Ranjit Hoskote

Ocean Park
January 24, 2022 Hoskote Ranjit

Ocean Park

    i.m. Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993)


Call this landscape abstract if the world’s splendour
meant nothing to you. If honking trailer trucks, steel sheets,
slate roofs in rain were just notations. If the sky could be sky
only if its dusty clouds were annunciations. If mottled teal,
rust, tan and lavish cobalt could come unhooked
from storefront and seaface, leaving nameless and bare
an ochre streak of hillside. Or boardwalk. Who cares?
That gaunt profile of terrace or deck
should have been a clean axis or plumb line.
And flag that jetty thrusting out to meet the tide
as an exercise, just that, for a brush tuning itself to Form.
You’re translating as you take a slow, shambling walk
around a roomful of canvases: doors that slide
open and ask you politely to take a long fall through.

Ranjit Hoskote is a poet, essayist and curator based in Bombay. His seven collections of poetry include Vanishing Acts: New & Selected Poems (Penguin, 2006), Central Time (Penguin/ Viking, 2014), Jonahwhale (Penguin/ Hamish Hamilton, 2018; published by Arc in the UK as The Atlas of Lost Beliefs, 2020, which received a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Summer 2020) and, most recently, Hunchprose (Penguin/ Hamish Hamilton, 2021). His translation of a celebrated 14th-century Kashmiri woman saint’s poetry has appeared as I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded (Penguin Classics, 2011). He is the editor of Dom Moraes: Selected Poems (Penguin Modern Classics, 2012). Hoskote has been a Fellow of the International Writing Program (IWP), University of Iowa; writer-in-residence at Villa Waldberta, Munich, Theater der Welt, Essen-Mülheim, and the Polish Institute, Berlin; and researcher-in-residence at BAK/ basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht. His poems have been translated into German, Hindi, Bangla, Irish, Marathi, Swedish, Spanish, and Arabic. Hoskote curated India’s first-ever national pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2011) and was co-curator, with Okwui Enwezor and Hyunjin Kim, of the 7th Gwangju Biennale (2008).