Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Arun Kolatkar - Jejuri

Arun Kolatkar was a name I used to read about in Tamil literary magazines, though I haven't read him so far. Finally I read a poem of his in Kitabkhana.

what is god
and what is stone
the dividing line
if it exists
is very thin
at jejuri
and every other stone
is god or his cousin

there is no crop
other than god
and god is harvested here
around the year
and round the clock
out of the bad earth
and the hard rock

that giant hunk of rock
the size of a bedroom
is khandoba's wife turned to stone
the crack that runs right across
is the scar from his broadsword
he struck her down with
once in a fit of rage

scratch a rock
and a legend springs

He seems to have achieved effortlessly what many poets struggle to - imagery using simple language. Also read this essay by Bruce King on Nissim Ezekkiel, Dom Moraes and Arun Kolatkar.


Anonymous said...

I just read the Bruce King essay, and worked out you meant read as in past tense rather than imperative. Though he managed not to quote "human balance, humanly acquired," which shows great will-power.

Arvind Mehrotra's _Ten 20th c Indian Poets_ is a much less boring critical review, with excerpts too. Though now, thanks to Amit Chaudhuri, Jejuri isn't as hard to find.

Chenthil said...

Anon, thanks for such confidence in me. I actually meant it as an imperative, not past tense. Goes on to show, how much clued I am into literary reviews. Will check for the article you have mentioned.

Anonymous said...

That was me, and Mehrotra is an anthology.


Anil P said...

Kolatkar was masterly in his treatment of imagery. I remember sitting in for a poetry recital at the Asiatic Library celebrating 200 years of being in 2004, where Jerry Pinto, Arundhati Subramaniam, and Adil Jussawala reciting from Dom Moraes, Arun Kolatkar, and Nissim Ezekiel.

Of the three, Kolatkar came alive in the recital, thanks largely to his raw imagery, with ironic twists at the end.