In the month of March, which is the Women’s History Month, Learning and Creativity brings to you our book of the month, ‘Cloudburst: The Womanly Deluge’, a poetry anthology of contemporary Indian women poets, painstakingly edited and compiled by Dr. Santosh Bakaya and Lopamudra Banerjee, and published by Global Fraternity of Poets, Gurugram, India.
In this lyrical assortment of verses emerging from the pens of 28 Indian women poets, there is a joyous, enthralling celebration of a wide and endearing spectrum of human experiences. Just like every woman poet in the collection has her own individuality, every poem in the collection is endowed with a unique powerful voice, and compiled together, they create an overwhelming deluge of emotions, a cascading flow of poetic sensations.
“When an angel carries away my soul
All shrouded in fog, folded in flames
I have no body, no tears to weep Just a bag
in my heart, full of poems.”
Elena Shvarts [1948-2010]
In this anthology, we see 28 women writers, upturning those poetic bags hidden in their hearts, versifying their anger, anguish, existential angst with great aplomb. They dream, they visualize, they rhapsodize, they are indignant, they are volatile, eloquently gnashing their teeth at the mutilated and bruised world, and lashing and, thrashing out with powerful poetic punches.
I found the poems in this anthology, hard-hitting like bullet shots, and also soft and soothing like candy floss clouds. These immensely impressive, brilliantly engaging, lyrically refreshing, heart-wrenching and mind-numbing poems covering a wide spectrum of human experiences revolve round love, life, death and longing, sometimes cascading like thundering waters, at times providing shade, umbrella-like , from the assaults of a brutal world, and have the amazing healing touch to soak up the tears hanging from a weeping child’s eyelashes.
In the present fast changing world, no woman is the ‘singing lark’, or the pretty ‘little squirrel’, Nora Helmer of Henry Ibsen’s ‘A Doll House‘, but every woman has her own individuality, and is armed with a powerful thinking voice, which can awaken even a
So, in the present volume, we find the poems pulsating and throbbing with the echoes of Maya Angelou’s highly inspiring and empowering words, that woman can no longer be
written down in history with ‘bitter, twisted lies’ as she has the resilience to spring back and rise.
Creating an anthology is a collective experience, and it is this collective experience which has in its own course, enriched my sense of self-exploration by the engaging contemporary poetic voices of women whom I have known, women whose verses have mattered to me as much as my own, women whose confident, distinctive poetic voices have erupted in the form of a cloudburst, culminating in this womanly deluge.
The poems by these 28 contemporary women poets flow seamlessly and incessantly, in a cascading flow of sensations. In many of the poems in this collection, you will see the diverse themes of love, the myriad hues of life, femininity and humanity converge and coalesce to form a mosaic of the poetic, artistic consciousness of these women poets, in many of them, you will see the words dipped in the red, volatile ink of their souls, carved with the paintbrush of their inner artistry, wisdom and deep feminine insight.
However, herein comes another pertinent question: is this collection only about the deluge of ‘female’ poetry, or in other words, does the gender aspect overpower the theme, content and presentation of this anthology? In answer to this, I would like to reiterate the words of the phenomenal poet Maya Angelou who had famously said that “a woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself.”
As women poets, whether or not we bring into this anthology the question of female subjectivity, we are constantly looking into the world in flux around us in our imagery and in a subtle, ingenious way which is unmistakably feminine in its essence. In some of the poems of this anthology, ‘womanhood’ is a lyrical scream, in some, the creative force of life ebbs and flows in unexpected trajectories, in some, the artistic vision of the poet transcends the boundaries of time and space.
In my understanding, the idea behind this anthology was to see how the contemporary Indian women poets react to the fungi of poetry evolving in their psyche, how the aspect of self-identity, the intricate links between the soul, the senses, the natural world, the familial home and the greater world is represented in their poetic voices. Each poet in the collection comes up with her own unique set of metaphors and imagery, her own quirky idiosyncrasies and her distinct identity which the poems are embedded with. The immediacy of their emotions and the larger import defines the anthology, and we hope the readers will find it an engaging and compelling read, where the personal will become the universal, and the temporal and spatial will become transcendental in the final effect.
More to read in Anthologies
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