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In Britain the most adventurous list in poetry and in fiction is that being printed according to the ideals of a small press by Carcanet, well away from London. It does look as if the old alliance between the words of the writer and the artistry of making fine books has a vital future.
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ISBN: 978 1 857543 81 0
Categories: Black and Asian
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: February 2000
216 x 135 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
The hot air balloon convention floats
above our garden - weeks pass
but no one wants to come down.
At first the firemen stood by, ready
with their longest ladders,
their life nets and jumping sheets.
But now they've taken off
in their own, fire-red, hot air balloons:
Giant fireballs that dare to compete with the sun.
Who can look after the roses when the sky
ripples and throbs with so much passion?
from 'Looking Up'
'Augatora' is not a new word: it is a word lost from language a millennium ago. In Old High German it meant, more or less, 'eye gate' ('window' with an inbuilt etymology).
The windows in this book open on real and imagined land- and cityscapes. India, past and present, remains 'a necessary obsession'. Here also we see Durban, Riga, New Orleans, Amsterdam, Jerusalem, Barcelona, and the small island of Juist off the German North Sea coast, site of her long poem 'The Hole in the Wind', broadcast by BBC Radio Drama. Memory, science, language, history and love remain Bhatt's themes; she amply justifies the New Statesman claim that she is 'one of the finest poets alive' - alive in many different ways.
What the Times Literary Supplement said about Point No Point: Selected Poems holds true for Augatora: 'a substantial collection of poems, one that allows us to travel, dream and learn, but one that ultimately moves us by the quietude of its stance and its impeccable articulation.'
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