Young Modern Poets of India and Pakistan

As India and Pakistan independence is celebrated, their nations’ young poets get vocal.

As plans gear up to celebrate 50 years of Indian and Pakistani independence on 15 August, it seems only right that the Book

Festival should be playing its part. After all, where would modern literature in English be without the likes of Salman Rushdie et af?

But what about the younger writers? Young Modern Poets of India and Pakistan, an event organised by poet and filmmaker Sudeep Sen in association with the Scottish Poetry Library, should more than answer the question. Presenting five poets who demonstrate the wealth and diversity of Asian writing talent the

Sundeep Sen: one man poetry school





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world over, it promises to be an ear- opening evening.

Filmmaker and poet lmtiaz Dharker studied in Glasgow and now lives in Bombay, Tariq Latif was brought up in Karachi and Manchester, Jeet Thayil lives in Bombay, and Sudesh Mishra is coming to teach at Stirling via Fiji and Australia.

Sen himself is no stranger to Edinburgh, having been writer in residence at the Poetry Library during 1992-93. Described by fellow poet Angus Calder as ’probably as good as Louis MacNeice was at the same age', Sen has lived and studied all over the world. He guest-edited Edinburgh’s poetry magazine Lines Review, presenting twelve modern Indian poets, and another larger anthology is currently in preparation.

So is he just a natural collaborator or a one-man school of poetry? “T he anthologising comes from a desire to have more of my colleagues known and to show that there is a continuity with the older generation of writers,’ says the writer whose own poetry is a heady mix of Indian, American and British influences. ’lt’s a labour of love bound by the only criteria that really matters, good writing.’

He continues in his dry, humorous manner: ’l'm sure with this reading

Filmmaker and poet lmtiaz Dharker

we’re going to dispel a lot of illusions. People’s ideas about the sub-continent are often like a roll of holiday snaps. Most are overexposed or out of focus, while others show the usual images - a cow, a holy man sitting cross-legged in the Himalayas, or else the "New India” full of modern businesses and computers. The truth is less convenient and far more wonderful than that.’ (Marc Lambert)

I Young Modern Poets of India and Pakistan (Book Festival) Sudeep Sen, ESPC Studio Theatre, 72 Aug, 6.30pm, f4 (f3). Sudeep Sen and Angus Calder take part in Indian Poetry And Dance (Book Festival) ESPC Studio Theatre, Sun l7Aug, 70.30am, [3 ([2)

Pop Culture In The‘9'Os

Wilde things: Oscar and Goldie

Michael Bracewell has seen the future of rock ’n' roll and its name is . . . Iggy Pop? 'There is a seven-year-old Iggy living in Rochdale who will write a song which will change everything,’ Bracewell predicts cheerily.

The novelist and journalist recently published a non-fiction work, Eng/and Is Mine: Pop Life In Albion From Wilde To Goldie, which places him at the top of the list of pop Cultural critics. The book is a sprawling account of English pop, poetry and politics which namechecks W. H. Auden and the Pet Shop Boys in the same excited breath.

Bracewell has not been idle since setting down his pen. He is filming an

account of Oscar Wilde as pop star for the BBC’s Omnibus, and Will be discussmg 90s pop culture at the Edinburgh Book Festival.

'Pop is unacademic,' he says, 'so all opinions are equally valid. Your favourite records and what they mean to you are jUSl as important as what mine mean to me.’

Despite this democratic bent, Bracewell is pasSionate about his subject, deploring the contemporary obsession With retro, illustrated by the rise of Oasis and Ocean Col0ur Scene.

'The generation born twenty-odd years ago were brought up entirely on pop culture, so many bands now rebUild themselves as cartooniin 90s versions of their 70s preCursors,' he says.

'This decade Will be looked back on

as a recycling plant; a time when all

the promises of post-modernism actually came true, That’s a real shame, i but pop culture usually finds a way to 3

develop. Someone, somewhere \‘Vlll do something completely new '

For Bracewell, salvation lies in the determined futurism of jungle, and he regards drum ’n' bass as ’90s punk rocki

'Jungle offers a genume under- ground,’ he reckons, ‘and pops main duty is to prowde an opposition,’

(Peter Ross)

I Pop Cu/ture In The 905 (Book Festival) Michael Bracewell, ESPC Studio Theatre, 73 Aug, 5. 70pm, £5 (£3). Eng/and Is Mine: Pop Life In Albion From Wilde To Goldie by Michael Bracewell is published by HarperCo/lins at I 78