21 March 2018 marks World Poetry Day. To mark the occasion, three noted Indian poets — Jiban Narah, Anita Thampi and Mohan Himthani — have shared their verses with us. Their poems, written in Assamese, Malayalam and Sindhi, respectively, span diverse subjects: everything from smart phone addiction to the experience of womanhood. These verses are evocative, vivid and have a striking quality of immediacy; they were recently read aloud at a multi-lingual poets' meet organised by the Sahitya Akademi.
JIBAN NARAH — ASSAMESE
Jiban Narah is a popular Assamese poet, whose work has been translated into a number of Indian languages. Growing up steeped in Mishing culture (the Mishings are a riverine tribe), Narah’s poetry draws from its rich traditions — but also surpasses it. In fact, Narah says he’s “proud to introduce (himself) as a modern Assamese poet”.
Poet Arundhati Subramaniam writes: “The image of the river is vital in Narah’s poetry. While it draws from his own Mishing background, it also seems to suggest a capacity to view himself as equally connected to both source and mainstream.”
Here, Narah shares three of his poems — Your Face, The Orange Hill and The Globe on an Ant’s Back. Translated from the Assamese by Lyra Neog.
ANITA THAMPI — MALAYALAM
Anita Thampi made an impact with her very first collection of poetry — 2004's Muttamatikkumbol (Sweeping the Courtyard). Matrubhumi magazine named it the 'Best Poetry Book of the year' when it released. She followed it up with Azhakillathavayellam (All That Are Bereft of Beauty) in 2010. Critics note that Thampi's poems are characterised by their "imagistic clarity and vividness". She has also translated into Malayalam the works of Australian poet Les Murray.
Here, Thampi shares with us her poems Fruit, As It Is and One Who Cut Her Hair.
MOHAN HIMTHANI — SINDHI
Mohan Himthani is a leading poet in the Sindhi language. His verses reflect contemporary concerns, including the effects of social media on human interactions, and the 24/7 media coverage of humanitarian crisis like the civil war in Syria. Himthani was the recipient of a literary award conferred by the Ministry of Human Resources Development in 2014-15, for his efforts towards promoting the Sindhi language. Here, he shares two poems with us — Smart Phone (in which a child indicts her parents for being too immersed in their cellphones to pay attention to her) and Syria Live Telecast. Both have been translated into English by Arun Babani, himself a noted poet.
Updated Date: Mar 26, 2018 17:43 PM