Creation and Criticism
a literary e-journal
Creation and Criticism
(A Quarterly International Peer-reviewed Refereed e-Journal
Devoted to English Language and Literature)
Contemporary Indian Poetry in English: A Survey
Sudhir K Arora
Poetry is the life-breath of heart—the heart that creates a feeling of love for beauty, evokes an excitement for life and awakens an urge to struggle against the odds of life. Indian culture is woven with the rich fabric of poetry. That Indian religious books are in poetry proves the significance of poetry. Indian poetry is rich in themes, thoughts, images and rhythms. Indian Poetry in English has now become an intrinsic part of Indian Poetry. In its initial stage, it was often tagged as derivative. Now it has come to its own by developing its own idiom, which is wholly Indian in form and content.
Indian Poetry in English began with Henry Louis Vivian Derozio and Kashiprasad Ghose. Its saplings sprouted in the Dutt Family Album. It got the world wide recognition and popularity when Rabindranath Tagore received the Nobel Prize in 1913 for his magnum opus Gitanjali. Toru Dutt, Sri Aurobindo, Sarojini Naidu and Rabindranath Tagore proved to be its pathfinders. These pathfinders paved the way for the post-Independent poets like Nissim Ezekiel, A. K. Ramanujan, Kamala Das and Arun Kolatkar who became the signatures of Indian Poetry in English. Jayanta Mahapatra, Shiv K. Kumar, Keki N. Daruwalla and R. Parthasarathy are the significant poets who established milestones, which became the source of inspiration for the poets of the new millennium. In this materialistic age, fiction has dominated over poetry. The poets are worried at the present scenario but are not wholly discouraged as their pens continue to compose poem after poem. The Sahitya Acadami has done its best for Indian Poetry in English by giving the prestigious award to Jayanta Mahapatra for Relationship in 1981, Nissim Ezekiel for Later-Day Psalms in 1983, Keki N. Daruwalla for The Keeper of the Dead in 1984, Kamala Das for Collected Poems in 1985, Shiv K. Kumar for Trapfalls in the Sky in 1987, Dom Moraes for Serendip in 1994, A.K. Ramanujan for Poems of A.K. Ramanujan in 1999, Jeet Thayil for These Errors are Correct in 2012 and Adil Jussawala for Trying to Say Goodbye in 2014.
The bright future of Indian Poetry in English can be discerned from the fact that more than 600 poets are composing poems despite the challenges that they receive from fiction. From 2000 to 2015, more than 750 Indian poetry collections in English have entered the world of literature. If this is not the victory of Indian Poetry in English, what is it? The role of Writers Workshop cannot be forgotten. These days Authorspress, New Delhi has taken the responsibility of promoting poetry by publishing poetry collections of the old faces like Jayanta Mahapatra, Shiv K. Kumar and Keshav Malik and the new faces like C.L. Khatri and Saroj Padhi. No doubt, trashes in the name of poetry collections are being published but are rejected with the passage of time. If the wheat grows, the weeds also grow in the same field. But, the weeds are pulled out. Genuine poets remain silent but the poetasters speak highly and create loud confusing sounds. Time is the sieve which separates the wheat from the chaff. The poetasters do not run long and become breathless while the genuine poets are remembered and studied.
Now, names of poetry collections, published during 2000-15 are given here year-wise.
Aju Mukhopadhyay’s The Witness Tree, C.L. Khatri’s Kargil, Darshan Singh Maini’s The Aching Vision, Dwarakanath H. Kabadi’s Snail-Pace Street, Gerson da Cunha’s So far, Jane Bhandari’s Single Bed, Jasvinder Singh’s What I feel, Jayanta Mahapatra’s Bare Face, K.L. Chowdhury’s Of Gods, Men and Militants, K.V. Raghupathi’s Small Reflections, Kailash’s Ahluwalia’s O The Anthill Man!, Kanwar Dinesh Singh’s House Arrest and Together: A Poem, Keki N. Daruwalla’s Night River, Kishore Chatterjee’s Lamenkinen’s Lament, Leela Gandhi’s Measures of Home, Mahashweta Chaturvedi’s Back to the Vedas, Manas Bakshi’s Of Dreams and Death, Mani Rao’s Salt, Menka Shivdasani’s Stet, Prabhanjan K. Mishra’s Lips of a Canyon, Pronab Kumar Majumder’s In the Ruins of Time, R.C. Shukla’s A Belated Appearance, Ranjit Hoskote’s The Cartographer’s Apprentice, S.L. Peeran’s In Golden Times: Selected Poems, Smita Tewari’s The Recycled, Sujata Bhatt’s Augatora. (My Mother’s Way of Wearing a Sari), Suresh C. Jaryal’s Silence of Love and Tabish Khair’s Where Parallel Lines Meet are some poetry collections, published in 2000.
A.K. Ramanujan’s The Uncollected Poems and Prose, Anand Thakore’s Waking in December, Arundhathi Subramaniam’s On Cleaning Bookshelves, Asha Viswas’s Mortgaged Moorings, Bijay Kant Dubey’s My Selected Poems, My Father, and My Love Poems, Biplab Majumder’s Virtues and Vices, Chandni Kapur’s Karma, Harish K. Thakur’s The Sun-Lyre, Imtiaz Dharker’s I Speak for the Devil, Jagannath Prasad Das’s Lovelines: Poems of Longing and Despair, K. Satchidanandan’s So Many Births Three Decades of Poetry, K.B. Rai’s Soul’ n Fire Poems, K.K. Saxena’s Dream Girl, Kanwar Dinesh Singh’s Deuce: Haiku Poems, Kedar Nath Sharma’s Our Ancient Orchard, Keshav Malik’s Rumour, Makrand Paranjape’s Used Book, O.P. Bhatnagar’s Cooling Flames of Darkness, Paniker Ayyappa’s Days and Nights, R.M. Prabhulinga Shastry’s Self An Anthology of Poems, R.A. Janakiraman’s Arteries, R.C. Shukla’s Depth and Despair and My Poems Laugh, Ranjit Hoskote’s The Sleepwalker’s Archive, S.L. Peeran’s In Golden Moments, Suresh C. Jaryal’s Flight to Immortality, Suresh Nath’s What Can I Do?, Tajinder Kaur’s Reflections, Tapti Baruah Kashyap’s Peace of Silence, Vijay Vishal’s Parting Wish, Virender Parmar’s Collage of Quietude, and Vishnu Joshi’s Anjali Whispers in the Dawn are some poetry collections, published in 2001.
A.N. Dwivedi’s Protest Poems, Anita Nair’s Malabar Mind, Aroop Mitra’s In Search of the Lotus-Feet, Bhagirathi Mahasuar’s Emotional Me and Mine, Bijay Kant Dubey’s My Collected Poems and Mother Kali, D. C. Chambial’s Before the Petals Unfold, Darhsan Singh Maini’s The Far Horizons, Dom Moraes’s Typed with One Finger: New and Selected Poems, Dwarakanath H. Kabadi’s Chariot of Dreams, Gopi Krishnan Kottoor’s Nirvana, Harish K. Thakur’s Confessions, I.H. Rizvi’s Fettered Birds, Jane Bandari’s Aquarius, K. Srilata’s Seablue Child, K.N. Daruwalla’s The Map-maker, Kanwar Dinesh Singh’s Rainbows, Moonbows and Fog and The Flow of the Soul Selected Poems, Kedar Nath Sharma’s Love, Live & Leisure, M. Mohankumar’s Nightmares and Daydreams, M.S. Venkata Ramaiah’s Flash Point, Maha Nand Sharma’s A Spiritual Warrior, Meena Alexander’s Illiterate Heart, Monima Choudhury’s Impression, Pronab Kumar Majumder’s Creating-Killing Cosmic Time, R.K. Singh’s Cover to Cover: A Collection of Poems, Rabindra K. Swain’s Severed Cord, Reetika Vazirani’s World Hotel, Rudra Kinshuk’s Marginal Talks of the Galloping Horses, S. Parida’s The Next Valley Beyond the Stars,S.L. Peeran’s A Ray of Light, A Search from Within, and In Silent Moments, Sanjukta Dasgupta’s Dilemma, Shiv K. Kumar’s Thus Spake the Buddha, Smita Agarwal’s Wish-Granting Words, Sudesh Mishra’s Diaspora and the Difficult Art of Dying, Sujata Bhatt’s A Colour for Solitude, Suresh C. Jaryal’s Quest of Poesy, Tejdeep Kaur Menon’s Minnaminni, and Tejinder Kaur’s Images are some poetry collections, published in 2002.
Agha Shahid Ali’s Rooms are Never Finished, Alexander Raju’s Sprouts of Indignation, Ashok T. Chakravarthy’s Charismata of Poesie, B.K. Dohroo’s Musings, Bibhu Padhi’s Games the Heart Must Play and Living with Lorenzo, Dwarakanath H. Kabadi’s Pyramid Poems,Gopi Krishnan Kottoor’s Rev. Father Benedict Goes to Heaven, Jelena Narayanan’s The Gold Comb and Other Poems, Jerry Pinto’s Asylum, K. L. Chowdhury’s A Thousand-Petalled Garland and Other Poems, K.V. Raghupathi’s Voice of the Valley and Wisdom of the Peepal Tree, Kanwar Dinesh Singh’s Scintillations: The Junctures of Satori, Madhvi Lata Agarwal’s Myriad Colours, Manas Bakshi’s From Adam to Myself, Mani Rao’s Echolocation, Marilyn Noronha’s Different Faces, Niranjan Mohanty’s Krishna, P. Raja’s To Live in Love, Pashupati Jha’s Cross and Creation, Prabhat K. Singh’s The Vermilion Moon, R.C. Shukla’s The Parrot Shrieks, R.K. Singh’s Pacem in Terris, Radhey Shiam’s Song of Life, Raman Mundair’s Lovers, Liars, Conjurers, and Thieves, Reshma Aquil’s Shadows of Fire and The Unblending, Rita Malhotra’s Images of Love, S.A. Hamid’s No Man’s Land, S.L. Peeran’s A Call from the Unknown, Saleem Peeradina’s Mediation on Desire, Shome Dasgupta’s In This Place, Sudeep Sen’s Distracted Geographies: An Archipelago of Intent and Prayer Flag: Poetry and Photography, Sudha Iyer’s On the Edge, Sunanda Mukherjee’s Moment and Other Poems, Tejdeep Kaur Menon’s Oysters in Pain and Temsula Ao’s Songs from Here and There are some poetry collections, published in 2003.
A.K. Ramanujan’s The Oxford India Ramanujan, Abdul Rashid Bijapure’s An Exotic Tree, Agha Shahid Ali’s Call me Ishmael Tonight, Arun Kolatkar’s Kala Ghoda Poems and Sarpa Satra, Baldev Mirza’s Theatre of Silence, Bijay Kant Dubey’s In The Jurassic Park & Other Poems and My Sensical Or Nonsensical Poems, Biplab Majumder’s Golden Horizon, Chandni Kapur’s The Looking Glass, D.C. Chambial’s Collected Poems (1979-2004) and This Promising Age & Other Poems, Debjani Chatterjee’s Namaskar: New and Selected Poems, Dom Moraes’s Collected Poems 1954-2004, Esssarci’s (S. Ramachandran) Rainbow, Gopi Krishnan Kottoor’s Buchenwald Diary, Father, Wake Us in Passing, and Mother Sonata, I.H. Rizvi’s Dripping Wounds and Love Never Dies, I.K. Sharma’s My Lady, Broom and Other Poems, J. Bhagyalakshmi’s A Knock at the Door, Jagannath Prasad Das’s Poems, Jeet Thayil’s English: Poems, Keshav Malik’s Earth in Space Selected Poems, Lakshmisree Banerjee’s I am the Woman: I am the World, M. Mohankumar’s The Moon Has Two Faces, Maha Nand Sharma’s Autumn Strains and Divine Glimpses, Mamang Dai’s River Poems, Meena Alexander’s Raw Silk, Meenakshi Verma’s Mute Voices, N.P. Singh’s Millennium Blues, Nandini Sahu’s The Other Voice, Prageeta Sharma’s The Opening Question, Raanan Burd’s Poetry from Life, Ravi Shankar’s Instrumentality, Rukmini Bhaya Nair’s Yellow Hibiscus: New and Selected Poems, Samartha Vashishtha’s Shadows Don’t live in Walls, Som P. Ranchan’s Three Poems, Srikanth Reddy’s Facts for Visitors, Suparna Ghosh’s Sandalwood Thoughts: A Collection of Poems and Drawings, Vihang A. Naik’s Making A Poem and Vijay Seshadri’s The Long Meadow are some poetry collections, published in 2004.
A.P.J Abdul Kalam’s The Life Tree, Abdul Rashid Bijapure’s The Third Maya and Other Poems, Aju Mukhopadhyay’s Short Verse Vast Universe, Amit Chaudhuri’s St. Cyril Road and Other Poems, Anil K. Sharma’s Five Beats of Heart, Anna Sujatha Mathai’s Life on My Side of the Street, Archna Sahni’s First Fire, Arundhathi Subramaniam’s Where I Live, Hoshang Merchant’s Homage to Jibanananda Das, I.H. Rizvi’s Haiku and Other Poems, Jasvinder Singh’s Stray Thoughts, Jayanta Mahapatra’s Random Descent, Justice S. Mohan’s Many Splendoured Gem, K. Satchidanandan’s Stammer and Other Poems, K.B. Rai’s Pearls of Wisdom An Anthology of Poems, K.B. Rai’s Soul Tears, K.K. Srivastava’s Ineluctable Stillness, Kazim Ali’s The Far Mosque, Ketaki Kushari Dyson’s In That Sense You Touched It, Kulbhushan Kushal’s Rainbow on Rocks, Lakshmi Kannan’s Unquiet Waters, Maha Nand Sharma’s A Flowering of a Lotus and A Rudraksha Rosary and Other Poems, Mahashweta Chaturvedi’s Mother Earth, Makarand Paranjape’s Partial Disclosure, Manas Bakshi’s Not Because I Live Today, Mani Rao’s 100 Poems: Selected Poems (1985-2005), Maria Netto’s Tabula Rasa, Nagamuthu Osho’s Mystic Melody, Nalini Sharma’s Rhythm, Nandini Sahu’s The Silence, Pashupati Jha’s Mother and Other Poems, Priya Sarukkai Chabria’s Dialogue and Other Poems, Pronab Kumar Majumder’s Where Time is Dead, R.C. Shukla’s The Parrot Shrieks II, R.K. Singh’s For a World Peace, Raghu Kul Bhushan’s Sentinels of the Soul, Ralph Nazareth’s Ferrying Secrets, Rumki Basu’s Native Birds in Alien Skies, S.L. Peeran’s New Frontiers, Sanjukta Dasgupta’s First Language, Shanta Acharya’s Looking In, Looking Out, Sonjoy Dutta Roy’s Into Grander Space, T. Vasudeva Reddy’s Pensive Memories and V.V.B. Rama Rao’s Seeing God and Other Poems are some poetry collections, published in 2005.
Abdul Rashid Bijapure’s Desert Caves and Other Poems, Anjum Hasan’s Street on the Hill, Basanta Kumar Kar’s The Naïve Bird, Bijay Kant Dubey’s Bootman's India And Other Verses, Murkhamantri And His Cabinet And Other Verses, Poetry as Knowledge and Wisdom and Poetry as Wit and Humour and The Cartoonist Boatman’s India and Other Poems, C.L. Khatri’s Ripples in the Lake, Chandramoni Narayanaswamy’s Sunflower and Other Nature Poems, Deepankar Khiwani’s Entr’acte, Dwarakanath H. Kabadi’s Mystic Mysteries, E.V. Ramakrishnan’s Terms of Seeing: New and Selected Poems, K. B. Rai’s Soul Smiles, K.V. Raghupathi’s Samarpana, Kashmiri Lal Chawla’s My Zen Poetry, Kulbhushan Kushal’s Whirlpool of Echoes, Manas Bakshi’s Man of the Seventh Hour, Mina Kandasamy’s Touch, R. K. Singh’s The River Returns, Ranjit Hoskote’s Vanishing Acts: New and Selected Poems 1985-2005, Revathy Gopal’s Last Possibilities of Light, Robin Ngangom’s The Desire of Roots, S.L. Peeran’s Fountains of Hopes, Shanta Acharya’s Shringara, Sudhir K Arora’s A Thirsty Cloud Cries, Syed Ameeruddin’s Visions of Deliverance, Veeru Reddy’s Whispering Shadows and Vivek Narayan’s Universal Beach are some poetry collections, published in 2006.
Aju Mukhopadhyay’s In Celebration of Nature and The Paper Boat, Arbind Kumar Choudhary’s Eternal Voices, Aroop Mitra’s Light on the Lotus, Binayendra Chowdhury’s Reflective Images, C. P. Surendran’s Portraits of the Space We Occupy New and Selected Poems, Chandramoni Narayanaswamy’s The Alphabet, The Friendly Animal World and The Garden School, Charu Sheel Singh’s Etching on the Edge, Kashi: A Mandala Poem and Scripture on Stone, Daljit Nagra’s Look We Have Coming to Dover, Dilip Chitre’s As Is, Where Is. Selected English Poems 1964-2007, Hazara Singh’s Apostle of Non-Violence and Destination, I.H. Rizvi’s The Valley Still Blossoms, Imtiaz Dharker’s Terrorist at My Table, J. Bhagyalakshmi’s When Fortune Smiled, K. Ramesh’s Soap Bubbles, K.S. Pal’s Descending Dark Stairs, Kamala Das’s Encountering Kamala Selection from the Poetry of Kamala Das, Kunga Gyatso Bhutia’s The Himalayan Bouquet and Binding Undulations of Sikkim, Mahadeva R. Iyer’s Bouquets and Garlands, Makarand Paranjape’s Confluence, Mohammed Fakhruddin’s Haiku, Self-Exploration, Nar Deo Sharma’s Melody of Wounds, Navkirat Sodhi’s Un, Om Prakash Arora’s The Edge of the Cliff, Omesh Bharti’s My Interaction with Life, Prabhat K. Singh’s In the Olive Green, Prageeta Sharma’s Infamous Landscapes, Pronab Kumar Majumder’s Ontime Untime, Sparkles of Time and Time Never Returns to Console and Other Poems, Purnima Ray’s Poetry: Autobiographical, R.M. Prabhulinga Shastry’s The State A Poem, Rita Malhotra’s I am not your woman and other poems, Ruskin Bond’s Book of Verse, Sampurna Chatterjee’s Sight May Strike You Blind, S.L. Peeran’s In Rare Moments, Sridala Swami’s A Reluctant Survivor, Swmai Nem Singh’s Creation and Other Poems, Tishani Doshi’s Countries of the Body and Vilas Sarang’s Another Life are some poetry collections, published in 2007.
A.N. Dwivedi’s Beyond Borders, Arbind Kumar Choudhary’s My Songs and Universal Voices, Bijay Kant Dubey’s A Collage of Verses and The Divine Path and Other Verses; The Research Method; The Abstract and the Appendix, Chandramoni Narayanaswamy’s Hasmukh, Charu Sheel Singh’s Collected Poems 1975-2003. Harish K. Thakur’s Silent Flows Danube, I.H. Rizvi’s Bleeding Flowers, I.K. Sharma’s End to End, Jeet Thayil’s These Errors are Correct, K.K. Srivastava’s An Armless Hand Writes, K.L. Chowdhury’s Enchanting World of Infant, Kanwar Dinesh Singh’s The Noontide Poems, Ghazals and Hymns and Thoroughfare: A Book of Ghazals, Kazim Ali’s The Fortieth Day, Kulbhushan Kushal’s Songs of Silence, Lakshmi Shankar’s Under the Poetree, Mamta Agarwal’s Rhythms of Life, Meena Alexander’s Quickly Changing River: Poems, N.V. Subbaraman’s Silver Fishes in the Blue Waters, Karthika Nair’s Distant Music, Niranjan Mohanty’s A House of Rains and Tiger and Other Poems, P.C.K. Prem’s Rainbow at Sixty, Prasant Kumar Panda’s Blue Prints of Retrospection, Praveen Gadhvi’s The Voice of the Last, Pronab Kumar Majumder’s Faces of Love, My India: Through Corridor of Time and Where I Is A Noun, R.C. Shukla’s The Parrot Shrieks III, Rabindra K. Swain’s Susurrus in the Skull, Raghu Kul Bhushan’s Rustling Leaves, Roshan Lal Sharma’s Mount Carol and Other Poems, S. Parida’s Behind the Tapestry, S.L. Peeran’s In Sacred Moments, Sanjukta Dasgupta’s More Light, Shiv K. Kumar’s Losing My Way, Smita Tewari’s And the World Changes Colour. A Travelogue in Verse, Crossroads and Hourglass, Swami Nem Pal’s Nature Poems, T. Vasudeva Reddy’s Gliding Ripples, Tapati Baruah Kashyap’s A Discovery, V.V.B. Rama Rao’s For Our Grandchildren and Other Poems and Virender Parmar’s The Voice Divine, are some poetry collections, published in 2008.
Agha Shahid Ali’s The Veiled Suite, Aju Mukhopadhyay’s Poems on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Amit Shankar’s The 21st Shade of Autumn, Amrita V. Nair’s Yours Affectionately, Anjana Basu’s Picture Poems and Word Seasons, Arbind Kumar Choudhary’s Melody, Arun Kolatkar’s The Boatride and Other Poems, Arundhathi Subramaniam’s Where I Live New and Selected Poems, B. Cauveri’s Sandalwood Chip, B.S. Nimavat’s Words from Within A Poetry Collection, Bibhu Padhi’s Choosing a Place, Bijay Kant Dubey’s Pinda-Dana, Biplab Majumder’s Island’s Dolphin Song, Chandni Kapur’s The Other Face, Debjani Chatterjee’s Words Spit and Splinter, Divya John’s Whispers Within, Eunice De Souza’s A Necklace of Skulls Collected Poems, G. Kameshwar’s Seahorse in the Sky, Hazara Singh’s Happy Meaningful Life, Imtiaz Dharker’s Leaving Fingertips, Jayanta Mahapatra’s The Lie of Dawns Poems 1974-2008, K.B. Rai’s Soul Dances, Kamala Das’s Closure some poems and a conversation, Kanwar Dinesh Singh’s Prospect Hill: Shimla Poems, Karthika Nair’s Bearings, Manas Bakshi’s The Midnight Star, Monima Choudhury’s Manu Script Love Poems, Mousumi Ray’s The Dancing Leaves Create Music Dust is Blowing, Nandini Sahu’s Silver Poems on My Lips, Nileen Putatunda’s Annya, P. Gopichand & P. Nagasuseela’s Mushrooms and No Longer at Ease, P.K. Joy’s Beyond Many Bends Selected Poems of P. K. Joy, Pronab Kumar Majumder’s Passage to Peace, R. Hema’s Life Blues, R.K. Singh’s Sexless Solitude and Other Poems, Raghu Kul Bhushan’s Melodies of the Broken Reed, Ramya Sriram’s Inklings: A Collection in Free Verse, Reshma Ramesh’s Reflections of Illusions, S.L. Peeran’s Glittering Love, Seema Aarella’s Letters from the Heart, Semeen Ali’s Roses and Ashes, Shaleen Kumar Singh’s Proprietary Pains: A Collection of Short Poems, Shilpa Vinay Viswanath’s G for God, D for Distraction and Pause, Shujaat Hussain’s Heat and Dust, Smita Tewari’s Illusions, Suhasini Sakhare’s Living the Future, Suparna Ghosh’s Dots and Crosses, Tanya Mendonsa’s The Dreaming House, Tapan Kumar Bandyopadhyay’s Glimpses of Ordinance, Tuhin Sanyal’s Phoenix on a Female Body and Other Poems,V. Balachandran’s Signs of Love, Virender Parmar’s Within and Without and Vivek Sharma’s Saga of a Crumpled Piece of Paper are some poetry collections, published in 2009.
A.P.J Abdul Kalam’s Songs of Life, Abnish Chauhan, Mosam Sinha and Ram Sharma’s A String of Words, Aditi Upmanyu’s Magical Poems, Aju Mukhopadhyay’s Insect’s Nest and Other Poems and Short Verse Delight, Akshat Sharma’s Viaticum: Journey of A Soul, Ameeruddin Syed’s Rainbow Rhapsodies, Anindita Sengupta’s City of Water, Arbind Kumar Choudhary’s Love Poems and Nature Poems, Arun Kolatkar’s Collected Poems in English, Bipin Patsani’s Another Voyage and Homecoming, Chandramoni Narayanaswamy’s The Unseen Abode and Other Poems, Charu Sheel Singh’s Legacies, D.C. Chambial’s Mellow Tones, Gopi Krishnan Kottoor’s Victoria Terminus, Poems: Selected and New, Hazara Singh’s Seasonal Festivals and Commemorative Days, Hoshang Merchant’s Shilong Suite, I.K. Sharma’s Collected Poems 1970-2010, Jasvinder Singh’s Poems of the Heart and Selected Poems 1980-2005, K.B. Rai’s Soul Speaks, K.V. Dominic’s Winged Reasons, K.V. Raghupathi’s Dispersed Symphonies and Orphan and Other Poems, Kanwar Dinesh Singh’s The Tears of Frost: Haiku Poems, Lalit Sharma’s Pearls and Pebbles, M.S. Venkata Ramaiah’s Melting Point, Mamta Agarwal’s Voices of Autumn, Mani Rao’s Ghostmasters, Mina Kandasamy’s Ms Militancy, P. Gopichand & P. Nagasuseela’s Sprouts, Pritish Nandy’s Again, R.C. Shukla’s Ponderings I, R.K. Singh’s Sense and Silence: Collected Poems and Sexless Solitude and Other Poems: A Bilingual Collection: English-Greek , R.M. Prabhulinga Shastry’s What is Beyond? An Anthology of Poems, Rajkamal Shiromani’s You and My Haiku, Rita Malhotra’s Across Social Wilds: A Woman’s Poetic Perception, Rizio Yohanan Raj’s Eunuch, Sachchidananda S. Kore’s The Vestal Virgin, Saleem Peeradina’s Slow Dance, Satish Kumar Shukla’s Panjab Moods A Literary Adagio, Shankar D. Mishra’s A Cynosure of English Poems, Shanta Acharya’s Dreams That Spell the Light, Shilpa Vinay Viswanath’s Alias Da-ugh-ter and Ye Calliope, Erato and Polyhymnia, Sonnet Mondal’s Penumbra of Indian Verses, Sushila Kadian’s Twilight Expressions, Uddipana Goswami’s We Called the River Red, Vihang A. Naik’s Poetry Manifesto New & Selected Poems and Vivekanand Jha’s Hands Heave to Harm and Hamper: A Collection of Poems are some poetry collections, published in 2010.
Adil Jussawalla’s Trying to Say Goodbye Poems, Apurv Kumar’s My First Poems, Apurva Agarwal’s A Night’s Sail, Arbind Kumar Choudhary’s Love, Nature and The Poet, Aroop Mitra’s Poverty Profile Poems on Human Deprivation, Asha Viswas’s The Rainbow Cave and Other Poems, Bibhu Padhi’s Migratory Days (a travel diary in verse), Bijay Kant Dubey’s My Nirguna Songs and Yama, Binod Mishra’s Silent Steps and Other Poems, Gopa Nayak’s Dissension, Harish K. Thakur’s Nature Psalms, Hoshang Merchant’s Hyderabad Quartet Collected Works Volume I , K.B. Rai’s Words Speak An Anthology of Verse (Impressions), K.L. Chowdhury’s Homeland after Eighteen Years (A Travellogue in Kashmir), K.V. Dominic’s Write Son, Write, Kynpham Sing Nongkynrih’s The Yearning of Seeds, Mahendra Bhatnagar’s Dawn to Dusk and Life As It Is (These two books include some original poems in English by the poet himself), Manas Bakshi’s Between Flower and Flame, Meenakshi Hooja’s Outpourings: Poetic Expressions, P.C.K. Prem’s Of This Age and Obscurity and Other Poems, Padmapriya’s Galaxy, Pashupati Jha’s All in One, Pravat Kumar Padhy’s The Tiny Pebbles, Pronab Kumar Majumder’s Random Poetry, S.L. Peeran’s Garden of Bliss, Saket Suman’s Little Tales of Little Things, Satish Kumar Gupta’s My Thoughts in Simple Verse, Shiv K. Kumar’s Which of My Selves Do You Wish to Speak to? Selected Poems, Sonnet Mondal’s Diorama and Easterlies, Sony Dalia’s Delightful Dawn, Sunil Sharma’s Poetry amid the Golden Barrel Cacti, T. Sai Chandra Mouli’s (Sony Dalia) Delightful Dawn, Vikram Seth’s The Revered Earth and Vivekanand Jha’s Create Space are some poetry collections, published in 2011.
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s Songs of Life, A.N. Dwivedi’s Wayward Wanderings, Alka Agarwal’s Blooming Buds, Amit Agarwal’s Rousing Cadence, Anand Thakore’s Elephant Bathing and Mughal Sequence, Anna Sujatha Mathai’s Mother?S Veena and Other Poems, Bijay Kant Dubey’s A Pamphlet of Poetry, Ambulance, Brindaban, Crashing Over The Hump, Hari Om And Other Poems, The Dark Daughters, The Dark Is Beautiful, Beena, The Rhythm of Speech, The Rhythm of Life, The Third in Number, Tracing Paper, Unknown Citizen…I Had A Desire and Moored to the Shadow, D.C. Chambial’s Words 1979-2010, Dom Moraes’s Selected Poems, Geeta Chaabra’s An Indian Ode To The Emirates, Gopi Krishnan Kottoor’s The Coloured Yolk of Love Vrindavan, Hoshang Merchant’s Collected Works Volume 2: Jonah Quintet, Jaydeep Sarangi’s From Dulong to Beas Flow of the Soul, K.K. Srivastava’s Shadows of the Real, Laxmi Prasad’s Universal Witness, Madhumta Ghosh’s For All You Lovely People, Meenu Mehrotra’s Sounds of Desire, Prathap Kamath’s Ekalavya: A Book of Poems, Pravat Kumar Padhy’s Songs of Love, Pritish Nandy’s Stuck on 1/Forty, Pronab Kumar Majumder’s Sundown Poetry and Other Poems, R.C. Shukla’s Ponderings II and Ponderings III , R.K. Singh’s New and Selected Poems Tanka and Haiku, R.M. Prabhulinga Shastry’s The Sport, Raghu Kul Bhushan’s The Invisible Visible, Ranu Uniyal’s December Poems, S. Parida’s The Estranged Periphery, Sonjoy Dutta Roy’s Diary’s Poems and Story Teller’s Rhymes, Sunitha C. Srinivas’s Mnemosyne, Supriya Bhandari’s Symphony of Silence, Sushil Kumar Sharma’s The Door is Half Open, T. Sai Chandra Mouli’s (Sony Dalia) Graceful Green and T. Vasudeva Reddy’s Echoes are some poetry collections, published in 2012.
Adwaita Das’s 27 Stitches, Amishal Modi’s Prelude to a Storm, Basant Rath’s Own Me, Srinagar, Bijay Kant Dubey’s A Document of Poetry and A Statement of Poetry, Bijender Singh’s Confusing Poetry and Late Night Poetry, Bishnupada Ray’s Winter Sky, Chandini Kapur’s Timeless Interludes, Day Bhat’s A Maiden of 29, Geeta Chaabra’s No Journey Ends: A Collection of Poems and Prose Pieces, Godavar’s A Turn of Poetry, Gopal Lahiri’s Living Inside, Hoshang Merchant’s Sufiana , Jayanta Mahapatra’s Land , Jaydeep Sarangi’s Silent Days, K. Pankajam’s Whispering Waves, K. Srilata’s Writing Octopus, K.V. Raghupathi’s Between Me and the Babe, Kamala Das’s Wages of Love: Uncollected Writings of Kamala Das, Kamalaprasad Mahapatra’s Pearls of Poesie, Keki N. Daruwalla’s Fire Alter, Lakshmisree Banerjee’s Peahen Passions, Madhumita Ghosh’s Flowing with the River and Pebbles on the Shore, Mamta Agarwal’s An Untold Story of a Pebble, Meena Alexander’s Birthplace with Burried Stones, Meenakshi M. Singh’s Soulful Symphony, Minoo Vania’s A Vista Ahead, Nabina Das Nabina’s Into the Migrant City, Nayanathara’s In the Shade of the Bodhi, Neelam Saxena Chandra’s Silhouette of Reflections, Hues of Love and Layers of Flickering Lights, Nileen Putatunda’s Beggar, P. Raja’s Five Headed Arrow, P.K. Panicker’s Without Borders, Pravin Nair’s Gravity, Puneet Agarwal’s Voices and Vices, Rajender Krishan’s Solitude and Other Poems, Reshmy Warrier’s Mirror, Mirror on the Mind, Riddhi Kapoor’s Almost Poetry, Rohith’s Chirps, Sayantan Gupta’s Where the Rainbow Ends, Sonnet Mondal’s Primatic Celluloid, Sujata Parashar’s Poetry Out and Loud II, Sunil Sharma’s Poems on Highway, Suvankar Ghosh Roy Chowdury’s Cities and Lost Times, Syeda Afshana’s The Fugitive Sunshine Selected Poems, T. Vasudeva Reddy’s Quest for Peace: A Minor Social Epic, Tapati Baruah Kashyap’s Winding Ways, Vinita Agarwal’s Words Not Spoken and Vishal Bhojwani’s Spark are some poetry collections, published in 2013.
Aju Mukhopadhyay’s Manhood, Grasshood and Birdhood. An Anthology of Assorted Poems, Ananya S. Guha’s There Is Winter by Touch, Anapurna Rath and Bhaskarjyoti Das’s Devi: A Journey through Photo-Poetry, Anil Prasad’s Destinations, Anjali Anirudhan’s To Feel or Not to Feel, Arundhati Subramaniam’s When God Is A Traveller, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra’s Collected Poems 1969-2014, Avdhesh S. Jha’s In Search of Peace, Bibhu Padhi’s Magic Ritual, C.L. Khatri’s Two-Minute Silence, D.C. Chambial’s Hour of Antipathy, Dalvir Singh Gahlawat and Kalyanrupa Parasar’s Smile From the Veil, Dilip Mohapatra’s A Pinch of Sun and Other Poems and Different Shades, Dolly Singh’s The Awakening of SHE, Durlabh Singh’s Song for Myself , Geetika Kohli’s The Lost Sonnet and Other Poems, Gopi Krishnan Kottoor’s Tell Me, Neruda, Gouranga P. Chattopadhyay’s The Lonely Journey Begin, Hoshang Merchant’s Collected Works Volume 3: Place/Name, A Sextet, Jayashri Shetty’s Silent Screams, Jaydeep Sarangi’s A Door Somewhere, Jyotsna Sinha’s Silent Musings, K. Ramesh’s From Pebble to Pebble, K. Satchidanandan’s Misplaced Objects and Other Poems, K.V. Dominic’s Multicultural Symphony, Kamala Acharya’s Kindle the Spirit, Kamala Das’s Selected Poems, Keshav Malik’s Water Falling on Water, M.R. Venkatesh’s I Wonder as I Wander , Mamta Anand’s Tresure a Tear, Mamta Madhavan’s Connecting Dots, Manas Bakshi’s Maduline Musings, Meena Kandasamy’s This Poem Will Provoke You & Other Poems, Mihir Vatsa’s Painting That Red Circle, Minaxi Sajeev’s The Unlabelled Happy Woman, Murali Sivaramakrishnan’s Selected Poems, Naina Dey’s Snapshot from Space and Other Poems, Nandini Sahu’s Sita (A Poem), Neelam Saxena Chandra’s Purple Moon and The Delicate Wings, O.N. Gupta’s Spilled Feelings: A Collection of Thoughts and Realizations, P. Raja’s Dhoti and Other Poems, P.C.K. Prem’s Tales of Half Men and Other Poems, P.M. Chandrasekharan’s Oh God Bunch of Poems , Pooja Garg Singh’s Everyday and Some Other Days, Prashant Rana’s The Onion Man, R.K. Bhushan’s Nerves of the Verbal Art: Songs in Follywood, R.S. Ramkumar’s Breeze: A Love Story, Rachna Gupta’s Myriad Hues, Ramkanth Rath’s Frontier Lyrics, Rochishmon’s Let Us Understand the Dawns, S. Chandramohan’s Warscape Verses, S. Jagathsimhan Nair’s Blue Sun and Blase Rains, S.L. Peeran’s Eternal Quest, S.P. Saxena Surya’s The Koel , Sadia Riaz Sehole’s Red Seeps, Samir Ranjan Chatterjee’s Under the Southern Sky , Sangeeta Mahesh’s Ocean of Thoughts, Sanjula Sharma’s For Rhyme or Reason, Saroj K. Padhi’s Shattered I Sing, Sayantan Gupta’s Poems on Life, Poems on Love and Poems on Mythology, Shalini Yadav’s Kinship with You, Shambhobi Ghosh’s A Stranger’s Conversation, Shiv K. Kumar’s Where Have the Dead Gone? & Other Poems, Shruti Chandra’s The Return to Beginning, Shubangi Joshi’s To Stir Up An Ornate Nest, Shujaat Hussain’s Tolerant India, Sujata Parashar’s Poetry Out And Loud-III, Sukrita Paul Kumar’s Untitled, Sunil Sharma’s Mundane, My Muse, Tumpa Chatterjee’s Laughing Daffodils, Vandana Arora’s Storm to Serenity, Varsha Singh’s Deluges and Vinayana Khurana’s Vinayana’s World: A Story Untold are some poetry collections, published in 2014.
Aabha Vatsa Midha’s Home Alone, Miracle, Desire, Mannequin, and Euphoria, Abhishek Rath’s Immotal Ink Bleed: Imprints Beyond Depth, Anushrav Vatsa’s The Unfinished Fabric, Beena Biswas’s Half a Life, Bina Sarkar Ellias’ Fuse, Daipyan Nair’s The Frost, Dhiraj Das’s Walking with the Dead, Dilip Mohpatra’s Another Look and Points to Ponder, Geetika Kohli’s Nothingness at Boiling Point, Jaydeep Sarangi’s The Wall & Other Poems, Jyotsna Gandhi’s Inner Carol, Kavita Singhal’s Each Moment A Poem, Maaya Dev’s Shimmering Chimes, Madhumita Ghosh’s My Poetry My Voice, Mahua Sen’s Insights, Meher Gurudev’s Petals of Beauty, Meena Alexander’s Atmospheric Embroidery, Menka Shivdasani’s Safe House, Nar Deo Sharma’s Emotionoceans, Navya Jain’s Arcane Rhapsodies (Short Stories in Verse), Neelam Chandra Saxena’s Tales of Eon, Neelam Chandra Saxena and Nikita Saxena’s Transcending Earth, Pashupati Jha’s Awaiting Eden Again , Pokhriyal Diwakar’s Poetry for Everyone, Prabhat Singh’s Indelible Impressions, R.M. Prabhulinga Shastry’s “S‘he”, Rachna Gupta’s Kaleodoscope: The Changing Colours of Love, Radhika Agarwal’s Mirage , Rajesh Joshi’s The River Flows, Rashmi Jain’s Kaleiodoscopic Visions, Ratan Bhattacharjee’s The Ballads of the Bleeding Bubbles: A Fabulous Bouquet of Love Poems, S.A. Hamid’s The Ontology of Desire , Sanjeev Sethi’s This Summer and That Summer, Saroj K. Padhi’s Petals in Prayers and Rhyming Ripples, Seema Devi’s Love and Light, Sudeep Sen’s Fractals. New & Selected Poems / Translations, Sumitra Mishra’s Penelope’s Web, Suneel Sharma’s Thresholds, T. Sai Chandra Mouli’s (Sony Dalia) Hopping on Hope, Tribhawan Kaul’s Refreshing Writes, Usha Kishore’s Night Sky between the Stars, Vaishnavi Shrivastava’s Rainbow of Feeling and Varsha Singh’s Unbangled and Other Poems are some poetry collections, published in 2015.
Here are a few instances of what kind of Indian Poetry in English is being penned. The excerpts demonstrate form and content along with the idiom that Indian Poetry in English has developed with the passage of time.
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (1931-2015), the former President of India and the recipient of Bharat Ratna is a poet of inspiration and motivation. The Life Tree (2005) and Songs of Life (2010) reflect Kalam’s views on nation, patriotism, youths, humanity, relationship, spiritualism and, above all, life. He loves the whole humanity and is against all kinds of barriers, divisions and narrow outlooks. His heart bubbles with love, compassion and all the human qualities, necessary for a meaningful life.
I build no walls to confirm joy and sorrow
To sacrifice or achieve, to gain or lose
I just grow flowers on open spaces
And float lilies on ponds and rivers. (The Life Tree 57)
While praising Kalam, Satish Kumar writes: “As a poet he is endowed with forward looking quality. He excels in poetizing science and scientific truth. He adroitly merges poetry with spirituality and true religious spirit. Kalam, who dreams of better and happier world for the children of India and the world, is a poet of humanity. (Poetcrit 49)
Three collections of poems namely, Bare Face (2000), Random Descent (2005) and Land (2013) along with the collected poems, The Lie of Dawns Poems 1974-2008 have come from the pen of the major poet Jayanta Mahapatra (b. 1928), who does not appear as fresh and imaginative as he was in his Relationship (1980). With the passage of time, the poet in Mahapatra has become more reflective and submissive though less imaginative.
Truth may be beautiful
but it has deformed feet.
And the path it makes us walk on
has many answers,
to know what it is to distort
experience has made for us. (Land 33)
His poetry collection Hesitant Light (2016) is better than his Land.
Shiv K. Kumar (b. 1921) appears to be more imaginative and fresh in Where Have the Dead Gone? and Other Poems (2014). With the passage of time, he has emerged from the ocean of complexity to the ground of simplicity by virtue of his understanding of life in its clarity. He is a poet of intuition.
The best way to choose is not to choose
but just press on.
If you plan to return home,
it may take you a lifetime,
as reason stumbles at every step.
So why don’t you rest through the day
and voyage through the night?’ (Where Have the Dead Gone 95)
He has lost the teeth of irony, contrast and paradox, with which he used to bite. What he has now are memories, which make him wander in the memory lanes. He loves words, which come out from his pen naturally and softly with meaning, music and intensity.
Keki Nasserwanji Daruwalla (b. 1937) continues to write poetry because it gives him relief and proves to be a sort of cleansing force. He talks of hunger of belly which degrades man from the category of a human being to an animal. When a man is hungry, religion becomes secondary.
When hunger rages
Yudhishthir and Duryodhana become meaningless. (Collected Poems 25)
There is no use of living if no one knows identity. Daruwalla gives a new definition of existence which lies in others’ recognition:
Why can’t we define existence as something
that lives only in the awareness of others?
Do you exist if no one knows you do? (Collected Poems 26)
The poet is quite concerned with the present state of the country. He thinks of the new millennium and finds no one to guide the people. He voices his feelings in ‘A Millennium Poem’ thus:
What have we to do with the millennium,
We, who are going to flicker
and fade out?
What have we to do with the spool of time,
which, like Draupadi’s sari,
unwinds, unwinds and unwinds?
Doomsdayers everywhere, and thugs.
and oracles abound.
Why must we find ourselves
in a season of prophecies
with no prophets around? (Collected Poems 342-343)
No doubt, his satire and irony bite but this biting is a boon in disguise. He makes the people morally conscious so that they may transform themselves into good citizens and tread the path of peace and prosperity. What he says in the poem ‘To a Palestinian Poet’ is applicable to the people of all nations.
Let’s have less of blood,
both in poetry and on the ground.
Let peace descend on you and your neigbouring people. (Collected Poems 23)
Arun Balkrishan Kolatkar (1932-2004), the poet of Jejuri appears in a new avatar in Kala Ghoda Poems. He emerges as the champion of the underdog. Inbuilt irony, satire, imagery, objectivity etc., are some significant literary devices that he has employed in depicting how the street people lead a life of alienation, frustration and despair in the metro cities like Bombay, now Mumbai. He has made ugliness visible to the point of beauty with his graphic vision. He makes Meera, the sweeper dance in the bin with her broomstick. What the lute is to Krishna, the broomstick is to Meera.
When it is full
nearly to the brim
she climbs to the top
and begins to dance
within the narrow compass
of the wicker bin
like a Meera before her Lord,
with a broomstick for a lute. (Collected Poems 87)
Niranjan Mohanty (1953-2008) is, indeed, a great poetic pilgrim who began his journey as an outsider and ended as an insider. He is basically a poet of love. He simplifies the philosophy of love thus:
The beating and throbbing heart
knows only, that the unspeakable
tale of an in-within-ness is love. (Tiger and Other Poems 78)
He is also conscious of the contemporary reality. The poem ‘Kalahandi’ presents the mental state of a woman, who lives with the granddaughter. Her son committed suicide due to hunger caused by famine. She cannot see the granddaughter being hungry and, hence, requests the protagonist:
Tonight, you stay here. Don’t feed me.
for , I’m a ripe mango sure to fall soon
Give that girl some food. The road lies open
for her. Touch her tenderly . Sleep with her
if you like, take her. Never permit her
to be stung once again by hunger. (A House of Rains 30-31)
He surprises the reader by his scholarship and the poetic sensibility. He weaves his thoughts and feelings with metaphors like ‘tiger’, ‘rain’, ‘home’ ‘stone’ etc., to make his poetic texture rich and meaningful. He colours it with imagery, tonal variations and rhythms. “Merely to be human” becomes “the theme song” (A House of Rains 90) of his life and so is of his poetry.
Jeet Thayil’s (b. 1959) got the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2012 for These Errors are Correct (2008) which reveals his intermixing of history with poetry and his experiment with the fusion of styles. He seems to be postmodern in his approach. He attempts to fill the gap with belongingness though the way he follows demonstrates his eccentric nature. Here is an excerpt from his poem ‘Superpower’, taken from These Errors Are Correct.
You need a mind of sky, of rubber,
to understand I. You need
silence, cunning. Exhale!
You need to know that everything is metaphor,
that poems sprout
in my hands
like mystic confetti, like
neural string theory.
and though I’m not rich it takes a lot
of cash to keep me
in the poverty to which I’m accustomed. (‘Superpower’, These Errors Are Correct)
Adil Jussawalla (b. 1940), after a long gap of 34 years (Missing Person in 1976) appeared in 2011 with Trying to Say Goodbye and won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2014. He is a poet who speaks candidly and fearlessly and while doing so he becomes somewhat melancholic in expression. In Trying to Say Goodbye, he speaks of the common man as well as the particular people including poets and artists. Even the lifeless objects like radio, wood, marble, wristwatch etc., become alive. Graziano Kratli while reviewing this poetry collection in World Literature Today writes: “His versification is tight, controlled, yet eloquently versatile and fluid. Trying to Say Goodbye reasserts Jussawalla’s stature as one of the great English-language poets of his generation—and ours.” The two excerpts from the poems ‘House’ and ‘Snakeskin’, taken from Trying to Say Goodbye prove Jussawalla’s deep poetic voice in a controlled idiom.
Learn balance, with nothing to stand on.
Though you’ve lost heart, lost ground.
Go restless, homeless, but balance. (Trying to Say Goodbye 5)
I saw neither snakeskin nor snake.
I lived in the forest for years.
Forty years on
with the forest gone,
my sight’s improved.
There’s little to do but try
with the little I see
to make something new. (Trying to Say Goodbye 78)
Bibhu Padhi (b. 1951) is an inward-looking poet who searches for the cultural and interpersonal realities of life in the memory lanes. He is lost in “the dark forgetfulness of the past”, remembers “the remembrances of the present” and foresees “the future’s death –smelling / homes of fantasies” (Games the Heart Must Play 53)? He is a poet of feelings. He fuses feelings with his thoughts. He takes the reader into the depth so profoundly that he is lost in darkness and reaches the unoccupied spaces of memory. Today he realizes “distances matter and must be / taken care of” (Games the Heart Must Play 87). Distance has made him wait and while waiting, he recalls dream children to his memory.
On all these nights
I’ve been waiting for you,
as if waiting was endless
but somehow was true.
And then, you might arrive,
shrouded in stories and history
like a dark shadow from the past
lingering over my dreams—
my dreams of you. (Games the Heart Must Play 21)
R. C. Shukla (b. 1943) is a significant poet of the new millennium. God gifted traits of keen observation and catholicity of vision make him see the invisible thing and decipher the un-deciphered pages. His poetry mirrors life in varied forms. Despite the fact that death is inevitable, he celebrates life.
Death is always close to me
and yet I celebrate life
life that dupes and disdains
how shall this end? (Ponderings I 43)
No doubt, he celebrates life, he always thinks of an end of this traffic from this world to the other world. Man takes birth, suffers, dies and, then, again takes birth. The cycle continues. The poet interrogates this show of arrival and departure and its relevance when he utters:
Let me understand
let some Janak
or some Vivkanand come
and explain to me
what is the sense in
my coming here again and again?
Is this coming and going
and then coming again
not a part of the show? (Ponderings I 20)
Charu Sheel Singh (b. 1955) is a serious poet who makes the reader serious through his poems which reveal his love for Indian culture and Indianness. His poetry is a spiritual yoga in the tradition of Aurobindo—the tradition that leads to the path of self-discovery. Here are the two excerpts which demonstrate his poetic skill and scholarship.
Life is a little
password in chemical
chessboards that blacken
and whitewash fables
of identity in a
soup of inertia. (‘Terracotta Flames’, Collected Poems 224)
Rise O mortals
beyond your coffin
selves to inaugurate
tomorrows of love.
Let the sea-shells sing
choral hymns like
the eternal dove. ((‘Terracotta Flames’, Collected Poems 228)
Gopikrishnan Kottoor (b. 1956) is a poet of love and feelings. In Vrindavan (2012), he follows the Bhakti tradition and becomes a modern Radha in singing the song of devotion and love in praise of Krishna. By singing the songs of love through Krishna and Radha, he appears to be a significant poet of love in the tradition of the Bhakti poets in the domain of Indian Poetry in English. He makes Krishna confess that he is inconstant while Radha is constant.
I am inconstant.
You are constant.
around you. (Vrindavan 118)
D. C. Chambial (b. 1950) is a poet of love, life and Nature. Hour of Antipathy (2014) is his ninth poetry collection. It records his journey as a poet. With the wings of memory and dream, he soars high in the sky and watches the landscapes, dotted with cacti and lilies which offer him a peep into the roots (of blood). These roots create a storm within him so violently that he feels anger to the extent that he calls the present hour—the hour of antipathy. Ultimately, he seeks peace within and offers his vision—the vision of Heaven that will rise “out of Hell / On this bloody Earth” only when the people “sacrifice / the devils of / ego, desire, greed.” He also paints the scene of corruption though he doubts its end despite the sincere attempts of Anna Hazare. He longs for the victory of Anna Hazare, who wages a war against corruption. But he doubts whether the corrupt men will leave corruption.
Within and without.
Will the rats
Stop to nibble.
In labyrinth. (Hour of Antipathy 19)
What one feels in Hour of Antipathy is the passivity of the imaginative fairy. The fairy is lost somewhere in the well of memory. The poems in this collection are the flowers—the flowers that have come out of his fancy rather than imagination.
R.K. Singh (b. 1950) is a poet of love and sex. What makes his poetry striking is its unique way of opening the doors of imagination. The scenes or pictures he creates offer multiple interpretations. He is an artist who paints the painting with visual words that have the unusual charm to provide the pleasures to the readers who interpret according to their whims.
Before the foamy
water could sting her vulva
a jelly fish passed
through the crotch making her shy
the sea whispered a new song (The River Returns 6)
For C.L. Khatri (b. 1965), poetry is not simply poetry but a means of fighting against the erosion of cultural roots and values. He writes with a mission—the mission of restoring Indian values which the Indian people have lost somewhere in the blind race for globalization in the field of materialism. Two-Minute Silence (2014) is his third poetry collection, which attempts to awaken the people’s consciousness towards the cultural roots and a meaningful life with human values.
Let’s observe two-minute silence
On the shrinking space, shrinking sun
Stinking water of the sacred rivers
Sleeping birds, falling leaves
Watermelon being sliced for quarreling cousins.
Someone whispered in my ear
Can’t we do with one minute…?
(‘Two-Minute Silence’ from Two Minute Silence 67-68)
Vihang A. Naik’s (b. 1969) poetry is very communicative. It communicates what the poet feels and experiences. His intuition overpowers his reasoning faculty and stirs him to the depth of creation. What strikes in his poetry is the way of life that he not only enjoys himself but makes the reader feel it also. Here is an excerpt which reveals the poet’s longing for the love in the age of science and technology:
Is there a software
for love or a command?
can love be
programmed? (Poetry Manifesto 11)
Going through his poetry offers a new experience to the reader who enjoys the aesthetic feast along with some reflections that he reflects over the ideas expressed in short melodic lines.
Saroj K. Padhi (b. 1962) has registered his remarkable presence with his poetry collections, namely, Pearls of Dew (2014), Shattered I Sing (2014), Rhyming Ripples (2015) and Petals in Prayers (2015) which reveal his relationship with Nature, soil, human beings and, above all, life. His poems bubble with the Orissan landscape, ethos and sensibility, which become universal in nature. He offers a vision of life with all its physical, mystical, romantic and human ingredients. He sings the song of love and offers its essence thus:
love is a forgetfulness of self
in prayer to God in silence
when all conflicts about possession
melt into nothingness, its essence. (Shattered I Sing 61)
While praising Saroj Padhi, Dr. Satish Kumar writes: “ Saroj inherits the hoary cultural, religious and literary traditions of Orissa…He is one of the tallest Indian English poets and in future, I am sure, the fragrance of his poetry would emit in all corners of the world and he would have a privileged place in the comity of the world poets” (Foreword, Petals in Prayer).
With Again (2010) and Stuck on 1/Forty (2012), Pritish Nandy (b. 1951) returns to poetry but fails to impress the readers. Whether it is form, typography or anything, he is known for his experiments with verse. He is candid in expression and his short poems reveal his postmodern way of thinking. Here are the two excerpts from Again which reveal Nandy’s postmodern attitude:
Friends are dying all around me
Some, old and tired
Others, bored. (Again 1)
God lies. (So do we all.)
But we do not claim divinity .
Love is good enough
to escape the boredom
of living in Hell.
So give me old-fashioned lust instead.
Give me vanity and pain,
the profanity of living in sin again and again
Or (if you deny me what I want)
give me the rain (Again 4)
Syed Ali Hamid’s (b. 1954) The Ontology of Desire New and Selected Poems (2015) which includes No Man’s Land (2003) and Desire, Ultimately (2013) reveals him a poet of desire and intuition. He is spontaneous and fresh. Artificiality fails to touch him. His poems flow like the water of the river Ganga—pure and mysterious. Urdu orientation enters his poems. He succeeds in creating an innovative idiom, which becomes the fusion of Urdu and English in form and Hindustani or Indian in contents. Here are the two excerpts to prove his poetic skill.
In the dark regions of the mind
desire takes birth
like a rainbow
piercing a grey cloud
and once perceived
sometimes flirted with
beneath the indulgent veneer
of respectability . (‘Desire’, The Ontology of Desire 139)
And, of course, I remember you
I forget you. (‘I Remember You’, The Ontology of Desire 142)
T. Sai Chandra Mouli (b. 1947) whose pen name is Sony Dalia is a promising poet. His poetry collections Delightful Dawn (2012), Graceful Green (2012) and Hopping on Hope (2015) reveal his poetic heart that possesses a deep love for Nature and concern for a peaceful life. Here are the two excerpts which demonstrate his poetic talent as well as his love for Nature.
Sun-kissed breeze caresses
unveiling rainbow color dreams,
unmolested silence quietly echoes
soft strains of bygone eras. (‘Dawn’, Delightful Dawn 1)
Monsoon showers refresh spirit
parched land opens up in hope
drops of rain reach or not
pleasure lies in anticipation (‘Monsoon Showers’, Graceful Green 9)
Jaydeep Sarangi (b. 1973), a rising voice speaks his heart which overflows with love and kindness. He blends his Bengali idiom with the English idiom so well that it seems to be global. He speaks what comes to him naturally and expresses in a brief and aphoristic way without caring for the form or design. He flows, rather his soul flows. Here is an excerpt which reveals his concern for the poor.
Madan paddles his fate
Disturbs the comfortable
And comforts the disturbed.
Hits back with words. (The Wall and Other Poems 59)
The women poets are not inferior to their male counterparts. With the passage of time, they have created their own idiom which reveals their miserable plight, pain, suffering, trauma, beauty, love and, above all, life. Here are a few instances to prove the poetic skill of Indian women poets.
Sujata Bhatt (b. 1956) is a poet who copes with life in a colourful way while painting its different dimensions, particularly the erotic ones. Her recent collection A Colour for Solitude offers poems about paintings and painters. She asks for “a better colour / for solitude.” She uses the brush of her words and takes the colour for images in order to create a magic in painting. Here is an excerpt which demonstrates the art of her painting with words and images.
a muddy river—
and then you enter
with a sharp knife
to carve out the light.
To find light beneath salt, brine—
to find your first pale colours
swallowed by muddy paint. (A Colour for Solitude 33)
How beautifully she creates a painting while using citrus fruits as symbols for creating erotic feelings!
Look at the lemon in my left hand
right between my breasts
Look at the orange in my right hand
held further down
a bit below my waist (A Colour for Solitude 70)
Meena Alexander (b. 1951) is a poet who is on a quest and for this quest she wanders in the memory lane and attempts to trace out the roots of her identity. She joins the fragments in order to fuse her experiences which she experienced in the past. The metaphor of river suits her as she also passes through many hurdles while focusing her final goal. Here is an excerpt from her poem ‘Cosmopolitan’, taken from her poetry collection Quickly Changing River.
Odd questions massed in me.
Who knows my name or where my skin was torn?
If I could would I return to Kashi?
And might the queen of triumph intercede for me? (Quickly Changing River 4)
Imitiaz Dharker (b. 1954) celebrates life in transition. She composes poems of joys and sorrows. She voices the feelings which a woman wishes to hide. She gives voices to her concerns while passing through the lanes of uncertainties in Terrorist at My Table. Here is an excerpt which reveals Dharker’s poetic art.
I slice sentence to turn them into
onions. On this chopping board, they
seem more organised
as if with a little effort
I could begin
to understand their sharp. (Terrorist at My Table 22)
Mani Rao (b. 1965) is a poet who believes in experiments—experiments in form and content. Her poems seem to be prose pieces to the eyes but they are poems in true sense as they touch the very core of the heart. For Jeet Thayil, Mani Rao’s poems look like prose on the page, in the mouth they feel like poetry.” Sex and god find place in her poetry. Here is an excerpt from her poetry collection Echolocation.
You know a language well if it does things you don’t have control over. Bring me the words without meanings, words all meanings have abandoned, sentenced to meaninglessness. (Echolocation)
Meena Kandasamy (b. 1984) writes to have a parallel line with her identity. She writes for the dalits—the unvoiced and pens their pains. Here is an excerpt from her poem ‘Becoming a Brahmin’ which offers a formula to convert a shudra into a Brahmin.
Step 1: Take a beautiful Sudra girl
Step 2: Make her marry a Brahmin
Step 3: Let her give birth to his female child
Step 4: Let this child marry a Brahmin
Step 5: Repeat steps 3-4 six times
Step 6: Display the end product. It is a Brahmin. (Touch 42)
Arundhathi Subramaniam (b. 1973) is a Mumbai-based poet who has emerged as an individual powerful voice in Indian Poetry in English. She composes poems which reflect life and her devotion. For Bruce King, she is becoming a major poet. Here is an excerpt from her poem ‘Reface’, taken from her poetry collection When God is a Traveller.
Do I want another face?
Sometimes I do?
A face no longer disfigured
by need. A face you can turn
inside out like a sock
never knowing the difference
between surface and interior,
soft as old wool, implacable
as peace, the fibres accustomed
to disuse. Accustomed
to my absence. (‘Reface’, When God is a Traveller)
Asha Viswas (b. 1946) is a poet who is guided by her inner convictions and gives flow to her poems which demonstrate her aesthetic sense. She does not believe in any propaganda. Her brief lyrical poems flow with feelings while offering image after image. Here is an excerpt from her poem ‘Displaced Desire’, taken from her poetry collection The Rainbow Cave and Other Poems.
Ego, pendulum like,
moves between the earth and the sky
an absurd theatre of human life. (The Rainbow Cave and Other Poems 29)
This tour reveals that Indian poetry in the new millennium is experimental in forms and contents. It presents the contemporary landscapes, ethos and identity. Poems of male poets like Hoshang Merchant, Makrand Paranjape, P.C.K. Prem, Madan G. Gandhi, Raghu Kul Bhushun, Susheel Kumar Sharma, Abhay Kumar and Sunil Sharma and women poets like Sukrita Paul Kumar, Shanta Acharya, Sanjukta Das Gupta, Menka Shivdasani, Archna Sahni and Nandini Sahu have created an interest in the hearts of the poetry lovers. Hence, the future of Indian Poetry in English is bright. Poetry will continue to inspire poets who will make a flow of poems from their pens. As long as there are human beings, poetry will be penned. What though poetry does not pay! It will be written, loved and read for its therapeutic values.
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---. Tiger and Other Poems. New Delhi: Sarup and Sons, 2008. Print.
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---. Graceful Green. Gurgaon: Prasoon, 2012. Print.
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About the Author:
Sudhir K. Arora (b.1968) teaches English at Maharaja Harishchandra P. G. College, Moradabad affiliated to M. J. P. Rohilkhand University, Bareilly. He has several significant publications to his credit including Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger: A Freakish Booker and Cultural and Philosophical Reflections in Indian Poetry in English in Five Volumes.