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Kunwar Narain, No Other World, translated Apurva Narain, Arc Publications

In his Introduction to this volume, Harish Trivedi says that Kunwar Narain is probably the most highly regarded Hindi poet alive today. Both Trivedi and Apurva Narain emphasise how deeply the poet has read Indian literature from its Sanskrit roots to now. As an outsider to Indian culture I’m not in a position to judge Narain’s learning or cultural sophistication by his references, but they are both continuously reflected in his urbane tone, the lightness of touch with which he deploys complex suggestions and ideas, and the modest sense of proportion with which he sets personal feelings and experiences in … Continue Reading

Elizabeth Bishop, “The Riverman”

I was amazed to find that “The Riverman” isn’t on PoemHunter even though the selection of Elizabeth Bishop’s poems offered there is pretty generous in other ways. I think it’s one of her very finest. It’s instantly accessible, it prints itself vividly on the memory after a single reading and it makes a fresh impact every time you read it. I think it’s one of the best, most constantly gripping narrative poems I’ve read, partly because it’s one of the subtlest poetic monologues I know, whose “story” is a fantasy revealing the life and yearnings of the speaker.

Bishop uses simple … Continue Reading