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Book Review: A Tenant of the World by Madhura Banerjee

By Nilesh Mondal

A Tenant of The World_COVER-1Title: A Tenant of the World

Author: Madhura Banerjee
Publisher: Power Publishers
Pages: 79
Price: Rs 110

 

“The world is but a book, and those who don’t travel read only one page”, Augustine Hippo said, thus making travelling and literature two sides of the same coin, one a necessity for the other. Travelling doesn’t just open up new places to us, it also opens our eyes to newer perspectives, enables us to see the same places in a different light. Madhura Banerjee’s debut collection of poetry, A Tenant of the World, published by Power Publishers, aims to do just that by introducing us to familiar places, and helping us look and familiarise ourselves with them through her eyes, an attempt in which she succeeds to a large extent.

Madhura establishes from the beginning of the book itself what her idea of travelling is: the mingling of myriad cultures and taking the stories from one city and spreading it into the corners of another. Poetry for her is akin to the traveller’s spirit, unperturbed by boundaries and borders, spread across a range of geographical dissimilarities. The scope of her poetry stretches from the mountains of Kashmir, Himachal and North Bengal, to the age-old cities of Lucknow and Calcutta and even the illustrious desert of Rajasthan. Her voice is bold and seldom constricted, easily shifting from the dreamy narratives about the majestic Himalayas, to the nostalgic ruminations about changing cityscapes. This versatility of narration is in all probability, the most interesting part about her book.

This becomes apparent when we consider two very different poems, the first one called ‘If Pahalgam Were Love’, where she writes:

“Love is the conical shaft of highway highlights
Caught mid-flicker, against the wicker of fir,
Letting the red molten wax of daybreak
Flow into the valley of flowers mid-bloom”

The serenity in her tone however is swapped for one that depicts a sense of urgency in the poem ‘Bengali Jetties’, where she writes:

“When it rained at an unusual hour
In an unusual time that April,
It filled the trails of your footprints-
A muddy assurance of your departure-
Weighing down the red dust,
Making agony resist the summer wind.”

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She: A poem by Revathi Raj Iyer

She

revathiRevathi Raj Iyer, author of My Friendship with Yoga released at the New Delhi World Book Fair, this year is a freelance writer, book reviewer, company director, service volunteer and yoga/fitness enthusiast. As a professionally qualified Company Secretary (India & New Zealand) with legal background, she has worked in the corporate field for over a decade. She quit a rewarding career with a multinational to become a full time mum and also pursue her twin passions, yoga and fulltime writing. Bombay is her hometown and Baroda her abode after marriage. This was followed by a long stint in Fiji Islands, where she started to learn yoga, pursued the training in New Zealand and continues her passion after moving back to India. She lives in Ahmedabad and is working on her second book that relates to fiction.


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Five female Indian poets you’ll fall in love with

By Awanthi Vardaraj

These female Indian poets were all trailblazers; they were among the first, and it is on their shoulders that I stood when I first began writing poetry as a child.

I used to read poetry from the subcontinent as a child and marvel at the imagery it conjured up for me. As a little girl who often felt at odds with her culture and her identity, it was words that often grounded me, and those words came in the form of books and poetry. I wish I could tell you that in the field of literature women were afforded equal opportunities, but this was not the case. The women who wrote anyway did so with the full knowledge that they were the exception, not the norm. They left an indelible mark on literature in general, and Indian literature in particular.

Something that saddens me, therefore, is how rarely people seem to reminisce about female Indian poets. When I ask people what their favourite poems or verses are, nobody mentions Sarojini Naidu, Kamala Surayya, Amrita Pritam or Toru Dutt. They were all trailblazers; they were among the first, and it is on their shoulders that I stood when I first began writing poetry as a child. It is on their shoulders I stand today as a poet, a writer and an essayist. I am not ignorant of their contributions, and nor should you be. Read more

Source: Wearyourvoicemag


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Book Review: An Ode to Shimla by Sanjeev Bansal

By Nilesh Mondal

ode to shimlaTitle: An Ode to Shimla

Author: Sanjeev Bansal

Publisher: Frog Books

Pages: 150

Price: Rs 172

To buy

When Ernest Hemingway was famously quoted as saying “there is nothing to writing, all you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed”, you can well assume he was either being sarcastic, or making an understatement of epic proportions. Writing poetry, especially, is a task both arduous and more often than not, unrewarding. It boils down to the understanding of one’s own perspectives, expertise in the observation of occurrences both mundane and trivial, and with the deftness of an artist, the ability to weave them into happenings at once exaggerated but magical.

Sanjeev Bansal, in his debut collection of poetry attempts to do the same with places and people he has long formed a sturdy emotional attachment with. However, despite his efforts, his poetry doesn’t dazzle but leaves a strong sense of unfulfilled expectations at the end of his book.

The title of the book, An Ode to Shimla, is aptly chosen since almost all of the poems in this collection speak of Shimla, which is also the place the poet spends his weekends at and has a strong connection to. His poems sound almost like little love letters written to the place, heavy with metaphors that speak of Shimla’s beauty, appeal and the surprises it hides in itself and offers only to those who seek them. Although his sentiments for Shimla are commendable, what makes it really hard for readers to relate and connect to his intended emotions, is how he chooses to write his poems. Sanjeev’s poems lack the translucency that is the essential mark of passionate writing. They are cryptic and hard to decipher, and reading through the poems is like peeking into his secret diary — an act that feels more uncomfortable than exciting. The poem “Poet of Crowned Oak Tree”, for example:

“In the scented perfume, magnifying when night desires of melancholic hunger,
But my mind’s beautiful Chimera fades,
And time’s epoch returns me to boisterous towns again,
Where the color of Serene comes in spots among moldings of an Entablature”

There were two recurring problems with the narrative that however remain unresolved. First is Sanjeev’s use of archaic words (mostly pronouns) like thine, thee, ye, etc., in the midst of poems clearly contemporary in nature. While it adds no added value to the narrative itself, the use of these words are distracting as well for the readers. Secondly, he chooses to use words that are long and complicated (mostly adjectives) and don’t advance the narrative or add beauty to the imageries itself, but instead sound cluttered and out of place while reading through the poems. An example of this is the poem “Change my Origin Oh Mother”:

“Change my circle O daystar, towards Mother Karma,
Downpour the showers from the archaic thick forest,
Rebound me to the redolence in the form of perished blade
Into the divine cloistered field of peace and silent rock,
Where perspiration from the bank of margin rivers,
Scented the wave of deciduous leaves, lives in heart again,
That beats among the throng of prodigious Scots pine”

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‘Kali’ and ‘Shiva’: Two poems by Prerona Basu

‘Kali’ and ‘Shiva’

author picturePrerona Basu graduated from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, with a degree in English Honours and later completed her Masters in English from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She works as a freelance writer who has written for India Perspectives, the flagship magazine of The Ministry of External Affairs India. She enjoys writing all forms of fiction and some of her pieces have been successfully published.

 

 

 

 


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Raza Foundation, Delhi, launches India’s first poetry biennale

T. S. Eliot in his rather little-known essay, Dante (1929), wrote ‘It is a test that genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood’. While Eliot’s own poems may not have always passed the test, he did — before everyone else — see the future of poetry as being something of a merging of cultures and even language. The Raza Foundation, in an attempt, to facilitate the seamless interlocking of these poetic landscapes within India, is organising VAK (meaning speech in Sanskrit), the first ever Biennale of Indian Poetry. And true to its ambition, it intends to bring together on a single platform, through 15 languages, a number of poets, who will read, share, discuss and debate.

Poetry readings and literary festivals have been around for ages. But they have almost always been driven by themes restricted by language (English and Hindi mostly) rather than driven by its role in creating literature of value. India’s first-ever poetry biennale may finally address the issue. Read more

Source: Hindustan Times


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We were epilogues looking for closure : A poem by Anirban Dam

we were epilogues looking for closure

Anirban Dam is a 20 something Accounting and Finance post-graduate and is currently pursuing a course in Chartered Accountancy. Apart from crunching numbers and evading taxes (legally of course) he is a part-time writer who has always been inclined towards literature despite his academic background. He is an avid music listener and an audiophile who is obsessed with keeping his music library organized and up-to-date. Currently, located in his hometown Mumbai, India he writes poems regularly under his pen name Memento-Mori on a poetry site. His works have been previously featured in Vine Leaves Literary Magazine and The Meadow (upcoming Summer Issue 2016).

 


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Book Review: In the Garden of My Freedom by Rukmini Dey

By Lakshmi Menon

freedomContrary to popular belief, there is no singular language of poetry. Every writer is unique in the way that they bring words together to create feeling and emotion, and every poem is a reflection of the world that they inhabit. A book of poems, then, is often an exercise in world building at the end of which the reader is left with a new vision with which to see what is around them, the vision that the poet lent them through their verse.

Rukmini Dey’s In the Garden of My Freedom, from Writers Workshop, is a collection of poetry on subjects ranging from the spiritual to the mathematic, the latter being somewhat appropriate given that Dey is a professor of the subject, but more so as the poems in the collection combine to give us a very real, almost tangible look into Dey’s world.

The very first poem, “The Bird Watcher”, introduces the reader to the simplicity of her verse where a young boy prowls after birds in a jungle as his mother watches,

“Seeing him, a bird alighted

On my heart.”

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