A Scratch

March 1, 2006 at 5:17 pm 12 comments

Arun Kolatkar

Listen

what is god
and what is stone
the dividing line
if it exists
is very thin
at jejuri
and every other stone
is god or his cousin

there is no crop
other than god
and god is harvested here
around the year
and round the clock
out of the bad earth
and the hard rock

that giant hunk of rock
the size of a bedroom
is khandoba's wife turned to stone
the crack that runs right across
is the scar from his broadsword
he struck her down with
once in a fit of rage

scratch a rock
and a legend springs

No other Indian poet writing in English(yes, my Bengali brethern, that includes Him too) moves me like Kolaktar does. I do not read much poetry; to me poetry is more of a fad that keeps repeating at regular intervals but you say Kolatkar and I am in. Anytime. This particular poem is one of my favorites in the Jejuri collection. All he needed to see was a scratch to write something so beautiful.

Btw, does anyone know why is it that it is so difficult to find Kolatkar's works in bookstores in India?

Entry filed under: Arun Kolatkar, English. Tags: .

Ars Poetica? Paon se lahoo ko dho dalo

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ludwig  |  March 1, 2006 at 8:32 pm

    Very nice! Kolatkar is mostly excellent, sometimes merely good.

    And yes, if someone can enlighten the world as to why his books aren’t to be found in Indian bookstores, many will be grateful. Or, someone please just gift me the Kala Ghoda poems.

    Lud.

    PS ‘Jejuri’, is actually pronounced ‘Zezuri’, if I’m not mistaken. Check with Marathi speaking friend? This is like one of those things Prof. Deshmukh used to say in his lab, “The reading is neglizible, but not jero.” One needs to invert appropriately.

    Reply
  • 2. Falstaff  |  March 1, 2006 at 11:25 pm

    The reason you can’t find the Kala Ghoda poems anywhere, is that they’re published by this thing called Pras Prakashan which doesn’t seem to have any distribution to speak of (at least not outside Maharashtra). If you’re really desperate, you could try writing to them, the address is:

    Pras Prakashan,
    Vrindavan 2B/5, Raheja Township, Malad East, Mumbai 400 097, India.

    Alternatively, if you know anyone who’s travelling from Bombay, Rhythm House may still have a couple of copies – they seemed to have plenty of stock a couple of months ago, and I can’t imagine too many people buy books from there.

    Reply
  • 3. Veena  |  March 2, 2006 at 11:50 am

    Lud(Luddo seems much sweeter, can I call you that?): Where is your recording?

    Falstaff: Thanks. Will try luck at Rhythm House.

    Reply
  • 4. Ludwig  |  March 2, 2006 at 8:30 pm

    Its Jezuri apparently. Simultaneously neglizible and jero. What a pass we’ve come to…

    [falstaff] Much thanks for the Pras Prakashan thing. Wonder of wonders, I have a family friend who lives in Malad, in some Raheja thingy no less. He could probably stretch his arm out of the flat window and pick up a copy. Rhythm House…is that the one in Fort? Colaba? I seem to remember blowing some prize money from Malhar ’96 at this joint…

    [veena] Lud. Luddite. Luddo. Ludovicious. Ludovic ‘The Ugly’ III, are all grist to this mill.

    Ah, the recording. Thought you might’ve forgotten. Evidently not. Falstaff’s URL has been religiously followed and s/w downloaded. Needst take it home, find a mike thingy, some “Ramanov” (for Mayiladuthurai courage), and blabber forth.

    PS How wonderful. The “word verification” string below is “uglsx”. Sounds like the name of a Motorola phone…–>

    Reply
  • 5. bookie  |  November 27, 2006 at 7:48 pm

    arun kolatkar’s books (the english ones) are all the time available at strand book stall. & all of them. including “the policeman” — a wordless play in 13 scenes — posthumously published. but a great book all the same.
    and oh, is anybody interested in marathi poetry that kolatkar wrote?
    that is available in peoples’ book house in the same area as strand.
    all of it. all the time. it’s only the fashionable bookstores that are illiterate enough not to stock these books. can you imagine crossword stocking kolatkar’s poetry? or the oxford? or nalanda? you must know where to look for this kind of books. if you are in bombay. that’s all.
    rhythm house apparently was an exception. but they kept only kala ghoda poems. that’s probably because it was the festival time. kala ghoda festival. & they obviously thought the poems were about kala ghoda. how dumb can you get? it’s like trying to sell jejuri at the annual festival in jejuri. it’s not about the jejuri you know. but then who is going to tell them?
    but enough for now. remember strand and pbh when in bombay.

    Reply
  • 6. sandhya  |  March 3, 2008 at 5:25 am

    If you like Indian poets, you have to read Aimless Wanderer. He writes (sporadically, unfortunately) at http://aimlesswanderer.livejournal.com .

    -sh

    Reply
  • 7. rashi  |  September 11, 2009 at 7:35 am

    could some one please let me know the background of jejuri and arun kolatkar!!!

    please!!

    will be very thank full to you!!

    Reply
  • 8. Neil Doherty  |  April 18, 2010 at 5:00 am

    Poetry is a fad…now what does that mean??

    Reply
  • 9. Snehith Kumbla  |  July 30, 2010 at 7:21 am

    You can try buying Kolatkar’s collection from this link: http://erasik.com/books/bypub/Pras%20Prakashan/page1/

    Reply
  • 10. Landscape Gardeners in Barnet  |  December 27, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Aw, this became an really good post. In thought I would like to devote writing such as this moreover – taking time and actual effort to make a quite very good article but exactly what do I say I procrastinate alot and by no indicates uncover a strategy to get something completed. 42973

    Reply
  • 11. bumblebee  |  June 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    for anybody to get any of kolatkar books, write straight to
    prasprakashan@gmail.com
    very easy.
    –bumblebee

    Reply
  • 12. Kalpana  |  November 4, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Need essay for it…..can anyone help me…..

    Reply

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