The Tattooed Teetotaller and other wonders
About the Book
We say mind the book, it’s out of control.
But it’s author says
‘Nonsense verse helps its writers escape their resident demons,
setting them free to deal with the more transient ones of mischief.
At time I’ve tried to use that freedom to highlight contemporary absurdities,
at other times to write about those of a not-too-distant colonial past.
Readers will find that not everything here is nonsense, like the poem below.
But I hope they also find that however disastrous our falls into folly may be,
they can also be luminous’
Rats are strict in their regulations.
Like dictators they regulate
meals and nations
along lines of bite.
The Magic Hand of Chance
ABOUT THE BOOK
Covering a range of subjects, mainly to do with poetry, its daily interventions, its work, this book adds to the selections of Adil Jussawalla’s prose that have appeared before: in Maps for a Mortal Moon, and in I Dreamt a Horse Fell from the Sky. In his chapter on Jussawalla in a forthcoming book, Vidyan Ravinthiran says ‘[His} time-shifts don’t feel erratic because his prose only becomes inexact when to do so seems the only option – when it comes to resisting subliminal pressures. Every sentence is saturated with thought, changes are rung on prior phrases, in a manner inspired by real-world vexations but not without an element of self-relishing play.’
Poetrywala is happy to offer you more such prose.
‘To observe, to give witness, to hold in the memory the bereaved cow, the boy who has come to deliver the groceries, the poet in transit, the little boy who wet his pants laughing and who wept because a bird died, all these pass under the Jussawalla scanner, all these are transformed by the act of writing. Jussawalla’s fight against the Indian predilection for amnesia is relentless. He will not let you forget.’ – Jerry Pinto, from his Introduction in Maps for a Mortal Moon
‘Jussawalla’s curiosity is patently omnivorous and extends far into many disciplines and knowledges, drawing not least on Parsi, Hindu and Christian sources, science and social science, local politics or birdwatching. A continual subtheme throughout is the memory of Britain and Europe in the post-war years… considered not from an outsider’s point of view but with the deepest sympathy.’
– Vivek Narayanan, from his Introduction in I Dreamt a Horse Fell from the Sky
About the Book
In his poem ‘Sailing to Byzantium’, W.B.Yeats sees himself transformed into a golden bird after his death. The bird is meant to entertain the city’s lords and ladies by singing of ‘what’s past, or passing, or to come.’ In the real and imaginary Byzantiums we inhabit today, Adil Jussawalla’s poems have a similar purpose – to tell, foretell, and uncover the ravaged face of the present.
‘He’s there on that street, making sounds that belong
to lands nobody knows, not in this world,
past sailing, past understanding.’
– from Jussawalla’s poem ‘Navigation Marks’
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
– Jerry Pinto
These lines by Jussawalla—with their images of the maritime, the mortal, and the beyond— drop anchors that stun as they fall through hulls and remembrance. There is a sense of being at once behind the helm of The Flying Dutchman, and trying to find sea-legs.
This homage to a city, where tarpaulin allies with sky and weather, is rich in puns
(“Faults not our own”-The Earthquake) and absurdity (“This number does not exist./ This port does not exist./ They should have told you.”).
Shorelines is a treasure as immeasurable as its shipwrecks’.