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On the Seawall reviews THIS NUMBER DOES NOT EXIST

Ron Slate of On The Seawall recently published a new review of Mangalesh Dabral's translated collection of poems, This Number Does Not Exist. The thorough review offers some background on Dabral, including his refusal to accept the Sahitya Akademi prize he was awarded from India's National Academy of Letters.

"[Dabral] turned down the award and its cash prize in protest over the death of the scholar M.M. Kalburgi, a progressive voice among a cast group called the Lingayat. Dabral was objecting to a wave of intolerance and increasing violence against minorities and dissenters."

Slate notes how the poems in the collection are informed by memory, identity, and societal issues. He says, "His poems blend elegy with a keen attention to daily matters, what he sums up as 'the difficulties of coming to terms with the place of refuge.'"

The title poem "This Number Does Not Exist" is also highlighted in the review. Slate notes how Dabral uses familiar experiences to connect with his readers: "Rooting his poems in quickly recognizable situations, Dabral has always extended a familiar tone towards his reader as if his shifting pessimisms and hopes are matters of the neighborhood, which indeed they are."

The review concludes: "Dabral’s work is infused with the sense, as Robert Duncan put it, that 'the drama of our time is the coming of all men into one fate.' But the work is equally inhabited by the hurdles. This tension is also the core of Dabral’s artfulness—his polemics lean to the side, obliquely, burdened by something more gravely consequential than his singular desire. Consolations are few."

This Number Does Not Exist is available now at the BOA Bookstore.


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