Information about the poet.
Attributed to Valmiki, thought to be India’s first poet, the Ramayana’s origins date back thousands of years when it was first committed to Sanskrit. Since then, generations of children the world over have grown up with its story of Rama’s quest to recover his wife Sita from her abduction by Raavana, the Lord of the Underworld. The tale has been celebrated in many languages and has spread to many other countries including Nepal, Tibet, Thailand, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia. It is used as a Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Islamic, Sikh as well as a secular text, and lives in in many art forms too: in drama and dance, in sculpture and painting, in prose and in poetry.
Daljit Nagra was captivated by the versions his grandparents regaled him with as a child. Now an award-winning poet of dazzling gifts, he has chosen to bring the story to life in a vivid and enthralling version of his own. Accessible and engaging, and bursting with energy, Nagra’s Ramayana is a distillation and an animation for readers of all ages, whether familiar with or entirely new to this remarkable tale.
Look We Have Coming to Dover!, the remarkable debut by Daljit Nagra, marked the arrival of a thrilling new voice in poetry and won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection along the way. In this, his second volume, his writing shows every bit the same verve and excitement that made his first book an unmissable event. Tippoo Sultan’s Incredible White-Man-Eating Tiger Toy-Machine!!! takes its cue from the eighteenth-century automaton (a tiger savaging a British soldier) in a series of poems that begin at the throat of the old British Empire. In these vivid, real and sometimes surreal pieces, Daljit Nagra creates his own inimitable linguistic bhaji: where Shakespeare meets the Subcontinent in a range of forms from English sonnets to spectacular displays of ‘bollyverse’ or the tender love songs of the monsoon. The poems take their bearings from cornershops and classrooms, the strange, part-arcadian, part-hellish streets of ‘Londonstan’ and the places where the north of England collides with…[more]
Taking in its sights Matthew Arnold’s “land of dreams”, the collection explores the idealism and reality of a multicultural Britain with wit, intelligence and no small sense of mischief. Nagra, whose own parents came to England from the Punjab in the 1950s, conjures a jazzed hybrid language to tell stories of aspiration, assimilation, alienation and love, from a stowaway’s first footprint on Dover beach to the disenchantment of subsequent generations. By turns realist and romantic, these charged and challenging poems never shy from confrontation, but remain, always, touched by a humorous zeal and an appetite for living.