Was Nirala of unsound mind? It may be he was just independent-minded, his behaviour as unorthodox as his art. Magazine editors would return his poems because he practiced "verse known as ‘free’". He touches on the subject in the haunting elegy he wrote for his daughter, Saroj, in 1935: "The flock of editors,/no wise impressed, skimmed through it all and sent it back/with a line or two in answer."
A small amount of bad Indian poetry is available in worse English translation in a few anthologies. Books like the one under review, featuring the work of a single poet competently translated, are a rarity. I can think of only one other poet whose work is similarly available: Tagore. The clubbing of their names would have pleased Nirala. It should make us sit up and take notice.