The book has more than a hundred poems written in 20 different languages, recording the strange times we live in.

Middle-aged man stands sideways wearing shirt and coat and spectacles and a cap on his head as in the lush background you see other people in a picnic moodK Satchidanandan
Coronavirus Books Friday, July 17, 2020 - 16:37

Over a hundred poets across six continents have come together for an international anthology on the strange times we live in, as the world goes through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The book titled Singing in the Dark has poems written in 20 different languages, edited by eminent writer K Satchidanandan and scholar-author Nishi Chawla. It will be released later this year, announced publishing house Penguin Random House.

The poetic record of these rather strange times include contributions by Vijay Seshadri, Grace Cavalieri, Arundhati Subramaniam, George Szirtes, Chandrakant Patil, Anamika, Francis Combes, Rafael Soler, Jerry Pinto and Ashok Vajpayee.

"This anthology had a humble beginning with a few poets from the US and India but gradually evolved into an intercontinental collection of poetic responses to the diverse aspects of the pandemic,” said Satchidanandan.

"The moods vary from quiet contemplation and choking anguish to suppressed rage and careful celebration. Consisting of poems of recall, experience and dream, this book has evolved into a virtual aesthetic archive of these strange times for generations to come," he added.

According to the publisher, the poems capture the anxiety and agitation of isolation, the unparalleled joys of witnessing the revival of nature, the cruel realities of an inequitable world, besides reflecting on the impermanence of life.

Commenting on the book, Elizabeth Kuruvilla, executive editor, Ebury Publishing & Vintage Publishing (PRHI), who commissioned the book, said "Singing in the Dark is a powerful poetic testimony to this moment and will be read by generations to come".

"No country, be it big or small, has been spared the fear of the annihilation of a vast number of its population by a strangely beautiful-looking virus... As we cling to life and try to recreate a sense of normality, we swing between moments of anxiety, creativity, loneliness and warm fellowship. It is only poetry that we can turn to in order to excavate the profound imprint that this new world will leave on our minds," she added.

Also read: Pooja Pande’s book ‘Momspeak’ touches upon unacknowledged issues of motherhood

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