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On His B’Day, Let’s Laud Vikram Seth As the Great Love Poet He Is

The ‘suitable boy’ is quite the romantic. 

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What do people in love do?

Sigh a lot, certainly. Suffer from decreased productivity and increased daydreaming. Indulge in Facebook stalking, if it is of the one-sided, unrequited kind. The more bookish ones find their way to the written word and, if they are lucky, they run into Vikram Seth’s poetry.

The 67-year-old author, a recipient of the Padma Shri and Sahitya Akademi Award, is known and loved primarily for his novels The Golden Gate (1986) and A Suitable Boy (1993). His poetry, a large portion of which meditates on love, is woefully under-appreciated. This is a tragedy because he is one of the very few openly gay writers practicing a medium that has traditionally been the stronghold of heterosexual men.

Though Seth’s poetry never alludes explicitly to homosexual love, he omits all mention of gender, encouraging us to read between the lines. In light of the queerphobic attack in Orlando in 2016, and India’s own Section 377, which existed until very recently, let us dive into Seth’s work and remind ourselves that “love is love is love is love” (Lin-Manuel Miranda), no matter what the participants look like.

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Young Love, and the Insatiable Desire For Company and Conversation

The ‘suitable boy’ is quite the romantic. 
(Photo: The Quint)

For the full poem, click here.

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Long-Distance Woes

The ‘suitable boy’ is quite the romantic. 
(Photo: The Quint)

For the full poem, click here.

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The Wry Bitterness of Rejection

The ‘suitable boy’ is quite the romantic. 
(Photo: The Quint)

For the full poem, click here.

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Holding On...

The ‘suitable boy’ is quite the romantic. 
(Photo: The Quint)

For the full poem, click here.

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...And Letting Go

The ‘suitable boy’ is quite the romantic. 
(Photo: The Quint)

For the full poem, click here.

(This story was originally published on 20 June 2016. It has been reposted from The Quint to mark Vikram Seth’s 69th birthday.)

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Topics:  poetry   Vikram Seth 

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