Keki N Daruwalla: The Poet and Novelist


KEKI N. DARUWALLA: 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 more than four decades, is a leading name in English poetry Indiana today (p. 31). The uniqueness of his poems has been recognized by critics and fans everywhere. There have been several books about his poetry, original and edited, images, diction, design and point of view, but the last of them by Asha Viswas, dedicated to their students, should be very useful to students and teachers alike.

Viswas Professor, herself a good poet with three volumes of poetry to his credit, is Daruwalla on the same pedestal as Nissim Ezekiel and Jayanta Mahapatra, and he finds a voice more representative than Jayanta Mahapatra and others. I am totally in accordance with it.

Asha considered the nine volumes of poetry and a novel by Keki and appreciates the variety that shows both in form and content (p 34). She also discovers that Keki writes with control over emotions and effectively uses techniques such as the game of words, irony and satire (pp 75-76). She reflects on theme canvas of the poet as inherent to their personal experiences as also its concern by realities often contradictory of indigenous life, diversity of cultural, historical and mythical landscapes and existential realities. To quote Bruce King, Keki Daruwalla write tough poetry with awareness of the “moral ambiguities and irresolvable conflicts of the human condition”.

introductory chapter of Professsor Viswas seeks to define and highlight the modernity and the Indianness of Keki, in addition to its “depth of feeling, economy of language and originality of vision” (cf pp 13-17) conferred upon him “a central place in the modern Indian English poetry.”

in the second chapter, ‘You moorings’, she examines personal life vis-à-vis of the poet the growth of his poetic career since the 1960’s. It is based on his interview with the poet to develop the chapter in addition to reviewing the comments of all her collections, two books of short stories, a novel and an anthology, two decades of Indian poetry: 1960-80. She underlines the poet global perspective, experiences and interests.

in the third chapter, ‘Treatment of the myth in the early poetry of Keki,’ refers to his legendary poems (five in low Orion, thirteen, four in appearance in April at the junction of the rivers) to demonstrate the mind seeks the poet, attitude impetus and eclectic vision. Professor Viswas also uses the techniques of stylistic analysis to interpret some of the early poems of Keki.

the fourth chapter intends to publicize the modernity of the poet, not a moral approach, realism, concern existential, lack of faith in the system and the avoidance of «common response» and «abstract notion». She observes: «»his satire and his iconoclastic approach invigorated its theme as does the speed of his verse and male force. (p. 76)

a discussion of the critical poet in the poems on landscape (ch. 5) intends to show “Maturity of vision” Keki that transmutes the “outside world” in the internal sense (p. 78) and helps you achieve inner peace (p. 81). ASHA Viswas found in the collection “a perfect harmony between impression and expression” to the Sanskrit poets (p 90).

the sixth chapter is a critique of a summer of tigers that provides instances of passion and irony (pp 94-98). With his abilities in stylistic analysis, Asha Viswas tries to highlight the poet “exploration and experimentation” (pp 95, 104) and its sensitivity for “rhythms of speech and its syntactic characteristics and lexical” (pp 98, 114) on the one hand and his love of mythology and the “racial history of the” (pp 99, 102, 111) and its criticism of Pablo Neruda (pp 110-11) , on the other. As points out: “his poetry is better on the mountains, tall grass, seas and rivers. Their attachment to the ritual scene giving Keki is a shot in the poetic vein “. (p. 112)

the seventh chapter deals with the River at night, a “global job” (p. 116). While the search for the poet to stay in landscapes brings you to the world of nature, in the River at night “changes its path of nature to human imagination” (p. 115). Asha Viswas here as Keki Orfeo and down in “the darkest depths of what we call the subconscious and unconscious”. She seems as Daruwalla himself admits that he has here tried diving into the “depths of consciousness and loneliness” (p. 117) which is, in fact, “a defense against time, decay and death” (p. 127). She also discusses some of his sueno-poemas (pp 118-121) and the isla-poemas (pp 125-26) in the volume.

the eighth chapter concerns ninth collection of Keki, the cartographer, registering your trip “both inside and outside.” Here one finds instances of the “subjective and physical, individual and universal fusion in…” (w) a awareness integrated “(p. 128).” ASHA praises his craft in the fusion of history, peoples, nature, religion, biography and vision in “intense reflection” and poetry ‘ speaking outside the still Center of being, the narrative and dramatic voice ‘ (p. 159). Analytical reviews on pp 140-158 should help every serious student to follow Daruwalla poetry in the right spirit.

the last chapter talks about historical novel of Daruwalla pepper and Christ (2009) presenting “a dialectical discourse of clash of interests in the backdrop of trade and religion (p. 161).

the bibliography at the end reflects the years of work that Viswas Professor has created to write the book, taking into account the needs of students both honours and postgraduate researchers and teachers interested in Indian English writing. It is a positive contribution of a teacher of poet see Keki N. Daruwalla with imagination and critical empathy.


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