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On Amarjit Chandan’s poems

by Christina Linardakis

"I should have been somewhere else" and "Who plays". The real home of a man is where he has dignity, a possible hope or a desperate optimism. A place where he can afford to say No -- by uttering these words Amarjit Chandan has recognised England as his country. Never the less, he does not always feel as being an immigrant since he cannot get rid himself of the memories, the sounds, the contact of his native country which are persecuting him.

The result of his "memory game" with which he has become familiar, is that his work has been saturated with nostalgia. The nostalgia of his return towards a destination of an unknown place. For there is no Ithaca for Chandan. He went through hard times in his country and he does not wish to return there.

His thoughts are driving him somewhere else, towards a "no man’s land", towards a country whereon are charted his personal recollections, his dreams, his childhood friends who have disappeared, his adolescent self which had gone away from him. He is escaping through his poems towards archetypical pictures, the language -- whichever it might be, Punjabi, English or Greek -- it’s becoming for him a simple vehicle, the words at the edge of his pen are dressed by unforseen colour variations, they are waiting for us on the following line to astound us, to remind us of something which we already know, something rather painful and full of nostalgia.

The pictures of his poetry are lacking of anything pretentious. On the contrary, they are surprisingly intimate. They portray our own moments, they capture our thoughts, they express our dreams, the contradictions of our mind. Never the less, Chandan’s descriptive power is sublimating, the detail of their reference is depriving the reader’s right of an adroit escape, it holds out his hand disarmingly, it guides him through unusual and familiar paths.

In his poetic speech, Chandan is weaving and unweaving his impressions, the perceptions, the memories of each one of us, weaving in this manner mainly the thread of our own thought and of our own life.

Tr from Greek by Andreas Pitsillides

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