Review: Home Thoughts - Usha Kishore & Jaydeep Sarangi

HOMING BARDS

Home Thoughts
Usha Kishore et al, 
Publisher: Cyberwit, Allahabad (India) 
2017, Pp 123, 
₹ 200.00 INR
ISBN-10: 9385945718 
ISBN-13: 978-9385945717

--Reviewed by Jaydeep Sarangi


“But I grew up living my life in English,
inhabiting words that have become my own,
colours that have mingled into a richer shade.”

(“Loose Talk”, Shanta Acharya)

Diasporic Literature showcases the process of re-placing home in the poetic mind, in the foreign shore. It accounts for the homing bards.  Our concept of ‘Home’ refers to India, the term ‘Home’ serves as a metaphor for the interpretative autonomy of readers and researchers.  Many poems of the diaspora are rich in aesthetic sensibility, which illustrates an aesthetic synthesis of shifting cultural margins. ‘Home’ also highlights the space defined by history, culture and language. The nation is often fluid and transient at times, where boundaries are blurred and the poets cross borders, attempting to create a postcolonial dialogue. Home Thoughts (2017) is a thought provoking collection but is by no means comprehensive as it does not include 2nd generation immigrant and mixed race poets.  The scope of this anthology is to introduce the poetry of the British Indian diaspora to the Indian readers.  We also hope that this anthology would engage British publishers.  There is a growing demand for academic research on contemporary British Indian diasporic poetry and a developing international interest in this genre. This collection aims to satisfy these academic and scholarly solicitations.  We aim to map an introductory route into the poetry of the British Indian diaspora and take the momentum to further heights.  Our anthology also endorses cosmopolitan Indian writing, with its variegated verse forms and multifarious thematic concepts. The poets, featured in this collection, are widely known and anthologised; there is a corpus of secondary material on these poets available online and in print. This collection would certainly add to the existing data base and create new interest in this exciting body of literature, which is an immense pool of talent and a meeting point of British and Indian Literatures.

The British Indian diaspora is a handsome spectrum that includes first generation immigrants, who hail from India and Africa; second generation immigrants, who are born into and brought up in immigrant families and poets of mixed parentage. Despite their Indian roots, the diasporic experiences of the above classes of poets are different, their sensitivities diverse.  The first-generation poets write about their new experiences in a foreign land, which has eventually become their home; the second-generation poets write about their differences to the host society and their experiences of growing up in the UK as a British Indian, while the mixed race poets balance both the inherent cultures in their work.  According to Nabaneeta Dev Sen, a famous Bengali poet and literary critic (1997: 72), "Every language is like a snail, it carries its social and cultural history on its back." Language is not just a linguistic phenomenon, distanced from life and society. Language is not a monolithic object. It is a shared common tool, a human mode, which is as complex as human relationships in society. Poets of the diaspora unfolds this unique mosaic of sociolinguistic hybridism.

The scope of this corpus is to introduce the poetry of the British Indian diaspora to the Indian readers.  We also hope that this corpus would engage British publishers.  There is a growing demand for academic research on contemporary British Indian diasporic poetry and a developing international interest in this genre. This collection aims to satisfy these academic and scholarly solicitations.  We aim to map an introductory route into the poetry of the British Indian diaspora and take the momentum to further heights.  Our anthology also endorses cosmopolitan Indian writing, with its variegated verse forms and multifarious thematic concepts. The poets, featured in this collection, are widely known and anthologised; there is a corpus of secondary material on these poets available online and in print. This collection would certainly add to the existing data base and create new interest in this exciting body of literature, which is an immense pool of talent and a meeting point of British and Indian Literatures. Home Thoughts exhibits postcolonial concerns of language, culture and history, highlighting an in-between immigrant space, while negotiating a niche for the genre.  These postcolonial concerns are the main thematic aspects of Home Thoughts; however, the diction and poetic expression are predominantly British.Poets of the diaspora address the thematic concern of the imperial language.

Ketaki Kushari Dyson, also a translator from Bengali is among the early trend setter of this corpus.  Two of the early collections of the diaspora to be published in the UK by British presses are Dyson’s poetry pamphlet Hibiscus in the North (Mid-day Publications, Old Fire Station Arts Centre, Oxford, 1979) and Debjani Chatterjee’s I was that Woman, which was published by Hippopotamus Press, Frome,Somerset in 1989.  Acclaimed contemporary poets, who have brought this genre into prominence, are Debjani Chatterjee, Bashabi Fraser, Shanta Acharya,Usha Kishore  and Mona Dash. 

References:
Dev Sen, Nabaneeta. "An Open Letter to Salman Rushdie". The Indian Magazine. Vol. 17, Aug. 1977, 72.
Kishore, Usha et al, Home Thoughts, Cyberwit, Allahabad, 2017

No comments :

Post a Comment

We welcome your comments related to the article and the topic being discussed. We expect the comments to be courteous, and respectful of the author and other commenters. Setu reserves the right to moderate, remove or reject comments that contain foul language, insult, hatred, personal information or indicate bad intention. The views expressed in comments reflect those of the commenter, not the official views of the Setu editorial board. प्रकाशित रचना से सम्बंधित शालीन सम्वाद का स्वागत है।