Springboarding from the experiments with English started by writers like Desani and Raja Rao, linked to a way of speaking that is suppressed but already inside us, going through but also beyond parody, bending language, inventing meters, echoing one language inside another and exploring our complicated relationship to the past, Life and Times of Mr. S is a book-length sequence of poems presenting a vision and sound that is both utterly recognizable and completely new.
Life and Times of Mr. S worked on me like magic. It unsettled my notion of what was real, what possible, and resettled that notion in a strange luminous place. Narayanan uses what he sees as singular illusions to conjure a 'pluriverse' of his own, crowded with multiple, often polymorphous identities that, by their very nature, could be illusions too. This recalls the work (and play) of magician–acrobats and Narayanan is one of them. I'm dazzled by his dexterity.
– Adil Jussawalla
This unique and captivating book takes the experiments of G.V. Desani as a starting point and composes a chronicle of living language enacted around the person of Mr. S. Lyric and narrative, parodic and reflective, Vivek Narayanan gives us a work of “woof-confidence” rich with mini-disquisitions on desire, guilt, food, caste, malls, etc. Life and Times of Mr. S is a brilliant homage to an ever-morphing language and land.
– C.D. Wright
About the Author
Vivek Narayanan's first book of poems, Universal Beach, was published in 2006. His work has been included in several recent anthologies like The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry, The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poetry and Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond. Journals and magazines that have published his poetry, essays and short stories include Poetry Review (UK), Agni, Caravan, Open, Harvard Review and Tehelka.
Apart from his published poetry, Narayanan has conducted experiments with technology, physical space, movement, site-specific poetry and audience interaction, through collaborations with other artists. He is co-editor and publisher of the literary organization Almost Island and has worked in Delhi with Sarai-CSDS.