Classical Sanskrit literature boasts an exquisite canon of poetry devoted to erotic love. In Erotic Poems from the Sanskrit, noted translator and scholar R. Parthasarathy curates a selection in a new verse translation that introduces readers to Sanskrit poetry in a modern English vernacular. The volume features works by seventy-two poets, including seven women poets and thirty-five anonymous poets, primarily composed between the fourth and seventeenth centuries. It includes a detailed introduction that guides readers through Sanskrit poetic forms and explains how to read and appreciate the poems in English.
Erotic Poems from the Sanskrit seeks to represent the breadth of Sanskrit poetry through the ages and to present a cohesive, thematically unified selection when read as a whole. The works in this volume depict licit and illicit love, speaking to the joys and sorrows of consummation and separation and a broader cultural celebration of the pleasures of the flesh. Often sexually explicit, they are replete with recurrent scenarios and striking tactile, visual, and olfactory images, whose resonance and use as motifs across eras are expertly explained. Parthasarathy shows that Sanskrit poets are our contemporaries despite the centuries that separate us, as they speak simply and passionately to a wide range of human experience. Erotic Poems from the Sanskrit offers English-speaking readers an enticing and tantalizing initiation into the riches and beauty of this venerable poetic tradition.