Friday, January 10, 2014
T. S. Eliot Prize winner poet George Szirtes on Abhay K's 'Seduction of Delhi'
T. S. Eliot Prize winner poet George Szirtes on Abhay K's 'The Seduction of Delhi'
'One may visit a city and one may live in it. To experience it as a presence and a history is more than either, and to experience it as poetry is sublime. Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities shows us Venice in many fantastical transformations. Abhay K. Kumar’s Seduction of Delhi is not so much a city transformed as tenderly opened up and invited to commune with the world around it in both time and place. So, in the Places section of the book, the poem on Nehru Park presents us with a ‘blue moon in full bloom / birds transmuting into humans’ on a spot where ‘Nehru is in dialogue with Lenin / and the universe’ while among the Portraits we meet the ubiquitous auto rickshaws, each ‘a triangle-on wheels’ that criss-crosses Delhi like ‘a kite soaring against the wind’ that carries the city on its wings.
The transformations are gentle and humane: the history is deep and lightly worn. This is a beautiful way to be introduced to a great city as both specific and essence.'