Alok Mishra's recent poetry collection, 13 untitled and weird poems, has a lot to offer to the serious readers of poetry. Especially, the Indian English poetry lovers have more to veer through than what a regular poetry collection by an Indian poet offers to them. I have recently read the poetry collection and I will share my review with the readers of The Best Books.
First of all, himself, Alok Mishra has certainly become one of the best book reviewers in India today. And to his advantage, he gets to read a lot of books and among those hundreds, there are also some of the poetry collections. Thus, he reads and gets the nerve of Indian English poetry more than often. How much he might have used that is a thing that we will know only after asking him in person. For now, I will focus on his collection 13 untitled and weird poems.
The book opens with a humorous narrative but a very serious poem. The poet tries to put his readers in a fix by asking the question of importance and yet the one that we often tend to postpone answering. With the words perfectly put in order to create the sonorous sound, the poet asks whether the readers can see what he cannot. And that is, to me, the humanity!
Likewise, the second poem also seems weird but very evoking. Perhaps the 'fall' is being alluded to. The third one uses, wonderfully, the negative warning style and warns the readers of problems of being oneself. In other words, Alok tries to show the readers, and himself, a mirror that makes us meet our hypocrisy. And the collection keeps on until we reach the threshold, for some purpose, that is set to the number 13. There are only 13 poems in this collection - as mentioned in the very title of this book.
Critically, I see no foul with the poet's desire to cut short his collection to only 13 poems. Yes, the readers who love reading serious, challenging and evoking poetry might need more of the poet's imagination, thought and conversation. However, other than the number, one thing that is essential to keep in mind is the connection between the poems in this collection. Each of the 13 poems seems connected to one another and that makes the overall impression even weird. Then, the question arises, what might be the significance of the mysterious number - 13?
I am rating the collection with 4 out of 5 stars. I am sure that the lovers of poetry will like this book and be surprised with the progress that this poet, Alok Mishra, has made in terms of his imagination and thinking. You can get a copy of the poetry collection here:
review by Subhash for The Best Books