My Typewriter in My Piano by Anamika is her first substantial book of English translations. Selected from her various Hindi collections over many decades, these translations have been done by multiple hands employing a variety of techniques, approaches and interpretations. Expertly selected, introduced, edited and co-translated by Sudeep Sen, this 200 page book of over 100 poems, showcases Anamika’s intellectual breadth, latitude and literary contribution. This is a major book by an important, contemporary Hindi poet of India.
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From the same clay, a potter carves both toys and utensils of daily use. With a potter’s patience Anamika carves out images delineating the macro and the micro dimensions of ‘truth’ from the clay of all that she has read, thought, experienced, learnt and unlearnt in life — she creates her own world which is neither small nor simple. Both her poetry and her fiction will be remembered for the polyphonic articulation of women characters drawn from the various sections, not only of the present day society, but also of societies of the historic, prehistoric and mythic times.
— Kunwar Narain
Anamika’s folkloric wisdom emanates from her intense dialogues with the ‘racial memory’ of the land. The rich blend of pathos and humour, both in her poetry and fiction, grant her language the unique force of Gopis’ taunting Uddhav in Surdas’s Bhramargeet.
— Namwar Singh
Anamika will be remembered for retaining the feminine in the feminist perspective of things. One of the most dialogic of women writers, she doesn’t consider men “beyond repair”.
— Madan Kashyap
Anamika’s poetry is assertive without being loud, concerned without being ideological, tender without being sentimental, and ironic without being cynical. She is as much a poet of the village as of the city, and her concern for women does not in any way limit the scope of her poetry. It is all-encompassing, compassionate, insightful and profoundly visual, throbbing with lively images.
— K Satchidanandan
What holds my critical attention is Anamika’s jovial juxtaposition of pulsating images drawn both from the cosmic and the commonplace. This metaphysical dimension of yoking together multiple levels of reality together falls in sync with her tendency of snapping of the hierarchy between the different registers of Hindi. In Añamika’s poetry tatsam, tadbhav, deshaj and videshaj are given a level playing field.
— Meenakshi Mukherjee
There is seldom anything monotonous about Anamika’s poetic cadence. A poem often promises to lead you in one direction, but a sly cross-current surfaces, pushing you to an unexpected destination. For the reader willing to play archaeologist, Anamika’s poems will yield new insights with each successive reading.
— Arundhathi Subramaniam
Anamika’s poetry is deeply embedded in a certain kind of feminism, not the strident strain but a quiet and intellectually forceful one. Her poetry not only deals with society and politics, but also on the small evanescent moments of daily life and domesticity. Her observations are razor sharp and astute and unforgiving. Yet, her poetry embodies a wonderful lyricism when read out loud, the cadence of her verse carrying forward the serious contents effortlessly.
— Sudeep Sen