In his latest poetry collection, Arjun Rajendran begins by resurrecting voices and stories from 18th century Pondicherry: of a French ship that must change its flag to render itself invisible to the English fleet, of blind men contemplating a lunar eclipse or an unfortunate condemned to the absurdity of a second execution.
Then jumping across centuries, the other two sections in this book explore intimacy, travel, hauntings and generational angst.
Arjun Rajendran's new poems have a huge appetite and a magnificent ambition. Here, the spectres of the past are given flesh and blood and begin to live again. They are not marionettes against a backdrop but living people and like living people they infiltrate your memory and stain your consciousness, leaving strange odours: durian, gunpowder and hypocrisy in your nose.