Srivastava, Pallavi. The Poetic Achievement of A. N. Dwivedi. Allahabad: Kitab Mahal, 2011. ISBN: 978-81-225-0579-5. Pages 169,200.00.
Reviewer: Dr Shamenaz Bano, Associate Professor (English), Dept. of Humanities, Allahabad Institute of Engineering & Technology, Allahabad.
Pallavi Srivastava is a scholar of English Literature who has completed her D. Phil in English on the poetry of Nissim Ezekiel, A. K. Ramanujan and A. N. Dwivedi from University of Allahabad, Allahabad (U. P.), India. The book under review peeps into the poetic achievement of A. N. Dwivedi, who is a contemporary Indian English poet, critic and editor. This is her debut book in which she has attempted to explore the poetry of A. N. Dwivedi with minute precision and succinctness. In the ‘Preface’ of the book she describes her intention of writing the book on the poetic greatness of the literary genius from Allahabad.
Srivastava has divided the book into 6 chapters. The first chapter, ‘Introducing the Poet’ deals with life, career, identity and greatness of A. N. Dwivedi not only as a poet but also as writer, critic and editor. His entire literary career especially focusing on poetry has been discussed in this chapter. Amar Nath Dwivedi has been an eminent Professor of University of Allahabad, he is credited to be the author of number of books on English literature and Indian writing in English including A Handbook of Philology (1972), Toru Dutt (1977), Indo-Anglican Poetry (1977), Sarojni Naidu and Her Poetry (1981), Kamala Das & Her Poetry (1983) and The Poetic Art of Ramanujan (1995). He has edited some of the very popular anthologies like, Indian Poetry in English (1980) and A Garlands of Flowers in three volumes (1987) which have also been prescribed in the courses of various Universities in India including the University of Allahabad. Not only has this he also edited many other books on fiction, drama, short stories and criticism. He is a multifarious genius as he has translated a number of Hindi poetry into English in some of the edited books.
While the second chapter, ‘Hindu Religion and Philosophy in A. N. Dwivedi’s Poetry’ illustrates the religious and philosophical elements in the poetry of A. N. Dwivedi. All the poems of A. N. Dwivedi imbibed with Hindu religious and philosophy has been taken one by one demonstrating the richness of his techniques and how far they are helpful in tracing out the trends regarding preserving the mysticism in the contemporary landscape.
The third chapter, ‘Indian Customs, Rituals and Superstitions in A. N. Dwivedi’s Poetry’ focuses on the concerned attitude of Dwivedi towards his tradition and culture, and with its customs, rituals and superstitions. She has discussed the presentation of naturalistic and objective vision of his native surroundings in his poetry.
“Plato believed that poetry and literature are inextricably tied up with the values and ideologies of the culture as a whole: art is not separate from the socio-political sphere.” This is depicted in the fourth chapter, ‘Social and Political Currents and Cross-Currents in A. N. Dwivedi’s Poetry’ which throw light on the social and political aspects reflected in Dwivedi’s poetry.
‘The Poetic Craftsmanship of A. N. Dwivedi’s Poetry’ is the fifth chapter which clearly reveals the artistic quality in Dwivedi’s poetry. There are many special qualities in his poetry which is beautifully presented by the writer. He has invented innovation with verse technique which is seen in his poem “Job Hunting Today.” In the same way, his use of image and symbols shows vividly the poet’s sharp poetic vision and artistic taste as believed by Srivastava.
The last chapter which is sixth in series, ‘Conclusion: An Assessment of A. N. Dwivedi’s as a Poet’ analyses Dwivedi as poet deeply rooted in the tradition of Indian English poetry. Srivastava believes that ‘Dwivedi through his practice has opened up new possibilities in Indian English poetry. It is noteworthy that he has exhibited his remarkable Indian sensibility through his works without any inhibition’ (161). She has very artistically assessed Dwivedi as a poet depicting all his special qualities in a creative way.
Kamala Das, the famous Indian poet has highly praised Dwivedi for his invaluable contribution to the Indian English poetry in a letter addressed to him. She writes:
I have enjoyed reading your poetry. It is rooted in
tradition and might sound strange to those who are
not familiar with the Indian ethos.
This is the greatness of Dwivedi’s poetry that his vivid expression of variegated colours of Indian ethos is liked by the people who are themselves excellent in creativity in the field of English literature.
Truly, the critic in Srivastava has given a fresh interpretation of A. N. Dwivedi’s poetry right from the beginning till the end. For this, she applies the natural methods from various angles to show him in true colours as a poet with a philosophical and mystical blend of mind. She had also compared Dwivedi with some famous contemporary Poet of Indian English Literature like Nissim Ezekiel. She is successful in tracing out his hidden dimension for the readers who will now read his poetry in a new light. It is almost a complete book as it discusses Dwivedi’s poetry and his art from different perspectives. Full credit goes to the writer who has done so much of hard work in bringing out such a masterpiece book. This is a highly recommendable book for the researchers working on Indian English poetry particularly on A. N. Dwivedi.