She is the recipient of several prizes and awards: the P. E. N. Asian Poetry Prize, Kerala Sahitya Academy Award for fiction, Asian World Prize for literature, Kendra Sahitya Academy Award etc. She was short listed for the Nobel Prize along with Marguerite Yourcenar, Doris Lessing and Nadine Gordimer. Her poetical collection includes: Summer in Calcutta (1965), The Descendants (1967), The Old Playhouse and Other Poems (1973), Collected Poems I (1984), The Best of Kamala Das (1991) and Only the Soul Knows How to Sing (1996). Kamala Das’s English poetry has been published in Europe in French, German, Swedish, and Serb-Croat translations. She “wrote chiefly of love, its betrayal, and the consequent anguish, and Indian readers . . . responded sympathetically to her guileless, guiltless frankness with regard to sexual matters.” Married at a young age of 15 and encouraged by her husband to continue writing, Kamala would write away in the night after her family went to sleep. Her poetry was aggressively individualistic. She wrote about sexuality and longing in a way that was never written before by Indo-Asian women authors, drawing comparisons to the likes of Sylvia Plath. By discussing her private feelings of love, lust and discussing sexuality through her poems, she invited the public into the private miseries of her experiences. There is a spirit of rebellion in her poems and it is seen as much in her introduction of herself : Kamala Das
The Confessional Poet
By: Anusha Azees
Born into a humble middle-class family to a father who was an editor of a leading newspaper and a poetess mother, Kamala Madhavikutty, took the literature world in India and the world by storm in the 1960’s. Kamala gained quite a reputation for not just her extremely personal poems but her open-minded and straight-forward nature. She is the recipient of several prizes and awards: the P. E. N. Asian Poetry Prize, Kerala Sahitya Academy Award for fiction, Asian World Prize for literature,...
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