POEMS BY 54 WOMEN FROM 10 LANGUAGES
Ammu Joseph, Vasanth Kannabiran, Ritu Menon and Volga (Eds.)
Rs 350 Pb 2010
(All rights available)
Many of India's best known women
poets, and some of its less familiar ones are featured in
this landmark volume of 54 women poets from ten languages.
It presents a feast of poetry in translations, remarkable
for their fidelity and poetic rendering.
An experience of womanhood may be the locus of this
anthology, but modes of expression vary by circumstance.
Some women locate freedom in the sky, while others talk
of being a witch, or dance, or food, the pain of
husbands, the love of children, a lover's
touch, and the value of mothers, work, and
writing. Their voices speak of joy or anger,
frustration or satisfaction, regret or ironic resignation.
As women and as poets, they offer advice, consolation,
perspective—and startling insight.
A colossus like
Kamala Das or Gauri Deshpande finds an echo in Mandakranta
Sen, or Malika Amar Sheikh even, unexpectedly,
in Mamang Dai. Amrita Bharati's intensely solitary
interior landscape is counterpointed by the searing imagery
of Salma; Savithri Rajeevan's oblique subversion with
Jameela Nishat's overt dissent. Myth, fable,
contemporary reality, fantasy and folklore are the sinew
and substance of poems that range from discrimination to the
exhilaration of discovering the power of the word.