Geography Webex Seminar:
The City of Islands and Arun Kolatkar’s Bombay Poetry
For this seminar’s Webex access link, please email Kevon Rhiney
The bilingual Indian poet Arun Kolatkar is a literary cartographer of the city of Mumbai/Bombay in his Marathi and English poetry. The city emerges in its “situated multiplicity” (Ash Amin) in this poetry and I continue to search for the best critical vocabulary to do justice this poetry that depicts the contemporary moment of modernism and of the city.
Reading this work in the light of archipelagic theory might be one way to provide a connective tissue between the various environments of this city of islands and this poetry of the city: it helps in articulating the connection between the poetic environment of the words on the page and the material environment of the city the poetry lives in. The emphasis here is on the material connective tissue—in the case of the Mumbai/Bombay islands, the sea between them as well as the reclaimed land that joins the separate islands; and in the case of Kolatkar’s poem, what it is that brings together the languages, the space, the people, the national and the international slice of time in one meaningful whole on the material page.