These our times. Patel is “the laureate

These poems; their intense concern with pain and suffering notwithstanding, avoid the pitfall of maudlin sentimentality. Also, Patel’s perception is influenced by his scientific (medical) career, which is not only the source of his imagery and metaphor, but also his ability to portray with clinical precision. The ‘deadpan’ tone of his poetry has been too conspicuous to escape any critical scrutiny. The elliptical, compressed, rough style and harsh rhythms capture the violence and cruelty, the signature of our times.

Patel is “the laureate of Body, of its wounds, aches, pains, resiliences and recuperations” (Prema Nandakumar). The title poem “How Do You Withstand, Body” outlines the theme of the second volume. In this poem and other poems of the volume, like “Say Torture”, “Body Fears”, Patel has attempted (in his own words) “to understand through the medium of poetry, a commonplace of our times: the periodic and continuous assault on the human body”. But can a poem achieve anything against the onslaught of corporate violence? Patel believes, “if a poem is clear, well thought out, purposive, logical and true, it will have changed something… first in the poet himself… because if this does not happen… there is no poem”.

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