Speaking Poetry

JAYA BHATTACHARJI ROSE profiles a slim hardback volume of poems by Adil Jussawalla

Slim hardback volume of poems by Adil Jussawalla. Written over many years, some previously published in Nabina Das’s The Four Quarters Magazine. Publishers rarely deign to publish poetry, but the editors of Duckbill were spot on in publishing this collection of poetry.

Poems, if well crafted, are exquisitely designed pieces. With every reading, you discover something new. I was fascinated with The Right Kind of Dog, for its range of ideas explored, for the experimentation of form, metre and rhythm. The poems can be read in solitude, they can be shouted out aloud or simply read out to a group of friends. The poems tend to trickle into the reader’s consciousness and stay there, commenting upon the mundane (“Visiting Relatives”) or plucking an idea from mythology ( “A Song for Eklavya”) or simply reflecting ( “Christmas card”).

It may seem like a steep price to pay at Rs 200 for a slim volume like this, but it is money well spent. In the few pages of poems, there is so much to read, assimilate, revisit and appreciate. Most importantly, if this is targeted at young adults, then it is well suited. The gentleness and kindness that seeps through the poetry, reaches out to readers who are testing their wings, asserting their identities, slightly confused/overawed by the world, these poems speak well to them, without talking down. (“the Good-for-Nothing”, “Imagination” and “My Fold-Up Poem”).

These poems need to be accessed by many. Maybe have sessions in schools, libraries, colleges etc. Otherwise this volume will languish in warehouses.

The illustrations by Ahlawat Gunjan are beautiful. The art work complements the poems well.

Here is a link to Adil Jussawalla reading his poems:


Adil Jussawalla, The Right Kind of Dog Duckbill Books, Chenna, 2013. Hb. pp.30. Rs. 200

Jaya Bhattacharji Rose, is an independent international publishing and literary consultant, based in New Delhi. Her monthly column on publishing, PubSpeak, is published in BusinessWorld online. As a literary consultant she works closely with authors too. She has been associated with publishing since the early 1990s. Her responsibilities have included guest editing the special Children’s and YA Literature of The Book Review, and producing the first comprehensive report on the Indian Book Market for the Publisher’s Association, UK. Most recently she did a live webinar and produced a report on the publishing industry of India for Livre Canada Books. Her extensive editorial experience includes stints with Zubaan, Routledge, and Puffin. Her articles, interviews and book reviews have also appeared in Frontline, The Book Review, DNA,Outlook, the Hoot, The Hindu, Hindustan Times, Brunch, LOGOS, Businessworld, Housecalls and The Muse. She also had a bi-monthly column in Books & More. She is also Advisor, Publishing Next and to Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) for their conference on “Business of Publishing”.This write-up was earlier published in her blog http://www.jayabhattacharjirose.com/