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Upon reading Das' "Introduction," I think that one strain of criticism about her work emerges. Das is writing from a point of view that does not necessarily embrace one point of perception about identity. In her poem, she writes from the point of view as an Indian, a woman, as well as one who is bound by regionalism. Her assertion of language and linguistic based construction of power are present in the opening lines of the poem. The discussion of Das' perception of being a woman occupies a great deal thought in the closing of the poem. The fundamental challenge that Das presents in her work goes to the focus of how identity should be constructed. In a truly post modern sensibility, Das constructs identity in a multiplicity of ways, as evidenced in the poem, and in a variety of manners. In this light, identity is not something quick or easy to identify, but rather layered in sediments that force one to delve and examine in order to construct.
Kamala Das (1934-2009) is one of the foremost Indian writers writing in English. She was born at Punayurkulam in Keral. She writes both English and her mother tongue Malayallm.
She received the poetry award of the Asian PEN Anthology in 1964 and the Kerala Sahitya Academy Award in 1969. The latter was awarded to her for a collection of short stories entitled cold. Her works include Summer in Calcutta (1965), The Descendants (1967), The Old Playhouse and other poems (1973), and her autobiography My Story (1974).
Many of Kamala's poems have been published in opinion, New writings in India (Penguin Books, (1974) and Common Wealth Poets [Heinemann. (1965).
There is an autobiographical vein in most of the poems of Kamala Das, she has also developed a characteristic style of her own. Her poetry is suffused with a complex pattern of sentiments and feelings. They relate to emotional need. Craving and a strident sense of frustration and disappointment, deprivation and isolation. She is one of the few major voices in modern Indian poetry in English. Her love poems deserve a special mention. They are characteristically her own, marked- by a clear feminine true and a sense of urgency. Although she uses the English language in her poetry and fiction, she is typically Indian in her choice of themes, character, sentiment and background. In her poem An Introduction acknowledges this aspect of her works.
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