A Poem at the Right Moment collects, and preserves, poems—called catus—that have circulated orally for centuries in South India. The poems are remarkable for their wit and precision, their lyrical insight on the commonplace, their fascination with sensual experience, and their exploration of the connection between language and desire. Taken together the catus offer a penetrating critical vision and an understanding of the classical traditions of Telugu, Tamil, and Sanskrit.
Each poem is presented in a contemporary English translation along with the Indian-language original. An introduction and a concluding essay explore in detail the stories and texts that comprise the catu system.
This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1998.