In these lush and gorgeously written poems, Umang Kalra explores relationships, grief and the effect of the internet on poetic expression in the era of Covid-19.
1.The quotation is this poem is taken from Srećko Horvat’s The Radicality of Love.
About Umang Kalra
Umang Kalra is a queer writer from India. They are the editor of Violet Indigo Blue, Etc. and the author of Minimalist Sweetheart (-algia, 2021). They have been a two time Best of the Net finalist and a Pushcart nominee. Their work has appeared in tenderness, The Shallow Ends, Wax Nine, and elsewhere. Follow Umang on Twitter @umkalra and on Instagram @umangkalra
These poems were commissioned as part of Frankie Dytor’s series, BAROQUE
The ‘baroque’ is an intemperate aesthetic. Once a period term to describe the visual arts produced in the seventeenth century, its use and significance has exploded over the last fifty years. No longer restricted to the fine arts, the baroque has fallen into pop culture and become an icon.
Inspired by the work of Shola von Reinhold, this series takes ephemera and excess as its starting point for a new exploration of the b a r o q u e. It wants to look back at the past and queerly experiment with it, to rip it up and reclaim a new space for the future – or, in von Reinhold’s words, ‘to crave a paradise knit out of visions of the past’. The b a r o q u e is present in moments of sheer maximalism, in ornament, frill and artifice. It celebrates the seemingly bizarre and the unintelligible, the redundant and fantastical. Disorienting and overwhelming, it offers a decadent way of experiencing present and past worlds.
In von Reinhold’s debut novel, the forgotten black modernist poet Hermia Druitt is rediscovered one day in the archives. As Mathilda goes on a hunt to find out more about this elusive figure, a kaleidoscope of aesthetic joy ensues. Mathilda, we are told, is one of the Arcadian types: those with an “inclination towards historicised fragments”, but not one infected with the more insidious forms of history-worship. Instead, as she explains, “I would not get thrown off track: I could rove over the past and seek out that lost detail to contribute to the great constitution: exhume a dead beautiful feeling, discover a wisp of radical attitude pickled since antiquity, revive revolutionary but lustrous sensibilities long perished”. This series likewise wants to use the past in new and unexpected ways, that trans the archive and queer the record.
Join us to celebrate the dazzle of the b a r o q u e!
Submissions for this editorial are now closed. Read the series so far here.
Feature image: ‘Celestial eruption’ by Eberhard Grossgasteiger on Unsplash.