Short biography of Kamala Das

Kamala Das (1934-2009) is one of the foremost Indian writers writing in English. She was born at Punayurkulam in Keral. She writes both English and her mother tongue Malayallm.

She received the poetry award of the Asian PEN Anthology in 1964 and the Kerala Sahitya Academy Award in 1969. The latter was awarded to her for a collection of short stories entitled cold. Her works include Summer in Calcutta (1965), The Descendants (1967), The Old Playhouse and other poems (1973), and her autobiography My Story (1974).

Many of Kamala's poems have been published in opinion, New writings in India (Penguin Books, (1974) and Common Wealth Poets [Heinemann. (1965).

There is an autobiographical vein in most of the poems of Kamala Das, she has also developed a characteristic style of her own. Her poetry is suffused with a complex pattern of sentiments and feelings. They relate to emotional need. Craving and a strident sense of frustration and disappointment, deprivation and isolation. She is one of the few major voices in modern Indian poetry in English. Her love poems deserve a special mention. They are characteristically her own, marked- by a clear feminine true and a sense of urgency. Although she uses the English language in her poetry and fiction, she is typically Indian in her choice of themes, character, sentiment and background. In her poem An Introduction acknowledges this aspect of her works.

I am Indian, very brown, born in Malabar; I speak three languages, write in two, and dream in one. Don't write in English, they said, English is not your' mother-tongue,

Why not leave me alone, critics, friends visiting cousins every one-of you?

Why not let me speak in any language I like? The language I speak

Becomes mine, its distortions, its queerness ' All mine, mine alone.

Even if she had not mentioned all this in her poem An Introduction we would have known them all from her poems and stories.