02 December, 2020

Zestful Poetry

Beyond a turbulent life

Zestful Poetry
KAMALA Das and her place in the Indian poetic scene needs no reiteration. Only The Soul Knows How To Sing—a representative and comprehensive selection of Kamala Das' poems—is a slim, beautifully produced book well worth its price and a pleasure to read.

Kamala Das' life provides rich fodder for those who wish to ferret facts as evidence that her poetry is predominantly confessional, and therefore a 'woman's voice'. Raised in the warmth of a tight-knit matrilineal society in Kerala, Das was uprooted when her father moved to Calcutta and she was suddenly thrust at a very young age into a loveless marriage with her cousin. Her soul 'balked at this diet of ash' and freedom in the form of amorous liaisons became her 'dancing shoe'.But Das' poetry should not suffer careless, undiscriminating labels and, what Romila Thapar once termed very succinctly, thesyndrome of the separate chapter on women. Her poems are no thinly veiled, angst-ridden gesticulations of a turbulent life. Instead, her poetry is a complex, zestful body of work, shot through with a keen sense of irony...



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