Saturday, September 05, 2009

Indian poetry in Mint Lounge

If you haven't noticed thus far (or simply don't read the paper), Mint Lounge now has a space for poetry on the books page every Saturday.

Although it is, for now, only a small space – down in the bottom-right corner, enough for about a sonnet or a bit longer – the idea is to provide a room for the best Indian poets of today to declaim from. Today's poem, "War Poetry", is by Aseem Kaul, and here is last week's poem by Anjum Hasan, "Distant Gods":

Distant Gods
by Anjum Hasan

When the bombs go off and there is blood all over the TV,
he'll be sitting in some human corner of the world,
drinking his tea, stunned by the impersonal reach
of his act, just as you are by how far this screaming thing
has travelled - translated by distance into helplessness
at being dumb witness again to the guts-spilled-open
suffering of random strangers.

And this is how we realise the world's grown-up -
by knowing that the act of twisting a knife
inside the warm heart of your enemy on a summer night
is far too local a measure of your loathing, while to kill people
you do not know and will never see is to speak a language
of the universe that can be relayed on the TV.

And an old post: "Anjum Hasan and the Indian Shakespeare". And some old posts on poets: Wislawa Szymborska, Constantine Cavafy, Dunya Mikhail and Osip Mandelstam.

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