The Dance of the Peacock: An Opulence of Expression
A Review by Nidhi Mehta
The Dance of the Peacock: An Anthology of English Poetry from India is an apt title for the book edited by Dr. Vivekanand Jha as it is a true projection of its contents. The multitudinous hues of the feathers of a dancing peacock come alive before us as we read through the poems compiled in this anthology. Including poems by 151 poets, the collection is remarkably wide-ranging and each of its page is extremely vibrant and at the same time, different from the other. The poets hail from different parts of India as well outside India and have given an altogether new expression to the contemporary themes in their poems which have been further, quite judiciously and meticulously, selected by the editor. The foreword by Dr. Debjani Chatterjee is informative besides being interesting. The anthology strikingly has a claim over both indigenous and diasporic writing. After reading this anthology one’s faith in the promise held by the existing as well as the upcoming brigade of Indian poets gets fortified. Its scope embraces numerous themes including love, nature, human emotions, attributes and so on. The poems of Keki N. Daruwala, Jayant Mahapatra and K. Satchidanandan deserve special mention for the opulence of expression.
The Dance of the Peacock attempts to enchant the reader by being genuinely different from other recent anthologies. Unlike the latter, it is an assortment of diverse tempers, ideas and sentiments especially because the poems are written by as varied a group of poets as the editor could have possibly garnered within the limits of the book. In fact, one of the main merits of the book is that it does not confine itself to the poems of eminent writers alone, rather it also seeks to take in some budding poets who are good but still struggling to make a name for themselves. Each leaf of this 538-page long book is a reader’s delight because it has something interesting for everyone. The book presents all types of moods and temperament and so the poems are not just high-spirited but at times heart-rending and experimental too. Some of the poems touch upon one or the other aspect of Indian life and people, which in turn, is affirmed by astonishingly appurtenant and lavishly explicit interpretation of Indian spirit. Conspicuously, some of these poems do have the quality to transcend the boundaries of region and country. As a whole, this anthology proves the contention that the future scene of Indian poetry in English would be bright. After reading this anthology, one cannot overlook the immense Indian potential of poetic expression. This anthology is indeed a significant contribution to the Indian poetic tradition and is a must-have for every admirer of Indo-Anglican poetry.
Nidhi Mehta is a Haryana-born writer and researcher. An M. Phil. English and M. A. English and Public Administration degree holder, she has written eight research papers on India novels in English and diasporic novels, for various anthologies and journals. She also writes poetry.