NEW DELHI, November 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
- India Wakes up to Queer Poetry
The Lion and the Antler is, in many ways, a path breaking book because it literally creates, singlehandedly, the genre of queer poetry in India. Queer poetry has evolved from the beat generation, and provides (as the name suggests) a way for people from the LGBTQ community to speak from their unique perspective. It is also a distinct sensibility of people who identify as queer, which comes from their experience of the world often as 'outsiders' looking in. Since this collection of poems does that in the Indian context for the first time, it has huge significance for the LGBTQ movements. It should also contribute to creating a new niche for queer poetry in India.
India has never had a tradition of queer poetry, and in many ways, this collection of poems is a first. Through his feeling, his passion for life, his passionate awareness of death and the view he takes from the distance, from the margins, of the complexity of life, Shaleen Rakesh has literally created a new genre.
The poems in The Lion and the Antler have a distinctly queer sensibility, an ability to narrate the view of the obvious everyday through a distinct vision from the margins. Shaleen never uses the images opulently, or as blurred emotive impressions. He trusts the hard, the plain and the stripped, to speak for itself. In short, he refuses to say more than he feels.
After reading his poems, it is difficult to re-focus on the world, the old world of cause and effect, of apathy and disinterest. Shaleen's effect is far more aesthetic or abstract. Intuitively and emotionally, the reader is hypnotized out of himself in order to find himself. In the end, we are drawn into the strange universe from where this poet writes.
Realising he was gay at an early age, Shaleen recognised homophobia not incidentally, but as an elemental living presence in the world around him. His poems therefore embody his indignation of the use and misuse of some human beings by others- as well as his cold and clear understanding of homophobia's cultural history. He has a sharp eye, the simplicity of diction and uses the plain and hard meaning of things without descriptive qualification. In the highly charged condensation of Shaleen's queer poetry, words reverberate with an ambiguity, with the unfathomable mystery of the natural universe.
Shaleen describes himself as an atheist but is a radically religious poet. He recognised early due to his queer-ness, everything in life has a meaning. Man, nature, birds, clouds, roads- he sees them with power and authority and meets them face to face, and rejects the usage of these as a mere ornamental presence in his work.
The scrupulous simplicity of Shaleen's diction often reminds of the Spanish poet, Antonio Machado, the shortest and the seemingly plainest of Shaleen's poems are the most profound.
As Ashok Row Kavi says in his introduction to the book, "The Lion and the Antler marks the birth of a new era of queer poetry in India."
About the Author:
Shaleen Rakesh is a poet based in New Delhi, India. The Lion and the Antler will be released in January 2014 and this is his first collection of poems.
About the Publisher:
Worldview Publications is an imprint of the Worldview Collective, an independent and progressive media collective which provides space for artists and writers who challenge the status quo.
Media contact details:
Name: Rajet Mehra
SOURCE World View Publications