Jeet Thayil

What Would You Know?


‘About suffering they were never wrong,
the old masters.’ Oh shut up,
why don’t you, you old bastard?
I’ve had it up to here with your
opportunistic philosophizing,
you who’ve never suffered, but for your art,
who wouldn’t know a liver from a heart,
shut up, I can hear you. If you weren’t so white
& creased & vegetable, I’d give you a hearing
but here you go, no, now fuck off
old master poet, old fart.

JEET THAYIL’s four poetry collections include English and These Errors Are Correct, which won the Indian Academy of Letters 2013 award for poetry in English. He is the editor of The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets. As a musician and songwriter, he is one half of the contemporary music project Sridhar/Thayil. Jeet Thayil’s debut novel Narcopolis won the 2012 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and was shortlisted for five other prizes, including the Man Booker prize, the Man Asian Literature Prize and the Commonwealth Prize.