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Wild Words - Four Tamil Poets

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Wild Words - Four Tamil Poets
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Item Code: NAP401
Author: Lakshmi Holmstrom
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
Language: English
Edition: 2015
ISBN: 9789352774913
Pages: 130 (Throughout B/W Illustration)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 8.0 inch X 5.0 inch
weight of the book: 120 gms
Back of the Book

Perennial books showcase the finest and most compelling narratives from the Indian languages, books that are timeless and stories that capture the essence of their times and the region from which they emanate. In its entirety, the Perennial library, which features over a hundred titles, presents a kaleidoscope of India as seen through the eyes of the greatest modern writers in the local languages, comprising award-winning and well-loved novels, short fiction, poetry, plays, memoirs, biographies and travelogues.

To celebrate Perennial's tenth anniversary, the editors at HarperCollins have handpicked ten of their favourite books, which are being published as special keepsake editions under the ‘Perennial’, series. We hope you will enjoy these outstanding works of literature all over again in their new look.

About the Book

In 2003, a group of men and women, setting themselves up as guardians of Tamil culture, objected publicly to the language of a new generation of women poets — particularly in the works of Malathi Maithri, Salma, Kutti Revathi and Sukirtharani—charging the women with obscenity and immodesty. More than a decade later, a deep divide still persists in the way readers and critics perceive women poets. Tamil women poets have been categorized as 'bad girls' and 'good girls'. The traditional values prescribed for the 'good' Tamil woman are fearfulness, propriety and modesty. Our poets have chosen, instead, the opposite virtues — fearlessness, outspokenness and a ceaseless questioning of prescribed rules. This anthology celebrates the poetry of these four poets through Lakshmi Holmstrom's English translations.

About the Authors

MALATHI MAITHRI grew up in a fishing community with a strong tradition of independent working women. Malathi's poetry and fiction have been published since 1988. Malathi is a political activist committed to human rights, community welfare and environmental issues.

SALMA is the pseudonym of a writer who grew up leading a sheltered life in a middle-class family belonging to a Muslim community in the small town of Thuvarankurinchi, near Madurai. Entirely self-educated, today she is widely recognized in Tamil literary circles and is also a politician and an activist.

KUTTI REVATHI has published several books of poetry. She is deeply influenced by that strain of Siddha thought which claims that our bodies are our selves: it is through the body that we understand the natural world, gain knowledge of ourselves and achieve a connectedness with the universe.

SUKIRTHARANI was born in Lalapet, a village near Ranipet, in Vellore district. Her poetry developed, she says, in an atmosphere of disapproval: refusal of permission to attend public meetings on the part of her parents and evasive lies on her part. She has published five books of poetry. LAKSHMI HOLMSTROM (1935-2016) translated short stories, novels and poetry by major contemporary writers in Tamil including Ambai and the Sri Lankan poet Cheran. In z000, she received the Crossword Book Award for her translation of Karukku by Bama; in 2007, she shared the Crossword—Hutch Award for her translation of Ambai's short stories, In a Forest, a Deer; and she received the lyal Award from the Tamil Literary Garden, Canada, in 2008.


Malathi Maithri  
She who threads the skies 3
Waves 4
Swing 6
Observe the crane 7
My Home 9
Bhumadevi 10
Tiger 11
She who ate the apple 12
Cast away blood 13
Incessant war 15
Empress of words 17
The street-singer 20
Language change 22
Consumer goods 23
Perish her intellect: cruel is her servitude 24
Camels, horses and a fish basket 25
Demon language 27
The rust of silence 31
A midnight tale 32
The contract 34
The Solitude of a painted house 36
Paths 37
Closure 38
An Evening, another evening 40
The Worm 43
Green angel 44
At the moment of parting 45
Getting used to the sea 46
Untitled 47
New bride, new night 49
my ancestral home 51
Chariot of darkness 53
Kutti Revathi  
Light is a prowling cat 57
Breasts 58
Rain-River 60
Dawn 61
The Sea-fettered island 62
Suicide-Soldier 63
Gandhari 64
Sleeping seed 66
My love 67
Stone goddesses 68
I have invited this summer for you 69
childbirth 71
Face to face 72
Floodgates of memory 73
The fire I lit 74
Infant language 77
I speak up bluntly 79
A faint smell of meat 80
Translating her 81
Portrait of my village 82
MY body 83
Nature's fountainhead 84
Every town is a hometown, all people are kin 86
Nothing left 88
The soldier 89
time for birdsong 90
The last kiss 91
Castrated seed 92
The only woman in the world 93
P.S. insights, interviews and more  
List of publications 97
Translator's Note 99

Sample Pages

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