The poem consists of 4 stanzas having 5 lines each. There is no set rhyme scheme. The poet uses a number of literary devices to describe the events that led from one hunger sexual to the other physical. In the first reading, we may think that the poet has a heavy load or luggage on his back.
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Daruwalla, Shiv K. Kumar, Dom Moraes, Pritish Nandy, Arun Kolatkar, Dilip Chitre and a host of others, whom we presume to be the harbingers of modernism, Jayanta Mahapatra is definitely one of those who have furthered it with one collection after another.
Before discussing Jayanta Mahapatra and his poetry, one should keep in mind that Jayanta is first of all an Odia poet of Odisha then anything we say about him from the identity point of view. First, he is an Odia then an Indian, a regional then national and then international one by one.
If we discuss as a poet, he is but an imagist and poetry is image-making. The other most important thing we have forgotten about him is this that he is professor of physics, not of literature and poetry comes to him through physics, via it, not properly, but through the channels of light and darkness theories, astrophysics and metaphysics.
There are so many things in his poetry and it is not easy to discuss him at a stretch and this is for which he is called complex and tedious one; a poet whose poems it is difficult to analyse and paraphrase. He is abstract that the lines mean they not exactly. As a poet he is historical and the history, art and culture of Orissa have influenced him greatly and he just represents them.
The Ganga Dynasty kings and the Kalinga Empire we have forgotten them, just the history of Delhi cannot be the history of India. As a poet, he is of human hunger, want and scarcity which he has felt in the wide Indian countryside. A realist he is down to realities and it can be marked in several of his poems when he speaks of the fate-lines of the girl, the poverty of the fisher girl, the defeat of Kalinga and the sun-burnt hamlets of the country.
In the poem, Temple, he carries the same age-old story of hunger. The things are just the same; only the shapes keep changing with time.
A feminist he has written keeping in view the poor fate of the country girl, atrocities inflicted upon the Indian women folk doing household works namelessly without any credit given to her as for home-keeping. The tales of Indian backwardness, poverty and un-culture, illiteracy and un-education, how to say to?
The woes of a developing third-world nation, none, but those who live and suffer can know it well. In his long poem, Temple, he has resorted to rape and violence, basing on news items. What it maligns us is the gang-rape of the girl child and dumping of her beyond recognition.
A romantic, he is Wordsworthian, Keatsian, as and when he talks of mornings and evenings, dawns and dusks, noondays and midnights. A poet of the place, he is Lawrentine as for his references to Cuttack, Puri and Bhubaneswar and Hardyian too as they have referred to Nottinghamshire and Essex. Silence is the prime thing through which the images germinate in a vacant mood of reflection.
Sights and scenes are to see, pictures and images. Though silence is the main thing or crux of his poetry, but instead of it, there are ingredients of it. The silence of mornings and evenings, middays and midnights, dawns and dusks, daybreaks and twilights is one aspect while the silence of the solitary and secluded countryside with the hamlets and thorps against a backdrop the another thing of deliberation.
At noonday the solitary pyres burning, the cremation work going on, voices resounding and the wife yawning and taking a siesta oblivious of all, tell of another bewitching silence.
A poet of the sea, he describes it otherwise in terms of J. Sexuality is another bewitching and intriguing aspect of his poetry which is but the Lawrentine quality. A poet of the country, he tells of the mud-housed and straw-thatched hamlets and thorps scattered across a vast stretch of land.
Jayanta Mahapatra had not been a modernist, post-modernist but has become as for the specialties inherent in his poetry naturally. Generally, we call him modernist or post-modernist, or post-colonial as for his handling of the theme and the grasp and grip over the language, the grip over it. Silence is the key-word of Jayanta Mahapatra; the key-board and he keeps tapping them to play with words, juggling as a juggler, solving word-puzzles and cross-words.
A ludo or chess player of words, he gives a tougher fight in coming to terms with him; his poetic words, sentences and stanzas and those stanzas are the stanzas of nothingness, existentialism, what it seems to be is not and what it seems not is to be.
In a word, the gist of which is, his poetry borders on the theme of nothingness and meaninglessness, nothing is what it seems to be and what it seems to be is nothing.
Apart from a poet of silence, he is very much bewitching and intriguing. Against the backdrop of all this, the conspiracies and whispers of silence can be marked in the whorehouse and fisher girl images and pictures. Eco-centric quality is the cardinal feature of his poetry. The sea, lakes, rivers, hills, water bodies, turtles, forests, empty spaces, vacant moods ns minds and the blank sheets of paper-like feeling possess the poetic self of the writer and he longs for an expression in them.
The poetry of Jayanta Mahapatra is eco-centric and environmental-friendly as and when the talks order on the theme of nothingness, existentialism and he shows us through the morning and the evening, their incessant coming and going, the passage of time. Solid mass or mater remains the same. Just the shapes of the things go changing and this is what he says, communicates and relates to in his poetry.
Linguistically rather than thematically, he goes on keeping us on the tenterhooks. His language is more powerful than being poetical and literary simply as because his is a language of science, that of physics and secondly he is a Christian too and thirdly he has studied in convent schools. There are so many reasons for it. Word-play is one of the bewitching characteristics of Jayanta Mahapatra and many struggle to catch the rhythm of his lines in order to mean them, but meaning is not in between the lines, just the images lie in.
The images of the vacant skies, sunny and silvery with the spaces blankly lifting us and of the landscapes solitary and secluded, the herons and storks flying over a vast surface, these baffle and perplex us in grappling with.
For the foreign audience, not the Indian readers, some say it, he has written his poetry as had been famous before or in contact with them even before being recognized here. The foreigners too appreciated and admired him as for the bare details of India and the intriguing facts, cramming and compressed.
The tales of hunger fascinate them; the tales of want and scarcity, moral depravity and corrosion. The poems of Jayanta Mahapatra are the lyrics of silence which but a few have come to realize it.
He is a poet of silence and his poetry the poetry of silence which is but one phase of his creative dimension. There is Vedic incantation, Upanishadic recapitulation in Jayanta Mahapatra. The prayers, hymns and psalms recited in the Jagannatha temple can be overheard in his poetry and this is the mantric quality as well as incantation of his poetry.
Such a thing is Vedic, Upanishadic and Puranic which it is available in him indirectly. The wooden frame from which the idols are made and changed every nineteen years is another time of festive celebration. To read him is to know that he is a professor of physics turning, converting the matters and materials of physics into poetry. His base is of physics, not of literature, more especially poetry.
He has come to understand and comprehend poetry just through physics. It is the theories of physics which tell of the history of the world in a different way seen through the creation of the universe and the theories doing the rounds.
He is a poet of the dark daughters whose trouble, tribulation we have failed to comprehend which is in other words the myth of feminism, how have we neglected our daughters, how have we treated them? Our patriarchal bias has ruined it all what good it was in us. The inequality and empathy with which we see our daughters hurts us, not only us, but the good and thinking people of the world.
He is a poet of Orissa, his mind one of it, his heart and soul. His mind can go nowhere except Orissa. His heart still beats for the rathyatra, the chariot festival of Puri. His poetry is a departure from the conventional norms, rules and regulations of verse and he takes liberties with the fancy and imagination of his type, dream and reflection, leaving any a question asked and unasked, answered and unanswered.
This too is a fact not to be suppressed that fame came knocking at his door as there was a dearth of poets and he had been famous with his just Close the Sky, Ten by Ten and Svayamvara and Other Poems. Herein thought and meaning are not, juts image and word-play, abstract brooding and vacant thinking.
On the chess-board of silence, he plays his moves tactfully with so much word-play and intrigue. Waiting is without any doubt a book of Orissa, Orissan history and culture.
Written against a historical backdrop, it stands for its crystal and contradictory imagery, surreal expression, change and shift in styles and transitions of thought, idea and imagery. A poem it startles us with its vivid imagery and clear-cut poetic conception and description. There is no ambiguity herein. Luckily, he is so meaningful here as that no one can doubt it that he is meaningless elsewhere. A poet of images, imagery and imagism, he has dealt with poetical themes, but he stuns us here.
A poet of rains and rites, he is very ambiguous as because he has little to do with the rains as it is a common phenomenon of the coastal area. Poetry to Mahapatra is an album of photographs and you just keep seeing them rather than asking him; poetry to Mahapatra is images fleeting and captured into the camera. Books, Kottayam, , Bare Face, D. Relationship, is a story of his relationship with the land of his birth, nativity and historicity of art and culture. With an Oriya mind and heart, he sings of Orissa, the Orissan scenes and landscapes and it is the book for which he has won the Sahitya Akademi award in His poetry is the poetry of silence and on the dashboard of it, he keeps uploading the images.
A photographer of the rock-cut temples, he goes picturing the sculptures and figurines in love, war and devotion, telling of sociologically, dharma-artha-kama-and-moksha. From the sea beach he sees the dawn flashing, the evening descending upon and enveloping the area, the solitary pyres burning.
The things of the dark consciousness the poet explores about through the nocturnal flight of imagination. The poem Dark Flight may be quoted in: The sky darkens. The afternoon wind drifts through the streets of the old city and wrecks the images on the placid river that holds the sudden terror of a man falling into its chilly depths. My eyes are getting used to the dark.
From time to time my father comes at me with outstretched arms of judgement and I answer from no clear place I am in. If I could get up and move about, seeking the quick swifts in the halflight in the rain, trying to feel the wind on the wings that overcome the earth. In a wind that carries the smoke and the fear, the slow, doubled voice of wings we are always afraid to hear.
The exterior not, but the interior at work is the chief property of the poet. Loss is one of the poems which deserve to be mentioned: Outside the house, the trees have grown. Tonight a dark wind drops down through the congested leaves and the fidgets on the steps leading to my door: it has a lonely voice of tides spilling up over the beaches of our dreams. The grass going bare unknown under our feet, the pigeons sailing across the uneven heart, the acres of water lying beyond our thirst: each a key that refuses to turn in a lock.
Nothing that memory concealed with ominous heights. Now when I open the door is it the green grieving wind which pushes through and disturbs the things hanging on that instant or is it the breath of someone once loved trying to shake something out of the mind?
Suddenly, around me in the darkness of evening. But this body thrown up on its own thoughts. Of warm water, clean sheets on a bed, a naked whiteness thrust into summer, swelling of mangoes and cashews.
Though he is no more active poetically or poetically dead as he has already produced the best he could, one or two decades ago, still, Mahapatra is the undoubtful benchmark in Indian English Poetry tradition. Most of the students who graduate or excel in English Literature studies in India have to go through the poems of Jayanta Mahapatra. His poems, liked by some and otherwise, are always a part of the discussion whenever it happens to be on Indian English Poetry. Born in , Mahapatra is a poet and occasional prose writer who writes in English as well in Oriya also.
Hunger Poem by Jayanta Mahapatra
Stanza 10 Introduction In the poem Freedom, Jayant Mahapatra questions the concept of freedom popular in India and celebrated with great pomp and show. He compares and contrasts the life of politicians and godmen with that of the poor on the street. The poem consists of around 10 stanzas each having a different number of lines. The floating body symbolizes the Hindu Tradition in which a body is cremated and its ash is let to float in the river.
Freedom by Jayanta Mahapatra
He shared a special bond with A. Ramanujan , one of the finest poets in the IEP tradition. Mahapatra is also different in not being a product of the Bombay school of poets besides R. Over time, he has managed to carve a quiet, tranquil poetic voice of his own—distinctly different from those of his contemporaries. His wordy lyricism combined with Indian themes put him in a league of his own. In one of his interviews, Mahapatra says, "Meeting with A D Hope, especially in his warm home in Canberra, and with his charming wife, Penelope, is an unforgettable happening in my life. It was a lesson.
Daruwalla, Shiv K. Kumar, Dom Moraes, Pritish Nandy, Arun Kolatkar, Dilip Chitre and a host of others, whom we presume to be the harbingers of modernism, Jayanta Mahapatra is definitely one of those who have furthered it with one collection after another. Before discussing Jayanta Mahapatra and his poetry, one should keep in mind that Jayanta is first of all an Odia poet of Odisha then anything we say about him from the identity point of view. First, he is an Odia then an Indian, a regional then national and then international one by one. If we discuss as a poet, he is but an imagist and poetry is image-making. The other most important thing we have forgotten about him is this that he is professor of physics, not of literature and poetry comes to him through physics, via it, not properly, but through the channels of light and darkness theories, astrophysics and metaphysics. There are so many things in his poetry and it is not easy to discuss him at a stretch and this is for which he is called complex and tedious one; a poet whose poems it is difficult to analyse and paraphrase.