'The collection of poems sets off by attempting to synchronise the various unimaginable sufferings that people had to face in the lockdown. However, as the collection proceeds, the differences between the singularities emergent during the pandemic becomes more pronounced. What stands out in the end is the simultaneity, not the homogeneity, of suffering. Isolocation serves as an alternative measure of time as it makes sense of the long hiatus by tracing the most evident psychosomatic phases and musings of the middle class who have been confined to the ‘comfort’ of home due to the pandemic. Yet, the poems are not an exercise to escape the situation but an attempt to seek release from the pervasive melancholy...'

- Feminism In India

Isolocation-

when I pick this book to read

I wonder what this word could possibly mean.

And then it starts

word by word

page by page

poem by poem

and before I realise

I’ve reached the end. 

 

I sit amused -

to make their art so beautiful

what colours have they used?

But my heart flutters with elation,

happy to get a glimpse of their creation.

 

During the journey

I have forgotten

forgiven

and given.

Breathed in changes’ essence,

started a revolution

and

and yet

done even more.

 

I keep the book with a sigh,

wondering how it can contain

Inside it a fortune

a gentle hurricane,

knowing well

I will come back

to read it once again.
- Kirti Advani

‘It has been a privilege to read the poems collected in Isolocation. These poems speak of the urban young navigating our times, of isolation and loneliness and dislocation, of anger and frustration and rebellion, of acknowledging and accepting and coping. These poems probe hidden places, unafraid of what might emerge. They are not devoid of hope, but they refuse to be foolhardy and blindly optimistic. Instead, these poems are determined and vigorous, willing to engage and look ahead and square up to what’s coming. The poets have chronicled lives and pain in this time of pandemic and quarantine.’

 - Anukrti Upadhyay

 

‘This collection is the lament of the youth, which when caught unaware by the pandemic, sing hauntingly the desperation, the frustration of not experiencing the spring of their youth in its full glory. The poems are raw, visceral like someone wishes to visit each cell in one’s body before plunging into one’s soul’s abyss.’

- Danish Husain

‘The ‘inner voices’ of the nine poets in Isolocation - the dreamers, storytellers, an activist, a screenwriter, poetry lover and a recovering Hedonist, resonate as moments of truth. We travel through landscapes - listen to a faint melody from a balcony, watch from the Ladies Compartment on a local Mumbai train, see transformative steps taken beyond the safety of a known door. A sister watches her brothers “treated with privileges. We feel “the language of touch”, of women harassed, “catcall asteroids hurling in your orbit”, are dismayed by the banter in ‘Boy Talk’ - “Arrey, rumor has it, easy lay”. We retrospect with “Today’s a little different”, grasp the fear of the unknown, “rhyme is fractured now” and sigh, with “FUTILITY”. “And finally, we come to Z”. E.M. Forster wrote: “Only connect the prose and the passion and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height,” in 1910. These young poets certainly make connections with passion, in their sensitive poems written during pandemic-censored time in 2020.’

- Jayshree Misra Tripathi

‘The poems in Isolocation are a celebration, a complaint, a catharsis, a contemplation. They examine the moment, delve deep into it, detach, and observe it from the outside. Spare, measured, or nuanced and richly textured, they trace a path across our current human experience, of isolation, of anxiety, of womanhood, of survival, of city living, juxtaposing the internal with the external, expressed with precision, with lyricism, and above all with the tenderness and the honesty of raw emotion. A map for our times, delineated with words, with rhythm, this is a collection that takes the quotidian and elevates it to the profound.’

- Kiran Manral

‘Isolocation draws us into the heart of the Covidocene present. Here and now, each of us must face our destiny alone, exiled from the cushioning rituals of collective life. On one hand, we commune with others over remote media, reduced to images on a screen. On the other hand, we retreat into our stark selves, to confront all that awaits attention there, whether repressed contents, estranged routines, or thwarted hopes. A neologism, the title of this timely anthology of poems suggests the mapping of a habitat within the isolation that has been forced upon us. At the same time, the Greek prefix ‘iso’ alerts us to a shared, common metric. We are all in the same predicament, it tells us, however unique our individual solitudes may seem. We are connected by our disconnection. This gives us a measure of cautious optimism, pointing towards a new solidarity that could rise from the shadows of pain, illness, and unease.’

- Ranjit Hoskote

‘An anthology of poems about isolation seems a bit of an oxymoron – people who have written about aloneness brought together in this affectionate form. In calling this book ‘Isolocation’, a wonderful neologism that combines geography with psychology, the editors have made it possible for the poets to explore and experience the subject of isolation in the most unexpected ways. The result, apart from the moments of beauty and delight that one finds in these poems, is an energy that is not different from the force of water rushing out through a hole. Chained to their homes, like animals on a leash, these poems become an ‘outside’ through which the poets flaneur, fight, argue, desire, discuss, debate, and live.’

- Sumana Roy

‘Isolocation is such a refreshing anthology of voices. The poems here are young, untampered with patterns, and brimming with an immediacy, which makes them accessible but also, paradoxically, profound. The range of concerns which this collection spans is capacious. There is a sense of destiny in some of the poems, of foreboding, but also of reconciliation; equally, in a lot of the work, there is indignation which throbs at the threshold of rebellion. There are questions asked with a sense of desperation, which sometimes seem to border on defeat, but they are immediately leavened by a sense of destiny, and a desire to wrought change. There is a continuous thread of feminism, femininity, and all the pleasures and pitfalls which go with the territory. And the proceedings are ever so often punched with sly humor, which renders complex situations into their simplest elements. The fresh voices in this wondrous compilation are surely a harbinger of change – raw, uncompromising, hence, beautiful.’

- Sunil Bhandari

© 2020 | Ratio Auream Publishers LLP

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