To playfully giggle with my heart
Review of ‘The Broken Boat’ by Nitin Soni
Poetry isn’t poetry if it doesn’t ‘playfully giggle with my heart’… and the book of poems that Nitin Soni has published does just that. Now let me admit that my heart isn’t a professor of poetry at some university and cannot possibly keep on nodding wisely and comparing this and that to what Chaucer or Tennyson said… no, not even what Dickinson or Morrison might have to say about the profound notes of observation that poetry is supposed to make. For me, poetry is simply words that wish to be as organic as organic can be.
I remember when I had once gone to meet Mr C G R Kurup, the Chief Editor at the Children’s Book Trust and after a while I handed him a sheaf of papers.
‘What are these?’ he asked.
‘My poems, sir,’ I said, and after a pause, went on, ‘I wish you have the time to read them and…’
He smiled and nodded, and I went away. When I met him again after a few weeks and reminded him of my poems, he carefully shuffled a few files on his table and pulled them out. I could see that the pages were not in the order in which I had given which meant he had actually read the poems.
‘Here they are,’ he said with a smile.
‘Well,’ I said, ‘what do you think of them?’
‘Arvind, remember this,’ he said softly and in a low but firm voice, ‘no poem is unworthy. And none of us have the right to judge them. Each poem is meant for its own set of readers and they will seek each other out. Keep writing. Don’t stop.’
This is what I would like to tell Nitin today: Keep writing. Do not stop.
There will always be readers who may not understand or seek to understand the kind of poetry that they come across… well, they probably need to keep moving on and continue searching for the poems that their heart is ready to connect with… and to use Nitin’s words, the poems not meant for a reader will simply murmur:
‘You are a stranger
On this beautiful boat’
Therefore, listen to what a poem says and there lies the secret of a universe where rhymes and rhythm co-exist peacefully with their own circle of friends. It is the same with fiction and its myriad genres… a lover of romance may actually yawn while reading a murder mystery but that does not demean the romance genre at all. ‘The Broken Boat’ is a collection of short poems by Nitin Soni and are actually his ‘golden apples – well, if anybody / could see them blooming / behind the curtains…’ and the words in the lines that he writes tend to hum and move in unison and, I believe, have the power to connect with the new generation. No wonder Nitin is known as ‘the curly poet’ and, therefore, to quote from one of his poems, he is ‘a bird of the new age’.
What I like about his poems is that they go on without leaning on iambic metres and without pretending to surf on created depth or cling to precarious metaphors and obfuscating insights and willingly create images in the mind with words that we use in our daily life…
‘What if she is a woman?
She has to accept the truth:
To live in pain forever’
The reader is not bull-dozed into stopping and then searching for the hidden connections. Come on, I know so many people who keep writing poetry as if it were a jigsaw or some sort of a puzzle that the heart is supposed to solve to remain healthy. Not every reader, as I have said earlier, is an erudite professor of literature… or as I am generally inclined to say, not every reader is a pedantic asshole. Poetry needs to be simple enough to be understood and loved by even those who do not claim to have a vocabulary that is imposing. Poetry isn’t some sort of a Sudoku puzzle that needs to have everything fitted in a pre-determined slot. All that poetry needs to do is to reflect life.
Yes, poetry must reflect life… and life, believe me, is a lot simpler than what text-books always try to say. So if you see a person or an idea lying wounded, be like Nitin and write:
‘My wounds are human
Humanity is wounded!’
I am no one to pronounce a judgement on poetry because I believe that just as we are looking for our own poem, a poem too is looking for its own reader/s. All I can do is to wish this poet a great time penning his poems as they are what we all need in times when life transforms into a prosaic drought:
Title: The Broken Boat
Poet: Nitin Soni
Publisher: Authors Press
Price: Rs 150/- (in 2016)
Buy this book here:
13 April 2016