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Sujata Bhatt, Poppies in Translation – review

“She powdered her eyelids / until they shimmered like butterflies.” Reading that, the butterflies seem to come alive and fly off the page. Such moments of startlingly vivid imaginary presence are sprinkled throughout Poppies in Translation, or rather they’re sprinkled through weaker poems and sustainedly present in some of the stronger ones.

Among the latter is the outstanding “Another Muse”, whose structure seems clearly influenced by D H Lawrence but which has a hypnotic music of its own. Even by Bhatt’s standards, the middle section of this poem is extraordinarily sensuous. What’s truly remarkable, though, is the way physical impressions are … Continue Reading