The Collected poems of Gopal Honnalgere

$ 30

Authors

Gopal Gonnalgere

Imprint

Poetrywala

Publishing Year

September 2020

language

English

Edition

1

Pages

358

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ISBN-13 : 978-81-943157-4-2
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About the book

For decades you only caught glimpses of  Gopal Honnalgere. Before you could properly see him, he’d disappear.  And then, in 2003, he died, unsung but still singing. The Collected Poems is a great act of recovery, similar to that of Srinivas Rayaprol, performed by those who knew and loved both Honnalgere and his work. It extends the small brambly patch called Indian poetry in English, through which now passes “The National Highway” and where, on a wall, the medium being the message, “a boy / pisses / writing / 8 /with his urine”. The ground has been permanently, visibly, marked.

 Arvind Krishna Mehrotra

 

The quotidian never stays quotidian for long, especially when spun through Gopal Honnalgere’s wild, even unruly, audacious, often child-like imagination.  Here a pair of innocent chappals are thinking about starting a trade union, a cockroach aspires to Christ-like martyrdom, a ghost possesses a young girl in order to visit the talkies, Hanuman has rescued Dr. Baburao’s Shiv Shakti tonic, the endless snoring of freedom fighters keeps a man awake, a tiger’s roar functions like a factory horn for the close of work, a kid’s career is decided by whether he falls to the right or the left of his bicycle, and you, you’re just walking down the road with three fish in one hand and a pack of cigarettes in the other… And while in this way fiction plays tricks with memory and fact with philosophies, we gradually absorb through such naughtiness the interrelatedness of far-flung things, of humans with each other and with other species and the ostensible muteness of the inanimate world.  Honnalgere was read by only a tiny handful of followers in his own lifetime, but if there’s any justice at all, Indian literature will now come together to celebrate, cherish and protect this marvelous resurfacing of one of its own true originals.

Vivek Narayanan

 

‘Thank God all men need not drink water from the same source’: this line from one of Gopal Honnalgere’s poems collected here is perhaps the most suggestive comment that can be made on these poems as they draw their ‘water’ from sources seldom used in the Indian poems in English we are generally familiar with. An act of retrieval as well as of love, this collection lights up an ill-lit by-lane seldom taken by the urbanised Indian poets in English : the Zen of  the Everyday and the Small: objects, insects, people, relationships. I read these in Malayalam where they were quite at home and so they will be, in any Indian language.

K. Satchidanandan

About the author

Gopal Honnalgere was born in 1942 in Bijapur, Karnataka, and had his early education (school and college) in Mysore. He was for some time a student of fine arts in the Kalabhavan (art school) of Viswabharati University, Santiniketan, West Bengal. He made a living as a school teacher, teaching painting, creative writing and English, although he never had a steady job. Gopal Honnalgere was married and had two children.Honnalgere’s poetry was first published by P. Lal in the Writers Workshop series (two books). He published four more collections of poems; these were published at his own expense in obscure places and received little attention in literary circles. But he had a small circle of friends who admired his poetry, to whom he sent his poems as enclosures to letters; and at the time of his death in 2003, a large part of his output as a poet existed only in these letters. Arguably the only recognition he received was when some of his poems were included in C. D. Narasimhiah’s prestigious collection An Anthology of Commonwealth Poetry (1990, Macmillan).
K.A. Jayaseelan was born in 1940 in Kozhikode, Kerala. He began his academic career with a Ph.D. in English Literature from Viswabharati University in Santiniketan, West Bengal; he subsequently took a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Simon Fraser University in Canada. Since then, literature and linguistics have been equally his avocation. He is a reputed poet in Malayalam, and has published four volumes of poetry. He was among the pioneers of the study of Generative Linguistics in India and has published widely in linguistics. At the time of his retirement, he was Professor and Chair of the School of Language Sciences at The English & Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad (India). He is married and now lives in Bangalore with his wife, who was also an academic and his colleague at the above-mentioned institution. The couple have two children.

About the author

Gopal Honnalgere was born in 1942 in Bijapur, Karnataka, and had his early education (school and college) in Mysore. He was for some time a student of fine arts in the Kalabhavan (art school) of Viswabharati University, Santiniketan, West Bengal. He made a living as a school teacher, teaching painting, creative writing and English, although he never had a steady job. Gopal Honnalgere was married and had two children.Honnalgere’s poetry was first published by P. Lal in the Writers Workshop series (two books). He published four more collections of poems; these were published at his own expense in obscure places and received little attention in literary circles. But he had a small circle of friends who admired his poetry, to whom he sent his poems as enclosures to letters; and at the time of his death in 2003, a large part of his output as a poet existed only in these letters. Arguably the only recognition he received was when some of his poems were included in C. D. Narasimhiah’s prestigious collection An Anthology of Commonwealth Poetry (1990, Macmillan).
K.A. Jayaseelan was born in 1940 in Kozhikode, Kerala. He began his academic career with a Ph.D. in English Literature from Viswabharati University in Santiniketan, West Bengal; he subsequently took a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Simon Fraser University in Canada. Since then, literature and linguistics have been equally his avocation. He is a reputed poet in Malayalam, and has published four volumes of poetry. He was among the pioneers of the study of Generative Linguistics in India and has published widely in linguistics. At the time of his retirement, he was Professor and Chair of the School of Language Sciences at The English & Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad (India). He is married and now lives in Bangalore with his wife, who was also an academic and his colleague at the above-mentioned institution. The couple have two children.

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