Tag Archives: Sunil Sharma

Mundane, My Muse by Sunil Sharma

mundanemymusePublisher:            Authorspress

Binding:                Paperback

ISBN-13:               9788172738457

ISBN-10:               8172738455

Publisher Date: 2014

 

Review by P C K PREM

               Mundane life has charm and massive ennui too; and a man ought to find meaning even in tedium, and it is precisely what the poet confirms. Sunil’s lyrics speak emotively of routine incidents he gathers. He notices everything, collects tiny facets, deliberates in lonely hours and thereafter, gives expression. Mundane, My Muse carries a different pattern if one compares it to his earlier poetic endeavours.
                Life, a disturbed collection of experience and impressions, survives in fragmented times without cohesive objective. A City Collage offers glances of bigness in horrible globalized urban living, torments.
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In these breaking globalised urban realties,
Turning the glittering cities into ghettoes of mind
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A stressful knowledge appearing soothing visits in A February Afternoon. It is difficult to quantify tenderly multipart joys and sufferings, for human nature and humdrums permit not to understand life’s zeitgeist though man moves in radiant perceptible treats, market-psyche suggests.
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I cruise through this shadowy
Horizontal painting…
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Ugly display of urbanity and insensitive contempt in bargaining comforts signal cacophony, and give glimpses in A Supermarket in Mumbai Suburb.  Without obvious gratitude, a man realizes in dazzle of modernity a tragic irony, lives in illusory love that remains unfulfilled, and forgets anguish in vicarious joys with intrinsic guilt.  In highly mechanized system, he seeks joys in superficial gratification and absent present.
                Strangely, he is conscious of the agonies of not only city but also looks beyond and therefore, wants the rulers (like other poets) to look beyond metropolis, and asks to abandon political acrobats, and thinks of despair of the poor living in hunger and scarcity. Somewhere, he halts, looks around and finds desolation man has brought in nature, nature that constructs aesthetic prototypes of continuity. A question perturbs why man strips nature of its divine adornment. Human nature wants joys, looks at poverty and scarcity, feels anguished, watches a miserable being and expresses pity but finds no reasonable passage, and therefore, it turns into aching encumbrances. A disheartening passivity haunts certain poems and the bard juxtaposes nature and man’s tiny caustic acts to evaluate empathies absent.
                Humanism wakes up and the awful wordy supremacy is noticeable as the lyricist issues a subtle warning in Bring your Words. If he speaks of bristly tribulations of metro life, he touches human relationship gently and wants lasting proximity and warmth and perhaps, the poet tells man of life-giving human bonds even in grudging truths life offers. Relations provide flashes of enduring joys and memories warm. Relations if separated make life barren and animalize it. He pays tribute to daughters, when he says, ‘Little Goddesses /Need to be fiercely /Protected and guarded /By all of us!’
Elsewhere, he observes –
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Fathers are the guys, who impart real lessons of life,
They look tough but often cry, hiding hot tears…
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                Perhaps, the poet talks of a perennial truth despite apparent dichotomy in feelings, thoughts and the spirit of age, an age grappling for a solid fulcrum. Insensitivity in relations stays on as even mothers fall victims to false and rudimentary contemporary value system where man loses warmth. Even mothers suffer, and inhuman treatment reveals hypocritical approach.
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And thus cleverly enslaved Mother
An old rheumatic woman,
To the small smelly kitchen
For the remaining of her sad lonely life.
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Plight of workers and apathetic cities haunt lyrics frequently. He cannot escape comparison between a life of affluence and scarceness, and invokes sympathies of ostensibly powerful people. Women from the elite strata live a highly rich life (?) while a poor woman is archetype of sufferings.
              He talks of miseries of workers at construction sites as hopes linger on for filling bellies with the residue of what they earn. Growth and democracy are irrelevant when sufferings assault. (Excluded Ones). Living away from homeland, goads to ventilate woes saturating mindset of people, who stay away and settle down elsewhere to earn living. Immigrants fail in locating solid relations even though they sell perspiration and time.
              Tormenting loneliness amidst crowd makes life complex.   He laments at the scornful attitude of artists towards art and life, a naked semblance Lonely. Life is destined to trouble man in visible delight but sickening effects of metros distort and rip apart bonds, and drive man to Silky shadows
              A young couple keeps searching love and  understanding in ‘surging crowds’ and pays a long agonized tribute to Love/Living in Indian Metro for man fails to recognize, ‘The contemporary idiom/Of urban/Love and romance’ because rainbow-like dreams of emerging middle class become history unrealized. A middle class life in undefined feelings of miserly and rich life with giggles and groans, is a fact as it hugs and kisses love coldly in an abandoned but swarming metro. Freshness in life of a modern man is a mirage, and a contemptuous scenario scares.
           Even in freshness of experiences, one confronts monotony and witnesses end of a dream life in metros.  One notices festive life but feels aghast at the miseries workers and women face in deplorable living conditions. He feels for the downtrodden and laments that freedom did not bring happy change in the life of fellow Indians, notwithstanding awesome growth and material progress. Gaps in living appear glaring and defeat claims of happiness and here ‘stark contrast’ delineates a depressing picture.
           Man is responsible for many miseries on earth, for not for a while he restrains greed and exploitation and often invites fury of nature bringing horrific cataclysm. If natural upheavals make life appalling and frightening, man is the offender, for he fails to contain nature’s ferocity despite solemn assertions.
          Sunil analyzes insightfully daily experiences about animate and inanimate objects he observes, finds logic and faint unanimity in personal and social regions without philosophizing, and still demonstrates genuine anxiety about life and existence.
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You can find the book here: http://www.uread.com/book/mundane-my-muse-poems-sunil/9788172738457

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pckP C K Prem (p c katoch of Malkher-Garh Palampur, a former civil servant and Member PSC, Himachal), an author of more than forty-five books in English and Hindi, post-graduated in English literature from Punjab University, Chandigarh, has  nine volumes of poetry besides books on criticism.  Katoch Prem is a poet, novelist, short story writer and critic in English from Himachal Pradesh, India.

The Butterfly’s Choice by Joanna Kurowska

butterfly Publisher: Broadstone Books
PubDate: 3/15/2015
ISBN: 9781937968151
Binding: Paperback
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Review by Sunil Sharma
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The Butterfly’s Choice is a thrilling voyage across shifting sands of time. In this third book of her poetry, you become aware of the power of an international language harnessed creatively by a bilingual user and its dexterous employment in the hands of an accomplished writer. Here, the reader keeps on moving in different realms and contexts, guided by a medley of strange metaphors, images; twists and turns of a language mastered.
The poem,  On Talking,  leaves an immediate impact through the pithiness and implied message of creating values and meanings through human interactions by cutting down on the inanities of daily conversations in deadening societies by using words that are sincere and heart-felt:
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Each person has one word to carve
but we don’t know it until
it’s almost too late
 
Until, too weak to say anything,
we see only dust
in a mirror
 
Then, knowing we have talked
too much, we hold
our breaths
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The words and their implications need to be sensitively recovered in a consumerist age where language has lost its basic authenticity and got debased by the adspeak and overall duplicity involved in the public discourse. Dust in a mirror is a sensory image that conveys a lot—the inability to see fully and correctly the reflected self. Only distortions or the phantoms stare back at the hapless viewer! Such verbal shifts in emphasis, tones and articulation; quick movements in tenor, from one to another idea; such fast intellectual and imagist diversions constitute the core of her poetry. In the poem Vibrations, the same theme gets echoed but slightly differently:
 
Vibrations
 
Shards of words bounce
against my skin; some,
like seed, penetrate me
entering my bloodstream.
Long before my brain can
grasp the meaning, it crawls
up my veins and tells me
exactly who I am.
If I could trace that first word
like Helen Keller’s water.
Was mine, too, soft—or cold?
…..
The grappling with words, textuality, surfaces, linguistic resources and their varied functions in social and interpersonal communication contexts fascinate and engage the poet’s attention. She seems to be exploring the formalistic features of poetic artifacts and poses the question: Is her style/language mellow or harsh on the auditory faculty? In fact, it is a universal probe by every creative mind: Does the style imitate the artist? Is there proper balance between thought/idea and its verbal expression? The potential of words to create or destroy meaning/s is stated in the poem cited above. The most interesting observation comes in a mini poem that deals with the primary role of language as a communicative medium and rendering reality in a new manner, especially for a bilingual artist, experiencing objects differently due to the acquisition of the changed langue-position in the Saussarian sense of the term:
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Coming Here
 
Coming here was a plunge in language
Words join houses and streets into a city
Like a film, they cover hands and faces
Fleeting dreams, they spawn the reality
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History and memory get intertwined in the following poem that alters POV:
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An Inkling
For Stephan A. Hoeller
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A western autumn in Eastern Europe;
the sky’s deep blue, white knit-clouds;
a narrow street—maybe a back alley;
some grass, concrete, a garbage can.
The wind carries an ochre-colored leaf;
it whirls between the walls that separate
our compartments filled with dust.
The air is a mask. I have to stop.
……
 
Tackling her relocation in America, Joanna writes about existence becoming as some kind of a riddle and thus speaks for every re-located person:
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On Familiarity—A Riddle
 
In foreign lands, we grow nearer to our friends
who begin to see we are not so very different
but the strangers grow uncomfortable when we
open our mouths and speak in accented tones
 
At home, we grow more distant from our kin
who perceive us increasingly strange and aloof
but the strangers feel comfortable since we
know how to greet the day in familiar tones
 
The whole book of poems is a collage of memories, experiences, past and present, of old streets and parental home left behind and current one found, and commentary on things philosophical or mundane, with an Alice-like tribute to a pet cat. In My Grandfather’s Suitcase or A House That Says Nothing, the personal histories intersect with national histories and references are made to the Nazi occupation and then fading away of the living into the dead and finally the eloquence of silence with its implied threat of erasure and amnesia. The poet is concerned with capturing such critical junctures, thresholds, intersections where individual and collective meet and collide and wish to record such individual encounters with history through acts of literary commemoration. In brief, The Butterfly’s Choice is a delicate tapestry of emotions, moods and contexts caught in broad and/or minimalist verbal strokes, thus creating a deeply enriching and satisfying totality. For Joanna, butterfly represents both profound beauty and fragility—and life-force and vitality. The lines describing the winged and tiny, pretty creature are equally valid for people as well:
 
Knowledge about ways of being eaten
is implied—if not conceived—
in a butterfly’s design,
time of death depending on which part a beak
captures first—a wing or a leg,
the head or the trunk.
…….
Does the butterfly have a choice? a life
yielding half-beauty to the world it fans
with a half-wing?
Death, life, satiation, hunger—for an insect
things can only be black or white,
even in shades
(A Butterfly Caught In The Frame Of A Harley Motorcycle)
 
It is book that lingers on, post-reading, like some beautiful sunset recalled on solitary evenings in a cramped Mumbai home…
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s-sharmaMumbai-based, Sunil Sharma, a college principal, is also widely-published Indian critic, poet, literary interviewer, editor, translator, essayist and fiction writerHe has already published three collections of poetry, one collection of short fiction, one novel and co-edited six books so far. His six short stories and the novel Minotaur were recently prescribed for the undergraduate classes under the Post-colonial Studies, Clayton University, Georgia, USA. He is a recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award—2012. Recently his poems were published in the UN project: Happiness: The Delight-Tree.
 
He edits online journal Episteme:

Wordweavers Short List in Poetry

wordweavers

Wordweavers, magazine, based in India, has announced its 2014 short list for a prize in poetry. The winners will be announced on November 1st. You can read the nominated poems here:

Prize in Poetry: http://wordweavers.in/2014_poetry_shortlist.html