Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

HowTo: memorize poetry

April 28, 2014

A nice piece!

On Tagore!

January 3, 2012

Amardeep’s essay on Tagore and his relevance is a good read.

A link to some tamil poetry

February 27, 2011

Once in a while, I get an urge to pick a book of tamil poetry — Andal, Bharathiyar, Valluvar, Thiruvasagam  or Sangam ones and read. The other day, I was browsing through VVS Iyer’s Kamban:  a study published by Delhi Tamil Sangam and felt like reading Kambaramayanam. Today, while browsing Jeyamohan’s blog, I came across a link to the site called Dravidaveda; I am parking the link here for those of you who can (and want to) read Divyaprabandham (as well as for myself when the urge strikes me next time); the site is nice with poetry along with urai.

A must-read!

June 20, 2010

Milk and honey

The muddy water from a stagnant pool
in his land
which drinking deer had stirred up
was far sweeter to me
than the milk and honey here.

(what the girl told her friend, back home after a brief period of elopement)


Ainkurunuru 203

Make it larger!

Hear me, potter:
Like a little lizard
that travels with a cart,
perching on the wheel,
I had travelled all the way with him
crossing many a wilderness.
Have pity on me,
and make his funeral urn
a little oversize.


Purananuru 256

From the must read translation, Love stands alone: selections from Tamil Sangam Poetry, translated by M L Thangappa and edited by A R Venkatachalapathy. Here is the review in the Hindu, and here are some excerpts from Hindu literary review. The review from the Telegraph was also very positive.

Some math-y links

July 7, 2009

All the following are from Notices of AMS (and, pdf):

  1. Solving Sudoku puzzles — paper and pencil algorithm
  2. TeX family in 2009
  3. LaTeX — breaking free!
  4. Mathematical models in science and engineering
  5. A special issue on formal proof
  6. Last poem of James Clark Maxwell (This one is a real gem!)

Have fun!

Ian Jack on steering clear of poetry

June 7, 2009

And, sometimes, poets too:

One of the now-abandoned traditions of the literary magazine, Granta, was that it never, or hardly ever, published poetry. In my dozen years as editor, I think I published three poems — by Michael Ondaatje, Les Murray and Vikram Seth. My predecessor as editor, Bill Buford, had one or two in his early editions and then imposed a complete ban for 15 years, broken only by a poem from Salman Rushdie. I once asked Bill what he had against the form. “I quite like poetry,” he said, “It’s the poets I can’t stand.” I felt I didn’t know enough about either, and proved this to myself in 1997 when I made the mistake of publishing a 13-word poem by Vikram Seth called “Sampati”, about the eponymous character in the Ramayana who, like Icarus, flies too near the sun. We added this information in an epigraph and footnote to the poem, without telling the poet, and Vikram was so furious that he made us publish the poem again in a later edition minus its informative dressing. This took up more space than you might think for a thirteen-word poem, because every word had a line to itself apart from “un-done”, which took up two.

Jack, discusses the recent Oxford Professor of Poetry election fallout in the rest of the column and ends it with a suggestion:

But the method of choosing Oxford’s Professor of Poetry surely needs a radical rethink. Would you appoint a visiting professor of nuclear physics by totting up votes from a tiny self-selecting sample of graduates? Or of theology, or economics, or French? Of any subject at all? If poetry matters as much as its devotees insist, then the professor in the subject should get the job in the same way as everyone else: through selection panels and the judgment of his or her peers. It isn’t a perfect process, but at least it reduces the risk of public humiliation — and it might save the reputation of one of the world’s oldest and oddest professorships.

Take a look!

Kamala Das: RIP

June 1, 2009

K Santhosh reports from Thrissur::

She was called Kamala Das, Madhavikutty and Kamala Suraiya. Each name represented a body of her works, a phase of her life or an aspect of her personality.

Kamala Das enjoyed the status of being one of the first poets writing in English from Kerala to be recognised nationally and internationally.

An iconoclast of her generation who unabashedly spoke about the Indian woman’s sexual desires and a maverick who courted controversies, she was decorated with prizes such as the Kent Award and nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature.

A poem on Muse and a musical musing

March 20, 2009

For the past couple of days, I have been reading (randomly) from Nissim Ezekiel’s Collected Poems; one of them, identified as a minor classic by Keki N Daruwalla, called Poet, Lover, Birdwatcher goes thus:

To force the pace and never to be still
Is not the way of those who study birds
Or women. The best poets wait for words.
The hunt is not an exercise of will
But patient love relaxing on a hill
To note the movement of a timid wing;

This poem is what Scott’s post at Musical Perceptions reminded me of:

… reminding all of us that the defense is an opportunity for a well-informed group of people to sit and talk for 2 hours about a subject that they care about. This is what I want all my classes to be like, a conversation that helps everyone involved to learn more about subjects we love. Unfortunately enough of my students don’t like the subject, or haven’t prepared enough to contribute in a meaningful way, that I don’t often get that rush. I suppose that is the true joy of teaching graduate students. After all, I had many deep conversations with fellow students and with my professors when I was in graduate school. We had the time to study the one discipline that we cared about. We had the broader knowledge base from our undergraduate studies to apply to the conversation. And we all loved academia. I’m looking forward to this intense conversation about creative writing as an analytic response to music, learning at least as much as I teach during the process. That is why I do this.

May be we should add teachers also to the list of Lovers, Poets, and Birdwatchers!

PS: By the way, it is great fun reading Ezekiel; here is an excerpt from another of my favourite called Goodbye party for Miss Pushpa T.S.:

our dear sister
is departing for foreign
in two three days,
we are meeting today
to wish her bon voyage.

You are all knowing, friends,
what sweetness is in Miss Pushpa.
I don’t mean only external sweetness
but internal sweetness.
Miss Pushpa is smiling and smiling
even for no reason
but simply because she is feeling.

Updike’s The dance of the solids

January 31, 2009

Peskin, at cosmic variance, reminds of Updike’s Neutrino poem while paying his tributes to the writer who passed away recently:

Every particle physicist knows Updike’s poem “Cosmic Gall,” the number one popularization of neutrinos:

At night, they enter at Nepal
and pierce the lover and his lass
From underneath the bed …

In a similar vein, I believe every materials scientist should know of his The dance of the solids, which, Scientific American reproduces here to mark his death:

These verses were composed after John Updike had read the September 1967 issue of Scientific American, which was devoted to materials. They appeared in his book Midpoint and Other Poems, and are reproduced with the generous permission of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. We are posting it to mark Updike’s death today at the age of 76.

Have fun!

First writer to use “space” in the sense of outer space

December 8, 2008

Here is the NPR piece which gives the information:

… Milton, who visited Galileo in 1638, was also the first writer to ever use the word “space,” in the sense of “outer space,” to consider the infinite scope of the universe. As he wrote in Book 8 of Paradise Lost:

… this earth a spot, a grain,
An atom, with the firmament compared
And all her numbered stars that seem to roll
Space incomprehensible (for such
Their distance argues and their swift return

There is also other interesting information on Milton in the piece, like this one, for example:

“[Milton] was a very great poet, a great mythmaker. He was an interesting man, politically — one of the first European intellectuals to argue in favor of divorce on the grounds of lack of spiritual companionship,” says Kerrigan. “He published the first book devoted to censorship. All of this, along with some of the greatest poetry in the history of the world.”

A nice piece; take a look!