Sweet Shop

Amit Chaudhuri


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Salt Publishing
12 January 2019
ISBN: 9781784631826

From the publisher

Ranging over place, memory and history, Amit Chaudhuri’s new collection of poems makes a fresh, spiritual accommodation with the world. The poems often take their themes from sweets named and eaten, meals remembered, and matches these with meditations on culture, people, time and identity that slowly unfold as much in the mouth as in the mind. And what we discover are the hesitations, assessments and uncertainties that finally make us fully human. Those quiet moments of revelation and rediscovery that create our lives as much as reflect their circumstances, locating and healing us in their intimate pleasures.

‘The lexical vitality, magically achieved through words which are mostly new to us, is a perfect lyrical representation of the sweetness and elegiac bitterness of life.’ —Bernard O'Donoghue

‘Chaudhuri’s experiments in poetic alchemy turn sweet nothings into ontological reflections. These odes to the pleasures of faltu—the unnecessary — are pungent, chewy, and succulent.’ —Charles Bernstein

‘Triggered by the smallest things and incidents, Amit Chaudhuri’s poems respond with the spry alacrity, the ‘gravity and play’, and with the infinite longing, that characterizes his prose. A remembered taste, a Bengali confectionery, an incipient thunderstorm, an attempt to adjust his (absent) spectacles, a short-cut down a decayed, remembered lane in Calcutta, to emerge ‘into the present’s pungency’, Sweet Shop lays out a stall tiered with memory. In parallel, as one might expect of this subtle mind, runs the critical intelligence which knows it is consuming and historicizing a longing, an elegy for the sweet-shop, for the sandesh and the chhana of a childhood. But it is all done dancingly, and humour is the natural climate: swift, informal, tender, these brief poems linger on the air.’ —Stephen Romer