“”When will that shore appear from which at last we see..How all this came to pass and for what reason?”

Reading poetry has been my pastime for long.All my life! Now it has become a passion for me and now it has become a serious pursuit.My tastes and temperament had shaped and changed me to read lots of poetry as a pastime.I have no scholarly interest or academic discipline.Thus,what I enjoy is keep going back to my old favourites and also looking out at the new poets. I have been reading poetry,all sorts of poetry,from all around the world for all my life. But in subjects like poetry that touches one’s emotions and passions and even deeply touches one’s inner recesses of the mind and soul poetry seems to give me a fulfilment,as no other arts have given me.In the high school itself I was a sort of budding poet and an artist of sorts! I won prizes for both.But I never took myself serious as a poet or a painter.Yes,my education took me to very different influences and my exposure to poets,actually living,also added to my interest in poets and their works.That is my experience in poetry. May be there are other arts,music,painting and visual and performing arts,dances,Indian as well as the Western ballet and theatre ,yes,I have had some exposure,rather rudimentary in some fields but my interests continue.One’s life’s circumstances limit the opportunities.Yes,being in a city like Paris or London could make all the differences.But being in India has certain limitations.Even in Bangalore where I spend most of my time these days,I have had few opportunities beyond my chosen routines.Thus,I often see Western musicians performing in Bangalore,more so in recent times,more in diverse genres,more rock and less of course the old classical things with which I had some familiarity.Yet,I dont get the time or the right time to go and watch these havily advertised commercial scale artistic activities. Of all these arts and artistic activities,poetry stands out.That is,poetry you can enjoy and appreciate in your privacy,your chosen ambience.Those poetry volumes, dusty,crumbling pieces of papers,Eliot,Yeats and many others give me the most secure feeling of familiarity.So,poetry remains my favourite reading pleasure.

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Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold

Indian character, the Indian mindset have haunted and disturbed me for long.  Unless we study and understand how the Indian character had evolved through the ages, how our character is shaped by our long history of oppression and suppression, we can’t understand ourselves fully.  We can’t in turn understand the world outside also fully! 

We are living in a world of great stirrings, everyone is aware of his or her self identity.  That is okay!  But then literature and poetry has to respond, respond to the great questions of the day.  I hope I have sufficiently explored the modern world, the external and the internal world of modern man, my own self in these poems.

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Let me state at the very beginning that for me literature and arts are intrinsically tied up with politics. There is no literature existing in a vacuum. Literature occupies a public space that very few of the current crops of writers seem to acknowledge. More so with the new crop of the expatriate Indian writers in English. Thought and action can lead to some rare mental awakening and this we have seen in many writers, even in recent times.

I just now read through a book review on two collections of literary essays by two literary giants, one the South African novelist and Nobel Prize winner, J.M.Coetzee and another by the Peruvian writer and a Presidential candidate in his country, Mario Vargas Llosa. Says the reviewer at one place:” Politics in a literary work may be in Stendhal’s formulation like a pistol shot in the midst of a concert. But even Coetzee’s essays we see that literature cannot exist independently of politics and mankind’s countless other pursuits. The fascination with power or the concerns with transforming mankind or societies or grappling with the history of nations, fate of individuals, everywhere when we rise above the mass of concerns and scenarios, you reach out to the struggles for truths, values and principles that sometimes end up tragically. Sometimes, you turn out to be prophets or some such colossal figures. Only politics and power can give any piece of writing and literature those rare heights of exploring the higher truths, metaphysics of living and death.

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(V. Isvarmurti (Vadamalai Media P.Ltd., Pichanur, Coimbatore 641 105. – 2004) Page 310 Rs. 200)

Readers exposed to the political pulpit of Tamil
Nadu in the last century might drop Kavithaigal into the Dravidian slot with electrical ease, once they open the volume and read the epigraph!

Tamil : My Askesis
Tamil is my god
Tamil is my askesis
Tamil is my dharma
Tamil is my culture
Kural : My Beginning and My End.
Kural is my life!
Kural is my skin!
Kural is my beginning!
Kural is my end!

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