The Poems of Vikram Babu
by Jesús Aguado
translated by Electa Arenal/Beatrix Gates
In this uniquely provocative collection, award-winning Spanish poet Jesús Aguado adopts the voice of Vikram Babu, a seventeenth- century Indian mystic and basket-weaver who guides the reader on an irreverent and enjoyable truth-seeking mission. Each of these fifty fable-like poems ends with Vikram Babu posing a question for his audience, inviting us to take part in the work and let our own responses transform the meaning of the poem. Through the wry observations of his invented persona, Aguado gently unmasks human frailty and hypocrisy, revealing a world of twisted contradictions. In The Poems of Vikram Babu, Aguado extends us an affable, whimsical welcome to a complex universe, an unforgettable world of slanted delight.
Praise for The Poems of Vikram Babu:
The Poems of Vikram Babu should be a marvelous addition to the poetic landscape – and should, like its Spanish original, be a very popular text. It’s both rich and accessible – extremely concrete stories, tiny penetrating ones, terribly funny sometimes and otherwise terribly serious…the poignancy of the text is amazing; the themes strike home – not mere fake-zen peek-a-boo surprises but, when taken in as real questions, very satisfying sources of self awareness and questioning. It’s the power of the oral tradition, made into a breathtaking text.
– Marie Ponsot, author of Easy; translator, Love & Folly: Selected Fables and Tales of La Fontaine
Jesús Aguado’s volume, The Poems of Vikram Babu, asks simple questions about profound matters. Or is it profound questions about self-evident truths? Ultimately, Vikram Babu’s poems don’t offer answers; they merely pose, in verse form, the great philosophical questions that have baffled mankind throughout human history. Yet the poems themselves are so generous that, for a brief, and glorious, moment we feel privy to glimpses of wisdom. This book is the work of a master who understands the disquieting beauty, and power, of Truth.
– Jaime Manrique, author of Cervantes Street
There are many different paths that lead to self-discovery…through The Poems of Vikram Babu, Jesús Aguado has fashioned a map that will serve well the reader who decides to embark on this most serious of expeditions…A debt of gratitude is undeniably owed to Electa Arenal and Beatrix Gates for translating The Poems of Vikram Babu, so that many more people around the world can now add a new and powerful tool to their inventory of indispensable equipment for the journey of self-discovery.