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Review: Healing Waters Floating Lamps

Review: Healing Waters Floating Lamps.

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My Glass Of Wine reviewed in The Literary Voyage

Kiriti Sengupta’s My Glass of Wine: It was not only the wine, but that the glass was mine.

Published by: Author’s Empire Publications Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 2013.

Paperback. Pp 90. Rs.125,

ISBN: 9788192861906

Reviewed by: Indira Shetkar, Associate Professor, Sharnbasveshwar College of Arts, Gulbarga, Karnataka, India.

Kiriti Sengupta’s My Glass of Wine is not only a collection of narratives, but narratives interspersed with poetry. While the narratives lead the readers to poems and provide necessary background to appreciate the poems, the poems, in their turn, illuminate the narratives. From the point of view of form, thus, My Glass of Wine is clearly experimental operating as it does on a border zone though it doesn’t intend to collapse genre distinctions.

The first piece is a hilarious account of the author’s first ‘encounter’ with Bengali literature, eventual journey into the world of literature and, ultimately, the ‘consumption’ of his dream of  becoming an author of literary endeavors. Though his first encounter itself is an instance of a funny misfire, the final consumption is a haunting image – something he could take pride in:

“Consumed time

like an infant consuming

milk; inevitable

it remains.”

And an assertion of faith:

“Killed essence of

The eternal soul; and consumed,

Essentially I remain.” (p.34)

The second  piece recounts a more adventurous phase in which the author, a staunch follower of Belur Mutt traverses into the world of Christianity only to discover the symbolic significance of wine in that religion and the symbolism of red in several religions. The verse that results from the exercise takes us through various associations of wine and red but ends up with a celebration of “Blood Related”

It was not branded, but a homemade

Wine

Intimately divine

I drank it first right after I was spiritually baptized.

……. …… ….

You and I

The Father and Son

the legacy goes on

inevitable – impeccable,

blood relation …” (p.40)

The next piece ‘My Sister’s Bhaiya’ which provides an illustration to the ‘blood relation’ plays on the words like name, fame and game. Though the wordplay appears to be just a play, it can indeed be seen as yet another instance of blood relation – at the linguistic level!

“Significant indeed – carrying yourself

Crucify is Christ filled.

I remember, and my mind runs candle-lit.

They pinned it before,

will do that again…

No arrangements of incenses though!

God & Life;

moving apart…” (Pp.45-46)

The following piece ‘Southern Affiliation’ extends the reflection on blood relation to include several other relations which can be termed ‘literary’.

“Faulty are my limbs

They tilt even on the steady floor;

I readily realize

It is all in my mind

As the sky swings.” (p51)

Thus, though seemingly unrelated pieces read as of a piece and this I think is an achievement in itself.

The last piece in the collection is a masterly finishing touch. It joins all the loose ends including the cover design.

“He first touched the base,

gradually coming up until

He held my cranial recess.

He directed me to face Him

With my eyes closed.

As soon as He spotted the third

The spirit echoed!

I fell in love with myself

With sole existence.” (p78)

The book offers a splendid reading experience and recommend the book to all those who wish to traverse in the realm of literature for ‘entertainment’ and also to those who look for stuff for a thought.

{The review has been published in The Literary Voyage, a print-journal for scholarly and creative writings (ISSN: 2348-5272), Vol-I, Issue-3, Sept.-Dec., 2014}

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Filed under Indira Shetkar, Kiriti Sengupta, My Glass of Wine, Nonfiction, Poetry, Reviews, Spiritual, The Literary Voyage

A Marvel! — A review of “Poem Continuous” by Chitra Banerjee

I am an extremely subtle entity — yet an ardent lover of poetry and an untiring seeker of ‘beauty’ everywhere.  To write even a few words about a renowned poetic personality as Bibhas Roy Chowdhury is a Herculean task, however, I have dared to enter the zone!

As I did enter, the collection captivated me bit by bit and the enlivening juice filled me in drop by drop. “…Better I keep some wound /Beside the coming tune…”— the ending lines of “The People” startled me at the outset  and the superb lines  in “The Weather Bulletins”— “…That a life has gathered as it saved the manuscript…”   as if glittered the lives of the ‘men of letters’ and imparted  immortality and worth-liveliness in them as never before . Here I salute Mr. Roy Chowdhury.

One of the masterpieces, according to my likings is “Lunatic.” (p 28) Only a person who has undergone or is currently passing through this delicate phase of life as well as its day-to-day existence, can gauge the depth of this poem. Conceiving the whole is only an exclusive area earmarked for the poet himself — a churning experience indeed!  The second is “Ma And Her Eldest Son” (p 46) — the last stanza is so touching — touching a paradox at the same breath. The third one “The Sun -burnt Ashes” (p 52) the penultimate poem in this collection is simply a marvel.  “…I burn, I receive the light and my fingers become exhausted / Readers, are you aware this is only my future and my present?”— The lines are self-jerking and elicit a soliloquy, so far as I can explain them.

Some of the short yet stirring poems claim special mention. In “The Small Boat,” “Bhatiali — Song Of The Boatmen” – “…I keep awake in the day and night, / I write my eye in the poetry…” these lines smoothly touch the soft reality and in “I Can Leave But Why” I discovered the strange assimilation of thoughts coinciding between two distant but thinking and creative souls, though I very humbly admit my insignificance in comparison to the likes of Bibhas. “…I have planted a few trees / They will survive even after my death / I’m happy that they will shade the earth / After I leave the world…” “…চলার পথে চিহ্ন রাখ / রেখে রেখে যাও গো চলে, / পথ ফুরোব, গাছটি তবু রইবে ভরে ফলে-ফুলে…” “When will Winter come” (“…Wait, let us first understand and estimate! / Hands were there, and nothing adjacent / Even space can read and interpret.”), “Eternal” (“…Lift your face for once… / I’m not here, my absence … this is the other sky / And, there is no humiliation before the sky…”) — These particular lines bear the purported meanings if a person can place or identify himself with the poet’s sentiments.  “The Odor Of Being Upset” and “Death By Will” are two commendable creations gifted to us by the poet. The concluding lines in “Speaking With The Self” and “My Darling” exhume the whole gist and flavor of his mindset. “The Connector,” “The Poetry Of A Hibiscus Flower,” and “The Debt” are three dazzling pieces of Kohinoor, to say the least!

Turning to the front pages, as Kiriti (who has been the translator) has written in his notes, “The Tie Of Brotherhood” and “Bhatiali — Song Of The Boatmen” exhibit the deep oozing wound in the poet’s heart for the political Partition of Bengal by the British ( 1905 ) — the anguish, pang and yearnings for the re-union are still freshly alive. “The Light-House” is self-portraying … really we are in large majority, candle-shy and blind!

A few poems in the book get a bit difficult to be pursued within the horizon of senses sometimes and seem beyond the interpretation of the right spirit of the poet at that given moment.  I do definitely realize the truth that the world of poems and poetry is in most instances ambiguous and synonymous to different connotations and realizations by separate entities, choices and of course, the moods / moments of a reader.

To talk about Kiriti as a translator will be “beating about the bush,” for I have earlier said, commented and written a lot in this regard. About his work, labor and effort in this particular sphere, I will repeat the same vernaculars. An utmost tough job has been performed so easy and an almost in transmittable ray of light made to pierce through the rose-hearts of the poetry-lovers of this world! His rich English including strong vocabulary is a special asset for him.  I acknowledge his qualities and I will never lag behind in words in his praise.  Kudos!

In conclusion, I won’t fail to say that Bibhas is a poet belonging to this world now and to the second one the next moment; his expression is easy to understand yet paranormal, beyond the perception at times. The paragon in its true color and conception very deceptive at some conditions or other! The poems are subject to manifold reflections through the prism of one’s own view-points and that of the poet himself.  I wish him a sunny future and I hope his pen will continue to give immense pleasure, support and solace to many aching hearts for days to come. Poem Continuous – Reincarnated Expressions has only enhanced my thirst more.

Chitra Banerjee

Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

India

chit.banerjee@gmail.com

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The “Red Fez” Mag Review of “The Reverse Tree” by Gary Robinson (Canada)

“Profound, original, and very human The Reverse Tree is unlike anything I’ve read before from an Indian poet and thinker…” — Gary Robinson (Poet & Short Story Writer, Canada). Published in the Red Fez Magazine (U.S.A.). Click on the link below:

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Man in the Botanical Garden: The Fallen, the Forbidden, the Golden, the Heaven-Going Tree Versus the Tree Turned Upside Down — A Review of “The Reverse Tree” by Bishnupada Ray

In the beginning man was hermaphrodite, a man-tree carrying both fruit and seed in the wake of it. But in a masterstroke of evolution the tree fell, its fruits fell off and the seeds spilled. From the seeds came two separate entities, sex-wise, male and female, and gender-wise, man and woman. They were so different in body and mind that without looking at each other, soon went in opposite ways in desperation. But both soon suffered the desperation of a yearning to seek out the other. This was love. Out of this desperation they sought fulfillment in the other. But out of the same desperation they were in perpetual flight, perpetually withdrawing from each other, in perpetual disagreement. Man never experienced such an aggravated sense of Eros and Thanatos as in this twin manifestation.

Or in the Garden of Eden man was alone and lonely, so God created woman from man’s rib bone to be his partner; a partner in life and a partner in death; a partner in his rise and in his fall; a partner in his glory and in his shame. It was a divine bond beyond and at the same time around the Forbidden Tree of consciousness, the consciousness of good and evil. When the forbidden tree bore fruit it was woman who ate the fruit first, so she also became capable of bearing fruit and she gave the seeds to man to eat.

Or in the sacred grove of Nemi in ancient Rome there had been a golden tree. Anybody breaking a branch of this tree would have become a priest-king. So the reigning priest-king had to defend the tree from any challenger aspiring to break a branch, by remaining on guard all the time and by maintaining a round the clock vigil. The power struggle or the blood conflict eventually got transformed into a psychological conflict of ego and around the golden tree man and woman were seen lurking in ambush.

Or in the Old Norse mythology there is yggdrasil or the heaven-going tree that acts like a stairway to heaven. Is this tree a woman, capable of redeeming the fallen man?

Perhaps all these trees get connected in the surreal tree that Kiriti Sengupta presents us in his latest book The Reverse Tree which he describes as a crisis-management autobiographical philosophy. The man-woman problematic leads him to reverse the fallen man-tree towards the original androgynous ardhanariswar position but he turns it upside down keeping in view the contemporary gender issues to show his reverse tree caught in a time warp. He seems to probe into this seemingly unending sex-dilemma which is all too human to humanly decipher by changing the metaphor in each chapter. The hypothetical, the comic, the poetic, the physical, the voyeuristic and the spiritual sides of the same quest are recorded with a human cry for compassion and a human will for divine grace. One can understand his anxiety in the question, “would you still like to consider men as trees?” I once heard an educated lady saying that man was a tree, the more stout the tree was the more bliss your golden deer(read ‘woman’) would get by rubbing onto it. If your tree is stout, as he claims in the prologue, why all this bother is not well understood. Here is his prologue:-

“my tree is stout,

well-developed

it refutes the gravitational pull

 

not always, you know…

 

my roots run

against the sap!”

However an uncertainty and a question of ‘life in death’ and ‘death in life’ is indicated as well in the prologue. A non-stout tree is unsuitable for the golden deer of magical forests and a man is helpless except he turns into a poet dreaming and churning out ‘poetree’ in his incapacity. Is a poet masculine or masculine enough to have a smooth sailing? I have doubts. The poet is a crucifix standing in wilderness of life awaiting the arrival of meanings to purify his soul so that he remains a spiritual martyr. Then why this concern to keep the soul immaculate in the process of its translation through life? The body must die for its sins. Similarly the soul must live by its own virtue. The body is experienced but it is transcended to keep the soul intact. Is not the body as divine as the ‘sap’ through which your ‘roots’ penetrate? Then why only the body is transgressed and violated just because you have a false sense of identity? Then what is an identity? There is nothing truer than your true being even when that gets deluded by the golden deer of ‘becoming’. Then why fear the false prophets, the ‘editors’ of falsity and artificiality? The body is immediate and contingent, the soul distant but urgent. Body is pain, blood, sweat, tears, guts (Clara); the soul is an untouchable (the narrator). The poet is a body, a failed body, a spurned and violated body, a body reserved for post mortem (like the inspection of Clara’s suture) but it is a body that redeems others, enables others to have a soul. The poet is the totemic ‘I’ without which life is meaningless.

I am sure that The Reverse Tree will mark a turning point in the writer’s life and art as evident from his serious and engaging questions about the areas of life not so well-lighted or clearly defined. Hope he will continue his philosophical quest towards enlightenment.

[Dr. Bishnupada Ray is the Associate Professor, Department of English, North Bengal University, India]

This review has first appeared in the Nov-Dec, 2014 issue of Style Hut Reviews. http://notnul.com/Pages/ViewPort.aspx?ShortCode=cC3A!ik!

The Reverse Tree -- A Review by Bishnupada Ray

The Reverse Tree — A Review by Bishnupada Ray

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The Poet—Mohammad Zahid

Poets are usually unkempt, but not to the extent of keeping their beds undone! Here I got a poet, who preferred not to touch his bed linen and his pillow cover that has absorbed his dreams, sweet or no-sweet. The poet believed in the substantivity of the cloth (Ref: The Unmade Bed, page no. 86) that would give back “the dreams that lie in its folds.” I’m talking about Mohammad Zahid, a talented poet from Jammu & Kashmir, who has overwhelmed his readers with his first poetry title “The Pheromone Trail.” Zahid, I think, prefers self-analysis, a trait that is not commonly found among the poets of our times. He wrote:

“I peep with fear through the window

To see the comedy of life

Let I be a clown myself

I laugh the most untoward laugh

At myself in the mirror…” (Ref: The Play, page no. 82)

 

Life is not all about logic and logical progress. Reasoning falls short when compared to the vast canvas of life. The poet wrote:

“There roams a shadow

That hangs from the corners of reason

Where upon reasons of sanity are questioned

That unreasonably get bogged down

In the quagmires of reason alias Logic

When I say, Why?

………………………………..

Thus I shut the books

To roam in the vast universe of the Maker

And find answers to my questions

Whose reason lies not in the black ink

Sprawled across the cellulose.

There are so many stars around, so no shadows!” (Ref: Reasons, page no. 63)

 

Zahid has revisited his school days for this volume of poetry. Like other children of his age group he too was unhappy with the conventional schooling that was not so student friendly in those days. He wrote:

“My back is burdened

With a bag of boring books

My mind aches, remembering

All yesterday’s lessons

My fingers tax

Writing many a thousand word

My palms await the pain

Of thrashes of the cruel cane.”  (Ref: On Way To School, page no: 58)

 

The poetry is the only religion of a true poet! Zahid has proved me right as I read “Pagli.” This poem, as the poet has depicted, was written ‘on seeing a sanyasin on the bank of the Holy Ganges.’ Pagli (that denotes a lunatic woman) says about the liberation of the women, who have lost their husbands, otherwise called the widows. Zahid wrote:

“Oh! I am a widow no more

No longer do I wear the white

No longer is my forehead

Bereft of the vermillion

No longer am I weak

No longer am I meek

……………………….

I am a free soul

……………………….

I was married to a man

Now I am not

I am married to my Lord.” (Ref: Pagli, page no. 59)

 

One of the profound poems of “The Pheromone Trail” is ‘The Missing Men Found.’ Here the poet made his readers cry; made his readers cry out loud—an extremely touching poem that elicits the grief, which has originated from the loss of the dear family members, “who rest in the countless unmarked graves.” Zahid wrote:

“They never came back once they left

With promises to come back at night

Bringing smiles for kids, love for wives

And hopes for their parents too.

……………………………………..

Ah they have been found now

Sleeping peacefully in their secret graves

Bullet ridden, decapitated, defaced

Winning shame for their killers

And colours too for killing them in cold blood.” (Ref: The Missing Men Found, page no. 78)

 

“The Pheromone Trail” palpates like a live vessel that carries blood into our hearts. Mohammad Zahid has successfully played with his words, gently, but steadily. I can easily say that this book will be cherished by a large section of readers of English literature. Although this volume of poetry deserved professional editing, I will strongly recommend this book to all those, who believe in the rhythm of our livelihood!

 

Title: The Pheromone Trail

Author: Mohammad Zahid

Publisher: Cyberwit.net

ISBN: 9788182534346

 

 

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Measuring The Sin Of Height – a review of “Living Inside” by Gopal Lahiri

This is a one-way valve that allows entry to your inner being, and once you enter there is no point of return. A valve that is predominantly red, with elements of yellow and grey. These colors are symbolic of the fire and its remnants — the inherent fire that dwells within the pillars of Gopal Lahiri. This was my first impression as I held the book, Living Inside, an anthology of select poems by Lahiri. This book included seventy poems of varied themes and colors. In his wonderfully crafted foreword the distinguished poet and academician Dr. Sunil Sharma wrote, “…rejuvenation through a rare combo of visuals, music and sheer lyricism. The soft spoken scientist can create kinetic verbal images that are experienced as the shimmering visuals reflected dynamically on moon-lit surfaces of a quiet lake, surrounded by deep solitude …” In the preface the book housed another guest author, Gary Robinson (Canada), who wrote, “Mr. Lahiri has a chronicler’s dedication to preserving feelings and nuances of what he finds around himself. Just as a photographer seeks to capture an image so does Mr. Lahiri – but with words …” An input here: The preface and introduction of a book are supposed to be written by the poet/author himself, and I didn’t find a reason to deviate from this popular convention.

Let me now explore a few of Lahiri’s poems. The first had been the title poem of the book. Look, what Lahiri meant by his Living Inside:

“…………….

holding hands with the one you love

of people we will never meet

deflowered by force and thrown out

all eyes reflect a defeated dream.

…………..”

‘Defeated dream’ has been a wonderful coinage, I must admit. And this was perhaps the key to Lahiri’s being in this thoughtful rendition.

While living in Lahiri wrote:

“sitting at the edge of the sunlight

a tiny bird tweets

i am still waiting for the right line,

……………………….

the time I always look forward to

never ever reaches my door.” (Time Slice, page. 22)

Weren’t these your own unspoken lines? So very natural …spontaneous …mental … human?

Lahiri made his voice audible against the age-old rituals of the nation, especially in favor of the women, who remain the same like the unchanged ‘sound of conch shells.’ He moved to notice:

“………………

the bindi looks pale on the forehead

a good deal of scar and pain

reside on those sad eyes of women.

…………………….

nothing has been moved from years, from centuries.” (Unmoved, page. 26)

Lahiri reinforced his poethood, and made the world consider him a serious poet. He searched peace and purity in his river that meandered ‘in silence.’ Here came his enthralling lines:

“…………

No one knows the sin of height

No one really cares for death.” (My River, page. 47)

While traversing by train Lahiri felt ‘the oneness…’ as he saw the ‘setting orange sun.’ He wrote:

“……………

the blue sky is as much as your eye

the green grass is nothing but your fingers

the twilight colour is your vibrant mind

the branches of the tree are your hands and legs

time disappears for a moment

the things that are not yours

now in your total possession” (Coherence, page. 74)

Lahiri urged to reach beyond his physical eyes. He was perhaps as spiritual as he wrote:

“…………

if i want to capture the mien of my circle

it is the time to go back behind the eyes

and change the way to see the world.” (Change the Way, page. 95)

Gopal Lahiri is a poet of fewer words. Living Inside is certainly a book that can be cherished by the general readers of English-literature. I am indeed happy to include Lahiri in my latest book, My Dazzling Bards that is essentially comprised of some literary critiquing of his select works, and works by other Indian poets. Honestly, Living Inside is a collector’s edition, but it lacks professional editing. May I request the publisher to be more careful in publishing future titles? The back cover is absolutely messy, and does no justice to the brilliant overview by the noted academician Dr. Jaydeep Sarangi. Moreover, the list of contents has not been properly done, and this does not quite match with this superlative anthology of the lively poems by Gopal Lahiri.

Living Inside

Gopal Lahiri

Pub: Authorspres

ISBN:9788172737689

Price: INR. 195.00

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