Book Review: My Elementary Life by Amit Sharma

By Nilesh Mondal


When we talk about a poetry collection, the opinion about individual poems often contradict each other, which in turn makes it harder for the reader to take a stance regarding his/her feelings about the collection as a whole. These flaws become glaringly evident as one navigates one’s way through the new poetry collection of Amit Sharma.

My Elementary Life is a collection of poems with no dearth of ambitions. The collection contains 70 poems exploring a varied range of emotions — love, loss, spirituality and everything in between. The poems are short, and thus do not ramble or lose their way in a muddled narration of emotional outpouring. The cover is colourful and almost surreal, as if foreshadowing the circle of life and colours of different seasons that this collection tries to decipher. I say tries, because although the effort behind this collection garners applause, it unfortunately falls prey to its own ambitions.

Amit mentions in his foreword that this collection contains poems written in a span of 6 years. Although one must praise Mr. Sharma for being passionate and patient about this book for so long, this long time span of writing effects the consistency of the collection adversely. While some of the poems deal with concepts of love and spirituality in a commendable way, some fall despairingly short. To his credit, the poet uses simple and lucid language, which no doubt will find appeal with even the readers who don’t usually read poetry. But the biggest problem this collection faces is its lack of freshness in some of the poems. These poems thus appear blunt and don’t create an imprint on the reader’s mind, which leads to them fading away from memory with as much as a turn of the page. For example, here’s an excerpt from the poem “Those smiles of gay”:
There’s no end to my sorrows,
but the time of love in my heart
pulls me away from the scuffles of my mind.
Carrying these bewildered emotions within me
I walk nonchalant on the obsolete paths;
the path, they’ve crossed before me.
Without ostentations, I loved them all
not in the hope for recompose,
but for their own gay.

Compared to the first half, the second half of the collection is stronger and much more rooted in his honest observations of life. Although the inconsistency still rears its head in some of the later poems, they are much less glaring and can be mostly forgiven. Poems like “Inception” and “The Cycle of Life Begins” reflect on the vagaries of human life and loneliness as one’s companion and it is in these themes that the poet comes through, weaving his observations in the tone of a friendly conversation. An excerpt from one of the above-mentioned poems reads thus:
Every companion of mine
was lost in the labyrinths of life.
And me, unable to alter the fortune
couldn’t do much.
Obsolete paths were left behind,
in the search of new beginnings
& it seemed to me the birth
of a new soul.

The poems occasionally suffer from some technical glitches, such as some lines being italicised randomly, for example. All in all, this collection does have its share of ups and downs. But more importantly, it is a labour of love by the poet, and this love imparts a bitter-sweet tinge to every stanza of the book.

For that, I personally thank Mr. Sharma.


The reviewer is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Power Engineering. When he’s not overwhelmed by the intricacies of engineering, he lets himself sink in a quagmire of unfinished stories and unwritten poetry.