Year in Reading

A Year in Reading: Jeet Thayil

By posted at 6:00 am on December 21, 2012 0

31ZyMqhoglL._SL500_AA300_Dom Moraes: Selected Poems. Edited with an Introduction by Ranjit Hoskote. (Penguin India, Modern Classics, 2012)

For a season, Dom Moraes (1938-2004) was one of the most famous poets in Britain. He was 19 when he won the Hawthornden Prize. He is still the youngest poet to have won the prize, as well as the only non-Englishman. But the early fame may have been his undoing. He produced three good books and then encountered a writer’s block that lasted 17 years. With a selection of 80 poems from a long and turbulent career, a 77-page introduction, and detailed notes on each poem, the volume is a long overdue appreciation of Moraes in his native country. And it is unusual in at least one respect: it enacts a hopeful sign for a literature that doesn’t set much stock by its own history.

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