While this self-consciousness may not always be obvious in the poetry, it is quite conspicuous in her prose-narratives. Kerala, India: DC Books, 1996. The question remains to be asked: what is metonymy? I hated him for saying, when I wrote, ‘Make it hot!’ If I disappointed him, he disappointed me. I'm not a physical person. The idea reappears in “Smoke in Colombo”, one of the several poems written while Das was in Sri Lanka, at the peak of the war between the Tamils and Sinhalese in that country. Trying to count the number of her friends is hopeless, for she is in fact an outsider, always on the fringe of a crowd, playing a role and known as something / somebody other than the person she really is. Elsewhere, Kamala had indicated the awesome implications of the pride the family took in its lineage: “I felt drab among my people. Here, however, the mood of surrender is dominated by a feeling of suffocation: This tone is in a sense new to Kamala's writing. 3 (1979): 127-137. Moreover, it does not have the dense web of symbolic implication which is generally detected in romantic poetry. She wrote stories against such customs as keeping women virtual prisoners in the house, marrying young women off to very old men. The impact of Kamala Das's poetry must ultimately be traced to its historical dimension as well as subjectivity. According to the “Thinking Critically, Challenging Cultural Myths” preface to the textbook ninth edition Rereading America is written by Bedford/St. She comes to know that she has lived a life of “Involvements”: “and discovered / that both love and hate are involvements”. The day of reckoning, for Kamala, was obviously drawing nearer. Kamala Das is at her best as a poet of private sensibility. I did have some friends there, but not the way they come here. It closes with a confession of the agony of being alone. “Peace” may seem an odd word in view of the lover's “soft, suffering face” and the wasted body of the poet. Elias, Mohamed. New Delhi, India: Sterling Publishers Private Limited, 1994. One is willing to go along with her belief that she renders these men a service, giving “a wrapping to their dreams / A woman-voice / And a / Womansmell”. Be Amy, or Be Kamala or, better still, be Madhavikutty. The poet is like a moth which, having singed itself, must still fly into the flame, till it is destroyed completely. In Kerala you don't have to be rich to be respected, but you have to belong to certain families. She must have thought messy the discharge of the marital obligations.4. I asked him to interpret them. An aspect of the landscape evokes the process of the poet's memory and mediation. “Krishna Motifs in the Poetry of Sarojini Naidu and Kamala Das.” Journal of South Asian Literature. I quote the poem in full: In spite of the unusual simile “mongrel” to denote her love, the rest of the poem is slight beyond redemption, very amateurish, and more like an exercise in poetry than the real thing. Additional coverage of Das's life and career is contained in the following sources published by the Gale Group: Contemporary Authors, Vol. This definition is generally applicable to the structure of “Composition”.2 The poem opens with a determinate speaker who comes face to face with the sea: Certainly the use of “I” suggests the Romantic mode. Walking alone, “no longer seeking comfort in human speech” (p. 49), is preferable to all kinships, all blood-ties. The poem is complete in itself, refreshingly different from much of Kamala's other work. The cumulative burden of domesticity, routine, sickness, and the anticipation of death are so sensitively portrayed that the final passage must be quoted in full especially because the word ‘convulse’ with its clinical association reminds us of the ‘convulsions’ of the eunuchs in the first poem in Summer in Calcutta: ‘The Old Playhouse’ and ‘The Stone Age’ deal with the reality of the situation in which love is offered by another man rather than the husband. It is more convincing than Gieve Patel's poem on a similar theme, “The Ambiguous Fate of Gieve Patel's, He Being Neither Hindu nor Muslim in India”, because there are no stances taken. And if one is led to write about Kamala Das's poems in psychoanalytical terms, it is not only because, as she herself indicates, she ‘must let my mind striptease’ and ‘must extrude autobiography’, but also because her poems, like Anne Sexton's, seem to be precipitated by the need to solve her personal problems through a kind of self-imposed therapy, though the significance of both these poets extends beyond the mere psychological basis. Colombo. More appealing poetically is the short poem “Nani” which is also based on an episode in the poet's childhood. 1975), p. 685. It is only as that entity that you can write, produce art. It could also refer to the corruption of the old bond, of traditional values, and the erosion of the moral fabric on which the house / family-circle had been built. She has also published short stories in English and in English translation. The lover's dreams are wishful, as dreams generally are. Words, words, a tryst with words, poetical words which do not seem to be stopping, almost growing up with time just like the leaves grow on the branches of the trees and its twigs similar thew case with a poetry-writer. According to Kohli, “It is characteristic of Kamala Das not to attempt to resolve the dilemma beyond the limits inherent in the very nature of the experience envisaged in the poem.”11 While this statement is essentially true of Kamala's writing as a whole, such a resolution does not appear necessary in the context of this poem. In its sexual connotations, the image can be compared to the nude swim in a poem of the same name by Anne Sexton: Indeed, one might link Kamala Das not only with Sylvia Plath, but with Anne Sexton who ‘is a truer example of the confessional mode’. “A Note on Kamala Das's My Story.” Commonwealth Quarterly. In ‘The Old Playhouse’, we learn that love is perhaps no more than a way of learning about one's self, that its reward is an insight not into another's being, but really into one's own. SOURCE: Mishra, D. S. “The Confessional Mode of Kamala Das: Romanticism and Realism.” Contemporary Indian English Poetry: A Revaluation, edited by Vallabh Vidyanagar, pp. 150-51. I have watched her so often scrubbing the soles of her feet and cleaning her toenails meticulously twice and thrice each day and I have then suspected that her overdeveloped sense of hygiene had something to do with her separation from her husband. One seeks in love the completion of one's own personality: The poem is addressed presumably to the husband, and protests against the constraint of the married life: the fever of domesticity, the routine of lust, artificial comfort, and male domination. A Chapter-by-Chapter Critical Summary of Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai E.A. [In the following essay, Raveendran examines how Das's later, more political poems, embody tension between the timelessness of the landscape and the minutiae of human history. Instead interiority has broadened out to embrace and confront a world of ideological values. She seems to have been a force in your life too. The ‘red house’ looms large as a symbol of comfort and ageless dignity as a contrast to the poet's life of despair. Shelly L. Hall, Alum, Popcorn Press, 2011. This inability, expressed over and over again, to open up before a roomful of people, to feel at home in a crowd, perhaps gives the private moments of the poet their own limitless frenzy. If they felt I was a politically incorrect person they should not have brought me over. What is interesting to note here is that the phrase “that last ride home” can neatly substitute the phrase “The longest route home” (p. 156) with which the eighth poem in the Anamalai sequence begins, exemplifying the operation of the dialectic of interiority/exteriority at the immanent level of the poetic context. Also, age and repeated experiences of a certain kind in her love-encounters no doubt combine to produce a more sceptical, subdued, even at times, resigned outlook. Romantic poetry, thus, moves in a circle from present to past and back to the present, imitating the structure of the speaker's thought. Words like “realism” are not necessary since her dominant characteristic has always been her “honesty”, whether or not it works within a particular poem. In the course of this meditation the lyric speaker achieves an insight, faces up to a tragic loss, comes to a moral decision or resolves our emotional problem. Conversely, it points to her endless strains and strifes: “Composition” succeeds in reproducing the actual speech and in introducing the prose rhythms. Kamala Das—‘The She-mouse Returns Home’ Imprint, October 1973. p. 19, 2. George, Rosemary Marangoly. stream In 1984, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the World Academy of Arts and Culture, Taiwan. Geok-Lin Lim. Sing a song of seasons! Furthermore, her decay and degeneration are metonymiolly indicated by the description of the old woman who died “lying for three months, paralyzed”. They are “The Freaks”, “In Love”, “Love”, “Summer in Calcutta”, “An Introduction”, “The Wild Bougainvillea”, “My Grandmother's House”, “Forest Fire”, “A Relationship”, “The Snobs”, “Corridors”, “Loud Posters”, “I Shall Some Day”, “Drama” (all from Summer in Calcutta), and “Composition”, “The Suicide”, “Luminol”, “Convicts”, “Palam”, and “The Descendants” (from The Descendants). She kissed me, plaited my hair, and slept beside me on the same bed. That Kamala Das has chosen to write these poems in the language of the erstwhile coloniser complicates the matter.13 The fact is that Kamala Das's poetry cannot, in contemporary circumstances, escape a feminist reading and a postcolonial reading, and this is yet another way of talking about the historicity of these texts. I've written plenty of novellas, short stories, plays and essays in Malayalam. She is willing to grant them a certain peace of mind, but remains aloof from it herself. When I was in Germany, one of the professors said to the audience that I would interpret my own poems. Either way there is a trap, and since body and soul are not envisaged by Kamala Das as separate, there is little qualitative difference between losing one or losing the other.”10. The owl in the trees, dust on the window- sills and the fireflies accentuate the weirdness of the neglected house. So does her absorption in the lover even though the affair is over: “everywhere i look i see him everywhere … i do not look i see him i see him in all i see him in everything like a blue bird at sunset he flits across my sky. She contested as an independent candidate and hoped to get a few lakh votes and, in the process, opportunities to meet the poor and the depressed of the land. In fact she has been quite vociferous and consistent in her denouncement of what she regards as some of the new-fangled ideas doing the rounds in Western feminism. Kamala Das is essentially a poet of the modern Indian woman's ambivalence, giving expression to it more nakedly and as a thing-in-itself than any other Indian woman poet with the possible exception of Amrita Pritam in Panjabi. Here, the present is punctuated by flashbacks into the past: the poet's grandmother, wearing the jewels of a virtuous life, the poet herself born fair and growing to be the “first dark girl in the family”, even the “bhagvatis oracle” promising to protect her grandmother's descendants from “illness and untimely death”. But some families went out to patriarchal areas and learnt bad habits. At nineteen she suddenly became very frigid and came away to Nalapat House carrying her little daughter with her, offering no explanation at all. Browning's poem stands on a different plane because it combines nostalgia with patriotism whereas Kamala Das's sentiment is purely personal and therefore, does not transcend the confessional level. The poem is out of your control once it is published. In Bombay nobody knows this and Nalapat House [in Trichur district, Kerala] meant nothing. The idea is we should write about myth and history. Communalism is an emotive theme, and one which offers easy mileage for the exposition of progressive views. Featured here our Munich #cementtiles in Prussian, Papaya and Smoke, in the star position. It is interesting that of the thirteen new poems in her third volume, The Old Playhouse and Other Poems (Madras, Orient Longman, 1973), which reprints twenty poems from the previous two volumes, the poems which stand out are the ones which are more sharply concerned with the question of a woman's identity, with an added difference that this woman persona is also conscious of her ageing and decaying body. The speaker herself admits the truth: In reality, the speaker confesses what her husband said when she married and what her grandmother talked about her house of “Four hundred years old”. History, in other words, operates both on the visible and the invisible layers of Anamalai Poems. 13). They involve “strong men” who “cast their shadows” and “sink / Like white suns in the well of my Dravidian blood”. He made the poem he read some kind of post-colonial thing. Once the grandmother kept a ‘lighted lantern’ on the window—sill throughout the night and waited for the poet to come and spend the night in talk. She comes to him because she wanted to learn what she was, to realize her true self. Recently I was asked by Ajay Bharat, a new party formed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, to be their candidate in Kerala. It's a good place in the sense that it brings them money. I was so scared. Adultery has always thrilled me. The images of kingship are sustained throughout: the valet, as well as the dancing girls, and the cringing crowd of yesterday. Kurup, P. K. J. The main tharavadu was an old red building about four hundred years old. Now she feels that she must discover herself in others and be immortal: But such a discovery seems to be a distant possibility for her. There are no other striking similarities between the poems. As this poem begins, Du Bois identifies the persona of the poem as “the Smoke King.” The second line proclaims that, despite this light color, the persona is “black.” This was a startling proclamation for the time, as “color” had become as much of an issue in the African-American culture as outside it. Since then, ‘… the only movement I really know / Is swimming’, and the lover is like water or ‘a pale-green pond glimmering in the sun’ in whom ‘I swim all broken with longing’. Inasmuch as the seemingly unchanging hills of Anamalai constitute an escape from the ever-changing world of politics in the wake of her debâcle at the polls, these poems can be regarded as embodying the ahistorical other of what politics implies. Reviews Das's first collection of poetry, Summer in Calcutta. In Postcolonial Love Poem, she uses the verb “wage”. I am fully aware of a woman's privileges. They ask me to deny these things. Explores Das's confessional poetry and suggests that the unmasking of women's private selves is an imperative role for female authors. The second poem is thematically an extension of the first. I wasn't so comfy in Bombay. If the first few lines tell us that the relationship, as deliberately planned and executed by the man, virtually holds the woman captive, the ones which follow undermine the theory that the poem describes her husband. 527-528. 9-18. The ordering of these poems in The Best of Kamala Das is slightly different from the order in Indian Literature. Two poems in this category, ‘My Grandmother's House’ and ‘A Hot Noon in Malabar’ appeared in Summer in Calcutta. Perhaps the logical interpretation would be that the music in the koel's egg, the lust in the blood, the sap in the tree, if not allowed to manifest themselves, are really not symbols of vitality but of a kind of life-in-death. ix-xvii. Not only has there been no death after the illness, but a reawakening into this surprising state where the lover looks beyond her body. Women's Writing: Text and Context. Bombay gave you the freedom. This end comes about when those who have the answers do not give them to those who ask. They mirror the actual reality of the poet's life. Further, it seems more accurate to describe what Kamala talks about in the poem as an “alliance” of, rather than a “borderline” between the two. So she is alone and she misses her grandmother who loved her very much. These poems mark a vigorous but sentimental search for mental peace and emotional tranquillity away from the horrid artificiality of urban family life. Latin American writers are very fashionable just now. Das, Kamala (Contemporary Literary Criticism). “Kamala Das.” Literary Criterion 12, nos. It is difficult also to see how Kohli finds in “Blood” an “admirable restraint in tone and tautness of line.”5 The lines he quotes are hardly suggestive of what he describes as “the assured clarity of outline, the sombre control of nerve, and the poise of movement which is at once graceful and firm,” which he sees as showing “that the poet is in command of herself in a moment of personal reckoning.”6 I refer to the long passage which begins: Kohli in fact quotes the entire passage of 22 lines, all of which more or less follow the awkward rhythm of the ones quoted above. * Columbo handles and works his prop cigar to perfection, like a man born to the art – so it’s a bit surprising that in real life, Peter Falk is not a cigar man. || Nos #carreauxdeciment Munich en bleu de Prusse, Papaye et Fumée, en position étoile. ]Kamala Das, [New Delhi: Arnold-Heinemann, Indian Writers Series, 1971.] When I was going to read at Columbia I was told to be careful not to be politically incorrect. Anisur Rahman—Expressive Form in the Poetry of Kamala Das New Delhi, Abhinav Publications, 1981: p. 34, Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. cit., p. 159. You don't write to impress an audience, but you have to get it out. Yet, the lover had not merely noticed them but has not let them affect his feelings. I used to wake up from sleep at midnight hearing the sounds of their quarrel and lie in my bed, trembling with unease. Very characteristic Indian images denote this other lover—his kiss is like the sting of a krait, a striking analogy which evokes the image of a lover planting on his beloved's mouth the treacherous kiss of betrayal and death. But you have stood for elections. || Prêt(e)s pour une partie ? Narayan, Shyamala A. Romantic poetry, we are told, has a determinate speaker in a specific setting at a particular moment of time. The poem “ No Smoke from the Chimneys ” is written by famous Nepali poet Siddhicharan Shrestha (1912 – 1992) and translated by Michael Hutt into English . Michael Faudet’s latest book takes the reader on an emotionally charged journey, exploring the joys of falling madly in love and the melancholy world of the brokenhear I have a number of social commitments but everyone thinks only about sex in relation to my writing. Kamala was in Calcutta during the years of Partition. It is a scene of village life that seems to romanticize the idyllic simplicity of life in the past. 27, 59; Contemporary Poets; Contemporary Women Poets; Feminist Writers; and Literature Resource Center. Celibacy suits me. While the glass-image is in character, the emotional pattern becomes a little difficult to follow. I don't find my face floating above the words. In ‘The Suicide’ the poet retreats from an impulsive desire for death and takes refuge in the memories related to her grandmother, the sea, the pale-green pond and the white lover. The lines move slowly, echoing not merely the poet's inertia but also her sense of oppression. Perhaps it disappeared into ourselves and we have to find the source within ourselves if we are going to write. 6 And thought of him I love.. 2. For Adorno's views on the merits and deficiencies of the immanent analysis of artworks, see Aesthetic Theory, pp. On this far littoral by chance or greed, So she sets her mind on her only “freedom to discompose”. Yes. What is remarkable about them is that Kamala actually creates poetry out of the very explicit details they contain, that she almost approximates to the erotic nature of ancient Sanskrit love-poetry and, most important, that she does so from the female point of view. Earlier published in Summer in Calcutta, it is difficult to see why it appears here again. 29-40. We’ve discounted annual subscriptions by 50% for our Start-of-Year sale—Join Now! My husband was not interested in these things. The first of the poem's three parts deals with conflicts arising out of this memory of another love. 99-106. Smoke , dust and noise have become the grim characteristics of nature due to industrialization, and the only time a “smokeless air,” a beautiful atmosphere can be enjoyed is in the tranquility of the morning before industrialization continues. In the latter, the husband is seen as ‘old fat spider’ who weaves ‘webs of bewilderment’ around the womanpersona and builds the dead, stony, dull wall of domesticity, smugness, passivity, and turns her into ‘a bird of stone, a granite dove’. As I said earlier, even the talk of escape does not really carry with it much more than the realisation, lightly stated, that the relationship will have to end one day. “The Metaphoric and Metonymic Poles” in Roman Jacobson and Morris Halle, Fundamentals of Language (The Hague: Mouton, 1956), p. 77. At another metaphoric level, the lines are also full of a tragic irony. She has resented the role of a wife as slave, as a sex object. In the aftermath of the illness, which had left her emaciated, the blood “Weakened too much to lust”, the lover's devotion creates a sense of security. This sense of irrelevance is the gnawing pain in middle age often rendered sharper by the children's expostulations. Do you have much contact with writers in Kerala? Comparison between the works of Das and Australian poet Judith Wright. When we were in school in Calcutta, my father worked for a British firm. The house has, now, withdrawn into silence after the death of the grandmother. This can also be read as an instance of a text's unconscious projection of itself into history, indeed the supreme moment of its historicity. First, the freedom to choose her language, and a confidence in her creative talent: Then, the puzzling adolescence and the pain of growing up: Followed by a desire to be even with the male world on its own terms despite the family and social pressures to conform to the traditional feminine role: And finally, self-realization through empathy: Kamala Das's tone of voice as well as the nature of her experience—its spontaneity and uninhibited treatment of a woman's experience—belongs centrally to the history of the recent years in which there has been a heightening of interest in the work and achievement of women, and women writers in particular. It is unpunctuated, intentionally so, for even capital letters are omitted. In ‘Blood’ (The Old Playhouse and Other Poems) the ancestral home and the great grandmother are identified. They don't write from their own lives, but from what they've picked up. At the same time, some confusion of images makes the end a little ambiguous. If there was an opportunity, who knows? And abroad they were shocked to hear me sound like Mother Theresa! There is an appreciable commonalty of interests between the two poets as can be indicated here by referring to Anne Sexton's volume of poems Love Poems, and in particular to her poems such as ‘Little Girl, My string Bean, My Lovely Woman’, ‘In Celebration of My Uterus’, ‘For My Lover, Returning to His Wife’. Jain, Jasbir. Later I went back to Bombay a triumphant woman, when the Emergency was lifted. Others go to the extreme: Denise Levertov warns: ‘Don't lock me in wedlock, I want / marriage, an / encounter—’, and Sylvia Plath, though she was capable of tenderness, was concerned more than any other woman poet with just the unbearability of being a woman. The poem juxtaposes the innocent past with the defiled present. There the anxiety, never resolved, was a direct outcome of the poet's growing fears about her deteriorating health, and about death. The rationale behind this list is to initiate a deep engagement with the shift in perception of Kamala Das, which is reflected in her poetry. 1-4 (January-December 1992): 65-72. Her response to the gender question is not the studied analysis of a feminist. Her father's resourceful driver kept in his glove compartment a Muslim fez cap and a Hindu turban to ensure his safety in all areas of the city. Swell of my stories Radha smeared sandalwood paste was dry them all through life. An orthodox Hindu background this explicitly in the present: the speaker contains essays... Meaningful relationship with a little difficult to follow 's awareness of it innocence to! Age-Old sober proprieties of her last meaningful relationship with a little difficult to transfer this function to husband! 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