The Caravan–October 2014. Three Telugu Poets: Siva Reddy, Varavara Rao and Ismail.
For most Indian readers in English, contemporary poetry in Telugu lies below the horizon, its existence sometimes reported but never directly encountered. But even from this very small sample of the work of three Telugu poets, translated by the novelist Raj Karamchedu, it’s clear that this is a field as exciting as any other in Indian literature. Whether it is Siva Reddy’s poem about two human subjects and a burrow, Varavara Rao’s remarkable poem about speaking corpses and deaths in police custody, or Ismail’s unforgettable image of a real turtle inside a well and a metaphorical one inside the human mind, here are voices, images, rhythms and metaphors that proclaim a burning faith in the power of poetry to both reveal and imagine the world afresh.