For several years Sujata Bhatt has been working on two parallel projects, a new collection of poems to be called Habitat (her most recent book was Poppies in Translation in 2015) and her Appa stories, a move into prose. Appa is a physician, a father; he is wise, witty, always imaginative, making sure his children understand the connections between things, how blood flows, cures work, and how unpredictable life is, though patterns underlie even the most unexpected experiences. He speaks differently from his children, with an accent that delights and amuses them. He wants his children to be wise. He helps them imagine their way through their expanding worlds. Bhatt tells the stories in no particular order. Theyre not building a novel. They come like lyric poems. There are unifying themes but no connected narrative. This is a treasury of stories that recur to the poet in response to something seen, heard or dreamt. They come as living memory.
Sujata Bhatt grew up in Pune, India, and in the United States. She received her MFA from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. She is the author of eight previous collections and a Collected Poems (2013), and the recipient of numerous prizes, including a Cholmondeley Award. Currently, she divides her time between Germany and elsewhere.
• Previous collection Poppies in Translation (2015) was a PBS Recommendation
• Bhatt is the leading Anglo-Indian poet; her poems are often GCSE and A-level set texts and are widely anthologised, broadcast on radio and TV, and have been translated into more than twenty languages
• This new book is a collection of lyric prose-story poems, tales of Appa (a physician and father) told in no particular order and unified by themes but no connected narrative• Appa is wise, witty, imaginative, speaking to his children with an accent that delights and amuses them, helping them imagine their way through life
• He teaches them to understand connections, how blood flows, cures work, and how unpredictable life is, though patterns underlie even the most unexpected experiences