New Indian English Poetry: Anand Kumar's Phantasmal Pulsation

By Rao, V. V. B. Rama | IUP Journal of English Studies, June 2015 | Go to article overview

New Indian English Poetry: Anand Kumar's Phantasmal Pulsation


Rao, V. V. B. Rama, IUP Journal of English Studies


A new variety of Indian English poetry has been emerging in recent years with our poets writing in English adding new colors, new rhythms, new feelings, and new devices of stimulating, captivating expressions. Sustained power of poetic expression is never lacking for connoisseurs worshipping muse. Long poems are not in great demand when editors prescribe line limit. Without their service, the journals publishing poetry cannot thrive. Long poems, story poems and group poems are the special genres for our new poets. Anand Kumar, chairing the Department of Reproductive Biology in All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Fellow of the National Academy of Medical Sciences, is unique being a poet of rare eminence. He has his own ars poetica. In the "Poet's Note" to his very first collection Opium Den (which has two parts: "Book 1-Opium Den" and "Book 2-Reflections in a Windowpane"), he avers that he is an adherent to a new unexpressed cannon:

Incoherent dream

Silences and screams,

Hallucinations

Are neither artful

Nor fashionable;

Are out of the mart

However

whipped up inspirations,

Crafted emotions

Trained creativity

Fellowship of Trend,

A swim along current

Contrived verses,

Are nowhere in this den. (p. xiii)

First, there is a group of poems: "Birth of Poetry/Poetry-1 in two parts/Poetry-2 and Poetry Lost".

One fine morning

I heard a tap

On my heart -

Perhaps in the mind?

Difficult to pinpoint!

But the echo reverberated

Till the world germinated

Out of the humus within.

...

I realised - the birth of poetry!

It came spontaneous, it came easy.

("Birth of Poetry", p. 12)

In another poem called "Poetry" with fecund imagination he makes statements:

...Poetry

Is a movement in Silence

Before the birth of

Words and reason... (Ibid., p. 14)

Poetry is a nascent idea

Or an emotion

Whose time has come.

...

It is the intellectualisation

Of the energies

Preceding mind and speech. (Ibid.)

The poet knows the nine emotions described our aesthetics. In Part 2, he avers:

It is:

The crystal

Adorning a snake's fanned hood,

Musk in the gland of an antelope,

Precious secretion from the poet's mind.

In it,

The Temporal blossoms out of the Timeless.

(Ibid., p. 15)

Then there is barb in a long poem-call it a story poem, if you will-on contemporary decadence in 'Poetry Lost'. The poet in a café confesses that he lost his Poetry since morning that day. The drunken policeman (who listens to this) sobers up and solemnly swears on his cap on the floor and tells the distraught poet:

In such biting cold/ Nobody steals

An unpedigreed beast.

When the storm subsides

Your pet will return.

Have year another rum'.

The veteran allayed

The poet's concern.

...

Satisfied at his realization

He cheered up and yelled,

'Good riddance to bad rubbish."

("Poetry Lost", pp. 19-20)

The title of the book Opium Den as well as the content makes us remember Coleridge and his "Kubla Khan" which was both a vision and a dream, though much to his chagrin got blurred and blunted but remained firmly ensconced in the poet's mind and later in the readers' memory.

Born in the land of devotion, the poet is deeply rooted in tradition. He starts with a prayer to the Universal Mother, Devi Durga and proceeds to the Lord who removes impediments, Vinayaka, with these lines:

Clayey are my feet

Cannot on them stand;

Pull me up, O There

Stretch out Your hand.

("Invocation", p. 3)

Then there are salutations to saints and seers. He praises Sarojini Naidu and the icon of music-dance Michael Jackson. The way artists must be judged goes into a poem:

Do not browse faces

And match them

With muses

Lest gold appears brass

And jewels

Pieces of broken glass

Their glare would turn you

To a stone. …

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