From India’s most controversial woman poet comes an essential collection.
Kamala Das's ‘Selected Poems’ is an authoritative selection of her much lauded work.
the though provoking
Edited by – Devindra Kohli
A major poet in English, Kamala Das’s taboo-breaking work explores themes of love and betrayal, the corporeal and the spiritual, while celebrating female sexuality and remaining deeply rooted in the poet’s ancestral tradition and landscape.
A rigorous selection from her oeuvre—six published volumes and other uncollected and previously unpublished poems—this edition offers a unified perspective on her poetic achievement. An illuminating introduction to her poetry by Devindra Kohli traces the sources of its ferment, and showcases its originality of style and its acts of resistance.
Kamala Das (1934–2009) was a major Indian English poet and an important Malayalam writer. She was born into a distinguished literary family. Her mother, Balamani Amma, was a well-known Malayalam poet and her granduncle Nalapat Narayana Menon was a renowned writer and translator. She grew up in Punnayurkulam, her ancestral village in Kerala, and in Calcutta where her parents lived. She was married off at the age of fifteen, and began writing and publishing while in her teens. With her taboo-breaking early poetry and her controversial autobiography, Kamala became an icon for Indian women. In English, she published six collections of poetry in her lifetime—Summer in Calcutta (1965), The Descendants (1967), The Old Playhouse and Other Poems (1973), Collected Poems vol. I (1984), Only the Soul Knows How to Sing: Selections from Kamala Das (1996), Encountering Kamala (2007)—and her autobiography, My Story (1976). She was recognized with many literary prizes, including the Sahitya Akademi and the Vayalar awards.
The EditorDevindra Kohli was Professor of English at the University of Kashmir, Srinagar, a Visiting Professor at universities in Germany, including Bonn, Duisburg-Essen, Frankfurt and Münster. He was a Foundation Fellow, Clare Hall, Cambridge; a Henry Chapman Fellow, University of London; and a Chancellor’s International Lecturer, University of Missouri-St Louis. Author of Kamala Das (1975), he has edited/co-edited Indian Writers at Work, Contemporary Indian Short Stories, Anita Desai: Essays in Interpretation, and contributed to the Times Literary Supplement, the Journal of Commonwealth Literature, the Malahat Review, Gravesiana and Wasafiri.