Shortlisted for the 2014 T.S. Eliot Prize
Poetry Book Society Choice
These are poems of wonder and precarious elation, about learning to embrace the seemingly disparate landscapes of hermitage and court, the seemingly diverse addresses of mystery and clarity, disruption and stillness - all the roadblocks and rewards on the long dangerous route to recovering what it is to be alive and human.
Wandering, digging, falling, coming to terms with unsettlement and uncertainty, finiteness and fallibility, exploring intersections between the sacred and the sensual, searching for ways to step in and out of stories, cycles and frames - these are some of the recurrent themes.
These poems explore various ambivalences - around human intimacy with its bottlenecks and surprises, life in a Third World megapolis, myth, the politics of culture and gender, and the persistent trope of the existential journey.
Arundhathi Subramaniam's previous book from Bloodaxe, Where I Live: Selected Poems (2009), drew on her first two books published in India plus a whole new collection. When God Is a Traveller is her fourth collection of poetry.
‘A sense of wonder and striking contrasts pervade the Indian poet’s fourth collection. The sacred meets the everyday, cerebral wordplay delivers full-blooded emotion, and ancient Hindu myths run alongside contemporary urban life. Breathtaking in scope, taking in religious faith, friendships, love affairs and existential themes. Often the work questions poetry itself – but it is always rooted in the physical and the tangible, with fresh visual imagery that really packs a punch. Bold and thought-provoking.’ – Juanita Coulson, The Lady (Christmas Books 2015)
Arundhathi Subramaniam live at Ledbury Poetry Festival
Arundhathi Subramaniam reads and introduces a selection of poems from her two Bloodaxe titles, When God Is a Traveller and Where I Live: New & Selected Poems: ‘How Some Hindus Find ‘Their Personal Gods’’, My Friends’, ‘Winter, Delhi, 1997’, ‘Madras, November, 1995’, ‘Home’, ‘To the Welsh Critic Who Doesn’t Find Me Identifiably Indian’, ‘I Speak for Those with Orange Lunchboxes’, ‘Or Take Mrs Salim Sheikh’, ‘Where the Script Ends’ and ‘Prayer’. This video shows part of the reading she gave at Ledbury Poetry Festival on 8 July 2016 following an interview with Maitreyabandu which will be posted separately.
Arundhathi Subramaniam reads eight poems from Where I Live
Arundhathi Subramaniam’s poems explore various ambivalences – around human intimacy with its bottlenecks and surprises, life in a Third World megalopolis, myth, the politics of culture and gender, and the persistent trope of the existential journey. Neil Astley filmed her reading a selection of her work from Where I Live in Bombay in November 2011. Here she reads eight poems: 'Winter, Delhi, 1997', 'To the Welsh Critic Who Doesn't Find Me Identifiably Indian', 'Prayer', 'Home', 'Madras', 'I Live on a Road', 'Recycled' and 'Confession', all from Where I Live: New & Selected Poems (2009).