Little magazines, small independent local presses, digital platforms, and social media have made writing and publishing a more democratic process in India. There are poets from all over the country writing passionately in English today. This list that we have curated only scratches the surface. The contemporary voices write about a range of issues. Nationalism, identity, bodies, desires, memories, feminism, empowerment, queer subjectivities, Dalit lives, the environmental crisis, ideas of socialism, democracy and freedom, and the postcolonial experience are some of the most prominent ideas explored in these writings. 

The readers in the Poets Reading Poets series are contemporary Indian poets, or students of poetry, which made the process of curating this list even more exciting. By choosing to read their favourites, the readers gave us an insight into the voices that speak to them most poignantly. There are over ten female poets in this list, as also a couple of queer poets, and a Dalit poet – representing, for the purpose of this series, the multitude of voices from a country that takes its poetry and literary traditions seriously.

Part 1 available here

Part 2 available here

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“How to be Happy in 101 Days,” Tishani Doshi, read by Kashiana Singh. This poem was published in 2017 in Girls are Coming out of the Woods.

“Sharecropping,” Arundhati Subramaniam, read by Gayatri Lakhiani Chawla. This poem was published in 2014.

“When a Woman Writes,” Ananya Chatterjee, read by Amit Shankar Saha. This poem was published in 2019.

“Sadness,” Sumana Roy, read by Moinak Dutta. The poem was published in 2019 in Out of Syllabus.

“On the Irish Trail,” Jharna Sanyal, read by Nabanita Sengupta. The poem was published in 2019.

“I Too Have a Dream,” Santosh Bakaya, read by Rituparna Khan. The poem was published in 2016.

“Still Born,” Rochelle Potkar, read by Sanket Mhatre. The poem was published in 2018.

“Sita and the Golden Deer,” Sanjukta Dasgupta, read by Jagari Mukherjee. The poem was published in 2019.

“The Things that Bind Us,” Taseer Gujral, read by Smeetha Bhoumik. The poem was written in 2020 during the NaPoWriMo.

“Stay Awhile,” Riya Roy, read by Sunil Bhandari. The poem was written in 2020.

“Grey Love,” Amit Shankar Saha, read by Madhu Sriwastav. The poem was published in June 2019.

“For Someone who Will Read this 500 Years from Now,” Akhil Katyal, read by Arkadeepta Roy. This poem was published in 2020 in the anthology Like Blood on the Bitten Tongue.