Header Ads

 New website available at www.slguardian.org

The Sankara Pillai series

Sankara Pillai's style of writing is flowery--a common trait of Indian writing. He wants the reader to infer his abstruse reasoning. He avoids language that directly tells the readers what specific points he wants to make.
________________

By Shelton A. Gunartne
Letter to the editor

(October 22, Washington, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Kerala academic, Professor K.G. Sankara Pillai, seems to have written his series on "The return of the native: An appreciation of Basil Fernando's poems" for an erudite audience of literature buffs rather than for an average newspaper audience.

The second and third parts of the Sankara Pillai series hardly referred to Fernando's work. I wondered how they contributed to an appreciation of Fernando's poems. Applying my journalistic judgment, I would have edited them out as out of focus.

Sankara Pillai's style of writing is flowery--a common trait of Indian writing. He wants the reader to infer his abstruse reasoning. He avoids language that directly tells the readers what specific points he wants to make. I presume he is doing so partly to defy the euro-centric style of writing.

Sankara Pillai appears to be elated that poetry has broken lose of the confines of traditional (authoritarian) rules and entered the domain of freedom resulting in multifarious styles--free verse, dialogue, etc. This line of reasoning resonates with his appreciation of Fernando's endeavors to preserve human rights, including freedom of expression, against the vicious intrusions authoritarian governments.

But does Fernando's commitment to fight for human rights make him a good poet? Moreover, what other literary works has Fernando produced to deserve literary fame? Does this one book of poems under review elevated Fernando to deserve literary fame? How does Fernando's work stand out in comparison to that of other free-verse poets like Siri Gunasinghe, who began the free-verse movement in Sri Lanka in the late 1950s?

I want to see a critique comprising both pros and cons in a putative appreciation. Sankara Pillai's first four installments have not gone beyond adulation.

Although I am critical of Sankara Pillari's presentation, I relished the knowledge I gained on developments in Third World poetry though his articles.

Sincerely,

Shelton A. Gunartne
Professor of mass communications emeritus
Minnesota State University Moorhead
-Sri Lanka Guardian

No comments

Powered by Blogger.