'When Adil Jussawalla threw an impromptu party for Nissim's 70th birthday with wine from Vasai and pizzas from Colaba, there were three generations of poets roiling around him.
'Three generations of anything can create an awful amount of roil but three generations of poets who loved him, hated him, felt pity for him, tried to ignore him, took their revenge in public, apologised in private? It must have taken an awful lot of determination to continue to "only connect".
'But he was a man who reached out, who was accessible in a way few people can be.'
-Jerry Pinto, Mid-day
'When I was a boy we used to meet at the Naaz cafe on a rooftop in Cumballa Hill. He would look beyond the chairs and tables to the open sea, a cigarette in his long fingers, and smile his kindly smile, contented with this time and this place. He had the gift, given only to a few people, of being happy with small and humble things.'
-Dom Moraes, Outlook
'Over the last decade he was less a poet than a patriarch among Bombay poets, chatting, advising, joking as he read their poems and tried to place them somewhere. Though forthright, he was seldom blunt, never pontificated and normally put his views across with considerable wit. He was a friend and not a mentor. He had more or less sloughed off his earlier roles-art critic, literary editor of important journals, radical humanist a la M. N. Roy, book reviewer, and lucid and sometimes trenchant prose as V. S. Naipaul discovered to his discomfiture.'
-Keki N. Daruwalla, The Hindu
'Ezekiel's poetry described love, loneliness, lust, creativity and political pomposity, human foibles and the "kindred clamour" of urban dissonance. He echoed England's postwar Movement (Philip Larkin, DJ Enright and Ted Hughes) but honed a distinct, ironic voice, moving from strict metre to free verse.'
-Lawrence Joffe, The Guardian
'his tight rhymed quatrains...displayed a wry, dryly mischievous sense of humour and an eye that was observant and sympathetic at once.'
'He was a poet of the heart, of failure, of doubt, of "the unquiet mind, the emptiness within", someone who revelled in rodent-like explorations of love.'
'By absorbing the lessons of modernism and making his poetic debut in an idiom that remains fresh after 50 years, he showed the way to his younger contemporaries...Someone in a mood for coining phrases could justifiably identify all contemporary Indian English poets as the tribe of Ezekiel.'
-Kaiser Haq, University of Dhaka
'Nissim Ezekiel radicalised the subject matter of poetry: not just the "barbaric city" but how to find viable way of living in and relating to it.'
-Eunice de Souza
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