John Keats once said, “If poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree it had better not come at all.” This is the first hallmark of a poet. Next is his expression. Rest is all about how the poet uses words to his disposal depending on what he wants to express. Dr. Ranjana Sharan Sinha in her collection of poetry, “Scents and Shadows” matches up to all these characteristics and through her writing of 70 poems together, proves that she can write and express strongly and also give words to what she thinks and feels. Being multi-dimensional in her writing, she has published works on criticism like “Nature In the Poetry of Wordsworth and Pant”, “Different Dimensions”, “Feminism: Times and Tides” she has also the collection of short stories, “Midnight Sun” under her name. She has also written a collection of poetry called “Spring Zone” and this is her second collection.
The book from the cover itself has something soothing and relaxing to the eyes of the reader. On reading the preface, the readers get to know the thoughts of the poet about poetry and she also gives a slight hint about what inspired her to write. But since her poetry is not restricted to any particular theme, listing one muse to be her guiding spirit would not be fair to the entire poetry by the author. She writes,
“To me poems come from ordinary experiences, beckoning and demanding to be written, and I just don’t write rather I pour my heart into the paper.”
Dr. Sinha does that in a true sense and pours her heart on the paper and gives words to all that she feels and wants to say to her readers. On top of everything, she does this so effortlessly and smoothly that the readers get involved in her work personally and their moods and thoughts are influenced just like the themes of her poetry keep changing.
The poet takes up a fine language in her writing and explores multiple themes like nature, exploring herself in nature, mythology, personal poems, poems written in observation of different members of the society, at times she simply takes the sonnet form of 14 lines stanza in poems like “A Stir in the Qiet Soul”, “Orphan”, “Man and Tree”, “May Returns Without You”, “Adjust the Sails” etc and explores it in her style and produces different marvels.
Poets like Dr. Sinha are rare gems to be found in the present time who not only write poetry for themselves but also become the voice of the voiceless in poems like “M.G.Road”, “Ellipsis”, “Roots and Rains”, “The sparrows” etc.
Her moods in poetry keep changing when at one time she is deeply personal in poems like ”The Grey Horizon”, “The Golden Cage”, “She’s Gone Forever!”, “Valentine’s Day at Sixty”, “Mother” etc, and at the same time concerned for the surroundings and environment in poems like “Scars of the Blue Planet”, “No More Wars”, “Cascades of Love” etc.
When the poet goes on to refer to mythology in “Alfa and Omega” or in “No More Wars”, she also shows the influence of W.B. Yeats when she mentions “The Second Coming”.
The poet also takes liberty and does a bit experiment as is evident in “A Million Miles Awar” where she uses the literary device of repetition but the most interesting poem in terms of experimenting is “Tanka”. The poem begins and ends and seems to be a part of the larger whole as there is no punctuation nor any capital letter to mark the beginning of the sentence. On reading the poem this becomes more obvious and the reader is left to use his imagination to think what the entire framework would be. Above this, the stanza form or the length of the poems also varies. the poet takes liberty keeps them in variation.
Of all the 70 poems that the poet has collected in this volume, not one appears similar to the other and all have a distinctness about them that the readers can not forget them and can keep reading them time and again whenever they feel the need to read poetry that relaxes the mind and soul at the same time. This is not the kind of poetry that can be read and forgotten. It will remain open to more interpretations and perspectives with every passing generation. Hence, poetry lovers who want to read a mixture of concrete and abstract subjects should have this book with them and keep reading to understand the mind of the poet in a closer manner.
Author Name: Dr. Ranjana Sharan Sinha
Book Title: Scents and Shadows
Publisher: Authorspress (2019)
Buy Book: Amazon Store
Reviewed by : The Literature Today
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