This new anthology explores nature, loneliness, death, politics and depression

CP Surendran’s latest anthology, Available Light, is full of poems that are eerily honest, dark and rich in pathos.

CP SURENDRAN dabbles in both poetry and prose. He has brought out five strong volumes of poetry and three novels, but somehow he keeps going back to the former. The writer, who has also done various stints with newspapers, explores nature, loneliness, death, politics and even depression in his latest anthology, Available Light. His poems are eerily honest, dark and rich in pathos.

Karl Marx, Dadri lynching, the Shakti Mill incident and a conveyor belt in the airport–Surendran’s subjects are as diverse as it gets. “As a poem, Dadri is the result of my sad astonishment at the violence and din involved in the wasting of a life. In that sense, it is a human situation–the totally meaningless thing that humans specialise in. It’s the mob against the individual. The mob is always a relapse to the first stages of human evolution. The individual is its pinnacle.”


“Our problem,” he adds, “is that we are afraid to have individuals. That lack of respect for the individual and his life reflects in everything that we do as a people. That’s why physically challenged people do not have toilets in most railways stations, nor ramps so they can get into a compartment. The reason why 60 per cent of Indians defecate in the open is that the mob sanctions it, the individual will not,” says the 61-year-old writer.

For Shakti Mills, Surendran has an entirely different reason as to why he wrote it. “I am generally considered a rude and anti-feminist person. Although I believe have paid a price for that perception, I do not particularly care to please any faction/mob. I wrote Shakti Mills to get the incident out of my system, to the solitariness of the girl when a relapsed, primate world subjects her to their atavistic animal energies. It’s a kind of confession and expiation. It’s also a fact that I was reading Paul Celan at that time, a poet I greatly admire, and he too has written about the rape and ravages of humans by Hitler’s mob in uniform.”


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