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5 Indian English Poets You Must Read – A List

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Discussions on Indian English poetry often confine to the ambits of academic discourses. There are many reasons for that but a prominent and immediate one that I can mention here is that the poets who wrote and the poets who write, nobody could care for the readers at large, sadly. Indian English novel has become Goliath today and Indian English poetry has remained a poor David. Why did it happen? What were the main reasons? Why did people lose interest in poetry? Or, if it may be a case, why did Indian English poets could not produce enough literature to get the attention of Indian readers? Well, these issues are kept safe for academic debates and we will discuss these when the time comes. Right now, I am here to tell you 5 Indian English poets that you must read if you love reading poetry.

The List of Indian English Poets you should read:

Sri Aurobindo: If you love English poetry, leave alone Indian English poetry as such, you must have heard about Sri Aurobindo’s verse. You may have read many of his poems as well. In the confinements of Indian English poetry, nevertheless, Sri Aurobindo is still enjoying an unparalleled position. His verse is loaded with wisdom, universality, objectivity, knowledge and also the beauty of Indian aesthetics – he is, perhaps, the only one who understood the true value of Indian style of writing poetry and succeeded as well. So, before you read any other Indian English poet, you have to make sure that you read Sri Aurobindo first.

Sarojini Naidu: Sarojini Naidu is one of the leading women poets in India (even after her departure from this mortal world). Her poetry is loaded with message, beauty, devotion and also a hard-hitting pinch of realism. Anyone who reads the poems by Naidu will instantly find oneself being transported to the world that Naidu creates with her words – be it pitcher-fetching women in the villages or women weaving in a distant village in India. Rural landscape, eventually, becomes one of the many attention grabbers in the works of Sarojini Naidu as you begin reading her collections. So, if you want to understand Indian from an utterly Indian perspective as reflected in the poems by Indian English poets, you can certainly read Naidu!

A. K. Ramanujan: A. K. Ramanujan is one of the poets I admire for being simple, yet expressive effectively, in their tone, themes and even then delivering some of the finest poets which might be consumed as landmark productions of literature by Indian English poets. He writes about his grandparents, his childhood memories, his thoughts during his early years… He also writes about the conundrum that he suffered because of his later conversion into Christianity. So, you can see many colours of nostalgia and psychological dilemma in his poetry. Is he someone you can exchange for other poets? Yes, you may, theoretically. However, I won’t make such barter and neither suggest the same to anyone! Ramanujan is a poet who is worth reading any day!

Kamala Das: Well, there are critics and people who have very contrary opinions about the poetry of Kamala Das. However, whatever you say or think about the revolutionary poems by Kamala Das, no list of Indian English poets you should read can be complete without her name on it. Her poems are anti-normal, anti-status quo and earnest expression of suppressed desires and feelings of women in Indian society, at large if not entirely. About her poems, a reader can be the best judge to comment about whatever he or she finds during the course fo interpretations.  I will finish her inclusion on my list by saying that we must have respect and space for opinions which are not exactly as we think them to be.

R. Parthasarthy: Well, he is a name that only academic readers of Indian English poetry may have been introduced previously. Otherwise, except for a scanty percentage of the serious readers of Indian English poetry, there might not be a very encouraging number of readers who would raise their hands if we ask – have you read R Parthasarthy? However, if you haven’t read his poems before, it’s the time, never too late, you should read his verse and enjoy the understanding of Indian psyche, generally and literary, that this poet has. Parthasarthy’s poems are expressions of a helpless word-artist who finds himself tied in limitations as he tries to tell his readers what he feels and thinks. His collection Exile should be the ideal choice to understand him before reading other works by him.

Click here to buy the books by these poets from Amazon India

Notes about Indian English poets can be found here: English Literature Notes

So, dear readers, this was the list that was prepared for you, the lovers of Indian English poetry. I am sure that you will be introduced to the highs and the lows of Indian English Poetry as you continue your journey. All the best!


By a contributor for Featured Books

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