POETIC STYLE OF KAMALA DAS: DR. HARESHWAR ROY
INTRODUCTION: Kamala Das is one of the most original Indo- Anglican poets. Her poetry is the poetry of introspection and self-analysis. She has made a mark as a female Indo- Anglican poet. She has achieved greatness as a poet not only because of the contents of her poems but also because of her technique of writing poetry. She has certainly made a name for herself by virtue of her craftsmanship.
MASTERY OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE: A command of the English language
is naturally the first requirement of an Indo- Anglican poet. Kamala Das's command over English language deserves to be admired. This command has duly been recognised by most of the scholars. She has a vast range of vocabulary. She understands the precise meanings of words. She can differentiate between the shades of meanings. We may take any poem by Kamala Das, and we shall find evidence of her command on the English language.
CHOICE OF WORDS AND PHRASES: Kamala Das deserves high praise for her choice of words and for combining those words into phrases, clauses and sentences. In the choice of words she exercises a special care. Her words are neither splendid nor glittering. According to the requirements of the poem, Kamala Das is able to use simple and tough words. She is a poet in the confessional mode and thus her tone is conversational and her diction is often colloquial. The words come to her effortlessly and become one with emotions. Kamala Das reveals a mastery of phrases also. Here is an example of her use of words:
Beneath your monstrous ego I ate the magic
Became a dwarf. [The Old Playhouse].
REPETITION OF WORDS: One of the stylistic devices employed by Kamala Das is the frequent repetition of words, lines and even sections of a poem. It emphasizes an idea or an emotion. Repetition of words works well in the poem 'Substitute'. This is a device that reminds us of D. H. Lawrence and Dylan Thomas.
MASTERY OF RHYTHM: Kamala Das's poetry reveals a control over rhythm. According to a critic her best poems display a strong feeling for rhythm. Most of her poetry is non- metrical but most of it is rhythmic. A poem entitled 'An Introduction' can be taken as an example in support of this view. This poem begins with the rhythms of conversational speech:
Be Amy, or be Kamala. Or better
Still, Madhavikutty. It is time to
Choose a name, a role.
IMAGERY: The poetry of Kamala Das abounds in imagery. Her imagery covers a wide range. It is by no means monotonous or boring. It is suggestive and functional. Her images and symbols are taken from the commonplace. They reveal the poet's own life. They fully support the theme of her poetry. In her poetry the imagery of love and sex is predominant. 'The Freaks', 'The Sunshine Cat' and 'The Old Playhouse' deal with such imagery. Some of her poems deal with the imagery of sights witnessed by the poet herself. In 'A Hot Noon in Malabar' we get a catalogue of sights. Then there is the imagery of motherhood. Her 'Jaisurya' is a fine example of it.
STYLISTIC SHORTCOMING: Some critics are of the view that Kamala Das is not a perfect artist in the use of the English language or in her craftsmanship. According to them much of her poetry is marred by her omission of punctuation marks. Due to this her poetry becomes difficult for the average reader. In the technical sense, her poems are extremely irregular and often bewildering. But this is not true to the poetry of kamala Das.
CONCLUSION: On the whole Kamala Das is a great poet. Her contribution to Indo- Anglican poetry will always be remembered. It is she who has made a new path for the female poets of