Kamala Das – a political poet

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If you read an interview with Kamala Das without having read her poetry or short stories, I bet you would hardly get interested to read her books even if I offered you a couple of beers. In many interviews that I have read such as this one, she says things that get into print only ‘coz she has said it. But if I am an editor of even a tabloid, or an Indian Express, or a Navbharat Times, I don’t think I will slip her interview to a corner of the paper. That is because, she is a good writer, a good poet and a short story writer.

“Where is room, excuse or even/

Need for love, for, isn’t each

Embrace a complete thing, a

Finished jigsaw, when mouth on

Mouth, I lie, ignoring my poor

Moody mind, while pleasure

With deliberate gaiety

Trumpets harshly into the

Silence of the room…” (I Love)

She can write with fire, power, hard hitting lines. She can write poems that every time you read suggest a new possibility. It is unethical to give you a scrap of a poem and ask you to like the poet. But if you haven’t do check her ‘An Introduction’, ‘The Looking Glass’. They say she is a confessional poet. I laugh. Kamala Das says she is not a feminist. I laugh. I pity her for denying something that she richly deserves. Someone tell her it is not easy to become a feminist. They say she is a love poet. I laugh. I laugh snortily.

Folks, she is a good poet. She is a political poet. Dissenter par excellent. As a dissenter, never whining, always demanding, questioning, she stands out among the poets who write in English in
India as one with a solid voice. (This is no criticism, pardon me, just an attempt to put down a few appreciative though careless words).

  

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