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When God is a Traveller by Arundhathi Subramaniam

When God is a Traveller

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Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Poetry Prize 2014.

First new collection by one of India's leading poets since her first UK selection Where I Live: New & Selected Poems (2009) from Bloodaxe. These are poems of wonder and precarious elation, about learning to embrace the seemingly disparate landscapes of hermitage and court, the seemingly diverse addresses of mystery and clarity, disruption and stillness - all the roadblocks and rewards on the long dangerous route to recovering what it is to be alive and human.


When God is a Traveller by Arundhathi Subramaniam

Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Poetry Prize 2014.

Wandering, digging, falling, coming to terms with unsettlement and uncertainty, finiteness and fallibility, exploring intersections between the sacred and the sensual, searching for ways to step in and out of stories, cycles and frames - these are some of the recurrent themes. These poems explore various ambivalences - around human intimacy with its bottlenecks and surprises, life in a Third World megapolis, myth, the politics of culture and gender, and the persistent trope of the existential journey (which intensifies in the new poems). Arundhathi Subramaniam's previous book from Bloodaxe, Where I Live: Selected Poems (2009), drew on her first two books published in India plus a whole new collection. When God is a Traveller is her fourth collection of poetry.


'A marvellous collection, wonderfully varied and rich - A remarkable book from a remarkable poet'
- John Burnside

'This is writing that creeps up on the reader quietly, sometimes with just the whisper of a sari, or the taste of a lullaby, and yet spins suddenly on the edge of stark recognition - Imtiaz Dharker

' of the finest poets writing in India today - It is not dulcet music you hear in Where I Live. It's the swish of swordplay, each poem skewered at sabre-point and then placed on an electric grille to sizzle like a rasher on a barbecue' - Keki Daruwalla, The Hindu.

'...a strong personality and an individual voice; her poems feel as if they are meant to be read aloud as well as on the page... Subramaniam is becoming a major poet' - Bruce King, Journal of Postcolonial Literature

About the Author

Arundhathi Subramaniam lives in Bombay where she works as writer, editor and curator. Bloodaxe published her first UK selection, Where I Live: New & Selected Poems, in 2009, which combines selections of work from two Indian collections with new poems. Her latest collection, When God Is a Traveller, is published by Bloodaxe in 2014. She has also written The Book of Buddha (Penguin, 2005) and Sadhguru: More Than a Life (Penguin, 2010), co-edited Confronting Love (Penguin, 2005), an anthology of Indian love poems in English, and edited Pilgrim's India: An Anthology (Penguin, 2011). In 2006 she appeared at London's Poetry International festival and gave readings throughout Britain on a tour organised by the Poetry Society.

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Book Info

Publication date

20th November 2014


Arundhathi Subramaniam

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Bloodaxe Books Ltd


64 pages


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