March 2, 2021

KITAAB

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A Brief History of Silence: The Womb of Optimism

2 min read

Book Review by Aditya Shankar

2. A Brief History of Silence -image of front cover

Title: A Brief History of Silence

Author: Manu Dash

Publisher: Dhauli Books, India. First Edition, 2019

 

Manu Dash is a poet, editor, translator, cultural activist and director of OALF (Odisha Art & Literature Festival). He writes in Odia and in English. In 1974, he joined Anam – a literary movement by a group of writers – engaged in searching the socio-cultural roots of the land where he lives. His works include two collections of poems and short stories and four collections of essays. He edited Wings Over the Mahanadi, an anthology of eight Odia poets writing in English (Poetrywala, Mumbai). He edits The Dhauli Review (www.dhaulireview.com), a tri-quarterly of Indian writing, and runs the reputed publishing house, Dhauli Books(www.dhaulibooks.com).

Manu Dash’s poetry collection, A Brief History of Silence, speaks from the warmth and intimacy of the womb—the womb of ideas, the womb of words, the womb of corridors in isolated cancer wards. With womb as the pedestal of speech, the choice of silence and meditation becomes a natural choice of language for these verses. Without a choice, Buddha is an obsession for the inward-looking verse. Songs from the womb must sing about beginnings (‘Zero’, ‘Rain’) and ends (No Rain’, ‘Obituary’). These poems cannot help but be obsessed about the shape of formations, the evolution of outcomes (‘Hellhole homes’, ‘Headlines’), and about each step forward.

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