Beyond the Borders of Bhashe: In Conversation with Poet and Translator, MR Kamala

MR Kamala was writing poetry by class 6. Her father encouraged her to indulge herself in culture and having been moved by the stories, the narration and the language of the great works of literature she was exposed to, she herself formed an interest in it. Young Kamala did not believe her poetry was worth sharing with anyone but kept at writing nevertheless. As a student of MA Kannada, she had the opportunity to learn under
Dr GS Shivarudrappa, who recognised her talent and further motivated her to publish her works. Her first collection of poems, Shakuntalapakhyaana, was published in 1987, with a foreword written by none other than her guru, Dr GS Shivarudrappa!


Kamala is a recipient of the Matoshri Ratnamma Heggade and Muddana poetry awards. Apart from being a poet, she is also a well-known translator and has made a lot of literature originally written in English and French, available to people, in Kannada. She typically translates the works of African American women and Arab women, to highlight the fact that the plight of the woman across all cultures is similar and thereby calling out for empathy and solidarity with one another.

At the Bengaluru Poetry Festival, Kamala recited a few pieces from her newest poetry collection, Maaribidi. The poems throw light on the confusion faced by somebody who has grown up during simpler times, in today’s day and age. Her poems also point to the reality of being dazed and lost in this fast-paced world, under the guise of advancement and innovation.

In this Bengaluru Poetry Festival-special episode of Chai Lines, RJ Vijaya talks to MR Kamala about her life as a poet. Listen to the interview here:

Written by Anagha TR


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