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The Fresh, Juicy Meat of a Poem - Hemant Diwate (Trans. by Mustansir Dalvi)

Almost as a follow-up to yesterday’s poem, I’m sharing another poem about the nature of poetry, creation, and more particularly the relationship with a poem and that elusive “poetic truth”. I’m partial to these kind of poems. As a poet, I often feel more comfortable talking through poetry, using the form itself to describe sensation. Often when people ask about inspiration, the moment of creation or the “meaning” of a poem, we close up, saying that everything that we have to say is in the lines of the poem. This is why, in my opinion, the most effective commentaries and analyses of poems, or acounts of encounters with poetry (not ‘critique’) are “poetic” themselves. In their very composition they suggest a way of seeing and forming intimate relationships with language, life and its shifting shadows.


Diwate’s poem uses a single metaphor, familiar, deeply relatable but not openly discussed or shared, to describe a revelation that resides at the heart of a poem. I read it as another description of an encounter with poetry, and for the poet, the divulging of the shared, but not articulated, secret of poems. The metaphor, like Diwate’s other imagery is real, commonplace, and very much from a modern cultural ethos of Bombay. Caught between the capitalist fantasy of the city and the “old gods”, much of his work has a distinctly local, yet metropolitan quality. As such, this simplicity and directness allows me to enter the poem’s construct with ease. I know what he means, and I’m sure you do too - that sensation of finding the “fresh, juicy meat of a poem”.


Mustanvir Dalvi’s translation of the poem from marathi brings the image to life, while retaining its guttural flavour, without making it sound alien or dissonant. This is from a book of Diwate’s marathi poems translated into English by Dalvi, Struggles with Imagined Gods. You will find that every review of the book makes sure to borrow from this poem to describe the reviewer’s impressions of the poems in the anthology!



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