evolution is real.
Death by hunger
more death by more hunger
revolution was never real.”
Writes Alok Mishra as poem number 9 in his latest poetry collection published in the year 2018, 13 Untitled and Weird Poems. This poem answers many questions and raises as many at the same time – evening the odd which is created, instantly. Moreover, this poem also gives us something as solace – poetry is not yet ditched in India. Indian English Poetry is still alive and it has to be!
Reviewing the books of poetry is never an easy task for me. I have to check my emotional outburst and yet, I have to, be just with the poet as well. So, how was this experience? I stumbled upon this interesting title by a well-established poet in India, Alok Mishra (no, he does not go to poetry festivals) 13 Untitled and Weird Poems – a collection that has only 13 poems – written randomly without following any certain pattern or rhyme scheme. It is all fragmented – perhaps too much influenced by T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land or not influenced by anything or anyone at all and embarking a journey or one’s own, entirely one’s OWN.
Though I have already done injustice to the poetry collection by sharing the complete poem (number 9) here, I could neither do justice to poet Alok Mishra without sharing at least one complete poem from the collection. I am sure this poem will let the readers of Indian English poetry know what they can expect in the collection. Alok has been direct in his invoking throughout the collection. However, he has been very discreet and mysterious at the same time with his choice of imagery and use of symbols. You can certainly not find out what the images refer to in your first reading; and the beauty of poems is that after several rounds of readings, you cannot still decide what might be the real sense… So, the poems are open-ended and beautiful in imagery and too complicated in getting to the closest ‘real’ sense, at times. A few out of 13 are still decodable instantly. However, the shortest one, having only one word as a complete poem, is too much to comprehend – how could I and how would you?
“A boat and he sailed.
Storm, waves, but
he never failed.”
The symphony that Alok’s lines create is amazing. You can actually feel the poem in its sound if you read it musically. Simple in diction, the poems are easy to read and easy to comprehend only to the layer of the primary understanding. It is good for early readers of poetry. However, if you go deeper, the world is too clumsy to navigate. This extract comes from poem number 10 and if you go through the complete poem, you will take your time thinking about what could be the closest possible interpretation of the poem…
In short, the poetry collection is amazing and you MUST read it to understand how the Indian English poetry has been moving around with the younger generation of the poets taking the torch from the older line. You can get a copy of this book from Amazon India in the Kindle format and you can enjoy the poetry treat:
review by Aditya Shankar for The Book Blog
13 Untitled and Weird Poems99 Rs
Ease of Reading3.5/5
Contemporary Poetic Contribution4.0/5
- Quality Poems
- Justified Title
- Too deep for starters