By Ashwani Kumar
Shobhana Kumar’s e book of haibun poetry A Sky Stuffed with Bucket Lists is structurally and aesthetically a microcosm of the aporetic experiences of our post-modern situations. With beautiful management over the compositional actions of the language, she expresses the splintering of the self and society in an avalanche of unconventional imageries of our collective predicament.
Revolving round what she calls “remnants of yesterday”, her poetry dwells in polymorphous voices of our bodies—human, non-human and aliens of varied types. With chiselled cinematic syntaxes and auto-fictional reminiscences, her poems communicate of haunting experiences of familiar-unfamiliar voices of life, love, loss and loss of life.
With “sandalwood, rose water, and jasmine fragrances”, A Sky Stuffed with Bucket Lists can be a couple of daring and experimental language of poetry that bids farewell to stereotypical linguistic and aesthetic constructions of actuality. Contemplate the opening poem of the gathering Consider Grasp Stroke. It’s concerning the schizophrenic expertise of “our bodies with out organs” as French cultural theorists Deleuze and Guattari have argued.
This e book of poems, as Kumar says, “regales the customer with anecdotes of a time” and “the odour lingers lengthy after the cleansing”. Within the poem Areas, she plans to decolonise our archival reminiscences by proudly owning a library during which she “builds every (room) with character that mirrors the inhabitants in several rooms. Ebony cabinets in the master suite. Colored panels for the daughter. The son’s intentionally asymmetrical; the place poetry settles into uncomfortable corners”. This narratorial voice, with recurring consideration to transitional areas of similarity and variations, makes her poems a makeshift place of therapeutic on the intersections of the worlds of haiku and fictional prose.
As we face the extreme second wave of the pandemic, her poems eerily allude to the blurring of binaries of dwelling and non-living. As an example, Kumar, in her poem Stopper, invitations us to expertise surreal horrors of our instances by inhaling “a miasma hovering across the sufferers, their garments, beds, and even on their faces. You may’t put a finger to it; it’s not the odor of the streets. Neither is it the odour from their wounds. It appears like a heavy cloud, dragging each blissful emotion because it strikes from one affected person to a different”.
Exploring logological truths of loss of life in her poem Put up-mortem, she says in a deconstructive tone: “As we speak, he caresses a stray strand of hair from his spouse’s brow as he leaves. He slips from the fourth ground, attempting to save lots of a fellow painter from falling. They wish to file a report saying he was an alcoholic. She spends the following 5 years preventing to show he was not”. Right here, you discover the alchemical energy of irony in her poems with a silent ferocity, reminding us about Eunice De Souza’s poetic craft of utilizing irony for undermining binaries of social and linguistic experiences.
With child-like curiosity and readability, she sees her poems as “nameless, unclaimed reminiscences” from our existential histories, as she says within the poem Being. For her, “forgetting turns into a behavior”, a sociological and medical behavior of questioning concerning the mysteries of “Blue Mountains of Nilgiris”.
Poet Adil Jussawalla tells us, “Each poet has not less than two voices: a literary voice and the one during which (s)he usually speaks.” Kumar speaks by way of what literary critic Eric Griffiths calls the “printed voice” of on a regular basis speech. Her poem Lockdown Learnings is acutely political and confessional. It speaks of our hidden guilts and fantasies of auto-annihilation as “Nothing has modified for the poor. And we, the one ones who’ve time for poems in lockdown. I’m wondering if I’ll bear in mind this pausing when the insanity resumes.”
Her poetic language pronounces itself as a semiotic spectacle. It swoops down upon us like a wild beast, leaving us bewildered and redeemed without delay. On this counter-discursive second, ‘hoping towards hope’ turns into doubtlessly a robust ally in resisting grief and gloom. That’s why Kumar’s haibun is a performative mimicry of the catastrophic inequities of our age.
I’m notably delighted that Crimson River has been publishing poetry with anamnestic experiments with genres and varieties, and in addition serving to us recuperate forgotten literary fonts in Indian poetry. To conclude, it’s essential to not solely learn Kumar’s poems, but in addition trip together with her verses as a result of as she says within the poem Barter: “After the rains, the trip on the freeway is magical.”
Benefit from the magical trip of haibun poetry by way of the hilltops, nondescript villages and paddy fields the place “a bunch of ladies get able to plough the soil” whereas having fun with the scent of ageing palm bushes lining the sky—a sky filled with bucket lists!
Ashwani Kumar is a poet, author and professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. The assessment of the e book was ready for its launch at Anantha: A Pageant of Poetry in April
A Sky Stuffed with Bucket Lists
Pp 86, Rs 230