Thematic Study on A.K.Ramanujan's Poetry

Topics: Culture of India, Poetry, Hindu Pages: 9 (2676 words) Published: November 24, 2012
A.K.Ramanujan is one of the interesting poets in the 20th century Indian English literature. His timeline is between 1929 and 1994. His poetry attained its popularity in 1960s. He is considered as the voice of modern India, though he shows his deep root in Indian tradition and culture. Among his contemporaries A.K.Ramanujan seems grave and sincere due to variety of themes prevailed in his poetry. He is not only a poet but also the greatest translator. He is famous for his translations rather than other creative works. His Major Works:

An astonished classic Ramanujan has written numerous poems. They were gathered and put in four volumes under one title The Collected Poems. Of these four volumes The Striders, Relations, and Second Sight were published in his life time. His fourth collection The Black Hen was published after his life time in 1995. He is a transnational figure and trans-disciplinary scholar. His academic research ranged across five languages: Tamil, Kannada, English, Telugu and Sanskrit. His major translation works are The Interior Landscapes: Love Poems from a Classical Tamil Anthology, Speaking of Shiva and Hymns for the Drowning. Themes in his Poetry:

His Collected poems represents the rich sensitivity, intellectual rigour and feeling. Most of his poems though intensely personal, have a universal dimension of their own. The main themes of his poetry are Indian culture and tradition, family and relations, past memories, art, love, despair, death, myth, hybridism, etc.,. They are full of humour, irony, paradox and sudden reversals. He is really a poet of memory, commotion, childhood impressions, fear, sorrow, common sufferings and conflicts. Art as a Theme:

The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting and sculpture is known as ‘art’. Poetry and other works produced by such skill and imagination can be come under this productive term ‘art’. In the poem “The Black Hen” Ramanujan portrays the art of writing poetry. He explains that poetry should come naturally as leaves come to a tree. This natural way of writing the poetry is evidenced through the lines: It must come as leaves

to a tree
or not at all.(1-3)
Further the following lines,
…… the black hen
with the red round eye
on the embroidery
stitch by stitch. (5-8) -show the painful and troublesome kind of writing poetry. Here the poet compares the black hen with the poetry. The term ‘embroidery’ refers to the luxurious and decorative work which is done for the poetry. The phrase ‘stitch by stitch’ indicates the hard labour done for writing poetry. The poet also expresses the respectful fear of the poets through the lines: the black hen stares

with its round red eye
and you are afraid. (11-13)
According to the poet if a creative work is done once, fear grips the maker or he stares at his own work. Thus the entire poem “Black Hen” deals with the symbol of art and creativity. The image of the black hen symbolizes poetry. Theme of Time:

Time is a dimension in which events can be ordered from the past through the present into the future, and also the measure of durations of events and intervals between them. Time has long been a major subject of study in religion, philosophy, science and art. Ramanujan focusses on the theme of time in his poem “At Zero” The first stanza of the poem “At Zero” has an image of clock. The poet says that “when the clocks lose their tongues” and “when the hands fall off” there will be no occurrence of sound. There is a symbol of zero with this silence of clock. It is also the symbol of emptiness too. The image of clock and pendulum in the clock surely...
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