Contemporary Nepali Literature: Poetry

Mukul Dahal (mukul[email protected]). Editor: Pen Himalaya (

This essay is part two of the author's "Contemporary Nepali Literature: A Bird's Eye View."

A distinction can be made between the group of writers and poets who were the noted figures of the modern times and still active in their literary output and another group of emerging new generation who are striving to establish a new trend of writing poetry. Nepali poetry has come a long way since Gopal Prasad Rimal (1918-1973) rescued it from the bondage of the past, writing prose poems dealing with contemporary problems and his successor Bhupi Sherchan made prose poetry popular among the masses. A few poets around their time led Nepali poetry to obscurity in the and distanced it from Nepali social life. Poets like Bashu Shashi, Krishna Bhusan Bal, Shailendra Sakar, Parizat, Sharada Sharma, Bishnu Bibhu Ghimire, Jeevan Aacharya, Meen Bahadur Bista, Manju Kanchuli, Shyamal and Bibas Pokhrel pulled Nepali poetry from the quagmire of obscurity and proved it a beautiful creation with subtle human feelings and concern towards social unrest. Some poets among them are actively creative till the date. So the contemporary scene of Nepali poetry is the continuation of the past on the one hand while on the other a journey to the new direction.

The newly emerging generation of poets includes Ramesh Shrestha, Bhisma Upreti, Shrawan Mukarung, Biplov Dhakal, Ramesh Kshitiz, Momila, Manu Manjil, Upendra Subba, Hangyung Agyat, Jyoti Jungle, R. M. Dangol, Byakul Pathak, Mukul Dahal and the like. They have several challenges in front of them. First they are trying to find, stylistically as well as thematically, a new trend of expression in their poetry. Next they are attempting to combat and break away from the hypocritical tradition that has eclipsed the literary sky. A host of literary artists are after so called power and have begun to believe more in the amount of sycophancy they render than in the quality of their writing. This has been rather negative enforcement and has misled new writers. The new generation of genuine poets and writers has to fight it tooth and nail.

The contemporary poets draw themes of poetry from their wounded sensibility caused by bloody insurgency at home. Their voice is that of discontentment, depression, hopelessness and satire and an ultimate desire for peace. Stylistically today's poetry has departed radically from the trend of the 60s that was full of mythological references and apparently meaningless imagery. The contemporary poets explore and use personal imagery and symbols picked up from the world around them.

Contemporary Nepali Literature: A Bird's Eye View

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Last Modified: 11 March 2004