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Collected Poems

Sujata Bhatt

Cover of Collected Poems by Sujata Bhatt
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Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, BAME, Indian, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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(Pub. Sep 2013)
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  • Days my tongue slips away.
    I can't hold on to my tongue.
    It's slippery like the lizard's tail
    I try to grasp
    but the lizard darts away.

    from 'Search for My Tongue'
    This book gathers four decades of writing, published in collections from Brunizem in 1988 to Pure Lizard in 2008. It maps the poet’s trajectory, following her exile from her homeland, India, and her mother tongue, Gujarati, to the landscapes and languages of the USA and then Europe. Urgent, compassionate and inventive, Bhatt’s work forms a uniquely sustained project of reinvention and rediscovery.
    BRUNIZEM (1988)

    I The First Disciple
    Sujata: The First Disciple of Buddha 
    The Peacock 
    The Doors are Always Open
    Swami Anand 
    For Nanabhai Bhatt 
    For My Grandmother 
    The First Meeting 
    Something for Plato 
    The Difference between Being and Becoming 

    II A Different History
    A Different History 
    She Finds Her Place 
    The Kama Sutra Retold 
    Looking Through a French Photographer’s Portrayal of Rajasthan with Extensive Use of Orange Filters 
    Oranges and Lemons 
    The Women of Leh are such – 
    Paper and Glass 
    Another Act for the Lübecker Totentanz 
    What Is Worth Knowing? 
    Another Day in Iowa City 
    Living with Trains 
    The Woodcut 
    The Puppets 
    Pink Shrimps and Guesses 
    Looking Over What I Have Done 
    Search for My Tongue 

    III Eurydice Speaks
    Marie Curie to Her Husband 
    The Garlic of Truth 
    Wanting Agni 
    Eurydice Speaks 
    Mein lieber Schwan 
    Written after Hearing about the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan 
    3 November 1984 
    You Walk into This Room and 
    The Undertow 
    At the Marketplace 
    Metamorphoses II: A Dream 
    Saturday Night on Keswick Road 
    The Writer 
    Sad Songs with Henna Leaves 
    Go to Ahmedabad 
    To My Muse 
    Well, Well, Well, 


    I The Way to Maninagar
    The Langur Coloured Night 
    The Stare 
    Maninagar Days 
    The Daily Offering 
    The Glassy Green and Maroon 
    Ajwali Ba 
    Nanabhai Bhatt in Prison 
    Kankaria Lake 
    A Different Way to Dance 
    What Happened to the Elephant? 
    Red August 
    Understanding the Ramayana 
    Devibahen Pathak 

    II Angels’ Wings
    Angels’ Wings 
    Mozartstrasse 18 
    Yellow October 
    Wine from Bordeaux 
    A Story for Pearse 
    Groningen: Saturday Market on a Very Sunny Day 
    Counting Sheep White Blood Cells 
    The Mad Woman in the Attic 
    The Fish Hat 
    The Echoes in Poona 
    Walking Across the Brooklyn Bridge, July 1990 

    III Until Our Bones Prevent Us from Going Further
    The Sea at Night 
    Another Portrait of Bartolo 
    Rooms by the Sea 
    Franz Marc’s Blaue Fohlen 
    Sunlight in a Cafeteria 
    Portrait of a Double Portrait 
    White Asparagus 
    The Rooster in Conil 
    Just White Chips 
    Beyond Edinburgh 
    Love in a Bathtub 
    Belfast, November 1987 
    29 April 1989 
    The Need to Recall the Journey 
    At the Flower Market 
    Sinking into the Solstice 
    Until Our Bones Prevent Us from Going Further 
    What Does One Write When the World Starts to Disappear? 


    I Freak Waves
    The One Who Goes Away 
    We are Adrift 
    Although She’s a Small Woman 
    Point No Point 
    ‘Man Swept out to Sea as Huge Wave Hit Rock’ 
    When the Dead Feel Lonely 
    How Far East is it Still East? 
    The Three Sisters 
    The Wild Woman of the Forest 
    Polish-German Woodcarver Visits Vancouver Island 
    Victor, Whiskey, Juliet, 2 2 3 
    Salt Spring Island 
    Your Sorrow 

    II New World Dialogues
    The Light Teased Me 
    Cow’s Skull – Red, White and Blue 
    Skinny-dipping in History 
    What Does the Flower of Life Say, Frida Kahlo? 
    Nothing is Black, Really Nothing 
    The Blue Snake Who Loves Water 
    Pelvis with Moon 
    It Has Come to This 

    III The Stinking Rose
    The Stinking Rose 
    Garlic in War and Peace 
    Mars Owns this Herb 
    A Touch of Coriander 
    Bear’s Garlic at Nevern 
    Frightened Bees 
    Ther is No Rose of Swych Virtu 
    The Worm 
    A Poem in Three Voices 
    A Brahmin Wants the Cows to Eat Lots of Garlic 
    If You Named Your Daughter Garlic Instead of Lily or Rose 
    Self-Portrait with Garlic 
    Allium Moly and Odysseus 
    Instructions to the Artist 
    A First Draft from the Artist 
    The Man in the Artist’s First Draft Speaks 
    The Good Farmer 
    A Wintry July in Bremen 
    Rosehips in August 
    If a Ghazal were like Garlic 
    Garlic and Sapphires in the Mud 
    The Pharaoh Speaks 
    It Has Not Rained for Months 

    IV Old World Blood
    An India of the Soul 
    A Gujarati Patient Speaks 
    Black Swans for Swantje 
    One of the Wurst-Eaters on the Day After Good Friday 
    Orpheus Confesses to Eurydice 
    Kaspar Hauser Dreams of Horses 
    Ophelia in Defence of the Queen 
    Monsoon with Vector Anophelines 
    More Fears about the Moon 
    Lizard, Iguana, Chameleon, Salamander 

    V Riyaj
    The Voices 
    Translation: Meditation on a Poem by Hasmukh Pathak 
    First Rain 

    AUGATORA (2000)

    I Augatora
    Looking Up 
    The Dream 
    Durban: A Visit to the Botanical Gardens 
    A Memory from Marathi 
    The Virologist 
    After Dinner in Conil 
    Your Postcards 
    A Swimmer in New England Speaks 
    The Snake Catcher Speaks 

    II History is a Broken Narrative
    Surus to Hannibal 
    Diabetes Mellitus 
    The Pope, Tito and the WHO 
    After the Earthquake 
    Voice of the Unwanted Girl 
    History is a Broken Narrative 
    New Orleans Revisited 
    The Shirodkar Suture 
    A Room in Amsterdam 
    The Woman they call Abuela 
    Green Amber in Riga 
    Jane to Tarzan 

    III The Hole in the Wind
    The Hole in the Wind 

    IV The Found Angel: Nine Poems for Ria Eïng
    The Found Angel 
    Birthday Totem Pole 
    The Snail-Ear 
    Broom, Wind and Bird: Zeitwanderer 
    The Fox and the Angel 
    A Black Feather 
    Beeswax and Snakeskin Head 

    V Ars Poetica
    Is it a Voice? 
    Skintight with Ice 
    The Mammoth Bone 
    My Mother’s Way of Wearing a Sari 
    A Poem Consisting Entirely of Introductions 
    This Room is Part of the NYC Subway System 
    Montauk Garden with Stones and Water 
    A Detail from the Chandogya Upanishad 
    Poem for a Reader who was Born Blind 
    The Circle 
    The Multicultural Poem 
    Meeting the Artist in Durban 
    Ars Poetica

    Self-Portrait as Aubade, 1897 
    Self-Portrait Done with Red Chalk, 1897 
    Self-Portrait as My Sister, 1897 
    Self-Portrait with Coppery Red Hair, 1897/98 
    Self-Portrait in Front of Window Offering a View of Parisian Houses, 1900 
    Two Girls, Two Sisters, PB to CW, 1900 
    Black Sails, PB to RMR, September 1900 
    A White Horse Grazing in Moonlight, 1901 
    Your Weyerberg Gaze, CW to RMR, 1901 
    No Road Leads to This, CW to RMR, 1901 
    The Washing on the Line, 1901 
    Two Girls in a Landscape, 1901 
    Icicles Hang from the Reeds of Our Roof, CW to PB, February 1902 
    You Kissed My Eyelids, PB to RMR, March 1902 
    Elsbeth, PB to CW, July 1902 
    Self-Portrait with Scratches, 1903 
    Self-Portrait with Blossoming Trees, 1903 
    Two Girls: The Blind Sister, 1903 
    Self-Portrait in Front of a Landscape with Trees, 1903 
    Two Girls in Profile in a Landscape, charcoal, 1903/04 
    In Her Green Dress, She is, 1905 
    Self-Portrait with Your Jaw Set, 1905 
    You are the Rose, CW to RMR, 1905 
    A Red Rose in November, PB to CW, 1905 
    Don’t Look at Me like That, CW to PB, 1905 
    Runic, PB to CW, 1905 
    Self-Portrait with an Oversized Hat and a Red Rose in the Right Hand, 1905 
    Self-Portrait with a Necklace of White Beads, 1906 
    Self-Portrait with a Wreath of Red Flowers in Your Hair, 1906 
    A Colour for Solitude, PB to RMR, 1906 
    Self-Portrait on My Fifth Wedding Anniversary, 25-5-06 
    Self-Portrait as a Nude Torso with an Amber Necklace, 1906 
    Self-Portrait as Anonymous, 1906 
    You Spoke of Italy, PB to RMR, 1906 
    Is there More Truth in a Photograph?, PB to her sister HB, 1906 
    Self-Portrait as a Life-Sized Nude, 1906 
    Self-Portrait as a Standing Nude with a Hat, 1906 
    Self-Portrait Wearing a Blue and White Striped White Dress, 1906 
    Self-Portrait with Yellowish Green, 1906 
    Two Girls: One Sitting in a White Shirt, the Other, a Standing Nude, 1906 
    Two Girls: Nude, One Standing, the Other Kneeling in Front of Red Poppies, 1906 
    Two Girls with their Arms Across their Shoulders, 1906 
    Self-Portrait on a Hot Day in Paris, 1906 
    Self-Portrait as a Mask, 1906 
    Self-Portrait with a Hat and Veil, 1906 
    Self-Portrait, Frontal, with a Flower in the Right Hand, 1906/7 
    A White Horse Grazing in Moonlight, a retrospective view of 1901, PB to OM 
    Otto with a Pipe, PB to OM, 1906/07 
    Self-Portrait with a Lemon, 1906/07 
    Self-Portrait with a Sprig of Camellia Leaves, 1906/07 
    And What Will Death Do?, 1906/07 
    Self-Portrait with Two Flowers in the Left Hand, PB to CW, 1907 
    Who has Just Died? CW to PB, 1908 
    Through the Blackness, CW to PB, 1915 
    21 November 1916, CW to PB 
    The Room Itself is Dying, CW to RMR, circa 1921 
    Ruth’s Wish, CW to RMR, 1936 
    16 April 1945, CW to PB 
    Was it the Blue Irises?
    Clara’s Voice 
    Lines Written in Venice 
    Fischerhude, 2001 
    Worpswede, 2001 

    PURE LIZARD (2008)

    I A Hidden Truth
    A Hidden Truth 
    The Fourth Monkey 
    Two Monkeys
    The Crow, his Beak, and a Girl 
    Nine Poems in Response to Etchings by Paula Rego
    The Crow’s House 
    The Crow and his Cat 
    A Tube of Paint 
    The Night Crow 
    Sewing on the Shadow 
    Flying Children 
    Wendy and the Lost Boys 
    Mermaid Drowning Wendy 
    Wendy’s Song 

    II Telemann’s Frogs
    What is Exotic? 
    Pure Lizard 
    Good Omens 
    Only the Blackest Stones 
    Parvati Temple, Poona 
    Whenever I Return 
    Telemann’s Frogs 
    Buddha’s Lost Mother 
    Gale Force Winds 
    Living with Stones 
    Piece Caprice 
    Whose Ghost Is This? 
    Jasmine Tastes Bitter 
    Monkey Woman 
    In the End 
    Korean Angel 
    kikku no sekku 

    III Sad Walk
    The Imagination 
    She Slipped Through the Suez Canal 
    The Light that Unfetters the Soul 
    And look: the olives ripen, the lizards stretch 
    Three Poems from South Korea
    Bamboo in Gyeongju 
    King Munmu 
    Because of the Moon 
    Finding India in Unexpected Places 
    Six Entries from a Witch’s Diary 
    Unexpected Blackness 
    Sad Walk 

    IV Solo Piano
    Jane Eyre in the Lab 
    Nine Poems in Response to Lithographs by Paula Rego
    Girl Reading at Window 
    Loving Bewick 
    Jane in a Chair with Monkey 
    Jane’s Back 
    The Keeper 
    Come to Me 
    Four Poems in Response to Paintings by Paula Rego
    The Cadet and his Sister 
    The Maids 
    The Soldier’s Daughter 
    The Policeman’s Daughter 
    Portrait of a Young Man in his Study, Venice, 1528 
    The Old Man Who is Not 
    Felice Beato Enters Sikander Bagh 
    The Smell of Lilacs 
    328 Mickle Boulevard, Camden, New Jersey 
    Circling Over Medellín 
    A House of Silence
    Devibahen and Harilal in Pennsylvania 
    Green Acorns 
    He Farms for Beauty 
    Do Not Use the Word ‘Erosion’ Lightly 
    Solo Piano: After Listening to Philip Glass 

    Index of Titles 
    Index of First Lines 
    Sujata Bhatt was born in Ahmedabad, India. She grew up in Pune (India) and in the United States. She received her MFA from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. To date, she has published eight collections of poetry with Carcanet Press. She received the Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Asia) and ... read more
    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
    '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
    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
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