Amrita Ajay writes about Visceral Metropolis in Coldnoon.
Visceral Metropolis is deceptively titled: it inhabits states that are often beyond the visceral and often encompass so much more than the metropolis. The 32 poems in the volume resist any poetic dogmas, and are remarkable for the rare sincerity and emotional honesty. The poems have a dual preoccupation with love and psychogeography, and allied networks that shape the poet’s experiences. It is not simply the mapping of a metropolis, but its connection to other spaces – real, imagined and virtual – that give anchorage to this book. The poet meanders through Delhi, Kolkata, Shillong, Darjeeling, McLeodganj, Kashi, and even Bangladesh, through a simultaneity of belonging. It is to be noticed that a synaesthetic poem about Lenin Sarani in Kolkata and one addressed to a virtual Shillong seen on Facebook are penned in New Delhi. Space becomes a metonym for love, history, literature, alienation and much more in Das Gupta’s poetry.
A word also about the book construction and design: compact and aesthetically pleasing, i write imprint’s sleek publications are delightful. I read the book several times – at home, at work, and most of all in transit – all the while feeling the photographs of flyovers, architectural ruins and the garbage dump at Azadpur taking on a visual atmosphere complementary to the poems. The book’s division into sections of increasing numbers of poems and the symmetry of the first and last poems lends a well-conceived structural balance. The few typographical errors that appear are no hindrance to reading – if anything, human errors lend charm to daily arts.
Read the complete review, Inhabiting the Language of Love and the City.