Prakash Kona

Conjurer of nights (2012)


Conjurer of nights is Prakash Kona’s British poetry debut, following two previous collections published in his native India, a plethora of nonfiction, and two novels, including his critically acclaimed, stream-of-consciousness Streets that Smell of Dying Roses (2003). A true polymath – novelist, poet, scholar, polemicist – Kona has a richly cultivated concept of his own poetics which, in his words, ‘falls under the rubric of ‘alternate discourses’’. Prime among his heartfelt foci are the material and immaterial travails of the universal ‘underdog’, the social outcast, all those who subsist in poverty in the age of capitalist ‘plenty’. Kona’s perception of the poor transcends the steeply shelved recesses of the fifth varna of the Hindu caste system: his is a macro social conscience, a philanthropic scope sans frontieres. The plight of the world’s poor inspire some sublimely beatific tropes: ‘the bodies of the poor resist the thought of dying,/ Their souls occupied to limits’; ‘my love is a dishrag that serves/ The most and must be discarded as untouchable’.

ISBN: ISBN 978-1-906742-51-5 Category:

Praise and Poems

eds’; ‘You don’t need a name in order to be dead’.

Kona’s vision is of a classless world, ‘an order where no one goes/ to bed on an empty stomach’; a dialectic built on compassion. He has confabulated a highly distinctive cosmic outlook from a cross-fertilization of influences: Marxism, Hermetics, the all-inclusive Varnashrama dharma of Sri Ramakrishna and Gandhi, as well as Saint Francis of Assisi and the ‘Thomist’ ideas drawn from the theology of Aquinas. Kona’s parabolic poetry constitutes something beyond what its author calls ‘the possibility of “Prakash Kona”’: Conjurer of nights marks Kona’s illuminative arrival.


Cut my body to pieces and kill my only child,
I’ll not stop believing that this order
Thrives on murder and prostitution.
The glass houses of the bourgeoisie are
Stones cannot break them.
There is a sad and silent way I walk evening
after evening,
The smell of death is among the
abandoned poor
Enclosed in lightless spaces of the city.
Their beauty is that of stars on milky white
Resilience gives them fiery exuberance
They are endowed with power to look back;
They seem dead to glossy eyes of
They live not in spite of themselves
But because they know
They are owners of streets on the move,
They are owners of history,
Their tales will be told for all times to come.

on Streets that Smell of Dying Roses

…the book that many younger authors have
tried to write and failed — one that disassembles language, narrative and structure, throwing them all into a molten semantic stream. Understanding, falling into, and melding with the flow of this stream one of the more enjoyable literary experiences I’ve had in recent years. A comparison to Joyce’s Ulysses seems apt…. On the strength of this work, Prakash Kona seems poised for greatness.

Charles Allen Wyman
The Absinthe Literary Review

…an experimental work of the highest order

Mad Hatter’s Review

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