Cover of Rapids of a Great River

Rapids of a Great River

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The Rapids of a Great River begins with selections from the earliest known Tamil poetry dating from the second century CE. The writings of the Sangam period laid the foundation for the Tamil poetic tradition, and they continue to underlie and inform the works of Tamil poets even today. The first part of this anthology traverses the Sangam and bhakti periods and closes with pre-modern poems from the nineteenth century. The second part, a compilation of modern and contemporary poetry, opens with the work of the revolutionary poet Subramania Bharati. Breaking free from prescriptions, the new voices which include Sri Lankan Tamils, women and dalits, among others address the contemporary reader; the poems, underscored by a sharp rhetorical edge, grapple with the complexities of the modern political and social world. The selection is wide-ranging and the translations admirably echo the music, pace and resonance of the poems. This anthology links the old with the new, cementing the continuity of a richly textured tradition. There is something in the collection for every reader and each will make his or her own connections at times startling, at other times familiar.

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