Padma-Uday “transforms life experience into poetry comparably to the great American woman poet, Elizabeth Bishop, with the same unflinching view on life.”

— Csilla Toldy, Poet and Novelist, Ireland

They are powerful. Exactly like the coals asking:  ‘are you warm, do I burn well?’ Or, another poem on the body’s helpless sexuality, when it wishes, as sometimes a city worn in its ways, would wish to just ‘shut down’, is frozen grief. Even the narrator’s little happiness are stick into her heart like jagged pieces of glass. Inconsolable, as in ‘Magic Concoctions’.

— C. P. Surendran, Indian poet, novelist, and screenplay writer

‘Poetically, in Padma-Uday’s poems, homes become the context for highlighting inequality and discrimination, and the ground from which bigger themes emerge. “In Pallavi’s poetry, domesticity serves as an expression of the self, the Indian self, the colourful and visceral tissue of one’s being. We are invited to the inner world of a young woman of colour who finds herself in a predominantly colourless/white world.”
— News9 Live

“’Orisons in the Dark’ skillfully weaves together themes of patriarchy, violence, and the evolution of women’s roles across generations. Padma-Uday fearlessly confronts these subjects, infusing her poems with palpable anger and courage.”
— ABP Live

”लंदन स्कूल ऑफ इकॉनमिक्स जैसे संस्थान से पढ़कर जीवन में अर्थशास्त्र, पत्रकारिता और इतिहास के परस्पर संबंधों को समझने का कौतुक एक सफल-संतुष्ट जीवन के लिए बहुतों को काफी लग सकता है. लेकिन पल्लवी पद्मउदय का जीवन दर्शन केवल सीखकर पिसते रहने वालों में नहीं रहा. नारी चेतना और अध्ययन ने उनमें अभिव्यक्ति का विस्तार पैदा किया और जन्म लिया अनेक कविताओं ने जो डायरी के पन्नों से निकलकर अब साहित्य के उजाले में किरणें बनकर बिखर-निखर रही हैं…. पल्लवी की कविताएं अंग्रेजी में हैं. ऐसा लग सकता है कि फिर क्योंकर हिंदी में उसकी चर्चा हो. लेकिन चर्चा इसलिए उचित लगती है क्योंकि कविता केवल वर्ण पर बैठकर नहीं आती. कविता आती है अमरूद की डाल से लेकर भिंडी की सब्जी तक. कविता आती है एक बोध से, विलाप और मिलाप से, जुगनू से, कंगनों से,…. दुख, अवसाद, विरह, प्रेम और न जाने कितने ही साक्षात्कारों से पिरोए गुथे हारों की तरह हैं पल्लवी की कविताएं.”
—  पाणिणी आनंद, Group Digital Editor, TV9 News Network



‘Orisons in the Dark’ is a debut collection from India born bilingual poet, journalist and economic historian Pallavi Padma-Uday. With a critical eye for institutions we take for granted, the poems in the collection are a protest against patriarchy, yet utterly hopeful there can be space for love and temptations. Blending imageries and words from the wider culture of her home country, Padma-Uday meditates on the burning questions of what it is to be a woman today, but not without confirming that longing for love and a heart for wisdom can co-exist with anger towards patriarchy. 





Pallavi Padma-Uday

Publication date

April 2023

About the author

Pallavi Padma-Uday grew up all over India and studied in Chennai and London before moving to Belfast. She started off as a reporter and a long form writer for India’s leading newspapers including Mint and The Indian Express in Mumbai and New Delhi. In recent years, she helped build some of India’s fastest growing ecommerce startups as part of their core leadership teams and continues to mentor digital businesses. She studied Economic History at London School of Economics and Political Science. She writes op-eds and longreads on business, and political economy for newspapers in India and the UK. She is recipient of various grants and bursaries from Arts Council Ireland, and is published in various literary anthologies and journals including Abridged and the Honest Ulsterman among others. Pallavi tweets at @econhitorienne.


Orisons in the Dark

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Poetry, I realise, is a compulsion for me, and I try to make sense of this through everything great poems have taught me — compassion, gratitude, courage, protest, love, humility, kindness. Poems are communities, where one can find solace, or find reasons to fight. Either way, we seek communities because that lies at the core of us as human beings. When we write poems, we expand this community and offer it the cries of a newborn. We continue the tradition, we challenge the old guard, we offer a fresh mould for very ancient problems, and we find new troubles to mess with. That’s poetry for me. I also love that often, good poems are like therapy, or catharsis, or acts of love, and while deeply subjective, they help us see the many-coloured prism of truth. Poetry continues to be my voice, my angry protest, or maudlin prayer.

Pallavi Padma-Uday. As told to The Punch literary magazine, January 2022
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