Tag Archives: Indian poetry

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.





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

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).


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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Chronicling the Lives of Two Noblemen-Poets in the Mughal Court

By Madhulika Liddle

In Delhi’s Nizamuddin area, just off one of the city’s busiest main roads, sits a large mausoleum. Its stark rubble dome is in sharp contrast to the impressive proportions of the building itself. Few of the thousands who traverse this stretch of Mathura Road every day would know who is buried there. Some, when told that this is the tomb of Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan, would probably recognise the name as that of one of the foremost generals and statesmen in Akbar’s court.

But mention that the occupant of this tomb is Rahim, the Rahim of Hindi poetry, and there is likely to be an immediate recall. In Delhi, and across north and central India, in all the places where Hindi is spoken and school textbooks contain the dohas of Rahim, Rahim lives on. Those who have studied his dohas may have forgotten that he was more than a poet, but they remember, in the very least, that Hindi literature counts him among its greatest.

In Attendant Lords: Bairam Khan and Abdur Rahim, Courtiers and Poets in Mughal India, T.C.A. Raghavan documents the life of Rahim, as well as that of his father, the equally illustrious Bairam Khan, known primarily as a regent to the young Akbar after the death of Humayun. Read more

Source: Thewire.in

The Dust Of Andalus: A poem by Aftab Yusuf Shaikh

The Dust Of Andalus

aftabBorn and brought up in Bombay, Aftab Yusuf Shaikh teaches English to high school students. He has been writing since the age of eight and has since published his work in many anthologies and journals. He has published four volumes of poetry, Poems Twenty One (2010), Emma (2012), Daddy and Ibrahim (2014), Bachelor of Arts (2015) and a novel, The Library Girl (2017). Visit him at aftabyusufshaikh.weebly.com

The Jugalbandhi – The Greater Coucal Concert: A poem by N. Kalyani

The Jugalbandhi – The Greater Coucal Concert

N. Kalyani is a freelance journalist and writer based out of New Delhi, India. She writes in the main on environment issues, though she also writes general interest articles. She has written for several publications in India – national newspapers, magazines and journals. She has also done programs for All India Radio. She composes poetry and the first collection of her poems titled “Mysteries & Musings” was published in 2011.  She has presented her poems on All India Radio too. She is also an avid philatelist and an amateur photographer.

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