Interior Decoration

Poems by 54 Women from 10 Languages

Edited by Vasanth Kannabiran, Ritu Menon, Ammu Joseph, Volga


Women Unlimited, New Delhi, 2010

Language: English

335 pages

Price INR 395.00
Book Club Price INR 316.00
INR 395.00
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Many of India s best known women poets, as well as some of its less familiar ones are to be found in this landmark volume of 54 women poets from ten languages. Its rich and varied selection presents a feast of poetry in translations that are remarkable for their fidelity and poetic rendering.An experience of womanhood may be the locus of this anthology, but modes of expression vary by circumstance. Some women locate freedom in the sky, while others talk of being a witch, or dance, or food. Some speak of the pain of husbands and the love of children, others of a lover s touch, and the value of mothers, work, and writing. Their voices are tinged, or ringing, with joy or anger, frustration or satisfaction, regret or ironic resignation. As women and as poets, they offer advice, consolation, perspective and startling insight.A colossus like Kamala Das or Gauri Deshpande finds an echo in Mandakranta Sen, or Malika Amar Sheikh even, unexpectedly, in Mamang Dai. Amrita Bharati s intensely solitary interior landscape is counterpointed by the searing imagery of Salma; Savithri Rajeevan s oblique subversion with Jameela Nishat s overt dissent.Myth, fable, contemporary reality, fantasy and folklore are the sinew and substance of poems that range from the fact of discrimination to the exhilaration of discovering the power of the word. Exhilaration and discovery, then, are what inform the spirit of this unusual offering.

Ammu Joseph

Ammu Joseph is a journalist and media-watcher based in Bangalore, India, with a special interest in issues relating to gender, children, human development and peace. She is co-editor of Just Between Us: Women Speak About their Writing (Women Unlimited, 2004), Storylines: Conversations with Women Writers (Women Unlimited, 2003) and Terror, Counter-Terror: Women Speak Out (Women Unlimited, 2003). She is also the author of Women in Journalism: Making News and (with Kalpana Sharma) of Whose News? The Media and Women's Issues.

Ritu Menon

Ritu Menon is co-founder of Kali for Women, India's oldest feminist press, and of Women Unlimited, an associate of Kali for Women. She has written and published widely on women, and is co-author of Borders & Boundaries: Women in India's Partition; Unequal Citizens: A Study of Muslim Women in India; Educating Muslim Girls: A Comparison of Five Indian Cities; and From Mathura to Manorama: Resisting Violence Against Women in India. Her most recent book is Out of Line: a literary and political biography of Nayantara Sahgal. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2011.

Vasanth Kannabiran

Vasanth Kannabiran is a feminist poet and writer. She is a founder-member of Asmita Collective, which works on issues of women's rights.


Volga (P. Lalitha Kumari), one of the most highly regarded Telugu writers today, is generally acknowledged to have introduced a feminist perspective into the literary and political discourse of Andhra Pradesh. Her novel Sveccha marks a watershed in women's writing in Telugu. She edited the first volume of feminist philosophy in Telugu, Maku Godalu Levu, and an anthology of Tamil poems, Neeli Meghalu. She is part of the Core Group of Women's WORLD (World Organization for Rights, Literature and Development), India, a free speech network of writers, translators and publishers.