Indian English Poetry collections I am reading right now – A K Mehrotra, Sarojini Naidu and more

Category: Poetry
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Indian English poetry has seen several things several times and a hiatus of ideas, inspirations and energy (or the passion to drive their poetic muse home) has also featured a few times in its history. Right from the beginning, if we consider the imitation of the British poets to be Indian poetry, we have seen an earnest need for originality and the attempts made by Indian English poets to supply for that constant demand. In the early phases, this demand was supplied with the original and back-to-the-roots attempts by the poets like Aurobindo Ghosh and, to an extent, Sarojini Naidu. However, most of the other poets, to be frank, kept running from this poet to that one… without any clue about their activities or inspiration. However, I am not here to count who was right and who was wrong. I am not here to comment upon the poetic artistry of the poets who wrote in India then or write no. I am here to enlist some of the poets I am reading right now and anyone interested in Indian English poets might be curious to read this old or contemporary or (even) rebel voices.

Collected Poems: Arvind Krishna Mehrotra – This collection has been wonderfully introduced by Amit Chaudhuri, an acclaimed poet himself. The poems are collected from various of the published works by Mehrotra, a poet of his own kind and perhaps unmatched in many qualities. In this collection, there are also translated works which are the best possible renditions of works written originally in different languages by the poet himself. Mehrotra’s poetry is about the known and unknown, the here and the there, the above and the below… it’s capricious. I will be detailed once I write a review for this collection separately, very soon.

Sarojini Naidu, Selected Poetry and Prose – This is one of the best editions of the works by Naidu and, surprisingly enough, this one comes from the press of Rupa Publications. Wonderfully edited, introduced and presented by Makarand R. Paranjape, this edition contains the finest of the works (in poetry and prose) by Naidu. The introduction is also noteworthy, quotable and rather comprehensive compared to illogically protracted into the unknown dimensions of jargon by some of the noted scholars, in many cases. I enjoyed the introduction and also had a random look at the included works. Liked those. I will be doing a full review soon.

Nissim Ezekiel: Collected Poems – This Oxford Paperback edition has made me happy because I have a very detailed introduction by a noted scholar, John Thieme. So, I will not only enjoy reading the poems by Ezekiel at one place but also learn many new perspectives on his poetry by reading the detailed introduction. Ezekiel should be kept on a very respectable pedestal when we talk about Indian English poets who introduced original thinking in Indian English literature in the second wave after the first one collapsed. I will share my views about the same in a detailed review once I finish reading these poems. The celebrated ‘scorpion’ will certainly hound my thoughts…


So, my reader friends and lovers of Indian English poetry, this is what I had today. Do wait for my reviews for each of the collection mentioned here and you will certainly enjoy those. Keep reading!


by Ashish for BookWorm Reviews

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