“deep down the heart knows”

October 12, 2017

The words that give this post its title are from Sujata Bhatt‘s ‘Notes from the Hospital’, which she was good enough to send me when I asked her for an unpublished love poem for the fifth-anniversary issue of The Indian Quarterly.

The poetry section in IQ has not traditionally been linked to the theme driving the issue, but this time I thought it might be worth doing that, in subtle, tangential ways, as part of a celebration not just of the magazine, but of love itself. Sujata’s poem gave me the perfect lead for my precious ten pages, complemented by Jeram Patel’s art.

Anita Roy‘s formally composed, personally inflected ‘Chaotic Pendulum’ mourns the “wingstutter, heartflutter” of a dead pigeon in a church with the same delicacy of feeling with which it addresses the loss of a loved one in a poem powered by the rise and fall of longing. Monica Ferrell‘s “bride poems” bite, while ‘Glacier’ invites us to skate over the perilous ice of a teenage girl’s desire to “spell/ A sentence in the book of infinity”. Tishani Doshi‘s ‘Portrait of the Poet as a Reclining God’ is a small miracle of beauty and humour, such unlikely bedfellows, here in perfect accord…

In New Translations, K Satchidanandan‘s ‘The Girl of Thirteen’ is the kind of reimagining that speaks so urgently, yet tenderly, to the times, its opening and closing lines clicking together to turn poem into prophecy. And Subhro Bandopadhyay‘s ‘Joaquim Mondal’s Poetry’ which concludes the poetry section, is, as the translator Aryanil Mukherjee writes in his introductory note, distinctive for the “despondent tones of malady and dystopia ringing in the thought-space of the poem although its central idea [is] singularly romantic.”

Happy reading.




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