JULY 2016
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida


Book Reviews By NITISH S. RELE,

Dothead by Amit MajmudarDothead” (110 pages; $26.95) by Amit Majmudar; published by Alfred A. Knopf (www.aaknopf.com)

The poet is all over the place. Some of the topics covered include Adam and Eve, James Bond, immigration and naturalization, torture, King Lear, drones, T.S.A., and of course radiology. After all, Amit Majmudar is a diagnostic radiologist by day. As he says, “Being precise where precision is correct and being vague where vagueness is correct – these are two qualities of a good poem, and of a good radiology report.” And there are plenty of fascinating poems you can read by Ohio’s first Poet Laureate. By penning “Dothead,” which is also the lead poem, Majmudar aims to take back what is perceived as an ethnic smear.

“… The white kids I was sitting with were friends,
at least as I defined a friend back then.
So wait, said Nick, does your mom wear a dot?
I nodded, and I caught a smirk on Todd—
She wear it to the shower? And to bed?—
while Jesse sucked his chocolate milk and Brad
was getting ready for another stab.
I said, Hand me that ketchup packet there.
And Nick said, What? I snatched it, twitched the tear,
and squeezed a dollop on my thumb and worked
circles till the red planet entered the house of war
and on my forehead for the world to see
my third eye burned those schoolboys in their seats,
their flesh in little puddles underneath,
pale pools where Nataraja cooled his feet.” *

Most of the readers may possibly relate to the “T.S.A.” poem, a brutally written masterpiece.

“… How polite of the screeners to sham paranoia
when what they really want
Is to pick out the swarthiest, scruffiest of us
      and pat us top to toe,
my fellow Ahmeds and my alien Alis,
      Mohammed alias Mo—
My buddies from med school, my doubles partners,
      my dark unshaven brothers
whose names overlap with the crazies and God fiends,
      ourselves the goateed other.” *

Apart from being a poet, Majmudar has written two eloquent novels “Partitions” and “The Abundance.” Add this recent book of must-read poems to the list.

*From DOTHEAD Copyright © 2016 by Amit Majmudar. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC, New York. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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