Thursday, January 19, 2017

Poetic Book Tours: Among The Lost by Seth Steinzor

Among The Lost by Seth Steinzor 

Back Cover:

Among the Lost, set in the modern American rust belt, is a meditation drawn from Dante’s Purgatorio. To Dante, Purgatory was the mountain where souls not damned went after death to cleanse themselves of sin in preparation for entering Paradise. What, Steinzor asks, are we preparing ourselves for, having lost the fear of hell and the hope of heaven, in the course of our daily urban existence? And whatever that is, how do we go about preparing for it?

My Review:

Hindu Religion is about attaining Nirvana, where the cycle of rebirth is broken. One strives to attain that highest status where ones soul merges with that of God. The soul stuck in mid way is in fact, how we are. We do not even realize it and that is what is terrifying. When we follow the right path then Nirvana is not as difficult as it seems.

I won't say that this book of poetry was a revelation for me. I liked the narration. The way he describes the mundane everyday life and is very near to the cycle of birth and death, being in a hospital. I always found that it is only place which levels us. We are forced to contemplate our own mortality. It is how we deal with it, is the question as well as the answer.

Lost love need not be saddening. It gives us the confidence and capability to love. However, we are lost in the maze of life and think, why me, why me....

I found the poems rhapsodic, melodious and very touching. The beauty of words cannot but touch the soul, that very soul, which wants to attain the highest state. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Essential Readings & Study Guide: Poems about Social Justice, Women’s Rights, and the Environment by K.V. Dominic


“K. V. Dominic Essential Readings” gathers for the first time the three most important works of poetry from this shining new light of contemporary Indian verse in English: “Winged Reason,” “Write Son, Write” and “Multicultural Symphony.” A fourth collection of 22 previously unpublished poems round out a complete look at the first 12 years of Dominic’s prolific and profound verse. Each poem includes unique Study Guide questions suitable for South Asian studies curricula.
Written in free verse, each of his poems makes the reader contemplate on intellectual, philosophical, spiritual, political, and social issues of the present world. Themes range from multiculturalism, environmental issues, social mafia, caste-ism, exploitation of women and children, poverty, and corruption to purely introspective matters. From the observation of neighborhood life to international events, and everyday forgotten tragedies of India, nothing escapes the grasp of Dominic’s keen sense of the fragility of life and morality in the modern world.

My review:

This poetry book is one of those which stays with you long after you finish reading the poems. The poems deal with the real issues of our present society and have been written in very beautiful language. The poems deal with real emotions too, arising out of those issues.

Women's issues, cultural values, globalization, its impact, all these have been dwelt with strongly and hit us hard. We are aware of what is going around us yet we turn a blind eye. The poems in this book brings us back to those and we are forced to confront.

I recommend this poetry book to all those who the world to change for the better...
Sharing here one of the poems....
Pleasures and Pains

Pleasures and pains;

two sides of a coin.

We toss it early morning;

majority gets the pains side.

Pleasures come like sprinkle,

while pains fall like deluge

and continue like monsoon.

Happiness is a mist

while sorrows shower like snow.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Hassan El-Tayyab's Composing Temple Sunrise


Composing Temple Sunrise: Overcoming Writer's Block at Burning Man is an inspirational coming-of-age memoir about a 26-year-old songwriter looking to refuel his creative energy. Trigged by the Great Recession of 2008, Hassan El-Tayyab loses his Special Education teaching job in Boston and sets out on a cross-country adventure with a woman named Hope Rideout, determined to find his lost muse. His journey brings him to Berkeley, CA, where he befriends a female metal art collective constructive a 37-foot Burning Man art sculpture named "Fishbug." What follows is a life-changing odyssey through Burning Man that helps Hassan harness his creative spirit, overcome his self-critic, confront his childhood trauma, and realize the healing power of musical expression. 

My views:

All of us are plagued by one issue or more, at any given point of time. The way we deal with those is what shapes our lives. Some deal it with inner strength, a few seek help. But Hassan deals it with it by travelling. He is determined to find himself and his muse.

He is drifting aimlessly, yet is not ashamed to write about it. He has no aim, no goal as such except maybe for coming in terms with himself. Meeting people, and interacting with them, along with the Burning Man stuff, all these help him in one way or the other.

Personal issues intermingle with creativity and that makes the memoir worth reading. I usually don't read memoirs but I am glad I read it. That too at a time, when I myself seem to going nowhere. Drifting directionless....

Loved the honesty and the almost, self derision. Maybe simple living is the answer. I wouldn't know. I am not that adventurous to give up my creature comforts. Everything said and done, I recommend it for those who are in dire need of finding themselves....

I must mention one of the quotes in the memoir that called out to me...

As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people's ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life. 

~~Amy Poehler.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Poetic Book Tours: Field Guide To The End Of The World by Jeannine Hall Gailey

Book Description:

Field Guide to the End of the World, winner of the 2015 Moon City Poetry Award, delivers a whimsical look at our culture’s obsession with apocalypse as well as a thoughtful reflection on our resources in the face of disasters both large and small, personal and public. Pop-culture characters—from Martha Stewart and Wile E. Coyote to zombie strippers and teen vampires—deliver humorous but insightful commentary on survival and resilience through poems that span imagined scenarios that are not entirely beyond the realm of possibility. The characters face their apocalypses in numerous ways, from strapping on rollerblades and swearing to taking notes as barns burn on the horizon. At the end of the world, the most valuable resource is human connection—someone holding our hands, reminding us “we are miraculous.”

TitleField Guide To The End Of The World 

Author: Jeannine Hall Gailey
ISBN:  978-0913785768
Publisher: Moon City Press/2016

One things sticks out when you read Gailey's poetry. That she has deep knowledge about science. She touches War in all its forms, Disappearance of Bees, and Natural Disasters. Pondering about all these should stop us on our tracks and it does. 

Field Guide To The End Of The World is dark. Yet the humour makes the dark bearable. The way she makes us think is like keep changing channels for our favourite programmes. We want to watch it all at the same time. Same with her poems. We want to savour the poems all at the same time.

In the poem In Case, it starts with matter of voice but gets fanciful when we reach the middle. 

We were taught in grade school different lessons of survival:

In case of nuclear attack, hide under your desk.
In case of chemical attack, buy duct tape.
Buy a rape whistle.Learn a martial art

I read old fairy tales, wolves lurking behind trees

and parents ready to kill children.Magic mirrors,
dragons, spells that charm and protect.
Burn this herb to banish ghosts.

Sometimes I imagine afterlife, puffs of pink
clouds and unicorns, or gold harps, or glass cities
with streets made of Emerald. The whole earth
spinning like a child's marble below, pitiful.

We are told to vaccinate, o educate, to warn.
Traffic tickets, parking signs: bureaucratic safety nets.
Our governments promise safety in exchange for....
I will light a candle, listen to the solar-charged radio for a sign.

Introduction to the Body in Fairy Tales

The body is a place of violence. Wolf teeth, amputated hands.
Cover yourself with a cloak of leaves, a coat of a thousand furs,
a paper dress. The dark forest has a code. The witch
sometimes dispenses advice, sometimes eats you for dinner,
sometimes turns your brother to stone.
You will become a canary in a castle, but you’ll learn plenty
of songs. Little girl, watch out for old women and young men.
If you don’t stay in your tower you’re bound for trouble.
This too is code. Your body is the tower you long to escape,
and all the rotted fruit your babies. The bones in the forest
your memories. The little birds bring you berries.
The pebbles on the trail glow ghostly white.

I have the following poetry books by Gailey and loved those 

The Robot Scientist's Daughter by Jeannine Hall Gailey and
Becoming the Villainess by Jeannine Hall Gailey

But Field Guide To The End Of The World is one of her best till date. It has been divided into sections and each one reaches out. As I understand Rocket Science only too well, these poems touched the scientist in me....

The poems makes an impact, changes us in subtle ways, and make us wish to reach out and touch the words. Need I say more? May be yes...may be no....I must mention here I am no fan anything apocalyptic or of zombies or vampires. Despite that I couldn't put down this book of poetry.

In short, I am going to read more of Gailey's poetry....

Wish I had the print copy of this.....

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Poetic Book Tours: You're the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened by Arisa White


Angular, smart, and fearless, Arisa White’s newest collection takes its titles from words used internationally as hate speech against gays and lesbians, reworking, re-envisioning, and re-embodying language as a conduit for art, love, and understanding. You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened works through intersectional encounters with gender, identity, and human barbarism, landing deftly and defiantly in beauty.

My views:
The first thing I felt about "You're the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened by Arisa White" is that it is very liberating. Each and every poem is about love. Not the fairy tale kind but the everyday kind which sustains. I won't say these are spiritual but are visceral, the kind which touch the gut. The poems are like songs of set to tune. Those soulful songs we all love to listen to, in certain moods. With deep feelings, these poems take us to that realm of deep thoughts. We sit back and contemplate. It ceases to matter what kind of relationship. Love is love, irrespective of who loves whom...the race, gender, social ladder is irrelevant. Eroticism is not something which has to be hidden. It can be flaunted subtly, sensually and is to be celebrated.
Tenderness touches the loneliness, a paradox in itself but isn't that how it works? 
I loved the following poems....
I will read Arisa White again and again....

There are little words
that can fit in little places
if you say them small enough.

To fit a song into a pore
you have to be prepared
for the day it will sweat.

If words could stick on people,
if spoken, they would become
a different creature.

Blinded and you’re turned
five times around. Nothing
in you knows what it knew.

It’s the best part of the game:
Prick the girls you like best
while pinning on the donkey’s tail.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Poetic Book Tours: Ergon by George HS Singer

Book Description:

George Singer's ERGON is precise, delicate and fierce in its engagement with the world.

Ergon: The core function or purpose of something or someone. Virtue arises when the ergon is realized fully. 

Aristotle (Nichomachean Ethics, 1.7, 12)

Title: Ergon
Author: George HS Singer

  • ISBN-13: 978-1625491923
  • Publisher: WordTech Communications LLC/2016
  • Pages: 86

George HS Singer has made the simple things in life poetic. The use of imagery is awesome. The poems deal with everything in life as well as nature. The poems are deep and very insightful. They make us think about life in ways we have not imagined. I feel that every poetry lover should read his poems. Such a slim volume but with so much depth which touches the core. Heartfelt and at times overwhelming....

One of the best poems:

Our Quotidian

I love you differently 

now than when you were hot 
and I sizzled—

I sweep the floor, scrape away 

squashed berries, pry 

tops off medicine bottles you no longer can
and you drive

across town to find just the right

apples, open the bills first, brew kimchee,
worry for the both of us.

I listen for your stuttering laugh
downstairs and feel the silence
that concentration makes

when you ply your needlework,

racing to finish the Christmas stockings
as if the cosmos required it.

Children phone with stories about

their children. We need only change

the beds in their old rooms twice a year.

You call 911 and you’re there

with me when the anesthesia
wears off—worry webbing around

your eyes. Too, you call me cheap

and I spit lazy. We walk past each other
in the hallways.

Until we jump back from

the loneliness as, when on a hike,

a diamond back shook its rattle at us.

You vacuum, I mop.

I know your smell and you, my snore.
In line at the market, you lean into me,

Grazing my shoulder with the warm loaf
of your breast, I tap your thigh—still here,
together in the quotidian.


Don't we all wish for everlasting and sustaining love like that?

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Poetic Book Tours: Saris and a Single Malt by Sweta Srivastava Vikram AUGUST blog Tour

Book Description:

"Saris and a Single Malt" is a moving collection of poems written by a daughter for and about her mother. The book spans the time from when the poet receives a phone call in New York City that her mother is in a hospital in New Delhi, to the time she carries out her mother's last rites. The poems chronicle the author's physical and emotional journey as she flies to India, tries to fight the inevitable, and succumbs to the grief of living in a motherless world. This collection will move you, astound you, and make you hug your loved ones. 

Saris and a Single Malt by Sweta Srivastava Vikram
ISBN 13: 9781615992942

Pages: 46
Publisher: Modern History Press/2016

How does one review a poetry book which you know is going to hit you on the solar plexus? How does one keep one's self from getting emotional?

You can' simply let it be.....

The poems are like conversing with self, the anticipation of what awaits one at the end of the journey. The rituals are the means to an end...they help us cope. With grief, With oneself...and yes we also bond with our siblings...

When my dad passed away in 2002, he was 72. He had a fall, broke his hip bone, had a surgery. We expected him to recover but that was not to be and was gone within 11 days. I went numb. The feelings just ebbed out of me. I felt nothing for a while. All three of my brothers were there for me and got me out of the stupor.

My SILs took turns to be with maa, never leaving her alone ill the rituals were complete. 

I know I am digressing. Maybe not. I had the thoughts but at that time I didn't have he words. The words that poured forth from the poet...where images of her mother are made alive for us...

Saris and a Single Malt is too poignant for me. It is matter of fact, and conveys the eternal emotions too well.

PAGE 22 


Everyone has an answer---how to cope and grieve when you have regrets and guilt. But no one tells you how to deal with loss when there is nothing you want to change about your past or your relationship with the deceased.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sunday Post: Back to blogging after a long, long time...

Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme

For more than a year now, I have not been blogging. Neither here, nor on my poetry blog. I was having a lot of problem in my life...mainly work life. Too much in my mind. Health wise, I am doing fine.

Maybe, I was also busy on Facebook and other social media. I had signed up for that #100sareepact and diligently completed that.

I have been reading like crazy. Just haven't been blogging. I have blogged about poetry books though becos poetry is my first love!

Since Friday, I have got back to blogging and hope to continue it....

Wish me luck, my blogger friends....

BTW, our schools reopen on 28th June and I am NOT looking forward to that.....

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Saturday Snapshot: Vacations are for gosipping

Posting for Saturday Snapshot, hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy

#SummerMasti #KillerHeat #KalamkariLove #kalamkarikraze #BlockPrint
#CreativeMaa #ILoveMyDoll

Gate crashed into a colleague's place. We chatted and chatted and chatted. In real. Everyone should do that once in while....

I had this doll when I was 8 years old. Nothing special as such but I loved it to bits. It had disintegrated except for the face. Maa renewed it in totality and stitched a new dress for her too, from the scraps she accumulates. I have fallen in love with my doll again. 

Her bonnet and skirt are block printed and top is bandhani.

I wore this kalamkari kurti with a Gujarati embroidery patch with a block print Umbrella skirt. The top was stitched by maa. 


Friday, June 24, 2016

The Friday 56

Doing it after VERY LONG!

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that's ok.)
 *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It's that simple.

The Ghost, The Mountain (poem)

Where is he? Now that the woods
are quiet, and the snow,
April-thawed, has carved a bit
more from the rock
Now that the grass has spiked

Where is the young black man
in his freshly bought
jacket and urban shoes

the city kid who loves birds?