Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Goa Through the Traveller's Lens

                            Through the Eyes of a Traveller-poet: Goa Yesterday and Today

                                                                Dr. Brian Mendonça


Travel-writing has usually been confined to prose. In this inquiry, I place my poems on Goa written during my sojourn so far as a traveller-poet.  Though identifying with the larger matrix of India, the Goa poems have nimbly yielded a collection of a book of verse by itself. The last decade from my debut volume Last Bus to Vasco: Poems from Goa (2006) to my blog writings today have tried to mediate what it means to be a traveller in Goa. In this pursuit I have shifted genres from poetry to prose, reviews to reportage.  Always the subject has been the shifting signifier - Goa.  The first poem, ‘Requiem to a Sal,’ (1987) lamented the hacking down of a tree, a horrific reality even today, thirty years on. Similarly there are poems which are descriptions of the places I have spent time in like, ‘Good Friday in Cuncolim,’(2003) or the march of the tides in ‘May Queen,’(2004). This is a poetic documentation of a rapidly changing Goa, of a landscape under erasure. The prose narratives are more based on incidents, like the killing of a man by villagers in Pernem, or the vast untamed outback one sees when one travels in Dharbandora taluka for example. Along the journey several social oddities of each place are noted and merged in the creative work. These minute observations give a sense of rootedness to the reader with that place. This paper will explore the terrain of my published writings on Goa and attempt to theorize Goa through its lens. It will also consider in its purview critical studies on my work so far.
Seminar on ‘Goa Through the Traveller’s Lens,’ Department of English, Goa University, Taleigao, Goa, 30 March 2017

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