ISSUE XXII 2015- Contemporary Indian English Poetry
from the Editor in Chief
Indian English Poetry
The first Nationalist Poet of Modern India- Henry Louis Vivian Derozio is considered the father of Indian English Poetry. He wrote extensively in English and was much influenced by the English Romantic poets. Further, poets like Toru Dutt and Michael Madhusudan Dutt too wrote English verses under the influence of English Romanticism. Later, Nissim Ezekiel and A.K. Ramanujan wrote much under the influence of post-war American Poets and some British poets like Wilfred Owen. Ramanujan travelled to America in 1959 and stayed in Chicago until his death in 1993. He wrote extensively during these years. Kamala Das, another exponent of Indian English Poetry had a close fellow-feeling towards Walt Whitman and embraced Whitman’s Song of Myself in her egalitarian outbursts-
"I am the mate and companion of people all just as
Immortal and fathomless as myself. - Song of Myself"
Indian English poetry- from Derozio and Toru Dutt to Nissim Ezekiel, A.K. Ramanujan and Jayanta Mahapatra to present day poets is recognized worldwide. It has come up as a form that has its own tradition, lyrical quality, approach, delivery and style.
This edition of The Enchanting Verses Literary Review presents an array of Indian poets for whom their lives are imperfect without poetry. I hope that this special edition of the Enchanting Verses Literary Review will be a treat for the lovers of contemporary Indian poetry in English.
I convey my sincere thanks and gratitude to Abhay K for editing this special edition of the Enchanting Verses Literary Review. I also extend my thanks to all the contributors for contributing their works.
Editor in Chief
The Enchanting Verses Literary Review
"Indian poetry in English has a longer and more distinguished tradition than Indian fiction in English" wrote Pankaj Mishra in The Times Literary Supplement (December 3, 2004) yet I come across such questions as- "Is there Indian English? Why does an Indian poet write in English and not in one's mother tongue?"
English occupies a vital place in contemporary India as a link language, as a language of everyday thinking and communication for millions of Indians. As a language enriched with Indian intonations and sensibilities it has evolved into Indian English- Inglish/Hinglish. Over the years India has become the third-largest English-language publisher in the world catering to a large number of readers for whom English is either the first or the second language of communication. More Indians write in English today than ever in the past.
Indian poetry in English has a literary tradition which is approximately 200 years old. Indian poets started writing poems in English as early as 1820. "Ode--from the Persian of Half' Queez" by Henry Derozio- an Anglo-Indian published in 1827 is considered to be the first poem in this tradition-
"Without thy dreams, dear opium,
Without a single hope I am,
Spicy scent, delusive joy;
Chillum hither lao, my boy!"
Rabindranath Tagore who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913, about a century ago, translated his own poems from Bengali into English. There are many fine poets in the post-independence period who have enriched this literary tradition over the past sixty years.
In this special edition of The Enchanting Verses Literary Review I have tried to give readers a flavour of contemporary Indian poetry in English bringing together the established poets as well as the new voices. I have not included a few obvious names who are part of every other anthology of Indian poetry in English.
Hope you'll love reading this special edition of The Enchanting Verses as much as I have loved it bringing to life.
ISSUE XXII November 2015