMS OF MALATHI MAITHRI, SALMA, KUTTI REVATHI, SUKIRTHARANI by Lakshmi Holmstrom Kalachchuvadu Publications, 2013, 232 pp., 295
July 2013, volume 37, No 7

Although works of Indian language fiction in English translation are being published since the early nineties by the country’s major publishing houses, it is rare for these publishers to show the same enthusiasm for poetry in Indian languages. The market for poetry in translation has always been relatively small. Some poetry anthologies in translation have appeared occasionally, but collections of individual poets are rarer still. But this is changing, largely due to the efforts of smaller publishing houses. For instance, in recent years Navayana have published collections of Namdeo Dhasal (Marathi), Cheran (Tamil) and N.D. Rajkumar (Tamil) in translation. Namdeo Dhasal and N.D. Rajkumar are dalit poets for whom caste oppression is a major theme. Cheran, an exiled Tamil poet from Eelam, now resident in Toronto, writes with great passion and militancy about his lost homeland and the condition of his people.

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