28 February, 2021

DeMo And Lost Loves

Bitter irony unites with savage sarcasm in poems to pin down the truths we live with

DeMo And Lost Loves

Ravi Shankar is a Malayali poet and translator who lives in Palakkad in Kerala. In his first book of poems, Architecture of Flesh, he articulated the semantics of violence–political, patriarchal and communal. The intensity of his concern perfectly matches the sharpness of his images, and is now matched by The Bullet Train, which also reveals a talent for scathing satire. Tellin­gly dedicated to Rohith Vemula, the writer uses “black humour, stabbing sarcasm, and mischievous word-play” as K. Satchidanandan, Malayalam’s towering man of letters, says in his foreword.

Writing of Asifa, the child who was tortured, raped and killed in Kathua, RaSh plays on the name As if A, to show how even such a hideous and cruel happening can be talked out of existence. As if it had never been. The funniest poem in the book, The Anthem, has a black man sitting next to an old man with a white beard in a theatre, asking him: “Who da fuck’re you, man?” The saintly man replies, “I’m Tagore. Who art...

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