Kamla Das Poetry Analysis

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Known for her confessional mode of writing, Kamla Das’s (1934-2009) poetry offers an aesthetic of resistance to the phallocentric codes and conventions. What sets her poetry apart from the other Indian women poets writing in English is the brutal honesty with which she handles the issue of women’s search for subjectivity and autonomy in the face of patriarchal prohibitions. Her choice of a free poetic mode instead of regular metrical form suits her tone of anger and protest resulting from the marginalization of women. However, while hitting out at the deeply entrenched patriarchal prejudices, she does not forget her own femininity. Das’s individuality lies in evolving a new language of protest. The expression of resentment and hurt in her poetry…show more content…
Her autobiography My Story appeared in 1976. Kamla Das primarily writes about her desire for and elusiveness of love, trap of matrimony, gender construction and discrimination, and nature, to name just a few prominent themes of her poetry. Commenting on her poetry, Rajiv Patke writes in An Illustrated History of Indian Literature in English: Her poetry may be narrow in focus, careless of decorum, unremitting in its intensity, reckless in its emotional abandon, lacking in irony. But there is no voice more direct in Indian poetry in English. It shatters more careful virtues into debris, offering simply the vulnerability of its own candour. Her iconoclasm has led to her work being misread as sensationalist, just as it has lent itself to the cause of feminism. (253-4) This paper attempts to explore three poems—“An Introduction”, “The Old Playhouse” and “Luminol”— from the perspective of a woman’s search for selfhood in the face of patriarchal dominance and
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