A Place Apart – Poems from Kodagu

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A Place Apart Portrays the sense of dislocation and erosion of identity that the Kodava people have felt over the past decades. The magnificent landscape of Kodagu, which achieved mythical status in Kodava culture, forms the backdrop of Bacharanianda P.Appanna’s deceptively simple poems. The lines are layered with history, culture, myth, politics, and what it means to be a Kodava. In a rapidly homogenizing world, this collection of poems gives voice to one of the many small, distinctive societies that is on the brink of irretrievable cultural loss. Written in one of the UNESCO’s listed ‘definitely endangered’ languages of the world, this is the first time the poems have been translated into English.



About the Author:

Bacharanianda P. Appanna & Ranu Appanna

Bacharanianda P. Appanna is a poet, writer and acknowledged authority on the Kodava language. Author of several collections of poetry and recipient of numerous awards he has served as the President of the Karnataka Kodava Sahitya Academy. Born in 1935 in what was the independent state of Coorg(later Kodagu), a retired lecturer from the Junior College, Somwarpet, he has spend a lifttime preserving and energizing the Kodava language.

His published works are collaborate works with his wife Ranu Appanna, who is also a retired lecturer and writer.
This is the first collection of his poems to be translated into English.

About the Translator:

Kaveri Ponnapa

Kaveri Ponnapa is the author of The Vanishing Kodavas, and extensive cultural study of Kodava people. She studied at Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi, and took a Masters’ Degree in Social Anthropology at SOAS, London. Since 1998, she has been immersed in researching and writing about Kodava culture. In recognition of her work, the Karnataka Kodava Sahitya Academy awarded her the Gaurava Puruskara in 2021.

The world of Kodavas, their unique worldview are captured in these poems. Bacharanianda P.Appanna’s love for his language and culture, his strong desire to preserve it for future generations is palpable in his writing. He has beautifully depicted the intricate relationship between nature and the inner life of the Kodavas. Kaveri Ponnapa’s translation has captured the immediacy and urgency of the voice in these poems.

Vivek Shanbhag, Author of Ghachar Ghochar

These poems are a chance to be an eyewitness and experience the Kodava world. Being a Dravidian language speaker, the rhymes and rhythm in the poems catch the reader’s mind.
Layered with old words from the Kodava language, the English translation mirrors the poet’s thoughts. The transliteration adds a unique opportunity for English language readers to enter into the Kodava language. More of these presentations should be done in our languages.

Dr.Sayeegeetha Hegde, HOD, Department of Humanities, K.S. Hegde Medical Academy, Mangaluru

Media Mentions:

Saving Kodava takkë
A new bilingual title of 21 poems deep-dives into the culture and literature of Coorg, hoping to become a tool to revive their language after UNESCO listed it as a Definitely Endangered Language.
Know more....

Kodava takke, an endangered language, gets a new lease of life
A book of poems by veteran Kodagu poet BP Appanna, freshly translated and transliterated by Kaveri Ponnapa, shines the spotlight on this endangered language. Know more....

5 reviews for A Place Apart – Poems from Kodagu

  1. Avatar

    Ramya Reddy

    B P Appana’s towering renditions of Kodagu and its people beautifully translated by Kaveri Ponnappa, and interlaced with Rupesh Nanaiah’s hauntingly beautiful watercolours make ‘A Place Apart- poems from Kodagu’ both powerfully real and deeply moving.
    The Kodavas are a proud clan that worships nature with all its beloved forests, hills and animals and equally stays true to their ancient culture and traditions, but their world and their ways are changing for the worse.

    Barapole’s Lament is a river’s cry of anguish about a drowning land that even the staff of Karuna or the proud gun of the Kodava cannot save from an inexorable end. In Forest Trees of my Village and Wild Creatures of Kodagu, the poet lovingly describes every type of tree and each species of animal in Kodagu, only to leave me with the pain of the impending loss of their existence. Yet there are verses of hope and prayer, tales for children and stories about everyday life that uplift my senses again and make me want to be part of the world this book so beautifully describes.
    The fact that these poems were originally rendered in a language that is itself endangered, and now translated and transliterated so beautifully makes reading this book a moving experience. Thank you dearest Kaveri for enriching my world.

  2. Avatar

    Anjana Appachana, Author of Incantations, Listening Now

    I have finished A Place Apart and absolutely loved it. You've done such a marvellous job of  translating the poems. The poems went straight to my heart. They went back to my childhood and to a Kodagu that I guess doesn't exist anymore in that pristine way. Mr Appanna's love for his land and its people and customs and its flora and fauna is immensely moving and evocative. I am so grateful to you for bringing this to the world, to the Kodavas and to me. You have done a superb job. Thank you.

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    Shilpa Nanjappa

    In my view, the best option to popularise the literature of the vanishing Kodava language is to break barriers like script. It is refreshing to see Kodava thakk being made more accessible to people rather than cordoning it away behind Kannada or other ‘new’ scripts. Progressive and timely efforts by Kaveri.

  4. Avatar

    Taj Sathyavathi

    It’s such a precious experience to be able to read these poems in my language.

  5. Avatar


    A very nice book of Kodagu, Poems are written in Kannada and English also meaning is translated in English. I enjoyed reading it. The book definitely cherishes your old memories if you are from Kodagu.

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