ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Poet in the Political Activist

Captive Imagination: Letters from Prison by Varavara Rao (New Delhi: Penguin-Viking), 2010; pp 193, Rs 350 (hardcover).

Varavara Rao is one of the most well-known names on the Indian literary scene. A major poet in Telugu literature, who has published 10 volumes of poetry since 1964, Rao is known as a revolutionary poet in Andhra Pradesh. His Captive Imagination: Letters from Prison is a collection of meditations from the p oets time in prison, as a political prisoner under the Emergency regime (one of his collections of poetry, Bhavishyath Chitrapatam, was banned by the Andhra Pradesh government during the Emergency). Originally written in Telugu, with individual pieces translated by different people (six translators in all), Captive Imagination has a foreword by the Kenyan novelist and professor of literature at the University of California, Irvine, Ngugi wa Thiongo. There are totally 13 of these meditations, not including the foreword and an epilogue by the author.

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