One wouldn’t expect a poet who has published 17 volumes of poems from the time he was 16 to be nervous and jittery before the release of a new book.
But Pritish Nandy, whose new volume Again released on Thursday evening at Crossword, Kemps Corner, finds himself quite scared.
Nandy (59) has been prolific as a journalist, translator, politician and filmmaker, but believes publishing poetry isn’t easy, since it gives you away entirely.
“Suddenly everyone has access to your innermost thoughts and beliefs. It doesn’t matter how many books you may have written, you still feel insecure, unsure, tentative, vulnerable,” said Nandy, who unveiled his verses by reading excerpts from the book at the launch.
The 72 poems in Again, written recently over a month, encapsulate Nandy’s “life and times” and promise to give a “ruthless insight” into his persona. “They try to capture the magic, the melody, the miracle of words that make us who we are, and who I am.”
Quite aptly titled, the new book brings Nandy back on the poetry scene after a hiatus of over two decades.
His last volume was The Rainbow Last Night published in 1981, after which he chose to focus more on his career as a journalist.
“In those days, I felt that poetry was a bit self-indulgent and one must address the real issues of life,” he said thanking his friend Gulzar, the lyricist, for egging him out of his self-imposed literary exile.
Both Gulzar and his friend, Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor, who has written the introduction for Again, were present at the launch on Friday along with actors Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan and Anupam Kher and author Chetan Bhagat.
Though all poets are different in their own way, Nandy sees himself as particularly unique. “I constantly experiment with form, grammar, punctuation, typography, sometimes even language,” he said, while admiring the “outstanding” tradition of Indian poetry across regional languages.
“What we need are equally great translators so that everyone has access to them and we can respect each other's culture and literature more.”