Autumn in America & other poems is my debut collection of poems that I have released through Setu Publications, Pittsburgh, Usa, recently on Amazon.
For those of you who may be interested in the book, the link is shared below.
It is available as paperback in Usa, UK and Canada currently. e-book available on Kindle worldwide. Rather than I talk about my book, here is what the experts and critics say about it.
This eclectic mélange of poems is indeed a delight for every poetry lover. This is no slip-shod, hodgepodge compilation of hastily put together emotions and verbose platitudes disguised as poetry, but real poetry, throbbing with real feelings and captivating the readers with masterly use of poetic devices, regaling them with different forms written flawlessly – a roseate sonnet, an abecedarian poem, a shadorma, embellished with nostalgia, humour, a rhythmic cadence and, a restrained feminist tenor.
I have been closely watching Brindha gain poetical finesse with every poem that she writes. As a poet, she grows every day. Right from the first poem to the last, she has something different and delectable to offer a reader of good poetry, who is left smacking the lips and craving for more.
Divided into six sections: [Section 1: The Scent of Nostalgia and Home,
Section 2: Shades of Womanhood, Section 3: Wit, Sarcasm and Humour, Section 4: Man, Nature and Interpretations, Section-5 Love: Dynamics, definitions and Dimensions, Section 6: Life, Death and Reflections], all the poems appeal to the reader in different ways, some pull at the heartstrings, some tickle the funny bone, some drench the reader in myriad hues of invigorating and rejuvenating nature. What struck me about the collection is that there is no sign of verbosity, hackneyed phrases, or jarring clichés which most of us are prone to use, but it is replete with cracklingly fresh and crisp similes, metaphors, and imagery, which are meant to remain in memory.
The very first poem Ganapathy Colony in the poet’s debut collection drips with the nostalgia of her maternal home in Chennai, India, the aroma of filter coffee, the fragrance of bougainvillea, jasmine, coconut trees, and left me with lingering sighs. But what brought a smile to my lips in this very poem was the realization that the poet is as fond of alliteration as me [Zephyrs zip in zealously…a conglomerate of camaraderie, guffaws of gatherings, etc.] No clinging, cloying sentimentality or poetic grandiloquence, but simple feelings simply unfolding, one emotion seamlessly flowing into the next.
The poem Growing up speaks a lot in a few words and the impact of the following words remains long after one has finished reading the poem.
“We girls grew gradually
and red hibiscus showers
oozed out from our bodies every month
and exposed to different
shapes and smells,
our chatters subdued to hushed whispers.”
A soft poetic punch at the societal expectations and an entrenched mindset, where girls are expected to subdue their chatter and talk in hushed whispers once they supposedly grow up.
An ode to Madras/Chennai leaves an everlasting impact with words like,
“A city that welcomes the sun with kolams-
symmetrical sketches of patterns varied-
where the haves and the have-nots coexist
and rejoice in unison to the beads of rainfall
the benevolent sky drops
and stitches souls parched…”
In Section 2 [The Shades of Womanhood], Brindha’s sensitive pen celebrates womanhood in poetically eloquent words thus:
“She is the sun-
power-packed in the noon-
suppressed at night –
to rise again to a virgin dawn-
reborn” [Celebrating a woman]
Anxiety: [Dedicated to all mothers with girl children] is a poem that speaks to every woman, vocalizing the apprehensions of a mother with a girl child. The fear of the human snakes slithering in the streets lurk in her anxious mind and palpitating heart till the time the girls return home. This is a poem that sent shivers up my spine.
‘When a mother cooks’, packs a lifetime of sacrifices that mothers make for their offspring; to quote a few words from it:
in the name of red roses
handling the pressure
Of a cooker in time’s arms
from the secret garden of her palms.”
The middle-class woman is a very powerful poem, pulsating with the palpable pain of every middle-class woman, multi-tasking, labouring, washing, cooking, meeting deadlines, commuting, slogging, scrimping, and hurrying in helter-skelter haste, lest she misses the train or bus to the office.
“life moves on like sentences that have no full stops,
Sundays disguise themselves as scattered commas
for that well-needed pause to hold the breath.”
Section 3 Wit, Sarcasm and Humour
Writing humour is a serious matter, requiring an immense amount of skilled finesse, and here we have Brindha managing to strike a humorous chord effortlessly.
In this section, she lampoons Ms. Bribe, a lustrous lady who entertains and entices with ‘glamorous hues gaudy’. In The Cooking Contest, she turns a punster, playing with words impishly with enviable panache. “What’s in a Status?” again tickles the funny bone, making one go into a string of unstoppable giggles and guffaws.
“You never told me which status, la la la
Social or social media status, ha ha ha!”
Mrs. and Mr. Z, partly inspired by Vikram Seth’s The Frog and the Nightingale is again a delightfully humorous piece, which one loves to recite loudly because of its charmingly exquisite rhymes.
Section 4 Man, Nature and Interpretations
Every poet, whether labeled as a nature poet or not, has some time or the other written about nature, and here we have the poet enchanting us by writing about the blue waves, twinkling moonlight, waltzing butterflies, monsoons, the crystals on a rainbow, dancing dew, raspberries, strawberries, and green leaves.
Autumn in America is an achingly beautiful poem, reminiscent of my homeland Kashmir-One of the poems which spoke to me in myriad ways.
“corns glow in the fields
like the gleams of old men with yellow teeth,
whilst their brown cousins, acorns,
silhouette squirrels on the semi-green grass of silk.”
while the chilling cold slowly slithers in.”
The last line made me gasp. With what effortless élan, the poet has metaphorically hinted at the cold of being away from home. Or am I reading too much between the lines? This Chennai poet lives far away in America, does she miss her home, I find my heart asking, and shrinking at the very thought.
The fragrance of Spring is an abecedarian poem that enchants, not only by the effective use of alliteration, [attractive asters, burgundy begonias, lavender lilacs, red robins] but by the inbuilt foot-tapping musicality of the poem.
Section 5 Love: Dynamics, Definitions and Dimensions
Love and Literature – begins with a roseate sonnet, [a form created by Dr. Ampat Koshy,] followed by Sakhi -Sakha poems, Forms of Love, Of Perfect Marriages that last. This is a section drenched in love- sweet, sour, sensuous, and sublime, and the reader sways with the cadence of the sparkling emotions.
Section 6 Life, Death and Reflections:
In this section, the imagery is very stunning, the words profound, and the impact long-lasting and soul-stirring. Addressing many philosophical questions, she writes about success, resilience, and self-introspection, making the reader think, and think deeply along with her.
In Seeking the Soul, we find the poet stumbling along the alleys of life, fumbling for the answer, to the perennial question, “have you met your soul?” and eventually realizing that,
“Peace, kindness are all within.
Maybe it’s the soul within”
By Santosh Bakaya-
Poet, biographer, novelist, Tedx speaker, and creative writing mentor.
If any of you are reading the book or are planning to read in the near future or have already read, please drop a message on my blog and I will be honored to thank you.