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The Pritish Nandy Collection, Poetry Again
|by Dr. Amitabh Mitra|
Pritish Nandy’s latest poetry book, ‘Again’ is next to me and I need to write about it. It’s not because he started writing poetry again after 20 odd years having already authored 32 anthologies, nor that now he is no longer a poet but a film maker. I even tried searching for the poetry he left behind in Kolkata in his Bollywood films, I really couldn’t find them. Then, why should I be writing on his latest book?
Because Pritish Nandy would always remain a poet and his poetry in 'Again' needs to be redefined.
I would rather start right from the very beginning, his books and the man himself.
I have questioned myself as many others have done, Is Pritish Nandy a poet, a poet who started an era of rethinking ideas and ideologies about Indian contemporary poetry, a poet who was rejected in academic echelons, a poet who survived....
Some may conclude that his works are just nothing but then out of nothingness came out his words pouring in a torrential rain, drenching many of us. I kept pace with his books and poetry from distant Gwalior. I met people who knew him, yet I have never met him.
But then do I really think that I don’t know him.
Kolkata – 1970
At a time when Marshal McLuhan was talking about the global village, when Rolling Stone began publishing in America, Melody Maker started coming out in England and Time-Out happened in London, in Calcutta there was JS.
Dubby Bhagat’s article on Junior Statesman and we being the world’s oldest teenager is till etched in my mind.
Junior Statesman or better known as JS had become a cult movement during the seventies and so was the cult status given to its charismatic editor and later a Yeti hunter, Desmond Doig.
JS brought out an article on Pritish Nandy and his poetry journal Dialogue in the blueprint section. His Dialogue Publications had even published translations of Underground Soviet Poets; some of them are still available on the Amazon.
Poetry, politics and love went together. Kolkata was just the place to be during that time. Erica Jong and Ayan Rand went hand in hand. This poem written by Erica Jong reflects the thinking of a generation during that time. Kolkata was just over ripe for such a movement.
© Erica Mann Jong
In ‘Again’ the vagabound has finally come home.
‘Again’ is a poetry book different from other books by Pritish Nandy. It is a glossy, hard cover book which is big, has colors, has fonts of different sizes and has small poems sometimes spread out in two pages. Shashi Tharoor in his Introduction says about ‘his dazzling experiments with style, font, typograpghy and layout’. Published by Rupa, India, the jacket cover has a photograph of Pritish Nandy with a greying French beard and black frame glasses. It’s important to mention this because his celebrated book, Lonesong Street published in 1975 has a picture of the young Pritish wearing bellbottomed jeans and having long hair.
Pritish Nandy gave us inkling about it ‘Lonesong Street’:
From the last page of ‘Again’:
‘Again’ is his story of Mumbai, a city of dreams
But he still remembers Kolkata:
He writes about his daughters:
about his father:
and about his mother:
Pritish talks about Rod Stewart:
But in ‘Lonesong Street’:
Actually ‘Again’ is the title of a poem he wrote in the seventies
Well, then what do I miss most in ‘Again’ -Your prose poetry from ‘Riding the Midnight River’
and your one line poems:
Pritish Nandy defies easy labelling, says Shashi Tharoor. I remember one poet who I can say came very near to Nandy and that was Dom Moraes.
Read more about the Indo-English Poetry Movement:
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