‘Suvarnarekha: An Anthology of Indian Women Poets Writing In English’ reveals women’s zest for an eventful and essential life in the social milieu.
The anthology under review is a comprehensive collection of Indian women poets writing in English whose poetry have been published worldwide and acquired critical attention in national as well as international arena. Nandini Sahu’s selection of poets in this anthology covers poets from Toru Dutt and Sarojini Naidu to contemporary poets.
From the tradition of ‘safe’ poets, to the ‘confessional’ and ‘self conscious’ – subjective expressions have been attempted by these poets which seek to assert an equal space to the sidelined and marginalized representation of women poets in contemporary literary scene.
These poems vividly express the voice seeking freedom and emancipation and finding an equal space in the male dominated world.
Apparently the spirit of women and the framing of homely expressions along with worldly concerns, the poems amass a lot from the world of women. Their conditions, emotions, their agony and ecstasy ranging from home to the world recur throughout the anthology in varied forms and themes.
From capturing traditional nuances to reflecting contemporary deteriorating values towards looking at women – the poems have been assertive in the role they play in the constructive mentality of society. Far from merely celebrating the aesthetics of poetry, they are expressive of sentiments, love and the endurance of the womanhood.
The women poets seek expression of their personal and private lives. Their poems are not only assertive of their powerful positioning in society and public sphere but also pose a challenge to the stereotype male-centric literary world.
The poems represent their multiple identities, against any kind of gender difference, of the liberated woman, who defies any parameters set in the so called patriarchal framework. In fact, the anthology offers readers a fresh perspective to look at human life. It brings humanism and especially feminism in practice through a wide range and variety of approach.
Kamala Das in her confessional poem ‘Introduction’ explores the essence of being a woman of varied experience. She sets her being against life. Posing herself in the male frame she finds herself dignified in all respect.
……………….I am sinner.
I am saint.I am the beloved and the
Betrayed. I have no joys that are yours, no
Aches which are not yours. I too call myself I.
Meena Alexander enjoys her company of Muse in the poem ‘Muse’. She starts living a joyous life in the company. She idolizes Muse for every small details that conditioned her poetic sensibility in this manner.
Alphabets flicker and soar.
Write in the light
Of all the languages
You know the earth contains,
You murmur in my ear.
Nandini Sahu’s poem ‘Draupadi’ presents the predicament of the modern woman. Humiliated and mutilated, she is instructed to stand straight and be happy. The world ignores her emotion and nullify her every pain she undergoes. Finally in her own quest she finds a solace in her own temperament.
And in the city of dead
I die hundred times in delusion.
I seek release, I know not where—
May be in ‘all’!!!
Through in a pessimistic condition, the speaker in the poem seeks an optimistic room. On the other hand offering a humanistic solution, she anticipates universal good, “it encompasses ‘all’” .
Savita Singh in her poem ‘Afternoon’ hammers on the busy life of a woman. The poem is reflective of the mundane and thankless drudgery that every woman endures.
Busy from Outside
Finishing household chores
Taking Beating, Scolding
Tired of children’s screaming, wailing
And as soon as done with,
An empty senseless afternoon once again.
Nandini Sahu has made a discerning selection to document the women aspirations and achievement .
The approach and issues along with the natural beauty and lyrical sense in the poems engross and enthrall poetry lovers. She has done a commendable job by bringing together hundred and three Indian English women poets in this anthology. It not only invites readers for a meaningful journey but also enables them to participate in the inclusive discourse of human life. Through this anthology, Nandini Sahu has made a lasting contribution to Gender Studies.
The cover design by Anil Tato is suggestive of the issues permeated in the anthology. Marked by the post-colonial zeal the poems reveal the women’s zest for an eventful and essential life in the social milieu.
— Learning&Creativity (@LearnNCreate) May 29, 2014
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