22 June, 2021

Entire Universes In The Leviathan

Daruwalla’s quietening cynicism has shades of darkening oak; Hoskote’s odyssey churns past worlds

‘He took the road/I took the goat track to solitude’: Keki N. Daruwalla
Photograph by Sanjay Rawat
Entire Universes In The Leviathan

Keki N. Daruwalla belongs to a generation of poets who transformed Indian poetry in English into what it is at its best today: understated, terse, imag­­istic, free from excessive ornamentation, eloquent without being verbose. That does not mean the poets belonged to a ‘movement’ or wrote the same kind of poetry: on the contrary, poets like Nissim Ezekiel, Adil Jussawalla, Dom Moraes, Jayanta Mahapatra, A.K. Ramanujan, Arun Kolatkar, Eunice D’Souza, Kamala Das, Gopal Honnalgere and Keki Daruwa­lla himself were as different from one another as poets could ever be, in their perspective as well as idiom. Nissim Ezekiel, commenting on Daruwalla’s Under ­Orion (Writer’s Workshop, 1970), had observed, “Such a bitter scornful, sati­ric tone has never been heard before”. That tone made him say later that the poet “was born full-grown from the head of some hitherto unrecognised goddess of poetry”. Som­­­­ething of that bitterness still survives in Daruwalla’s poetry, but as Jeet Thayil...

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