Arundhathi Subramaniam, the award-winning writer of 11 books of poetry and prose, has to her credit score many prizes and fellowships. Her earlier choice of poetry, When God is a Traveller, used to be shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.
The dry phrases of Eunice de Souza, who used to be her trainer, serve to set the tone for those poems. ‘Best to meet in poems,’ says Eunice, wryly. This notice of a few sharpness, bluntness, irony and elusiveness units the tone for Arundhathi’s poems.
Some poets use language to show. Others use language to hide. Arundhathi turns out to do extra of the latter. In a poem I loved, she turns out to talk of a youth reminiscence of a sister’s home-coming, and she or he is composing a poem to greet her sister on her arrival.
“It was a rainy day in Bombay, so easy to splice into the cypress groves and briny Aegean breezes of a classical spring alive with lutesong
and given a chance today, I’d be ready to hijack a school bus and set full steam ahead to Mystras or to Crete and once there, to waft
back again on foaming lute waves into a sleepy Bombay apartment with its peepul tree and breezes from Oman.”
This has a fact to it and does no longer have the anomaly of tone and topic, present in most of the poems on this assortment. A favorite of mine is her poem Mitti, which tellingly finds the connection between people and the moon:
I figured that the moon used to be a most probably mud-gazer, simply as we’re moon-gazers!
and so I exposed the previous function of poets – to be messengers between moon and dust and the nice longing of existence to carry
and be held.
In “The Fine Art of Aging,” any other most unusual poem, the place she finds each humor and knowledge, she brings us the previous smart lady of Tamil literature – Avvayar. But Arundhati brings a gritty disrespect and familiarity to this new model of Avvayar, divesting her of magic and thriller, making her the toothless crone subsequent door!
“But she knows the journey from goddess to gran, sylph to hag, prom queen to queen mum, is longer than most, more tortuous.”
Unlike Yayati, Avvayar makes another option, asking to be spared “the desperation of the old” and “the puerility of the young.”
Arundhathi’s Avvayar is down-to-earth, humorous and loveable. “Spare me the sainthood/of mad women mystics,” she says. This Avvayar makes another option.
“Fearless friend to gods, ally of peasants, counsellor to kings, traveller of the darkest streets, she walks the world alone. And on such a path, she says, Its best to be a crone.” Pitiless, it’s possible you’ll say, however true as dust, and ever so humorous! “One way to outwit death, she says, is to invite it over. Wear it.”
Lovers finish as pictures. Love and not using a tale. Arundhathi should be one of the crucial few poets who has attempted the ability of laughter and self-mockery, and located it pleasing! She’s no self-dramatising heroine. Heroines finally end up as grans anyway. She reveals otherwise “to walk the razor’s edge”. understanding there’s no unfortunately or thankfully ever after. Arundhathi, who abjures goddesshood and magic and thankfully ever after, is extra reasonable a few reminiscence of her mom observed via a keyhole: “And that’s how I iscovered that keyholes always reveal more than doorways.
That a chink in a wall is all you need to tumble into a parallel universe.”
I used to be reminded of Rhett Butler, the hero of teen-agers of any other generation, in Gone With the Wind: “Eavesdroppers often hear highly entertaining things!” he says to the livid Scarlett O’Hara.
Arundhathi might demystify the mystique of saints and goddesses, she is also content material to just accept Earth, “this lunatic suburb” as it’s, however she acknowledges additionally the monk who’s maintained silence for 16 years used to be as soon as a spare portions broker who were given tripped up by way of: “the deepest pothole he’s ever known. too deep to be called love, that turned him into a spare part himself, utterly dispensable, wildly unemployed.”
Arundhathi realizes, in a later poem, that death is difficult paintings. As exhausting as birthing! But residing is also finding out the way to die. Of the goddess Neeli Mariamman, she says: “in the great garrulity of gods she is silent.
She’ll never be the life of the party but she’s not concerned with the party She is life –”
Christopher Fry as soon as stated that laughter is the surest signal of the genius of the gods. That laughter is in a lot of proof in Arundhati’s newest assortment. She does no longer allow us to “go silent into that dark night.” But as an alternative of raging, raging, in opposition to “the dying of the light,” she chooses ambiguity and laughter, and a pointy sense of humor as one of the crucial perfect guns to own and makes use of, in existence and in drawing near demise.
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