ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Froggy Poets in the Well

Since the 1960s, contemporary Indian poetry in English has been in a pathetic and moribund state.

Who really cares about Indian poetry in English? Certainly not our editors or publishing houses. There is hardly any magazine in India that makes quality selections of Indian English poetry (an exception is The Caravan, perhaps). There is no equivalent here of a David Lehman, the series editor for The Best American Poetry, who chases good, original poems with an almost missionary zeal year after year. Most of India ’s leading publishing houses do not even have a poetry editor. Not a single poetry or little magazine of calibre exists in which an aspiring poet may hope to place his or her creative attempts.

Contemporary Indian poetry in English is in a truly sad, sorry and pathetic state. The reason for this is that no money comes from writing and publishing poetry. Books of verse, if ever printed, rarely make it out of the publisher’s godown – not even as wrappers for roadside peanut sellers. Some publishing houses do make an effort to show they care, occasionally bringing out “new writing in verse” but these rarely unearth genuinely fresh talent. Such publishing efforts are invariably cloistered with vested motives and agendas.

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