Time for Curtain Calls
FIRST OFFENCE: POEMS by Saleem Peeradina Newground, Bombay, 1981, 69 pp., 16.00
Sept-Oct 1981, volume 6, No 2

This attempt to ascertain the worth of Saleem Peeradina’s poems must, neces¬sarily, be made in the context of recent Indian English poetry. Let me begin, therefore, by quoting from Chirantan Kulshrestha’s introductory essay to the critical anthology Contemporary Indian English Verse (New Delhi: Arnold-Heinemann, 1980). No critic of Indian poetry in English, if he is honest with himself, can accord it unreserved praise. Nor can he ignore its existence and con¬demn it outright. To be aware of its possibilities and yet to remain sensitive to its failings is to liberate oneself from its propagation as a cause. Following this cue, I propose to examine Peeradina’s poetry for its intrinsic worth and for the contribution it makes to the now recognized genre called Indian English literature. I do not think Peeradina expects any concessions to be granted to his ‘second language’ creations, and I would not insult a good poet by offering any.

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