PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Peter Scupham remembers Anthony Thwaite in 'Chimes at Midnight' Sinead Morrissey spends A Week in Gdańsk Rebecca Watts talks with Julia Copus about Charlotte Mew Boris Dralyuk and Irina Mashinski evoke Arseny Tarkovsky and his translator Peter Oram Frederic Raphael sends a letter to William Somerset Maugham
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review New Issue

This review is taken from PN Review 204, Volume 38 Number 4, March - April 2012.

So Many Lost Gestures arun kolatkar, Collected Poems in English, edited by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra(Bloodaxe) £12.00

In his introduction to Arun Kolatkar's Collected Poems in English Arvind Mehrotra cites the poet's appreciation of blues musicians, who 'were often untrained and improvised as they went along'; he also remembers how, the first time he heard the poet perform - at Jehangir Art Gallery in 1967 - 'Kolatkar read a poem that he seemed to have improvised on the spot. It began “My name is Arun Kolatkar” and was over in less than a minute.' Kolatkar's poetry is spontaneous - its speech-fresh, dashed-off, improvisatory texture is at one with the experience of living in a country whose traditional culture is being in different ways displaced, enhanced, or obliterated by urban development and a new technological self-consciousness. In 'The Bus', the first poem of his celebrated debut Jejuri (1976), the speaker describes what life in modern India does to one's sense of identity:

Your own divided face in a pair of glasses
on an old man's nose
is all the countryside you get to see.

You seem to move continually forward
towards a destination
just beyond the caste mark between his eyebrows.

This destination is unsure: as Kolatkar remarks in his 'Song of Rubbish', the Indian people may have their 'own tryst with destiny, and feel / the birth-pangs of a new // city', but must also 'prepare for a long period of exile / in the wilderness of a landfill // site'. As the religious ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image