A poetics of informationalism
It’s a platitude now: of all the technologies of the new millennium, information technology is placed on the highest pedestal. If the present century, or least its first half, goes down in history as the age of information technology, this will surprise few. Thus, at the end of the first decade of the new millennium it is imperative that we view language arts, especially poetics, in light of this emerging technology and its closest kith and kin.
1. Demolition of distance
Let’s focus on politics first, especially the politics of cultural production or the politics of poetry, particularly in societies where it has not been relegated to the realm of subculture. One of the first obstacles information technology readily demolishes is distance. It shrinks and expands the world so as to embrittle and crunch the spaces within the entire vortex of cultural experience — visual, audible, informational, linguistic, artistic, historical and geographical. This demolition of distance eventually leads to what we call GeoPoetics. The age demands that its poetry not be fed by the hand of any particularity, be it of any single history, geography, or people. It will not be entrapped by any one locale. Expansiveness and externalization have become its fundamental traits.
In Circumcontentive Poetry, we refer to a “subject-thought.” A subject-thought is like a bounded space. It has walls, and the thought-stream flows within these and becomes the poem’s spiritual content. In order to keep the exchange alive between the various rooms, these walls must be demolished, either in whole or in part. Boundary demolition is therefore one of our essential techniques. For example, in his poem “Art, society, therapy and mosquitoes,” Sabyasachi Sanyal creates rooms full of unguarded, nascent ideas and presents them in a lopsided way, as though they might question their own arrangement. Because this self-interrogation suggests an ailing mind, out of control, a therapist walks in to help:
The therapist asked — what is art
But an organic
accessibility to intuition
a superfast feed-forward reaction leading to a non-value
before you can say — shit!
(the action is hidden for the time being)
alienation is what a performing artist does best
so, try define society
in terms of art and
Gentlemen, you have successfully reached The VOID
It has been a long time
Since we watched TV together in a shallow room
Taking care not to drop blueberries on the couch
Meeting eyes on an instinctive basis
Mosquitoes: Anopheles, Aedis, Culex
And the loft had its fair share of spiders
Weaving, sitting idle, not a single mosquito in the web
A perpetually dark toilet
I mean, see, although you have moved to a better house
3 bedrooms, living cum dining, 2 toilets and a kitchen
Can’t help miss the studio
It’s the miseries that bond people
You want to call the new house a home
2. Cultural conflict
A new cultural politics is on the upswing. In order to understand it, one needs to investigate the term globalization and its motives. Although introduced by the Western corporate world, this term is charged with social emotion, as was evident in the 90s. An array of large and small financial tsunamis in the opening decade of the new millennium, beginning with the burst of the dot-com bubble in the U.S., exposed the world to the true meaning of globalization. Even in the U.S. and the U.K., ordinary people started to feel its sharp end; it became clear that globalization had little to do with cultural unification. It was purely a business proposition and could hurt local interests virtually everywhere.
The Cold War ended and the new corporate powers wasted no time in installing their neo-colonial strategies. The East India Company was back, this time in hundreds: McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Nokia and Motorola spread around at will. So-called free markets were not just identified but established. Just as the chain store displaces the street hawker, these corporations began to out-compete hundreds of local- and even national-level companies in as many countries. At some point “full spectrum global dominance” became the stated aim of the Bush government. When I interviewed him in 2005 on the occasion of the golden anniversary of the publication of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, Lawrence Ferlinghetti remarked that “American corporate monoculture is just wiping away native cultures all over the globe.” Just as these developments affected the aesthetics of poetry, they altered its language too.
The idea of “culture,” perhaps, is transforming. Is it a loose collection of rituals of the people in a given historical geography? Or is it a deeper network of living patterns that interact closely with history and politics, just as they do with geography and the environment? Speaking of cultural politics, one is instantly reminded of the anthropological idea of “thick description” originally postulated by Ryle and later reworked by Clifford Geertz in his book The Interpretation of Cultures (1973). Geertz described culture as “a historically transmitted pattern of meanings embodied in symbols, a system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which men communicate, perpetuate, and develop their knowledge about and their attitudes toward life.”
Man’s cultural environment is a collection of many elements. These elements include both objects and non-objects and their latent codes of application. Take the expression of grief, for example: in some parts of the world, a mother who has lost her child chooses to wail out her pain while elsewhere other mothers search for inner purgation. In the West black is the color of grief or mourning, but in India it is white. In the same land, Inuit would greet each other by rubbing noses while white men shook hands. Such minute cultural details have, for ages, defined the characteristics and lifestyles of a people in a given two-dimensional window of space and time. With the advent of the new millennium, such thick descriptions have overflowed their cultural and geographic boundaries and have infiltrated poetry. These trends are conspicuous in the works of Kamal Chakrabarty, both in terms of his language (a cross between urban Bangla and local tribal dialects) and the range of experiences he captures. Similarly, in his 2003 book antarbartE rupakathAr prachchhad (Cover-art of an Intermediate Fable), Kaushik Chakrabarty, a much younger poet, describes his urban Kolkata neighborhood:
The old beggar on the footpath, pulls a cheese-cloth hood faked as saree over his partner’s forehead and this is what Bhabananda Road could mean to us, it could mean that “the veritable Bengali son is tucked in between the night signs in a black bottle” that because of a secrecy born from frowns, the afternoon telephone ring is supposed to mean some underfed dig … bloodmarks … a huge truck filled with the silence of raw coal …
Although this work gives the impression of being a single, compound book-length poem, it also seems to have been shredded into separate, individual pieces after the fact. The poem is certainly about Kolkata, especially its southern part, Bhabanipore. Bhabananada Road is a tiny street that creates Kaushik’s confines; it is the environment where he and his poetry grew. One is instantly reminded of a city mural, in some real sense, of the murals of the Kolkata metro stations. Now turn the knob to tune in to the density and abstraction of these metro murals. In this visual vortex one would find collaged images of restaurant menus, tongue-in-cheek street tales, test questions, race-books, movie tickets, TV soaps, Hirmani Karmakar (a certain goldsmith suggested by the last name), naturopathic medicine. This much-embrittled, motley, and granular image contains the fragments of a city’s seal. The compression techniques at play, reminiscent of Pierre Alferi’s OXO, lead invariably to great dynamic and cultural conflicts. Kaushik employs a Geertzian thick description of complex and compound metaphors, mostly visual, that often lead to creative misreadings. Here are poems that emulate a mixing bowl of multiplicity, attempting to destroy the very structures of meaning.
Let’s consider another poem from a very recent book, chitAbAgh shahar (Leopard City) by Subhro Bandopadhyay. Leopard City is the product of a bilingual exercise carried out in the historic town of Soria, Spain. As poet-in-residence and recipient of the Antonio Machado writing grant for 2008, Subhro first wrote a book in Bengali, chitAbAgh shahar, and then later retold it in his Spanish voice in a second book, La ciudad leopardo.
Like any other human his voice begins to break too
as the eddies of resistance die we apply aloe scent under
his Debdaru shirt, Atar, aroma, fever, vomit, outcry
we say — get away flesh, evade the scratches
Remembering the time spent in various rings and the elongated
beggar-face, a dog’s resilience; reading something from
the past at the last minute: who deceives, the planet? age? or desire?
I begin to frolic with your teen-self, we indulge in this meat-fest
touch upon the meatpiles arranged in rows,
we squelch, suck, bite and then a stony wind blows against our bodies
oh! how we don’t have forerunners! just this open breeze
this red fluxing maya-wear, the sciences we made
the shastras we conceived, and the umpteen times we lent
the dagger, the kingdom of eternal truth is under construction!
Is it truth, all truth, the familiar priest becomes unseen, didn’t
you know that it was for truth alone that this earth
as land as woman et cetera
remains taut creaseless like the medium of exchange
he senses odor’s peak and goes to touch
an already embrittled maple
like a pet dog, this endlessly gazing poem of mine
a couple of gothic icicles, brave boys, sparkle at the top
and bring down in free fall
a few burnt dead leaves
(“The endlessly gazing poem”)
Through its examination of geographical and cultural separations, “endlessly gazing poem” attains many physio/psychological and polemical states. In the opening stanza, the flesh under the “Debdaru shirt” is estranged from its owning spirit. A slightly strange polysyndeton follows, intensifying the mood: “Atar, aroma, fever, vomit, outcry / we say — get away flesh, evade the scratches.” The second stanza leads to an ancient writing whose self-contradictions assume humiliating proportions. They actually begin to remove the reader from the poem through alienation. The question of “truth” buoys up relativistically. The next stanza takes the reader back to the context of the body, but this time its sexuality and openness suggest that the body in question is a woman’s.
As tradition is orphaned and de-hierarchized, resistance against the shastras, which control diction, tradition, and theory, begins to gather momentum. The poem ignores cultural and historical divisions of space and time and tries to remain “evergreen” through rootlessness. But it contradicts itself even while doing that; it “goes to touch an already embrittled maple” and burns like a phoenix in the fire of its own vortex, “bring[ing] down in free fall / a few burnt dead leaves.”
Cultural friction and amalgamation of a similar nature can be observed in Sukanta Ghosh’s first collection of poems, shaheed habAr Ager moumAchhigulo (Bees Before Martyrdom). Sukanta does not directly bring up politics, poetics or social consciousness; his particular friction has an essentially romantic physicality that employs old-style techniques. He uses the female body and mind as a palette to hold, among other things, culinary aesthetics, the aesthetics of reading, and the aesthetics of robing oneself. In this work, the last robes of cultural separation fall away from two conjugating bodies. On back cover of his book, which he himself designed, Sukanta, like a proud philatelist, includes photographs of the faces of all the women who inspired the book. Each face works like a poememe, pictorially representating a particular theme in a bricolage or mAdhukari (collectible) of diverse tastes, orientations, and aesthetics. This leads to a moment of togetherness and cultural transaction, as these examples, in translation, suggest:
as we study anthropology
in a corner of a wooden house
our Helenas will transform to mountain people
After some soup and hot bread
they’ll climb up the hanging roots
she wants to go to Bangladesh
(“Helena wanted to go to Bangladesh”)
you unwind like a plantain flower Anna de Mami
in the pretence of teaching, in our regular salsa class
(“Anna, in the salsa class”)
your shoe needles press into the laterite
you love your white sweat
drink some water Anupama, stay afloat
and wet the birdlines
(“Anupama, in the reserve forest”)
Tomoyo, you love green don’t you! Or is it sunshine?
Japanese women love jewelry
those everyday evenings our leaves birthed shyness
(“Tomoyo, a student of jewelry”)
3. Data versus information
I differentiate data from information on the basis that data is personal property while information is collective. Data can be both individualistic and institutional or proprietory, whereas information can be furnished by small or large societies or organizations; however, information cannot derive from a private origin. When an institution is the source of data or information, they must be carefully distinguished from one another. Information, in this case, needs to be understood on the basis of its collective character or communal properties. Isolated truth or experience is considered data, but when data gains wider acceptance it can become information.
A poet’s task is not to transform data into collective truth, to information, but to express the dilemma of its interaction and coexistence with the collective. For example, travel poems or poems written in the form of travelogues abound in Bengali literature today. A phantasmic dusk behind a hill steals the show, and the typical poem never makes any attempt to relate to the newfound place, its people, environment, community, social and cultural fabric, or its local politics. The data of some primitive personal philosophy is spread around as though it were collective truth; the typical poem tries to elevate this to the status of spiritual or aesthetic information. Circumcontentive Poetry is strongly opposed to such over-simplified modes of data creation, such “hearty” poetic practice.
We consider information to comprise general ideas, public knowledge, taste, orientation and style, and these are mostly clichés. They aren’t usually studied in detail, thus, they are adulterated and fake, but passed off as original. It’s like an error-prone Wikipedia entry: a vast pool of facts that is accepted by the world at large, misinformation and all. Alongside these pseudo-facts, however, there is also lesser-known scientific information, proven and accepted, which could help create new data. This is a special case where data and information do not conflict; the latter helps create new data.
In order to explain how data is formed, one could consider the example of a geologist. A geologist works by collecting natural samples. These samples are brought back to the laboratory, where they are studied, analyzed, classified, and reported. Similar procedures can explain data formation and subsequently the data-information theory. Now let’s turn to a writing style that largely determines the character of poetic literature. In this case, information can be considered as natural or clichéd writing, whereas data can be described as “byaktigata likhanbhangimA,” a “personal oeuvre,” as Utpal Kumar Basu’s “Last poem of this collection” suggests.
At times, a tussle ensues between data and information as they begin to interact, leading, in the worst case, to a Darwinian struggle for existence. We can see this happening in a recent poem by Sabyasachi Sanyal:
there is this house called Eternity
and someone switches off its shutters
and mounts a chinful of architecture
on his fist
the city’s lanterns have returned and
god’s hand turns on the left side of my brain
a carpenter’s hand its skin-quality and
goosebumps just as
its bombs outside
An enigmatic ambience builds here via the “house called Eternity” and the “city's lanterns,” expressions that are neither entirely clichés nor newer constructs, and would probably pass as information. These are used to set up an abstract scene, but data arrives immediately through the hands of a carpenter (perhaps a god’s hands?), their“skin-quality” and shiver. The individual-collective dilemma assumes the proportions of a war as we hear the bomb blast outside. These lines hint at an unseen wire, one that connects the blast to the carpenter’s “goosebumps.” This same wire links data and information.
In another poem Sabyasachi writes,
Misery brings aesthetics to man — I like to think … that I fill the palms of rural women drinking from the fountain, the red jogging suit and the engaged rabbit — reaching here I can locate my coordinates — barely a dot from each time&space. But expansive.
Here too, a zesty interaction engages both data and information. It begins with a slightly obtuse oriental platitude, “misery brings aesthetics to man,” which qualifies as information. Gradually, however, consciousness expands and the poem becomes a veritable example of what could be called data. Melancholia is completely devoured and personalized. “740” is an unusually bright and unconventional poem made from a bus ride (bus number 740) on a windy, snowy, and bitingly cold afternoon in Stockholm, Sweden. The oblique and radial thought-stream of that afternoon journey provides all of the essential ingredients that make the poem.
A reality that hasn’t directly fled from abstraction entails a process wherein data and information cohabit symbiotically. Santanu Bandopadhyay’s first book asamApta nibeditA (incomplete poems) is woven from the entrails of urban Kolkata, a poetry that is not nature-sourced but made from a union of urban abstraction and imagined travels. It’s almost stereotypical of Santanu to say,
a city shrouded in light’s parenthesis
impeccably dark streets hold mobilities
that transport beyond their usual speed
with myself and that image
captured in the womb continuing to sway and swing at random
likewise they evolve. and earn. hit by spectral headlights
they dwindle each day. each day they lose their way
into meaningless ramblings. disintegrated neurones, illegible
cursings, drowned in the pungent odor of country liqueur
I latch on to the morgue’s blind walls. this describes how, one day
I entered tinsel town.
Santanu creates a monatge of the familiar sights of Kolkata streets —traffic jams, drunkards, headlights of trucks, accidents — a montage of bytes taken from the informational world that overlap with the personal data represented by a pictorial world.
A similarly unitary, hallucinated, sinister and databased world surfaces in Mesba Alam Arghya’s first book, I didn’t go anywhere last night. Many poems in this collection create an eerie atmosphere of urban disbelief. They identify with the local in the form of immigrant neighborhoods in Toronto and Ottawa, portraying them through ample references to drug trafficking and zoning law violations. At the same time, Arghya’s poetry is devoutly entrenched in the traditions of Bengali Sufism and lyric. Such cultural concoctions serve as rich examples of GeoPoetics. The poem “Magic Mushroom” ends like this:
Spiraling down to the edge of the belly button
and giggling, the radio
softly giggling from inside the couch
Night chuckles in our legs, stomach the fountain
We are without knottiness
Apparently there is no “knottiness” in the poem. Yet there is a subjective complexity. Who is sitting in the couch and why? Why does s/he giggle? What does she/he giggle at? It’s up to the reader to probe for answers. Of course, Arghya makes no effort to avoid abstraction, moving between the informational and data worlds, jostling between at least two cultures. This leads to a third world, a third state of fantasm, feeling and fiction, data abstraction as one might call it. In another poem Arghya writes,
eyes near the snake’s hood …
ant’s face from the wall-bricks
shapes on shadow’s torso
crows from deeper neurons
(“Everyone will forget”)
Inserting empty lines between two connected thoughts is habitual for Arghya — he attempts to create separation and divorce. Distance grows between two or more subjective thoughts and hatches a strange abstraction. A personalized sense of digression and creative misdirection begins to form. “Crows from deeper neurons” keeps the reader guessing.
Let’s now consider Raad Ahmad’s poem “Chopin thru it all”:
Chopin on the piano, through it all
through the depths — except for the telephone conference
except for the overtures the girls make
except for their purposeful sextalk around men
without the usual hanky pankies used to spice up life
Chopin playing the change this aussie woman perfects after marriage
her seriousness in crossing the avenue with the infant
to the exact spot where the moon appeared directly above my scalp
Chopin on the piano — excludes the bikebaby’s racist “hello”
leaving a hundred and fifty or may be even seventy-five kilometers behind
behind a century and a half of civilization
giant aboriginal clam collections
although eluding their food habits
Chopin playing their love-sick dawn
their fantasia in D-minor
I vaguely remember the first time I came upon this poem. It was toward the end of 2004, when it had been submitted to Kaurab by Sabyasachi Sanyal along with other new poems by Raad. I knew back then that Raad was living in Sydney. As a graduate student perhaps. When I first read the poem I could visualize a journey, a quick ride. Perhaps on a bike or by car, through an Australian city, Fantasia in D-Minor playing on the car stereo. Chopin playing his original composition.
In a blatant constrast with the way visual abstraction is presented in most surrealist poetry, Raad employs informational abstraction in his poem. He purposely distorts historical facts. He uses knavish language, and his presentation is deceptive enough to suggest that Chopin is playing his original composition, Fantasia in D-Minor. But that is merely fanciful imagination — perhaps the word “fantasia” is used as a hint. It is not only that recording technology didn’t exist during Chopin’s lifetime; more queerly, Fantasia in D-Minor was composed by Mozart in 1782. Mozart died twenty-five years before Chopin was born. Thus, it couldn’t have been Chopin’s original composition.
A more careful reading honors the performance as historical: it is perfectly valid to imagine that Chopin, a profound lover of Mozart’s work, is playing one of his predecessor’s best known and favorite compositions. This imagined variant of Fantasia in D-Minor flows like the savory aroma of a spicy meal through a somewhat strange city. The imagined tune forms the individual’s datastream, dissecting the world of fact and reality — a world not formed by visuals alone, but by other social suggestions and commentaries. Most thoughts carried by the poem are either unrelated or loosely connected. Music is really what binds them, though is not created by the poem but borrowed; it is external. Let’s list the divergent thoughts and commentaries we meet at this poem’s crossroads:
1. telephone conference
2. purposeful sextalk around men
3. usual hanky panky used to spice up life
4. changes absorbed by an aussie woman in her post-marital life
6. bikebaby’s racist “hello”
7. reference to the city’s cultural history
8. aboriginal clam collection
The quick ride takes us through all of this, from moonrise to sunrise. However, the idea of “lovesickness” in Bengali poetry is more frequently associated with dusk than with dawn. Delving into these strange associations, I realized later that there is a valid sense of purpose here too. One needs to consider the central “A-phor,” a term we use to describe the new metaphors Circumcontentive Poetry employs: this is Fantasia in D-Minor. A“fantasia” is not a sad tune, not one of lovesickness. It has rapidly varying tempos, and a great deal of dynamic fluctuation — its pianos and fortes are juxtaposed in quick succession. The fantasia continues to challenge classical pianists today. Thus, it is atypical for such a composition to arouse feelings of lovesickness. The use of the word “fantasia” (the original word is maintained in the poem’s Bengali script) isn’t just deeply metaphorical, it carries the sense of being countercultural.
The poem destroys prevalent norms of poem-making in other ways, too. It begins by spiralling two kinds of experience, listening to music (an indirect experience, as the music in question is an established, premeditated art) and watching dusk (an experience that is direct and universal). The poem’s mood, however, arrives with other indirect experiences and possibly a mix of both solid and misconstrued ideas about the felt world. At some point these are amalgamated into direct experience, and as this takes place the conventional depiction of lovesickness at dusk is crushed and spread like a good garnish.
4. Indirect experience
Data-oriented writing or databased writing could refer quite generally to the art of capturing personal experience. But “personal experience” need not be direct experience. Instances of indirect experience serving as data are abundant in today’s art. Let’s take film as an example. From its inception, much film-making, especially commercial film, has been dependent upon literature. There used to be a story and a teller, be it the author of the original book or story the film was based on, or the screenwriter. A script and dialog writer would often join to form a writing team. This model has undergone revolutionary changes. Many contemporary filmmakers, both art-house and commercial, do not use scripts. Collagework has become more common since the 1960s. Slowly, films have begun to feed creative writing, reversing film’s original dependence on literature. In this way, film can constitute indirect experience for writing. In a poem from his second collection, Cover-Art of an Intermediate Fable, Kaushik Chakrabarty writes,
this illusion or reality — is nothing but maskara to a poem. Oh, failed pack of poets, show me an easier way to write. To fail. This endless hidden flux of seeds, this sculpture of ferocity, the meaning of these endangered words composed on a torn sample of the rain’s textured yarn are still finally some sort of poem-earth.
Art created in unconventional media casts its shadow on today’s creative writing. Indirect experiences often infiltrate it more intensely and intrinsically than direct ones. At times, another artist’s convected realities provide stronger sensations than the surreality that one perceives in one’s own life.
5. Contemporary poetry; cybernetic theory
Let’s put it this way: the data of personal experience — direct, indirect, and composite — is stored somewhere in the poet’s neurons, in a particular sequence. In a data-hive. Or a database. Personal data is stored according to specific rules. The personal database also stores certain information and an understanding following from it; we call this knowledge. Both data and information can be categorized into certain elements. Into fragments of three or four basic types: the intra-element, the inter-element, the element, and the super-element. These elements are stored in some cache, the ROM, RAM or flash memory of the brain.
Think of a child who plays with a box with a yellow lid. The round lid has a sign on it: “MemoryBox.” Inside it are lego pieces split into four categories: element, inter-element, intra-element and super-element. The child pieces them together and replicates remembered forms and structures, hands, legs, tree branches, human bodies, car chassis, the roof of a house, a section of pavement and so on. Initially, these are all sub-assemblies. By means of similar sub-assemblies or subplots, the poet erects his thought-schema, which can be designed like a linguist’s schema, a computer programmer’s object-oriented system design, or an astrologer’s map. This schema can be considered as the blueprint or X-ray plate of his art. Like the sub-assemblies that make up the child’s dream-city, these subplots make up the poem.
Imagine the skills the child employs while he creates his dream-city: imagination matched with memory, the art of assembly, fine and gross motor skills, the utmost concentration, and a body language of his own, made up of his sitting and working postures, his mind and body poured over the floor. A poet’s working style and language are laid out similarly. To a poet, language is a tool or a machination, the body language through which he composes the poem according to what we’ve called thought-schema, or blueprint. All computer applications are likewise written in programming languages like FORTRAN, PASCAL, C, C++, C-Sharp, and JAVA, which are developed after social language, following very similar rules of grammar, semantics and syntax. With this understanding of the articulation and synthesis of human and machine languages, Circumcontentive poet will devise his own particular writing system.
6. Assembly language
Language is the ultimate tool and process for the creation of poetic art. Often it is used as groundcover. No matter how extensive and complete its destruction or dislodging is, by altering its constructs, by defying grammatical rules, by eroding its semantic surface and transforming its semiotic model, or by reshaping sound structure, only the mask is transformed, not the face. The façade might look interesting but as one peels it back, the mystery fades out. To initiate a deeper, more organic change, the data-informational infrastructure and what we have called the poem’s thought-schema must undergo a major transformation.
Let’s contemplate an extreme example of an experimental poem where change happens at every level. One needs a great experience or personal data set to begin with. Next, one needs an interaction of that data with a range of rare information. Subsequently, as each element accumulated in memory’s granary is renewed, this unprecedented data is assembled to create unforeseen structures. A rare thought-schema is generated. But in order to absorb such a thought-schema, one needs a new language, and it is once that language is invented that a new poem is conceived. It is a poem like a star’s light; it can see so much past and so much future that it might become disconcerting to the reader. It would incite him to become a citizen of a town in a dreamed time.
Circumcontentive Poetry should ideally be written in an assembly language. What is an assembly language? It is a language of absorption and adsorption; a language that constructs its poetry and poetics using a wide range of cultural units. Through this process it creates a new foliated metaphorism, or gives birth to “A-phorism.” This representation is granular and depends on mnemonics or cultural memory. Finally, assembly language leads to a particular poetic architecture that excites a specific aesthetics, shifting the gravity of the poet and his work, pulling each toward GeoPoetics.
1. Translation notes: Debdaru: a tall bushy evergreen tree abundant in South Asia, polyalthia longifolia of family Annonaeceae, sometimes called a cemetery tree because it is common in graveyards. Atar: scent. Maya: illusion. Shastra: theory.