Vikram Seth to Kamala Das: The dark, brooding world of Indian poets

September 15, 2022 0 By Melissa

Holding a roll of tobacco, a smiling Eunice DE Souza stands in her night-robe, a parrot alert on her head.

Eunice de Souza was a ‘one of a kind’ poet

This placing image greets you after you lay eyes on The sphenisciform seabird Book of Indian Poets – a replacement collection of Indian poets writing in English–2022–quick-tips-to-pass-682513–forget-about-failure-631b1946896ab8e23761e1cb


The almost 900-page book, emended by writer Jeet Thayil, was quite twenty years within the creating. It includes the work of ninety four poets, starting from world literary superstars to promising young writers.

“I needed each attention-grabbing voice that I chanced on, recent and new, to be a vicinity of the book,” Thayil says.

The book conjointly contains reminiscent of black and white pictures of a number of the poets, taken by Madhu Kapparath.

Thayil and Kapparath spoke to the BBC concerning the work of 5 of the poets featured within the book – and also the stories behind their photos.

The writer with AN acerbic wit

Seth’s photo, clicked at dusk, shows him sitting on the terrace of the Neemrana Fort

Eunice DE Souza (above) wrote pithy, tender poems concerning everything she saw, felt and considered – from like to womanhood to the nature to her Goan Catholic roots.

“As a writer she was one amongst a form. The work is casual, crafted, anthemic, colloquial, sarcastic, tender, funny – all at constant time,” Thayil says.

And the approach she lived her life was equally exalting.

“She was thus intelligent and she or he lived alone, along with her pet parrots and dogs keeping her company,” Kapparath says. “I suppose you are feeling things terribly powerfully after you live alone and do not have fair-haired ones to cushion you.”

On the day he took the icon, she had gone into the room to form tea.

“We simply spent time in her kitchen; she was smoking a roll of tobacco. Then one amongst her pet parrots flew on top of her and Sabbatum on her head. for a few reason, her parrots were perpetually attempting to sit down on her head after they weren’t fighting along with her dogs.”

The man UN agency will create the phone book rhyme

Vikram Seth’s books, particularly an acceptable Boy, have fans round the world, however he conjointly modified Indian writing in English with The strait, a unique written entirely in tripping sonnets.

“He might create a rhymed version of the phone book and it’d be attention-grabbing,” Thayil says.

“He includes a bookish appreciation of the history of English poetry. You see it in each sonnet and [four-line verses referred to as a] stanza. there is seriousness, however he conjointly brings a lightness of bit that produces for delight.”

Kapparath clicked Seth’s icon at a literary competition in Jaipur, in Rajasthan state.

“He was simply sitting there, on the bottom. it absolutely was hour by then. we tend to created chitchat concerning the relative scale of a scene, and during a larger context, concerning events that play call at the shadow of a scene,” Kapparath says.

The writer UN agency explored perturbing realities with clarity

Adil Jussawalla wrote in jagged, fragmented lines concerning category wars, ethical corruption and also the contradictions that dehumanise and ravage the human spirit.–2022–guaranteed-success

Kapparath clicked his icon throughout a day at Jussawalla’s place in Mumbai.

“Adil has this keep quality concerning him. he is force by a particular reasonably uncommunicativeness inside his own self that i suppose comes from contemplation. He was a small amount reluctant to possess his photo taken – curious why anyone would wish to require an image of him while not his shirt!”

The writer of in-betweens

Dom Moraes could be a seminal figure in Indian English literature and poetry. His work spans poetry, newspaper columns, various books and translations.

His vogue was heavily influenced by Western poets, however what he wrote concerning perpetually felt on the brink of home.

“Dom was generous to a fault with alternative writers,” Thayil says. “He knew specifically what it meant to a younger author to be seen by AN loved older author.”

About this photograph, Kapparath says: “He was during a tearing rush to end a column once I entered the space. He was living during a friend’s house at the time. The factor concerning Dom was he was ne’er at home; he was perpetually in some temporary abode somewhere.”

The writer UN agency unclothed her soul

Though Kamala Das printed six books of poems, “she was best well-known for a racy biography, My Story (1976), ANd an eventful life that enclosed a amount in politics and a late conversion to Islam”, Thayil writes.

Das is commonly referred to as a ‘confessional poet’ owing to the fierce honesty with that she wrote concerning her life, womanhood, menstruum, sex, sex and quality, at a time once it absolutely was incredible to try and do thus.

“It’s only if we tend to see her entire body of labor that we tend to realise however brave she was. She was writing poems within the 60s and 70s that poets nowadays would turn over concerning,” Thayil says.

“I took this photograph at her house in Kerala, simply once she had regenerate to Islam,” Kapparath says.

“She was living by herself and had been painting terribly intensely. we tend to were talking and she or he aforesaid one thing concerning mourning for her companions. She simply stood there within the gallery during this create and aforesaid ‘This is what I do; I mourn. I mourn for all.'”