Of poetry, adventurism and untold stories (IANS Books This Weekend)

From the world of poetry and adventurism to the tale of Seeta’s journey through fields, palaces and forests, the IANS bookshelf this weekend offers this and more. Take a look.

1. Book: Collected Poems 1969-2014; Author: Arvind Krishna Mehrotra; Publisher: Penguin; Pages: 286; Price: Rs. 399.
Narrating the story of Indian poetry, this collection is the first comprehensive collection of the work of Arvind Krishna Mehrotra – one of India’s well-known English-languge poets. The book comprises work spanning four books of poetry and also includes 34 new poems.
The book also offers Mehrotra’s translations from languages like Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali and Prakrit – which comprise of one-third of the collection.
The collection also comprises selections from “The Absent Traveller” and “Songs of Kabir”, along with those of poets Nirala, Mangalesh Dabral and Shakti Chattopadhyay.
With an introduction by novelist Amit Chaudhuri, the book is a trove for lovers of Indian poetry highlighting a diverse range of issues.
2. Book: Teresa’s Man and other stories from Goa; Author: Damodar Mauzo; Publisher: Rupa; Pages: 200; Price: Rs. 250.
From the tale of a farmer couple forced to sell their beloved animals to save themselves from starvation to the humourous account of how a senior author becomes the unwitting subject of a woman’s fiction, this collection is a narration of stories from Goa.
The stories were written over a period of more than four decades – starting from the mid-1960s. While one of them, ‘For Death Does Not Come’, was penned when the author was a college student, another, ‘Happy Birthday’ was written in 2009.
The collection, in which most stories are set in south Goa, has been compiled and translated from Konkani by Xavier Cota, a teacher.
3. Book: Urnabhih; Author: Sumedha V. Ojha; Publisher: Roli Books; Pages:368; Price:
This is a novel based on the ancient Mauryan times, a tale of espionage, adventure and seduction.
Urnabhih meaning spider’s web, revolves around the main protagonist Misrakesi, who comes to the newly formed Mauryan court to avenge her sister’s death. Her encounter with Chanakya – the man she comes to kill, transforms things and she lands the job of a spy, masquerading as a dancing girl.
In the role of a spy, using sweetness, seduction and help from the arrogant chief Pushyamitra Sunga, who she later falls in love and gets married to, she plans to crush the enemies of the state.
She is then sent to conquer a powerful neighbouring kingdom and that is where begins the story of adventure. But does she succeed in her mission and survive to tell the tell?
4. Book: The Untold Story of Seeta; Author: Neerja Phatak; Publisher: Partridge; Pages:182; Price: Rs.668 (paperback)
Was Seeta’s greatest quality her ability to suffer in silence? Has Seeta been smothered under a veil of convenience? Questions like these and many other form the basis of debutante author Neeraja Phatak’s book.
The book offers a “fresh perspective” on questions around Seeta’s personality and give an insight into the wife of Lord Ram.
While the book follows the chronology of events as in the epic Ramayana, the book is not a retelling, as here, “Seeta tells her own story and of her love for Ram”.