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Bombay - Melanie Silgardo

Born in 1956 in Bombay to Roman Catholic Parents, Melanie Silgardo read English at St. Xavier’s College. She was taught by Eunice De Souza, who became a friend and early influence, but Silgardo’s poems are more violent and adrenalised than those of any other woman of the Bombay school….. - From The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets , ed. Jeet Thayil

“These, my words”, One of my all time favourite anthologies of poetry is edited by Melanie Silgardo and Eunice De Souza. It’s highly, highly recommended. Jerry Pinto, in a recommendation of the collection, says about it - “The book is the closest thing that I can come to a dream machine.” In Jeet Thayil’s introduction to Melanie Silgardo’s poetry from the collection, he refers to two things that have a bearing on the poem I share today. The first is the idea of the ‘Bombay school’ of poets. Enough has been said about the poets that have broadly been put under this label, that it is often difficult to talk about their work without referring to the ‘community of practice’ that emerged in their camaraderie of creation, feedback and curation. They were at the cusp of creating something new and beautiful, a movement that would come to define the direction of Indian Poetry in English. The city was a backdrop to the thrill of their creative zeal and adventure. The “violence and adrenalin” of Silgardo’s poetry is apparent in this poem. The metaphor of abuse and ‘animal’ rage runs through the piece, but the tone of voice is defiant, electric. She traces the assault of development on the city, and the reality of its disparities. Once again, the sea is a kind of escape, untamed and wild.

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