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Abhay K's latest release, The Alphabets of Latin America: A Carnival of Poems.
Abhay K's latest release, The Alphabets of Latin America: A Carnival of Poems.

Diplomat Abhay K's new poetry collection out, offers fascinating roller coaster ride into Latin America

ANI | Updated: Jul 25, 2020 10:11 IST

New Delhi [India], July 25 (ANI): Indian diplomat Abhay K's much-awaited poetry collection 'The Alphabets of Latin America: A Carnival of Poems written during his travels across Latin America, was released on Saturday amidst the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. 

Organized alphabetically from A-Z and published by Bloomsbury India,  the poems written between 2016-2019  takes the reader on a roller coaster ride to one of the most culturally and geographically fascinating continents, known for its legendary Maya and Inca civilisation, sizzling Samba and Tango, the world’s biggest carnivals, labyrinth of Borges, magic realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, great poetry of Ruben Dario, Pablo Neruda, Gabriela Mistral, Cesare Vallejo, Octavio Paz, the fascinating art of Frida Kahlo and Fernando Botero, among others.

As one flips its pages, one finds oneself swimming with pink dolphins in the Amazon river, watching the sunset in the Martian landscape of Atacama desert, kissing the heights of Machu Picchu and admiring a thousand rainbows at Iguazu Falls.

Noted Cuban poet Víctor Rodríguez Núñez lauded Abhay’s work, saying, “Latin Americans must be grateful, today and always, to Abhay K. and this fundamental book"

"Armed with intelligence and sensitivity, with calculation and passion, The Alphabets of Latin America is a love poem that honours us as a society and culture. In these pages, poetry, as a way of thinking and a response to adversity, reaches breadth and mastery, depth and splendour," he said.

Rodríguez Núñez  said: "Our region’s past and present are approached not only as reading but also as experience, with the knowledge of cause and the authenticity of memory. What’s more, in these texts, narrative and lyric, intellectual rigour and formal play, description and reflection happily shake hands. Likewise, identification predominates over differentiation, and an essential link is established between Indians and Latin Americans: “A people, a tribe, a nation is destroyed, only to reincarnate in another form.”

Jorge Heine, Chile’s Ambassador to India (2003-2007) and currently Research Professor at Boston University writes:“At a time when Latin America undergoes its worst crisis in a century, Indian poet Abhay K. reminds us in his vivid verses in The Alphabets of Latin America of the marvels of the lands of magical realism."

"Widely travelled across the Americas, from Bahia to Belmopan, he has taken it all in. His poem on the Rio Carnival by itself is worth the price of the book. Without missing a beat, his lines recreate the colours, the rhythms, and the pre-Columbian roots of a region of vast, empty spaces that ache to be filled with words, as Neruda used to say. Abhay K. has done so with verve, gusto and brio, displaying a sensibility both ancient and post-modern. A riveting read!,” says Heine.

Forrest Gander, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2019 says Abhay K has a "great sense of lineation, of understatement, of memorable, very particular images, and of manuscript structure."

Gander says he is moved by the way the poet diplomat's ability to subtly use the elements of a place—the dream vision of Tenochtitlan (which was founded on a dream-vision) or the Borgesian paradox of looking for Borges and finding mirror reflections of the self.

"I love the way this abecedarian works and shifts between short and longer poems, refreshing our rhythms constantly. Also, it’s such a personal pleasure for me to re-see so many places that I know, through his eyes. It is a very original and thrilling book—a book that opens the borders of time and place, which is what seems so necessary now in this epoch of nationalist entrenchment and paranoia," says Gander.

 Abhay K. served as Deputy Ambassador in Brazil from 2016-2019 during which he visited Peru and other Latin American countries. 

He has authored nine poetry collections including 'The Eight-eyed Lord of Kathmandu' and 'The Prophecy of Brasilia'. He is also the editor of CAPITALS, The Bloomsbury Anthology of Great Indian Poems and New Brazilian Poems. (ANI)