Bombay Poets Archive

Investigator: Ben Fried, PhD Candidate, English

Collaborator: Bronwen Bledsoe, Cornell University Library; Anjali Nerlekar, Rutgers University

Arts & Sciences, 2021

This project to digitize the Bombay Poets Archive will make the most important existing collection for the study of later twentieth-century Anglophone Indian poetry freely available to scholars worldwide. Housed at Cornell, centered on the Clearing House poetry co-operative, and illuminating the broader Bombay literary scene of the 1970s, the Bombay Poets Archive combines the personal papers of several prominent Indian writers: Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Adil Jussawalla, Arun Kolatkar, Gieve Patel, and Dilip Chitre, among others. The digital complement to the physical archive will reconstruct the Clearing House operation, curating drafts, letters, and business records to clarify the creative relationships underlying this independent publishing venture and to illustrate how the books it produced were composed, revised, printed, and marketed. Digitization will make the material accessible to researchers prevented by distance, expense, and the pandemic from travelling to Ithaca—while developing a teaching resource for all Cornell faculty members interested in exploring this golden period of Indian poetry.