Bernie Gourley's Reviews > Unchained Melody: Pritish Nandy Rediscovers the Love Poems of Amaru

Unchained Melody by Pritish Nandy
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review

really liked it

This is the second in a series of [at least] three short, illustrated collections of love poetry. As with the others in the series, the poems are said to be based upon the work of historical poets (in this case, Amaru) though not – strictly speaking – translations of their work. The books were release in 1994 by Rupa & Co. with the sub-subtitle of “Classic India: Images of Love.”

The book begins with a short introduction by Nandy that seeks to both introduce the reader to Amaru and to explain that the poems are not translations but rather work with the gist of that poet’s verse to create new works, and why he took that approach. Amaru was a Sixth Century poet and anthologist. As for why Nandy rewrote, rather than translating from the Sanskrit, he offers an Italian quote that says that poetry translations are like women, “the more beautiful, the more unfaithful.”

Beyond the introduction, the 50-ish pages are covered with poems and colorful drawings. The poems are sparse free verse poems, and it’s not always clear where one is meant to begin and another end. Because the topic through out is love, sex, and romance, and the imagery thereof, the poems often flow together -- whether that was intended or not is not clear. One can choose to read them as short pieces or as a longer flowing pieces.

The artist who did color drawings (the look to be colored pencil drawings) is Samir Mondal. The plates are always erotic, sometimes symbolically so, but in most cases explicitly so – involving nude figures or sensuous lips.

Despite the campiness of the titles, which are based on American pop tunes or romantic pop culture references, these books have insightful moments amid language that can sometimes drip with cliche and bland – if lustful -- imagery.

If you read love poetry and run across a copy of this book, it’s worth a read.
1 like · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Unchained Melody.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

November 14, 2018 – Shelved
November 14, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
November 19, 2018 – Started Reading
November 20, 2018 – Finished Reading

No comments have been added yet.