They say poetry ought to be savored, slowly relished, layer by layer, for it to reveal its true essence to the reader.
But, try as I might, I couldn’t follow the dictum with this collection.
I was hooked, and how.
I couldn’t put it down. There was a wild hurry, a mad rush to get to the next page; I didn’t know it was possible with literary forms like poetry.
The muses are commonplace, everyday people and objects. However, the lure is in the delivery and the depth of emotion. Anirban strips away the layer of normalcy—whatever you may think you know about a subject. And like a skilled photographer plays a subtle game of light and shadow to accentuate the unseen and the unsaid.
There is depth, dimension, and untangled complexity. The edgy, gritty sentences weave stories with raw, hard edges that are fierce, vulnerable, and volatile, with each word pulsing with a giddy tenderness.
Anirban doesn’t disguise the wrinkles of everyday life; he celebrates them. Warts and all. Armed with an uncanny mastery to spotlight chaos, whether in one’s head or in surrounding objects, Anirban recreates a rebellious, curious world.
The poems take you by hand, leading you into intricate mazes of your own mind. Specter of past writhe before you, gashing open the scabs of resentment and regrets that you thought had healed well. The dull ache of love and loss wraps your heart in knots.
And the photographs! Textured, organic, and vivid.
The words and the photos are in perfect harmony, dancing together to the beats Anirban sets for them. So much so that you can’t imagine one without the other.
After finishing it once, I flipped through the book again, just to feel the bitter-sweet pain one more time. I couldn’t look at the pictures without Anirban’s words echoing and pounding in my head. It was as if the pixels had cracked open after my first reading, and the verses had spilled over.
Though each verse is in stark contrast with another, every one of them dripping with electric intensity, I liked some more than the other.
To mention a few—
The butcher, the madman on the street, the clothesline, feelings, a helping hand, snippets of conversations, mumblings, wings, letters from home are amongst my favorites.
Some of the fascinating lines from the book-
-I shall not smell the rain. I will be the rain, and I will be the breaking dawn. In nothingness shall I exist, I will be nothing — yet everything.
-Life is beautiful, they say. Maybe for the person with the swatter. Not for the fly flattened on it.
-When all fails. You keep going back. To scratch. To draw blood. And the flood begins again.
-Strut the plank/In a premeditated game of ‘bluff’/ And all that you do/ Is hold the aces/And look at faces/Those stare back at you.
There are no adornments.
No trimmings of meter, rhyme, or syllable count. Intertwined by rugged threads of existential philosophy, these poems are all heart.
Melancholic and mesmerizing. Introspective, incisive, and insightful. Cynical, deep, and dark.
Delightful and haunting, all at the same time.
If you are inclined to pick up one contemporary poetry collection this season, let it be this one; I promise you won’t be disappointed.
A word of caution, though: do not gulp it down in one go like me; otherwise, you’d be walking around with a black hole in the place of your heart all day. An empty dark space, but still crammed full.
Dark, realistic, yet sublime!
This review is neither paid, sponsored, nor requested by the author; the intention is not to please the author or influence sales.
I bought my copy of the book.
This review first appeared on www.supriyasbanter.com
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