Interior Decoration: Poems by 54 Women from 10 Languages


Edited by Ammu Joseph, Vasanth Kannabiran, Ritu Menon, Volga

9788188965625 | PB | pp. 335 | 2010 | Women Unlimited

This book is a collection of 54 poems from 10 languages. It incudes works of Anamika, Panna Naik, Saroop Dhruv, Ilampirai and others.

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Many of India s best known women poets, as well as some of its less familiar ones are to be found in this landmark volume of 54 women poets from ten languages. Its rich and varied selection presents a feast of poetry in translations that are remarkable for their fidelity and poetic rendering. An experience of womanhood may be the locus of this anthology, but modes of expression vary by circumstance. Some women locate freedom in the sky, while others talk of being a witch, or dance, or food. Some speak of the pain of husbands and the love of children, others of a lover s touch, and the value of mothers, work, and writing. Their voices are tinged, or ringing, with joy or anger, frustration or satisfaction, regret or ironic resignation. As women and as poets, they offer advice, consolation, perspective and startling insight. A colossus like Kamala Das or Gauri Deshpande finds an echo in Mandakranta Sen, or Malika Amar Sheikh even, unexpectedly, in Mamang Dai. Amrita Bharati s intensely solitary interior landscape is counterpointed by the searing imagery of Salma; Savithri Rajeevan s oblique subversion with Jameela Nishat s overt dissent. Myth, fable, contemporary reality, fantasy and folklore are the sinew and substance of poems that range from the fact of discrimination to the exhilaration of discovering the power of the word. Exhilaration and discovery, then, are what inform the spirit of this unusual offering.


Ammu Joseph, Vasanth Kannabiran, Ritu Menon, Volga







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Women Unlimited





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About the Contributors

Ammu Joseph (born 26 September, 1953) is an independent journalist, author, media analyst and editorial consultant and author based in Bangalore, India. Ammu writes primarily on issues relating to gender, human development, the media and culture. She writes for a number of mainstream publications and web-based media.

Vasanth Kannabiran (born 1939) has, for over 30 years, been closely involved with questions of armed militancy, civil liberties, and the meaning of peace for women in her native state of Andhra Pradesh. She is among the first women in the country to move into feminist activism through the Stree Shakti Sangathana. Ten years ago, she set up a radical women’s collective in Andhra Pradesh called Asmita, which brings diverse groups of women into networks addressing issues spanning conflict, peace, survival, women’s rights, and secularism.

Ritu Menon is an Indian feminist, writer and publisher. In 1984, Menon co-founded Kali for Women, India’s first exclusively feminist publishing house, along with Urvashi Butalia, her longtime collaborator. In 2003, Kali for Women shut shop due to lack of commercial viability compounded by irreconcilable personal differences between Menon and Butalia. Thereafter, Menon independently founded Women Unlimited, another feminist publishing house.


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