Review of Santosh Bakaya’s book Where Are The Lilacs?


This review was published in Avijit Sarkar’s The Mind Creative e-zine. Read it in the below link

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A Review of Allusions to Simplicity


This review is from Amazon.in  : Allusions to Simplicity/ Koshy A.V (Paperback)
The book is available at  Amazon.in and Authorspress

The cover of Dr Koshy’s new book of poems “Allusions to Simplicity” published by Authorspress is disarmingly easy on the eye and matches the book’s title to a T. The ocean and tan colors and clean, simple lines give it a quiet elegance.

The poems, from the viewpoint of a reader who reads poetry for its pure pleasure, are plain-spoken narratives incorporating – and being – complete experiences in themselves, without resorting to dazzling readers with poetic histrionics. Their feel and sentiments endure way past the page and the book, and sear. “After Rilke” opens the innings and remains a firm favorite over time.
The poet succeeds completely in defying the trend of Indian-English poet-aspirants writing a great deal of ‘ephemeral’ poetry which looks beautiful but when you read it aloud kills the poem (and sometimes the reader too) because of its sheer absurdity.
Let me quote a few verses randomly:
I won’t do what you did, though/Enough for me to fade away, Vincent /like a mist on a morning that gets hotter”(How to Make Myself Vanish)
Anna” startles because you don’t expect to hear such an honest thought said aloud and for once feel glad that you have no company.

Between all the usual, worn out phrases/ The writing remains, fragile and tenuous
You give not knowing what you gave/ and take not knowing what you took/ till you are no more/
and something remains if it is meant to/or does not”(from Images Disjunct (2))
One can take such verses and apply them to wherever one is, with regard to writing or to life and they hold good. Many of the poems demonstrate a willingness on the part of the poet to experiment with form, topic, style, and to share emotions and thoughts without reservation thus putting them in a class of their own with their own brand of striking imagery
The crow picks up the beads of its red eyes/ Its red maw caws once/
The child shudders/and closes her eyes/She vanishes in a puffy haze/
without a trace/from the crow’s eyes”
(A Crow Hops on the Tracks)

And there is no dearth of beauty in poems like When Musanda Thickly Covered My Green Stems, Eyes We Dare not Meet in Dreams and many more
The third and the best part of the book (IMO) is a fascinating romp through heavily allusive thought fields. The rhymes and rhythm are thoroughly unconventional but make music even more readily. I am actually a bit appalled to find that even a veiled threat of violence manages to be so thrilling.
Destroy you and the whole earth. I swear.
Storm petrel. Awakening.
(I Will Not Leave Anything Unrazed, My Love)

Aria and Africa are some of the other treats in this collection, unrivaled in their range and gamut of emotions that disturb as much as affirm and cause outrage while they provoke thought.
At the very end of the book is the poem that led to the Pushcart nomination, now retitled as ‘Shayer’ and at ‘Shatarupa’ when I left the book, I realized that there is a deep pleasure in getting access to a vast field that exists in a poet’s eye—and it has been such a joy to loiter there and be totally inspired. Great poetry…sigh!
©Reena Prasad

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P.S
That brief, staccato dedication is infinitely more poetic than anything I have ever written. To say thanks here to a teacher, friend, salvager and off the ledge-hauler who has taught me most of what I’m now  would be grossly inadequate but I hope to do it with a book someday.

 

The Amazing Ballad Of Bapu/ A biography in verse


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A mammoth feat by Santosh Bakaya carried out with élan. The language and verses are a treat and the book (though seemingly simple as the lifestyle of the great man himself) is painstakingly well researched and enriched with the love in its author’s heart and in the heart of the subject. A true saga of peace: The Mahatma would have approved of it. I keep returning to it spellbound hearing the peace pipes in it.

Click HERE to buy it now! 
Ballad of Bapu
Me with Dr. Santosh Bakaya’s Ballad of Bapu

Ballad of Bapu -a book for every generation, new, old or in-between- A review in verse 🙂

From the very cover of this a tour de force book
with its superb introduction in prose till the very last verse,
the Ballad sings of a life that passed us by yet has never really left
Bapu re-emerges, his voice stronger, by dint of a wordsmith deft

The Mahatma is well known, his biographers are many
yet here is a voice true, divorced from the realm of cliches
A daunting project but the author too isn’t anyone ordinary
Her language has elegance, power and rhythm to add to its riches

There is nothing like Santosh Bakaya’s poetry to address the intensity of life
The ballad flows, its form dynamic, masterfully rhythmic like a folk lore
The man in it takes the centre stage and when he bows out
I am left bereft, feeling a loss that never was felt before

Strong emotions tear apart jaded cynicism like fresh rain
He walks through the pages and into our lives again
The poet is at her sublimest, her words weaving history
Truth unembellished she sings, we remember our own story

A moving biography in verse, even for those blissful in ignorance’s oblivion
A must-read literary gem and not just for the Mahatma’s billions.
©Reena Prasad

2 Phases : 50 Poems- casting a spell on poetry lovers.


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~~~Why I love this collection~~~

The authors of the book 2 phases: 50 poems, published by Brian Wrixon, Dr A. V Koshy and Gorakhnath Gangane say in the afterword “ both of us love poetry purely for its own sake, for the aesthetic pleasure creating it gives us” –a quintessential reason why one must write . They also tell us “ We let our understanding of what poetry means define itself through our writing” Having read these lines first, even though they belong to the afterword, I could barely contain my excitement of getting down to the actual poems. 25 poems later, I come to the conclusion that Dr AV Koshy’s poems are startlingly original, written with an effortless mastery over the language, form and appear as a natural expression of the poet’s experience of the world. There is no attempt to consciously enforce a form or a particular style ; rather an image of a sensitive poet and an extensively well-read man emerges from his poems. The poetic experiments have come off only too well. Exquisite poems such as “ The girl in the moon” “Dusk,” ”when musanda..” and “Words can’t express” charm with their innate beauty and softness. Loss and sadness are recurring themes but expressed with wisdom and devoid of any ‘flowery’ sentimentalism (A wonderful thing to learn for all budding writers), but yet at times giving the impression that the poet has bled on paper.
“Suddenly one day just like that” is one of my personal favourites in this collection. The last poem is “I did not find you in mandir or masjid” and I think if one does not find what one seeks from poetry in Dr Koshy’s work, there is little chance of hoping to find it elsewhere.
It is with a pleasurable sensation of having participated in a journey that I come to the end of the first 25 poems. Dr A.V Koshy succeeds in putting his poems into the head of readers and making his words stay there as also in inspiring them to better their own work through an understanding of what constitutes fine poetry. I am privileged to have read this collection.
Reading Gorakhnath Gangane’s poems jerks you out of your comfort zones but in a good way as he sets out to draw brilliant, raw and ‘honest to the core’ images in most of his poems. The topics of love, sex and the exploration of these themes has been done in an extremely visual and bold way. He can fire up and cool the reader’s emotions with unassuming yet masterly strokes and he proceeds to do just that in poems like “Carnal flow” ,“Foreplay” and “Wild”. There is a sense of urgency and images of yearning and loss ripple throughout the poems. “ Dog in the rain” is a delightful poem that gives the reader an impression of being seated with the poet on a sofa and watching a stray. A matter-of- fact or / resigned tone runs through some of the poems like in “A child is born” and “The soul” . A sense of inevitability hangs over many of the well written poems and even over the romantic ones lending a deeper atmosphere of pathos to them.
A great collection from this young poet Gorakhnath Gangane. His brilliance and promise in all the 25 poems here is to me like an impatient tiger pacing back and forth waiting for the cage door to be opened. Looking forward to reading his next collection soon.
© Reena Prasad  reviewed on 8th Jan 2013.