In the Sphere:
Poetry is something that always entices me. As I have been a reader of poetry for long, I always keep looking for the poetry collections that could keep me engaged and yet not bore me off. However, finding that becomes difficult; especially in the case of Indian English poets, it becomes even more difficult. Indian English poets, to be frank, are either daunting or just ignorant. They are, that they should always be, never just with the readers of their poems. However, at times, I do get my hands on meaningful and well-written poetry collections that I enjoy reading. Recently, I got my hands on Sanjana Saksena’s collection – Sisyphus is Happy and Selected Poems. I will share my thoughts on her poems and poetry in this book review for The Last Critic.
The physical copy of this book is decorated, stylised and well-prepared. The electronic copy is simple and the collection merely has 10 poems. The idea of putting Sisyphus pushing the stone at the very cover of this book was interesting enough and it excited my reading senses. I did not want to wait further and read the entire collection in 10 minutes. A poem each minute and thus, it takes about 10 minutes.
Sanjana’s poetry is simple, communicative and not laden with imagery that makes decoding the verse too complicated for the readers at times. However, the lack of any kind of decoration does make the poems look dry at moments. And yet, it helps the poetess make her message reach the readers in a very comfortable manner. For example, when she talks about people being imprisoned to their mobile and digital screens in other formats, she is eloquent in conveying her message rather than being too implicit and calling the screen a bright surface with an infinite dark depth!
However, as a serious reader of poetry, I would certainly advise Sanjana, the poet behind this collection, Sisyphus is Happy and Selected Poems, that a certain degree of the metaphorical chasm does give the readers something to think about. Otherwise, there is very little difference between poetry with prosaic lines broken into half-lines and the poem that has imagery decorating it to the depths.
The lines are very simple and it will help the poetess reaching a wider audience. The diction, likewise, is very simple and routine. It may be inspired by Wordsworth’s half theory that brings poetry closer to the wider audience. Sanjana has picked her themes very selectively and she has mostly written about the issues that are close to the ordinary people. About history, about our troubles, about the experiences we have in daily chores and likewise. If you are a non-regular reader of poetry, you will have a good experience; if you are a serious and regular reader of poetry, you will have a pleasant one!
To conclude this review, I will have my thoughts articulated swiftly and also directly. I liked what Sanjana Saksena has written in her collection. I liked her choice of themes and the way of writing poems. I also liked that she cares for the unfortunate Sisyphus and offers him a reason to be happy! That is indeed so kind of a poet!
Sanjana’s art has come up, though in patterns rather than as a whole, in her debut collection and I hope she will improve it to make it an artistic whole when she writes again. Her poetry is strengthened by the themes and perhaps weakened by the way she deals the themes. Though too much embellishment does alienate poetry from the ordinary readers, no embellishment at all further alienates poetry from its core, its very identity!
In the end, this was a pretty half an hour of the reading exercise that I had with Sanjana’s book. I am sure that other readers will also enjoy her book and will share the same among their poetry-loving friends and relatives. You can get a copy of the book from Amazon India by clicking the link below:
review by a contributor to The Last Critic
Sisyphus is Happy and Selected Poems
- Imagery & Comparison Artistry
- Diction and Language
- Poetry Reading Pleasure (PRP Score by TLC)
A very short but striking poetry collection that rather puts forth the very core of poems in an open manner. The readers will have not to worry about putting their ideas on the table and discuss with other readers of this collection about the certain interpretations!