Fugitive Poems

Arun Kolatkar occupies a special place in the pantheon of Indian poets... writing in two languages, Marathi and English, he said,

You need a double barreled gun
to shoot a bilingual poet
One bullet in the head will never be
enough to kill me.

His heart spoke in Marathi, but as his biography on Wikipedia says of his Kala Ghoda Poems, with this work, "Indian poetry in English seems to have grown up, shedding adolescent `identity crises’ and goose pimples. The remarkable maturity of poetic vision embodied in the Kala Ghoda Poems makes it something of a milestone in Indian poetry in English."

A collection of Kolatkar's shorter poems and translations has been brought out by Pras Prakashan, Mumbai: The Boatride and Other Poems. Initiated by Kolatkar shortly before he died in 2004, this volume has 95 of his poems, some translated from Marathi, some originally in English. The poems date from the 1950's onwards and with few exceptions, appeared first in "fugitive magazines or out-of-print anthologies". Indeed, The Boatride was first published by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra in his (now defunct) magazine damn you!

A long love poem- his only, bhakti poetry translations, song lyrics... there are many surprises here for the connoisseur of Kolatkar. And a place to (re)discover the poet.

In our Poetry section. Hardcover, 262 pages, Rs 480.

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