Arun Kolatkar () was one of India’s greatest modern poets. He wrote prolifically, in both Marathi and English, publishing in magazines and anthologies . Arun Kolatkar’s epic poem, Jejuri, celebrates life in an Indian city – from its streets to its shrines. Amit Chaudhuri on the poet who deserves to be. A sequence of stunningly simple but haunting poems, Jejuri is one of the great books of Jejuri is a site of pilgramage in author Arun Kolatkar’s.

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The eight-arm goddess, the priest replies. Trained as an artist from the J.

School of Art alumni 20th-century Indian poets Poets from Maharashtra 20th-century Indian male writers. I’d extended my stay in order to seek him out; I hoped to ask him to give Jejuri to the international publishing house for whom I’d just begun to edit a series that would give modern Indian classics, both translated and in English, a fresh lease of life, and so make Jejuri available to the worldwide audience I felt it deserved.

And the sky falls With a plate-glass clatter Around the shatterproof crone who stands alone And you are reduced to so much small change in her hand. Stay in Touch Sign up.

Arun Kolatkar | Bloodaxe Books

Machismo seemed to have interested him; not only its aura of power, but its disorienting humour. However, in his later Marathi poetry, the poetic language is more accessible and less radical compared to earlier works.

Jejuri offers a rich description of India while at the same time performing a complex act of devotion, discovering the divine trace in a degenerate world. His first book of English poetry, Jejuriis a collection 31 poems pertaining to a visit of his to a religious place of the same name in Maharashtra ; the book won Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in And so some of his own “Marathi” poems of the 50s and 60s are written in the Bombay argot of the migrant working classes and the underworld, part Hindi, part Marathi, which the Hindi film industry would make proper use of only decades later.


About Jejuri A sequence of stunningly simple but haunting poems, Jejuri is one of the great books of modern India. His poetry had an influence on modern Marathi poets. The proximity between the disreputable, the culpable, and the religious – a living strand in Indian devotional culture, and an everyday reality in places like Banaras and Jejuri – becomes, in the act of translation, an aesthetic.

This first Collected Poems in English brings together work from all those volumes.

The Butterfly – Poem by Arun Kolatkar

They seem to thus reproach him by their opacity, their inaccessibility, their very presence: His early Marathi poetry is far more audacious and takes greater liberties with language. We are experiencing technical difficulties. At the time, the book was not published internationally, and it was only available – though it had acquired a reputation as a key work of contemporary Indian literature – in limited print runs at a couple of bookshops in Bombay and, I was told, Pune.

Please try again later. If it does exist in some form, critics haven’t done enough to uncover and identify it. In the larger, unfolding story of the independent nation, writing poetry in English was a minor, marginal, and occasionally controversial activity. And the temples crack. The place would have been fairly well known to a certain kind of pilgrim-devotee and follower of the local Maharashtrian deity Khandoba who began his career as a folk-god, a protector of cattle and sheep, and graduated slowly to Brahminical acceptance as an incarnation of Shiva ; but it would probably have been obscure to Kolatkar and his friends.

When I reread Jejuri now, I realise how important the modern metropolis before globalisation – with its secret openings and avenues, its pockets of daydreaming, idling, and loitering, its loucheness – is fundamental to Kolatkar as a way of seeing.


A verse-film by Damian It was only after he was diagnosed with cancer that two volumes were brought out by friends [2] — the English poetry volumes Kala Ghoda Poems and Sarpasatra For the essence of the poem is a spiritual quest, the effort to find the divine trace in a degenerate world. Like JejuriKala Ghoda is also ‘a place poem’ exploring the myth, history, geography, and ethos of the place in a typical Kolatkaresque style.

Arun Kolatkar

Eventually a friend who was also on the hunt, managed to have them picked up from Pras Praksashan itself – both this volume and Sarpa Satra, and we read both at breathless speed.

His later works Chirimiri, Bhijki Vahi and Droan are less introverted and less nightmarish. Views Read Edit View history. Arun Kolatkar “. Famous poets 24 Maya Angelou. All the same she is still an eight-arm goddess to the priest.

Some of these characteristics can be seen in Jejuri and Kala Ghoda Poems in English, but his early Marathi poems are far more radical, dark and humorous than his English poems.

However, these are not politicians’ comments but a poet’s, and he avoids the typical Dalit – Leftist – Feminist rhetoric. And as you look on, the cracks that begin around her eyes spread beyond her skin.

But marginal endeavours have their own excitements, disappointments and dangers.