Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

Keki N Daruwalla: The Poet and Novelist

October 28, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Views: 404

KEKI N. DARUWALLA: THE POET AND NOVELIST by ASHA VISWAS. New Delhi: Bahri Publications, 2011. 173 pp., Rs. 500/-, ISBN 978-81-909771-3-5

Keki N. Daruwalla, who has been writing for over four decades now, is a leading name in Indian English poetry today (p 31). The uniqueness of his verses has been recognized by critics and admirers everywhere. There have been several books on his poetry, both original and edited, discussing imagery, diction, design, and viewpoint, but the latest one by Asha Viswas, dedicated to her students, should be very useful to students and teachers alike.

Professor Viswas, herself a good poet with three volumes of poetry to her credit, treats Daruwalla on the same pedestal as Nissim Ezekiel and Jayanta Mahapatra, and finds him a more representative voice than Jayanta Mahapatra and others. I fully agree with her.

Asha considers all the nine volumes of poetry and one novel by Keki and appreciates the variety he demonstrates both in form and content (p 34). She too discovers that Keki writes with control over emotions and effectively uses techniques such as word play, irony and satire (pp 75-76). She reflects on the poet's large thematic canvas which inheres his personal experiences as also his preoccupation with the often contradictory realities of Indian life, diverse cultural, historic and mythic landscape, and existential realities. To quote Bruce King, Keki Daruwalla writes tough poetry with awareness of the "moral ambiguities and unresolvable conflicts of the human condition."

Professsor Viswas's introductory chapter seeks to define and highlight modernity and Indianness of Keki, besides his "depth of feeling, economy of language, and originality of insight" (cf pp 13-17) that confers on him "a central place in modern Indian English poetry."

In the second chapter, 'Moorings', she scrutinizes the poet's personal life vis-à-vis the growth of his poetic career from 1960s. She draws on her personal interview with the poet to develop the chapter besides reviewing the reviews of all his collections, two books of short stories, one novel, and one anthology, Two Decades of Indian Poetry: 1960-80. She underlines the poet's global perspective, experiences and interests.

In the third chapter, 'Treatment of Myth in Keki's Early Poetry,' she refers to his mythical poems (five in Under Orion, four in Apparition in April, thirteen in Crossing of Rivers) to demonstrate the poet's searching mind, mythopoeic attitude, and eclectic vision. Professor Viswas also uses the techniques of stylistic analysis to interpret some of the early poems of Keki.

The fourth chapter seeks to highlight the poet's modernity, realism, non-moral approach, existential concerns, lack of faith in the system, and avoidance of "stock response" and "abstract notion". She observes: "His satire and his iconoclastic approach invigorate his subject matter as does the speed of his verse and masculine vigour." (p 76)

The poet-critic's discussion on the poems in Landscape (ch. 5) aims at demonstrating Keki's "maturity of vision" that transmutes the "external world into internal consciousness" (p 78) and helps him attain inner peace (p 81). Asha Viswas finds in the collection a "perfect harmony between impression and expression" a la Sanskrit poets (p 90).

The sixth chapter is a critique of A Summer of Tigers which offers instances of passion and irony (pp 94-98). With her skills in stylistic analysis, Asha Viswas tries to highlight the poet's "exploration and experimentation" (pp 95, 104) and his sensitivity for "speech rhythms and their syntactic and lexical features" (pp 98, 114) on the one hand, and his love for mythology and "racial history" (pp 99, 102, 111) and his criticism of Pablo Neruda (pp 110-11), on the other. As she notes: "His best poetry is about the mountains, high pastures, seas and rivers. It is his rootedness to the ritual scene that gives Keki a shot in the poetic vein." (p 112)

The seventh chapter deals with Night River, a "global work" (p 116). While the poet's search for permanence in Landscapes brings him to the world of nature, in Night River he "changes his route from nature to human imagination" (p 115). Here Asha Viswas finds Keki Orpheus-like and descending into "the darker depths of what we call the subconscious and unconscious." She seems right as Daruwalla himself admits that here he has tried to dive into the "depths of consciousness and solitude" (p 117) which is, in fact, "a defence against time, decay, and even death" (p 127). She also discusses some of his dream-poems (pp 118-121) and island-poems (pp 125-26) in the volume.

The eighth chapter concerns Keki's ninth collection, The Map Maker, recording his voyage "both within and without." Here one finds instances of the "subjective and physical, individual and universal merging into... (an) integrated consciousness" (p 128). Asha praises his craftsmanship in melding history, peoples, nature, religion, biography, and vision into "intense reflection" and poetry "that speaks out of the still centre of the being, the narrative and the dramatic voice" (p 159). Her analytical comments on pp 140-158 should help every serious student follow the poetry of Daruwalla in the right spirit.

The last chapter discusses Daruwalla's historical novel For Pepper and Christ (2009) which "presents a dialectical discourse of clashing interests in the backdrop of trade and religion (p 161).

The bibliography at the end testifies to the years of labour Professor Viswas has put in to write the book, keeping in mind the needs of students both at the Honours and Postgraduate level, and researchers and teachers interested in Indian English writing. It is a positive contribution from a poet-professor who views Keki N. Daruwalla with critical empathy and imagination.

Professor R.K. Singh, Head, Dept of Humanities & Social Sciences, Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad 826004, Jharkhand

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Professor Viswas

Finding and collecting vintage comic books for fun and profit is something that is interesting, but can be difficult. With so many places to look, narrowing down the options can be painstaking, until

By: Jorge Orduna l Book Reviews > Comics Humor l July 07, 2012 lViews: 285

Action packed story that reads like you are there in person. Lieutenant Commander Andrew Carlson was a U.S. Navy Seal. He was as rough and tough as they come. He was part of a mission to be inserted

By: Cy Hilterman l Book Reviews > Mysteries Thrillers l July 06, 2012 lViews: 278

"Look Me In The Eye, If You Dare!" Okay, all of You "Internet Millionaire Moguls," I want some answers, and I want them now.

By: Travis L Perkins l Book Reviews > Internet Marketing l June 29, 2012 lViews: 309

Crush it is a great "How to" book on using social media and being real with yourself on what you do. Gary is very passionate about what he does. The key to his success is blending who he is with what

By: Joe Mosed l Book Reviews > Internet Marketing l June 29, 2012 lViews: 546

My resolution this year was to knuckle down and do something to bring in some new clients for my practice, so I was pleased to see that Internet Marketing Bible for Accountants looked like it might

By: Karen K Jefferson l Book Reviews > Internet Marketing l June 29, 2012 lViews: 295

When promoting your business online, are you using internet marketing? If you have yet to spread your branches into the online world, you ought to consider doing so.

By: Joyce McNeill Christopher l Book Reviews > Internet Marketing l June 29, 2012 lViews: 281

More poetry penned by Stefan Borenstein to keep the imagination flowing. From the White House to your house Borenstein brings his heart to you in this great collection of poetry.

By: Mary Harring-Duhartl Book Reviews > Poetry Playscriptsl June 14, 2012 lViews: 247

Mad-Poet's collection of poetry is now in view for his reading audience. In it you will find an Awesome group of poetry written from the heart of Stefan Borenstein. He also includes dynamite graphic

By: Mary Harring-Duhartl Book Reviews > Poetry Playscriptsl June 13, 2012 lViews: 242

A new book of poems by Anne-Adele Wight is given a positive review. Wight provides heightened insights into primitive animal natures and poses and answers serious questions about the relationship

By: Elizabeth Kirwinl Book Reviews > Poetry Playscriptsl March 28, 2012 lViews: 228

While reading Questions in the Balance by Christopher W. Boyden, it became abundantly clear why he has won so many awards and accolades for his published poetry. His work exemplifies classic poetry;

By: Gary R. Sorkinl Book Reviews > Poetry Playscriptsl October 18, 2011 lViews: 229

Harold Richter fulfills a longtime mission with this book of engaging, humorous and philosophical poetry, composed almost completely in five-line limericks. From limericks about Santa Claus to poems

By: Tyler Tichelaarl Book Reviews > Poetry Playscriptsl September 16, 2011 lViews: 213

A short summary and analysis of Sonnet 130. This Shakespeare love sonnet is one of the most famous Shakespeare love poems, and is also known as "O mistress mine".

By: Cluivee Leel Book Reviews > Poetry Playscriptsl August 30, 2011 lViews: 759

1. VULGARITY - What is there to relish in heaven, if the vulgarity of relationship haunts, even after retiring from earth? The loose threads of yearning criss cross memory, I can still feel the

By: Ram Krishna Singhl Arts & Entertainment > Poetryl April 14, 2012 lViews: 123