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Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (96 pages)
(Pub. Feb 2000)
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.
Awards won by Sujata Bhatt Winner, 2000 Italian Tratti Poetry Prize Winner, 1991 Cholmondeley Award Winner, 1988 Alice Hunt Bartlett Award (Brunizem) Winner, 1991 Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Asia)
Short-listed, 1995 Forward Poetry Prize
Praise for Sujata Bhatt '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.'
Times Literary Supplement
Bhatt's style is refreshingly plain and direct, depending for its lyricism on moments of gentle repitition.
Alan Marshall, The Daily Telegraph. 'An exciting first collection, moving and invigorating.'
Poetry Review 'Sujata Bhatt leads the reader through the bright, familiar world and on into the dark until her words pierce that darkness, offering a light that will challenge and reward. Here are poems that move confidently through that dangerous border-world between the real and the surreal, illuminating both. This book is a treasure-house of modern, magical poems.'
John F. Deane 'Here is a chance to see Sujata Bhatt's favourite themes strengthened by re-gathering. A common theme is language, the very stuff of poetry, given special insight by her travels and her multilingual experience. In India, she says, it is 'a sin to be rude to a book'; 'The Stare' considers two babies, human and monkey, gazing at each other curiously, one with language, the other with' who knows? Elsewhere she considers the loss of her mother tongue, 'dead' in her mouth but returning to her in dreams. A broad-minded, humane, imaginative book.'
Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales
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