An Overview of Kamla Das’s autobiography and her poems
Indian women poets writing in English from Toru Dutt to Kamala Das reveal the mind boggling variety of themes as well as style that poetry is capable of offering. It needs to be remembered that poetry written by women need not be viewed only as feminist poetry. For the first time in Indian English poetry, the women poets of post- Independence and postmodern period portrayed in a subversive idiom their desires, lust, sexuality and gestational experiences. They enriched Indian English poetry with a wealth of new themes and experience. They developed a new innovative iconoclastic discourse to portray their repressed desires. Thus a new form of feminist poetry emerged and grew to give they Indian English poetry new strength, new diversity and new potent a new signs of maturity Indian English literature has been making great strides during the last few decades thereby attracting the international attention. Infect, the post-independence period in the history of Indian English writing is generally equated with the modern period. It must be said in the light of all considerations that the post independence Indo- English prose and poetry has characteristics which make it distinctive and different from the writing of the earlier period. The women poets of the present century have surely and confidently come out of the romantic entanglements, of the claptrap of the past tradition and succeeded in formulating a new tradition and a ‘new mode of articulation’ that is at once original natural and spontaneous. The poetry of Kamala Das, Gauri Deshpande, Mamta Kalia, Monika Varma of the older generation and Sumita Jain, Lakshmi Kannan, Meena Alexander, Vimla Rao, and Eunice de Souza of the present represents the genuineness and geometricality of the essential feminine sensibility.
Of all the women poets Kamala Das is chiefly remembered for her uninhibited adoption of the English language for the expression of her personal and public gestures She is the ‘new woman’ of the post-modern period who invented a multidimensional discourse to encode the multi tangled exposition of the newly independent woman with all barriers broken. Kamala Das has been a unique literary phenomenon. Frank bold and controversial in life and literature, Kamala Das has made enormous contribution to the growth of Indian poetry in English. She exhibits directness, frankness, and candidness to attack age-old conventions and convictions in her poems, and prose. There is a growth in her writing and this growth can also be termed as ‘from personal to universal’. Her voice also symbolizes the modern woman’s voice who wants to free herself from traditional and religious orthodoxy. Her aggression towards the traditional and conventional way of life always colours her poetry. K.R.S Iyengar rightly recognizes Kamala Das as “one of the most aggressively individualistic of the new poets.” Prof Iyengar maintains that Mrs.Das gives “the impression of writing in haste.”(Iyengar: 254) but that she reveals “a mastery of phrase and a control over rhythm.” As poet Kamala Das’s natural instincts always stir her to achieve a higher position in Indian English verse and to sustain the aesthetic and erotic beauty by giving it a new flavor by her own poetic craft. Hers is the poetry of self discovery. Indeed, her poetry has the freshness of a dewdrop. Without any background of literary scholarship a reader can walk into her poetic world and respond to each poem. Her poetry is naturally Indian and by creating her own verse-universe, she has really enhanced the glory of Indian English literature at the national and international level. She has written her autobiography into every one of her poem. Her fictional autobiography ‘My Story’ reveals that her poems are indeed an intense study of her personal traumas and tribulations that she fared in her married life bereft of emotional bonding. The autobiographical formula...
References: Das, Kamala. Summer in Calcutta. Kottayam: DC Books, 2004
Dhawan, R.K. ed. Indian Women Novelists. New Delhi: Prestige Books, 1993. Set II. Vol.I.
Jain, Jasbir. Writing Women Across Culture. Jaipur: Rawat Publications,
Naik M.K. Dimensions of Indian English literature. New Delhi : Sterling
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