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Categories: 21st Century, Indian, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (96 pages)
(Pub. Feb 2008)
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(Pub. Feb 2008)
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Transformation is the underlying theme of Sujata Bhatt's new collection, the title deriving from a mystical being with skin that is 'pure lizard'. The natural world is ever present in these poems; monkeys, crickets and bats reappear in new incarnations, and a field of organic sunflowers in Pennsylvania is juxtaposed with sunflowers grown out of the toxic soil of Chernobyl. Pure Lizard also documents artistic exchange in its many forms: Schiller's desk is taken to Buchenwald during the Second World War, and Jane Eyre haunts a laboratory in Baltimore. There are poems in response to music by composers as varied as Telemann, Bob Zieff, and Philip Glass, as well as a poetic correspondence with the Welsh writer Gillian Clarke about a writer's sense of home and place, to be broadcast by BBC Radio Drama.
Sujata Bhatt is one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary poetry. She is, the New Statesman declared, 'one of the finest poets alive', and alive in a unique way to issues of politics and gender, to place and history, to different cultural and linguistic traditions.
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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