Spanning poems written over two decades, Anand Thakore’s In Praise of Bone is a significant achievement. It displays his deep knowledge of the poetic form. He has written nocturnes and aubades, villanelles and sonnets, odes and dramatic monologues, apostrophes and ekphrastic poems, hymns and blues, picking the perfect tempo and tone to suit the contents. The poems in this collection are seeped in a wide range of emotions. They bravely linger in the intensity of feelings, be it grief or joy or wonder or outrage. By accepting experiences without judgement, the poems invite readers to immerse themselves in the present fully and live life without fear. There is deep, philosophical seeking here and this includes shades of self-loathing and regret as well. There is humour and sardonic wit at play too. The poems also celebrate moments of genuine human connection, raising many insightful questions about the nature of the self and its bond to others.
The selected poems from the Mughal Sequence weave a shimmering tapestry to give voice to Indian history. They share intimate glimpses of the lives of historical figures such as Humayun, Gulbadan Begum, daughter of Emperor Babur and Emperor Babur himself, and the Koh-i-Noor diamond, once a part of Mughal ruler Shah Jahan’s throne which was then acquired by the British. Poems such as ‘Puppet’s Life Ends on String’ and ‘Buddhist Monk Hangs Self’ are inspired by contemporary events.
This landmark collection eloquently captures the nuances of both history and modernity, embracing tragedy and joy with equal grace.