POEMS: 4/5 THEME: 4/5 RHYTHM AND RELATABILITY: 3.5/5 OVERALL: 4/5
To be very honest, I am not a huge fan of minimalistic poetry. I love it when words flow freely and generously. But then, every once in a while, you come across a book that changes your perception of a niche genre; that changes your way of looking at a genre.
Rising Petals by Ashwini Rath is one such book that completely changed my take on minimalistic poetry. Read on to know more about the book and my experience of reading it.
While the cover of the book is quite drab and unimpressive, it is the blurb that manages to generate curiosity. It is through the blurb we know that the book attempts to decipher the anxiety of a modern individual as conveyed through the medium of different things, incidents, places, moods, and phenomena.
To quote from the blurb itself, Rising Petal attempts to “illustrate the conflict in our minds and strengthen our resolve to stay true to our elements.”
What to expect?
Expect a short read (of under 100 pages). Expect a book that muses and reflects, ponders, and critiques upon the many contradictions and paradoxes of modern living. Expect a collection of twenty-six thoughtful poems. These poems, though minimalistic in nature, are profound and thereby carry many emotions.
Purpose of the book
The purpose of the book is like a lesson, an urgent call for action to be better humans, and better individuals. It urges us to let go of our facades and egos, to let go of our false sense of worth, to look inward, and let go of our hatred, negativity, and abhorrent thoughts.
At the same time, it also reminds us to not let go of our reasoning and mental faculties in a bid to stick to norms and commonly established customs. But to question everything using rationale, and interpret the established truths through careful observation using a practical lens.
An author note that speaks to you
Whether it’s a poetry collection or a non-fiction read, I always look forward to a poet’s or author’s note which would help me in understanding the motives, and objectives of the writing, while at the same time, attempt to bridge that gap between the reader and the writer.
In the poet’s note, in his own words, he tells us that the poems “reflect the anxiety of anybody yearning for the next stage of evolution as an individual and as a society without disruption or bloodshed”.
The note also suggests that the best way to go about the current times is to stay close to one’s physical world including family and society.
Poems that touched my heart
In this section of the review, I talk about the poems that touched my heart.
Anomaly, because it reflects upon the many anomalies of our lives. A simple example of this is how we dream of living a rural life when living in urban jungles, but when amidst rural and natural settings, we crave urban comforts.
The poem Coffee talks about the lives of many sleep-deprived professionals; people who often live like zombies, working in dull environments, doing equally dull jobs while perpetually waiting for the coffee man. This coffee man, who comes with his many cups of coffee, wearing his plastic smile, relieving them momentarily from their drudgery.
Desire talks of the fallacy and fake glitter of awards, trophies, and recognition, and how we as a society have instilled the notion of them as sources of joy, and bliss. Failing to realize that they are nothing but an unnecessary boost to one’s ego.
The poem titled Indian is also quite profound. It conveys emotions that carry deep meanings and offers an insightful commentary about the current times.
Legacy shows us how in the very act of pursuing our legacy, we cause ourselves stress and anxiety. We go to great lengths to preserve it but in the process of doing so, we grow ignorant and lose sight of what needs to be preserved – i.e. us. Because without us, the legacy is anyhow lost.
One of my favourites in the entire lot is a poem titled Unwanted, which again, is as beautiful as it is profound. What it talks about are stray dogs. The poem reflects on a phenomenon that most of us witness every day. But even then, how many of us take a moment to think about these stray dogs? If I had to use a single word to describe this poem, that word would be earnest.
In the end
Rising Petals is a collection that is deeply profound, emotional, and yet also pragmatic. It is a book that makes you ponder, wonder, and reflect not just on the realities of today but also where we are headed as a society and as individuals.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Rising Petals using the link below.