DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH,
TRIPURA – 799022
Nature in the writings from Northeast India is a constant presence. Poetry written both in the English and the vernacular in this region is no exception. A close reading of writings from Northeast India would reveal that nature is not viewed by the writers simply as a setting in which stories are to be told, rather it is made to function in ways subtler than one thinks. The poet of the Northeast is, needless to say, always preoccupied with the anxiety caused by the threats of the homogenising category such as the Northeast Literature. Hence the poet from this part of India consciously engages himself/herself in countering the onslaughts of homogenising constructs of the mainland by reasserting his/her topographical, ethnic and linguistic specificities. It is to be noted that the general sweeping tendency of the mainland to describe the Northeast as a hilly region interspersed with dense green forest is false because it neglects the subtle topographical specificities along with the dynamic complex of cultural and ethnic relationships that they give birth to in different states of the region. So the only way to resist such homogenisation is to narrate oneself from within. Hence the constant effort of the poet to root his writings into nature, its flora and fauna is one of the ways through which he/she can formulate and express his/her identity. The present paper proposes to read into select Kokborok1poetry in English translation from Tripura. The paper aims to explore into the poetics of representation of nature in Kokborok poetry to show how writing poetry becomes an act of writing local nature and landscape. The paper argues that the ethnic identities that emerge through the poems of different poets belonging to different ethnic groups owe their origin to the specific myths, rituals and cultural memories revolving around nature. For the poet representation of immediate physical topography is a means to counter the politics of universalisation at work in the Indian literary canon.
Key Words – Kokborok poetry, nature,space, topography, ethnic identity, myths, canon