Ranjit Hoskote

She stood under a drizzle of copper leaves
                    mouth opened in a hymn of praise
Voice tacet
                    Only the chirping of sparrows
heard on the terrace
                    above the sleeping town

Be opaque
                    her sisters had said
because this crust
                    is what will get you through
Standing above the chasm
                    opened in the eastern rock she thought

What if there was no border
                    between flesh and light
What if I had
                no skin
Of what
              am I the barometer?

Ranjit Hoskote is a poet, translator, cultural theorist and curator based in Bombay. His seven collections of poetry include Vanishing Acts: New & Selected Poems 1985-2005 (Penguin, 2006), Central Time (Penguin/ Viking, 2014), Jonahwhale(Penguin/ Hamish Hamilton, 2018) and, most recently, The Atlas of Lost Beliefs (Arc, 2020). Hoskote’s translation of a celebrated 14th-century Kashmiri woman mystic’s poetry has appeared as I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded (Penguin Classics, 2011). He is the editor of Dom Moraes: Selected Poems (Penguin Modern Classics, 2012). India’s National Academy of Letters has honoured him with the Sahitya Akademi Golden Jubilee Award and the Sahitya Akademi Translation Award. His poems have been translated into German, Hindi, Bangla, Marathi, Irish Gaelic, Swedish, Spanish, and Arabic. Hoskote co-curated, with Okwui Enwezor and Hyunjin Kim, the 7th Gwangju Biennale (South Korea, 2008). He was the curator of India’s first-ever national pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2011).

Read Ranjit Hoskote invterviewed by Rebecca Levi


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