Saturday, January 28, 2023

A review of 'In Your Tongue, I cannot Fit'

This is a difficult book to review in that it does not adhere to any literary format. It includes poetry, but it is not an anthology. It includes art, but it is not an art book. Broadly, the book serves as a document and a testament, a creative intervention on a continuum of silencing. In the photographs of the art installation, where poems were printed and placed on spikes, it is impossible to escape the mental image of heads of rebels placed on pikes though there is no blood in sight. Describing his first reaction to the exhibit, Tripathi says that the “arrogant spikes” appeared as flagpoles and the sheets of paper as white flags. The microphones, he writes, were not meant to be spoken into. Instead, the artist placed speakers in the microphones to amplify the poets’ words.

Gupta’s artwork also includes silhouettes traced from photographs of poets and activists who were arrested or have simply disappeared, and other objects associated with the denial of freedom. In an interview with Tina Marie Monelyon, Gupta says, “Power likes freedom and certainty for itself and not for others,” and goes on to make a connection between those who were killed and those who are viciously trolled online. The intent is the same—to ridicule, to harass, and to distract and confuse all others who might otherwise have been inclined to listen and think. However, as the editors point out in their introduction: “Empires have risen and fallen and national boundaries have changed. But the words of poets have survived.”

Full review here:

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