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Food, Love and the Self in Indian Women’s Poetry in English

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Food Culture Studies in India
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Abstract

This paper aims to examine how the question of identity develops in the poetry of Indian women’s writing in English from the post-independence era to the present day. It intends to show that identity in the poetry of Kamala Das, Eunice de Souza, Mamta Kalia and so on is largely derived from the social roles that the community expects them to play or to adhere to. The paper then traces how identity in the work of more contemporary poets such as Sujata Bhatt, Imtiaz Dharker, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Sumana Roy,  Sharanya Manivannan, Anindita Sengupta, Arundhathi Subramaniam, Anjum Hasan, Athena Kashyap, Tishani Doshi, Nitoo Das, Nabina Das, Annie Zaidi and so on. Food images in their poems help in articulating identity at three levels: the individual, the interpersonal and the social. They assert bodily hunger, desire, belching, tasting, pregnancy cravings and menstruation, thus locating identity within the physical body rather than outside it. The poetry I intend to study seems to change this relationship between women and food, between women and their own bodies, women and love by viewing women not merely as producers, but as consumers of food who revel in satisfying their own physical hunger as well as erotic desires instead of serving those of others. This change in women’s relationship to food somehow seems to encapsulate the larger change in the way identity is viewed and articulated which my paper attempts to trace.

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Correspondence to Shruti Sareen .

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Sareen, S. (2021). Food, Love and the Self in Indian Women’s Poetry in English. In: Malhotra, S., Sharma, K., Dogra, S. (eds) Food Culture Studies in India. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-5254-0_6

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