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Negotiating the Rough Edges of Life


By Anamika
Radhakrishna Prakashan, New Delhi, 2005, pp. 183, Rs. 195.00

VOLUME XXX NUMBER 12 December 2006

In an era dominated by prose and the prosaic, poetry is a saving grace. This is especially so, when—trudging through the turbulence of times—it is able to ‘sponge-in’ the world into words, soak them with the possibilities and probabilities of humane existence without being superficial, hysterical or partisan about it. This cognitive-aesthetic soaking in of life into words through poetry is, however, a hugely demanding and humbling task. Forever caught between the lure of spontaneous overflow and a need for discip-lining of emotions and intellect; reactive egoism and a self-effacing inclusive activism; a profu-sion of clichéd slogans and discourses and an emphathetic and organic chiselling of words, the poetic grace—a sum total of its aesthetics, ethics and thematic—at one level hinges on the quality of this balance. At another level it also depends on the capacity of the writer to confront and survive the profusion of digital/virtual bytes and retrieve and reinvest the written word with cognitive and communicative values that empower not only classes but also the masses along with the written word. Anamika’s collection of Hindi poems, Khurduri Hatheliyan is marked by the impress, anxieties and inheritance of this contemporary poetic inheritance and responsibility.   An academician, critic and a writer Anamika’s is a familiar name within the contemporary literary circles in Hindi. Her works not only evoke critical curiosity but also help one gauge the state and direction of contemporary Hindi poetry (by women). While reading her poems, two things become obvious: one, contemporary Indian Writing, being an unconscious reiteration of typical urban middle class sensibility, is still largely by and for the consumption of this class; two, when an academic-critic turns to creation, it only ends up becoming a very self-conscious amalgam of creativity, critique and conditioning, all rolled into one. Anamika’s poetry is no exception. Mixing the felt with the thought, she creates a poetic world and uses it as a mirror to unravel and critique the ironies and angularities of the self and the society and as a pliant medium of/for aesthetic conditioning. Despite her avowed poetic commitment—made clear in her dedication—her best poetry, at times, remains grooved in its typical middle class urban sensibility. It is a sensibility that is at its poetic best while delineating the abstract in human relationships and unravelling the self through sensuous and psychological encounter with the ...

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