Book Review: Selected Poems by Joy Goswami
It is a recent habit of mine to read a book from the very beginning. A lucky thing, I felt as I started the poetry collection by Joy Goswami (translated so amazingly by Sampurna Chattarji).
The 20 page foreword by Sampurna about Joy, his poetry and some snippets from his letters or various essays was a must and very meaningful read for anyone who wishes to understand the poems that follow. It was also a much valued glimpse into the mind-set of the translator and a reflection of both the challenge and the joys of finally presenting readers with this collection.
Whether we openly admit it or not, what we imagine is what is really true… Every poet is a failed poet, because he cannot ultimately write exactly what he wanted to write. He races towards the next poem or holds his breath waiting, for this very reason
Parts like these made me wish I could get my hands on the whole collection of essays too someday. Such knowledge and ideas about poetry and poets are a rare treat for me, though much needed to inspire my poetry reading and writing habits.
In the end of the book, there are insights, interviews and notes from Joy Goswami. This section I feel should be read both before and after one finishes the poems. The reason is that it makes a lot of difference to your understanding of a poem if you know some of the story. Also, the interpretations influence your understanding of the poem’s context later.
The poems in the book are grouped based on the book they originally belong, also they are vaguely based on similar themes. This theme becomes evident from one of Joy’s interview where he talks about his state of mind during some of the books.
The poems are on varied topics and each verse has not so subtle touch of imagination and parallel world fused into the real.
At the sky’s high window
Ma comes and stands…Moves away
Such jumps to the infinite while you are struggling with the real images gives you a sense of amazement and humble pleasure. Joy Goswami keeps you amazed and entertained with a lot of mind boggling vivid images coming alive not just in your mind but gradually they become a world in itself.
The entire infinite just descended into this palm
Let me raise my hand a little
Such and many more lines from the book raised my awareness about the vast world we are yet to explore and how our own reading and writing is restrained by our own constraints.
I can go on and on about this book but to sum it up, I will ask every reader and book lover to give this one a try. Be blessed that someone decided to translate and share these beautiful creations with all.
If only we were gifted the ability to understand all languages, I would be so much happy.
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