Three Women in A Single-Room House

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Item Code: HAR418
Author: K. Srilata
Language: English
Edition: 2023
ISBN: 9789355486264
Pages: 75
Other Details 8.5x5.5 inch
Weight 86 gm
Book Description
About the Book

The poems in K Stilata's Three Women in a Single Room House am part of a larger conversation about difference, about the difficult yet joyous work of care and nurture, and about the richness of female lineage. In narrating Inter-generational stories of trauma, survival and resilience, the poems bear witness to the lives of ageing women, to the despair of the young trapped in systems not of their making, to the forging of new selves over old ones. Every area of human life becomes the subject of the poet's empathetic gaze-from a child whose grandmother sews her a dress two sizes too large, to a young woman with autism proudly declaring that she is married to marbles buried in the playground of a school that has been turned into a temporary vaccination camp during covid. A rich collage of experience, Srilata's poems are intimate and heart-warming, luminous manuals for living.

About the Author

K. Srilata. A writer and educator, K. Srilata was formerly Professor of Literature at IIT Madras. She was writer in residence at Sangam House, India, Yeonhui Art space, Seoul and the University of Stirling, Scotland. Srilata co-curates the CMI Arts Initiative and writing residency. Her books include five collections of poetry, the latest of which The Unmistakable Presence of Absent Humans was published by Poetrywala, Mumbai. Srilata's poems have been featured in anthologies such as The Penguin Book of Indian Poets and The Blood Axe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets. Her novel Table for Four (Penguin, India) was long listed in 2009 for the Man Asian literary prize. Srilata is the editor of the anthologies The Rapids of a Great River: The Penguin Book of Tamil Poetry, Short Fiction from South India (OUP), All the Worlds Between: A Collaborative Poetry Project Between India and Ireland (Yoda). Lifescapes Interviews with Contemporary Women Writers from Tamilnadu (Women Unlimited) and The Other Half of the Coconut: Women Writing Self-Respect History (Zubaan). Her most recent book, This Kind of Child A Disability Story (Westland), offers a multi-perspectival understanding of the disability experience.


I think of poetry as a continual struggle against amnesia, a mode of bearing mindful witness to and remembering the lives of those we love. These poems are an archiving of the self in a web of inter- being, a logbook of human presences and absences.

I was raised by a mother who had fled an abusive marriage, had filed for and been awarded a divorce. Divorcees led shadow lives in those times. That deeply stigmatized, refugee life lived in hiding and in shame, that trying not to take up space was what I saw growing up. My mother, however, surprised everyone, including herself, by stepping out of the shadows and in her late forties found her feet as a writer. There is something about older women who come into their own and my mother's sudden stepping into presence, that deliberate forging of the self seeped into the way I saw the world and led me to the writing of poems. As the dark unspeakability that had surrounded our lives lifted gradually, it revealed the strong presences of my mother and my grandmother, as also the unmistakable absences of people who ought not to have been absent. My mother, my grandmother and I belonged to an India where families extended like the branches of banyans. But we, in being just the three of us, were a family too. Many of the poems in this collection trace the bitter-sweet shape of this family, the biography of family and female lineage.

The contours of my family were dramatically re-shaped when I transitioned from being daughter to mother. A few years after the birth of our son, my husband and adopted a baby girl. We had little to no information about her background or history.

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