thursday, february 17, 2011
Book Review: Yearnings by Abha Iyengar
I'm not a great reader of poems, but as a lover of literary expression in any form, I was drawn in by Abha Iyengar's sample poems from her book Yearnings. Drawn in enough to immediately order a copy of her book.
As the title makes clear, this collection is about longing, love, loss, passion and related emotions and situations. What I admire about Abha's poetry is its impressionist style of communication--it paints a quick, terse picture whose aim is to capture the moment and the emotion, and it does that effectively. In art, too, I have a deeper admiration of Impressionism than Realism. Realism merely portrays what the eye sees, albeit in careful, loving detail but Impressionism carries the heart of the artist as well--it is his choice to capture the subject in that particular moment, angle and light, and this choice and his quick strokes show intense focus and urgency to record and love that person, place or action at that moment.
Yearnings is a collection of 67 short poems that are a pleasure to read and re-read. In these poems, there's none of the embellishment that a lot of poetry falls prey to: the frills and lace that really point to nothing. Instead there's solid content, honesty and truth. For example, here's Travel:
If you give me a look
vistas open up
If you blow me a kiss
winds gather up a storm
If you hold my hand
my fingers touch smooth pillars
In unseen corridors
I travel blind
Another one I like is Aroma:
Sometimes it takes just the aroma
Of freshly ground coffee beans
To make me fall into your brown arms.
I am vacuuming
Wiping the sweat off my
And the whiff comes from across the hall
Of somebody casting the magic spell
With the help of a potent witches' brew.
I switch off the vacuum and
Remove my shirt.
Some of the other poems I enjoyed in this collection are Ice cream, Strange Lands, A Table, Two Poems, Echo, Grief, Shadows, Everything Natural and I Conserve.
Yearnings is available from Serene Woods and Flipkart.