Sujata Bhatt. Brunizem. “The Women of Leh are such —”

The appearance of Stein in this poem seems mysterious until one discovers that the dedicatee was a translator of the correspondence between Sherwood Anderson and Gertrude Stein. The poem is dedicated to Jürgen Dierking. He would go on to translate Bhatt.

in that place I dreamt
and I saw Gertrude Stein selling
horseradishes and carrots. There was no mistaking
those shoulders — but she fit in so well
with her looking-straight-at-you eyes.

And by association we leap to Gertrude Stein’s Idem the Same: A Valentine to Sherwood Anderson (for which the Poetry Foundation nicely supplies a recording of Stein reading). However it is to the textual history I draw your attention, to the notes provide by Ulla E. Dydo, long time scholar of Stein and the notebooks (see A Stein Reader) which on page 376 informs us

On the back of the notebook for this piece are tiny private love verses to Toklas. Some become sections of the text. In the notes, details of “A Very Valentine” appear in more personal form than in typescript and in print. The original line “Very Stein is my valentine very Stein and very fine” becomes in print “Very mine is my valentine very mine and very fine.” Stein and Toklas are each other’s valentines, two lovers who are one, idem the same.

Let us return to the figure of Stein in Bhatt’s “The Women of Leh are such —”. We find her at the end of the poem.

Then she turned aside to talk with the tomato seller,
still keeping an eye on the dzo — it was hard to believe
but there was no mistaking that poise.

Idem, the same.

And so for day 1652

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