Keki N. Daruwalla feels poetry is being edged into the margins, but that doesn't stop him from filling them with his lyrical thoughts
So you get veiled in anonymity, lost in 'gumnami ki dhundh,' but so what? Keki N. Daruwalla's "Collected Poems: 1970-2005" brought out by Penguin amply demonstrates his poetic journey 'through a row of doors' that showcase myths, metaphors, history, archaeology, despair, desires, bonding and void. Without ever consciously betraying an emotional weakness in both situations of hope and hopelessness.
For Keki Daruwalla hasn't "been chasing the muse, but has been involved with her. Totally. It has been very stimulating and poetry has kept the soul in one piece. Writing poetry also means reading lots of it, dealing with fellow poets, editors of poetry magazines - can't ask for anything better." He does not think there has been a drastic or sea change in the reader response to poetry. He feels it is just "a slight interest that has set in and poetry is being edged into the margins." Despite sounding contradictory, he feels "bad poetry could be driving out the good - the self-promoters and vanity publishers." But then asks in the same breath, "Wasn't poetry always on the margins? Poetry and short stories are not mainstream genres. I am involved with both." And comes forward with another confession: "So you get veiled in anonymity, lost in 'gumnami ki dhundh' but so what? As far as Indian poetry in English is concerned, we are much better received by the English literary academics today than in the sixties and the seventies.They are heard on doors, perhaps
which never open inwards;
heard in sleep, perhaps, the sound
seeping in through one wall and then another,
till in a fourth, or was it fifth (?)
dark, interior chamber
with dreams lying around like scraps of mist
you hear this muffled knock
on the outer face of reality."Keki believes "respect for poetry, and love for it have not diminished. Poets may not sell as much, but they never did. Yes, in North India you say interest in poetry has declined. But then North India and culture have never walked hand in hand. Keats said in a letter, 'one must first make the soul that makes the poems'." And ends it with "Doomsdayers everywhere, and thugs.
and oracles abound.
Why must we find ourselves
in a season of prophecies
with no prophets around?" SURESH KOHLI