Again, Prof. Kumar is an Indian poet in a different sense, for he brings to bear on his poetry “the experience of being Indian instead of the experience of feeling like an Indian” (Birje Patel). The Indianness of his poetry can be sought again not so much in the Indian subject matter of his poems but in what T.G. Vaidyanathan calls an “Indo-English religious nostalgia”.
There is something Indo-English even in his attitude to sex and one finds religion and sex often going together in poems like “Wife at Prayer”. Commenting on this aspect of his poetry T.G. Vaidyanathan has observed that Kumar’s poetry has two distinct and separate layers, one a mocking Western scepticism and the other, a clamorous, if somewhat cerebral sexuality. This apart, Kumar often draws upon his repertoire of Urdu poetry and in the words of Birje Patel he shows an “attempt to fuse Indian ethos with Western logos”.
Shiv Kumar’s poetry derives its complexity from, among other things, a subtle fusion of the East and the West, religion and sex, the mind and the heart and the body and the spirit. Though there is a constant tension between those apparent opposites, on careful study it is seen how they are more than reconciled in the kind of artistic blending and synthesis which are achieved in his poetry.