Book - Elephant Bathing
'There is a meditative streak about much of Anand Thakore’s poetry. Whether it his personal past or the last sad days of a widower grandfather floating on ‘the oarless raft of his grief’, or Karna ruminating on giving up his armour, the contemplative mode is ever present. And he is in the habit of ‘wading through the deepening swamp of the self’. This also necessarily brings in more strands than one, so that a poem turns complex and becomes a ‘knotted cord.’ A poem on a wind chime (‘this swirling welter of splintered thoughts’)will end up by talking of space. A glacier moving down river will make you think of destiny.The imagery is startling and sharp, as it should be in good poetry. This poetry is beyond the ephemeral. For genuine lovers of the muse, Elephant Bathing is a very rewarding book. I am privileged to have read it.'
-Keki N. Daruwalla
Anand Thakore’s verse has many of the qualities that I value in poetry: a richness and clarity of image, an assured musicality, a sensuous fascination with the ‘surfaces of things’ as well as the fevered need to probe those surfaces, however beguiling, and ‘forage for meaning’.
These poems embody and explore interesting tensions: an almost oracular mode that is capable of swerving abruptly into the mock-heroic or vividly anecdotal; a repeatedly articulated need for stasis as well as the need for change; an impulse to craft a self and a world that is sovereign and inviolable and yet welcome a ‘stark and craftless rapture’; the urge to remain ‘sealed’, ‘inanimate’, ‘unhurt’, and yet open out to surprise, danger, denouement, and the inevitable journey ‘downhill and seawards’.
Eventually, the age-old question of whether truth and beauty must be mutually exclusive, which churns in its own particular way at the heart of Thakore’s work, is best stilled by the luminosity of metaphor -- such as the image of an elephant’s single tusk above the river-line, ‘white as a quarter-moon in mid-July/ before the coming of a cloud.’
- Arundhathi Subramaniam