Archive for March, 2017

Sunny Rain-n-Snow: An Olio of Poetry for Pleasure by U Atreya Sarma – Book Review by Leonard Dabydeen

March 18, 2017

 

BOOK: Sunny Rain-n-Snow, AN OLIO OF POETRY FOR PLEASURE by U Atreya Sarma

BOOK BY U ATREYA SARMA PNG

BOOK REVIEW by Leonard Dabydeen

Publisher: Partridge India, 2016

ISBN-10: 1482868547

ISBN-13: 978-1482868548

Pages 158

Paperback $ 9.99 | Rs 399 | Flipkart Rs 360

Kindle $ 2.54 | Rs 169

EBOOK (Google Play) Rs 118.30

A rich garland of flowers splendiferous with life.

To be able to explode with tremendous joy and felicity at making your first impression is simply a memorable life-experience. This is undoubtedly the magnolia, caviar feeling of U Atreya Sarma on the presentation of his debut olio of poetry book, Sunny Rain -n-Snow – set in a bundle of 139 pages in a melange of 63 poems curated in 12 interlocking sections, spanning delectable tidings from prior social media/anthologies between 2009-2014. In the Foreword helm, popular Mumbai literary academic, Dr. Sunil Sharma elicited that this book, “Sunny Rain-n-Snow is about living and loving life.” And the author, Atreya espouses in the Preface that the ambience of the poems “vary according to the theme – from gravity to levity, from anger to angst, from sympathy to empathy, from ardour to humour.” This, in brief, regales a sumptuous gourmet of the vagaries of living in the richness of poetry. As Leonard Cohen says, “Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.” (https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/leonardcoh107228.html)

Unequivocally, the launch of this book, Sunny Rain-n-Snow by author Atreya Sarma on December 18, 2016 at Ravindra Bharati, Hyderabad was a huge success. It was garlanded by a wealth of literary goliaths to wit, Dr. K B Gopalam (Special Guest), Dr. T Mukherjee (Chief Guest), Dr. Kondal Rao (Distinguished Guest), Mr. Chepuru Subbarao (Guest of Honour) and Ms Padmaja lyengar (Guest of Honour). And in his FaceBook page on December 24, 2016, author Atreya infectiously and jubilantly echoed the voice of his distinguished guests, saying that the book, Sunny Rain-n-Snow is, “ A BOOK FOR ALL SEASONS AND FOR ALL REASONS … FOR EVERY AGE GROUP AND FOR EVERY TASTE BUD – BOTH FOR PLEASURE AND FOR GOOD ENGLISH WITH DELECTABLE DICTION”

So let me bring this accolade of Atreya, as a superb master wordsmith, into perspective by visiting randomly some of the categories of the poems in this book, Sunny Rain- n-Snow . In the first category, Femina , it is all about the emancipation of women – pointing in the direction of their freedom with a sense of raison d’être. In poem #1, A housewife’s lib (Mar 14, 2009), the housewife sensuously pleads in the second stanza,

I don’t mind your spend on your cigarettes and drinks,

On your games and parties, on your lavish tips…

But spare me some pin-money, for my simple wants.

Once in two months, take me out for a cinema,

Or to a hotel, or a picnic.

(p 3)

And in line three of the last stanza, the poet endears the soul of women’s freedom,

Nothing more I desire, my dear!

(p 3)

This appeal is so trenchant; so inviting for answer. Which reminds me of Caroline Kennedy’s She Walks in Beauty – A Woman’s Journey Through Poems…”Poetry shapes an endless conversation about the most important things in life.” Just make it simple.

In the second category titled, Facets of Nature, author Atreya delights us with a virtual incandescent glow of nature, almost surreal in poem # 9, Terrace Twilight (July 10, 2011). Take a read in the second stanza,

As doles of doves perch on the roofs holding review conferences;

Blithe boys howl, bowl and bat in their narrow streets.

As the whirrs of vehicles zigzag in every direction beneath the top tranquility;

Psalms from temples and azans from minarets compliment the ambient music.

(p 18)

So ravishingly immense imagery almost flowing in a dream-like stream of evening bliss. Placement of the reader on this ‘Terrace’ is, in the words of T.S. Eliot, From the Pages of the Wasteland and Other Poems …”Like a patient etherised upon a table;” And Atreya captures Nature with cordial comfort.

In the third section, Epiphanies, in poem # 17, Nocturnal bliss (Mar 19, 2009) the poet completes his day’s activities, satiated with the results and headed home in his Wagon R at (first stanza, line two)

…two-fifteen in the night/

(p 36)

And then begins to experience that …

Eerie silence on the road…/

(second stanza, line one)

It is the kind of creepy, uncanny feeling of loneliness that feeds fear in the mind, until (stanza nine),

Alas! My psychedelic happiness

Came to an abrupt reluctant stop

As I reached my home

Sooner than I liked.

(p 37)

And here author Atreya brings his reader to true ‘Nocturnal bliss’. Drama, suspense codified in imagination. Good poetry.

Let us reel to category eight, Reflectively yours, and take a look at poem # 44, Unpaid watchman (Feb 5, 2009),

Throw him a little morsel of food

Just for once, though by chance.

An then shoo him away,

Or stone him to bleed;

Yet he wags his tail in gratitude

And stays a life long shadow –

That free unpaid watchman

The simple dog.

(p 89)

Here Atreya brings to his reader the surreal juxtaposition of life. The dog being man’s best friend, treated with wafted depreciation, yet displays that trusted allegiance – being a ‘free unpaid watchman’. This is the virtue of life and living. The faith of the dog so ensconced.

In the section that follows, Social bristles, in tango with five insightful poems, the author cleverly espouses his brush with nuances of society. He makes a rendezvous to current political riff raff on terrorism, noting in poem #45, A tryst with the terrorist (p 93) being selected as the Editor’s Choice, Muse India, May-June 2009 issue. In the first stanza of The Monologue, Atreya writes,

Does a lion dialogue with his prey?

He just charges and strikes his quarry.

Why should I tarry?

I’d simply finish off whose face I detest.

I should be the master of all I survey.

(p 93)

Such verisimilitude defies negation, considering our present-day war-mongering nations. And Atreya assuages the reader with sagacious satori in The Epilogue of this poem – an acrostic: TERRORISM – in the last three lines,

In terms of eschatology, ‘Hells-where,’ if not on earthly loci.

Symphony of divergent notes, symbiotic existence of all beings,

My dear brothers, is the Divine Design, whatever be our (sch)ism!

(p 94, Jan 10, 2009)

Other categories of earlier poems, to include Facets of Nature, Americana, Musings on poetry, Relations & equations, Romantic peeps, Reflective yours, and further on to include Tongue-in-cheek, Occasional voices and Metrical forays, enticingly concatenate with symbiotic richness to colour the bouquet of this book, Sunny Rain-n-Snow. Atreya makes you feel sumptuously gratified, at ease and muse-full with his thoughtful selections. Applauding entertainment read. And the reader is justifiably delighted to suss out on any listing of choice.

In the last category, Metrical forays, and in poem #60 Limericks (pp 131-133), there are nine limericks spanning 2009-2015. Fun to read. The next poem, #61 Swimming snare is a sonnet based on a personal experience by Atreya in the Isle of Gujarat. He says, in the last stanza,

Into waters unknown never venture,

Lest yours be a fatal misadventure.

(p 135)

A bad experience stays in your memory. A good experience is a joy forever.

In the next poem, #62 The Caribbean Coolies: An enduring saga (A ballad), the author takes us into harsh realities of history of Indian indentureship of coolies from India to the Caribbean via ships that sailed through the kala pani of the Atlantic ocean. The imagery intense and horrifying as in the first six lines of the second stanza,

Cut off from families and country

On a voyage risky

Of starvation and seduction

By crew – white or blacky.

The ship of disease, births and deaths

Debarked the tired coolies

(p136)

An emotionally exploding journey reflecting my own heritage from the Caribbean archipelago – from Guyana, South America. The coolies worked in sugar plantations, and (see first four lines in the last stanza of this poem),

They scrimped and saved, to school their kids

Who came to occupy

Positions of social respect

And bring forth by and by

(p137)

Atreya, without hesitation, mentions the names of great Indians in the like of Cheddi Jagan, Naipaul, Ramphal and Chanderpaul. The poem, in conjunction with the last poem in the book, The case of a chronic rake, was awarded third place in the Metverse Muse Fixed Form Poetry Contest 2014 – Category B.

This superb debut collection of poems, Sunny Rain-n-Snow, by author Atreya is unequivocally a connoisseur bundle. It is rich in variegated ambiences of life, sometimes drifting the reader from one city, or country, and yet returning to its fulcrum, the author himself. The poems are intuitively selected by the author for their positive comments and encouraging accolades in forums such as Face Book, PoemHunter.com, Hans India, Muse India and Triveni – India’s renowned literary and cultural quarterly. The back cover of the book emphatically highlights the exuberance of Atreya’s prolific literary workmanship. His diverse and emblematic experiences range from being a poet of par excellence with over 700 published poems, a super-analytic book-reviewer, a fervently enthusiastic editor – Chief Editor Muse India, and a bolstering translator – from Telugu to English. He is also an acclaimed literary freelancer for more than two decades to date, with many Forewords to his belt.

During the exciting framework for the launching of Sunny Rain-n-Snow, many poets have sung their delighted praises to shower enthusiasm  for the launch, namely Ambika Ananth, Bengaluru, Poetry Editor, museindia.com; Avril Meallem, Jerusalem; Dr Charanjeet Kaur, Thane, Chief Editor, museindia.com; Elanaagu ( Dr Surendra Nagaraju), Hyderabad; Gopal Lahiri, Mumbai; Dr Kiriti Sengupta, Kolkata; Sanjeev Sethi, Mumbai; and Ush Kishore, Isle of Man. Also, inclusive in this ravishing literary flagship are many book reviewers, to mention Amazon.com five stars emblem review by Abhigyan and Amazon Customer (https://www.amazon.com/Sunny-Rain-n-Snow-U-Atreya-Sarma/dp/1482868547), Jaydeep Sarangi – Faculty Department of English, Univ.of Calcutta and Betty Oldmeadow – Isle of Sheppey, Kent, England.

In the heart of a wondrous maiden voyage of this book, Sunny Rain-n-Snow stands a prudent discovery of the author, U Atreya Sarma. From his wistful years of growing up with his parents, and slipping through the wish-hold of his father to become a medical doctor, to torpedoing with seamless urge to be the best wordsmith with Himalayan power in English literature, is evidently reflective of his academic achievement. Always a voracious reader of English, he careened his way vehemently to the top through colleges and universities from obtaining a BSc (Botany, Zoology and Chemistry) to a BA (English literature, Sanskrit literature and History), to a P.G. in Mass Communications & Telugu Translation Techniques), to a Masters degree in English Literature. He also obtained his CAIIB (Part 1) – with mid-level experience.

Atreya’s literary achievements are too voluminous to script in this review, but undoubtedly underscores the depth of Sir Francis Bacon’s visionary quote: “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.” And his effulgence for literature, particularly poetry, comes with Atreya’s own opus operatum: “Poetry is life in words; life is poetry in action.” In the Setu magazine, under the headline, My World and Words, Atreya takes us through the flowering of his maiden voyage to launch this book, Sunny Rain-n-Snow, An Olio of Poetry For Pleasure in stages: Soil, Root, Stem and  Fruit –

http://www.setumag.com/2017/01/sangeeta-sharma-interviews-u-atreya.html

http://www.setumag.com/2017/02/U-A-Sarma-world-and-words.html

On his approach to Selfhood, Atreya takes us through an intuitive experience,

http://episteme.net.in/phocadownloadpap/userupload/March2015/WritersInSpotlight/1-interview%20of%20atreya%20sarma%20updated.pdf

In conversation with Dr. Kiriti Sengupta in Research Scholar, An International Refereed e-Journal of Literary Explorations, Atreya enlightens us with more insight of the authorship of his book, Sunny Rain-n-Snow,

http://www.researchscholar.co.in/downloads/83-dr.-kiriti-sengupta.pdf

REF: http://www.researchscholar.co.in, ISSN 2320-6101, Vol.1, Issue IV, November, 2013.

My own savvy with Atreya as a literary wordsmith was just over a year ago, when I read his poem, A Housewife Supplicates! (p 17) in the Triveni e-Journal Quarterly, Jan-March 2016. Incidentally, this is the first poem in his book, Sunny Rain-n-Snow, under the title, A housewife’s lib. Then again I read his works in the Triveni e-Journal Quarterly, July-Sept 2016, and again I happened on a review of his debut book, Sunny Rain-n-Snow  (p 64) by Jayendra Singha Ray.  This review was alongside my own book review of Nomadic Nights (p 64), by author and poet, Indira Babbellapati. Later, I discovered Atreya in Muse India as Chief Editor while I was making my poetry take root in My Space section.

In view of this literary interaction, Atreya and I became friends on FaceBook, sharing poems and comments to pass time in literary ruminations. When his book, Sunny Rain-n-Snow was launched on December 18, 2016, I prompted a request to Atreya of my wish to do a book review. The book arrived a month later, with my response to Atreya in a little tit for tat poem,

THE ARRIVAL

Middle of day

 Eyes catch the skies

 In their mystical optical

 I open the cold mail-box

 I reach for Sunny Rain-n-Snow

 And the Partridge sighs

 With the arrival of

 U Atreya Sarma….

The end of this review now brings you with only one intrigue and intent: make this book, Sunny Rain-n-Snow your reader’s choice #1. Introduce the book to a friend. Poetry will bring joy in your life. Poetry will change your life. You will certainly appreciate a glimpse of a friend in Atreya Sarma U. Look forward for more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In A Graveyard

March 5, 2017

 

 graveyard-halloween-wall-paper-jpeg

 Curse of the Devil

in darkness of a graveyard

tombstones do not lie

ghosts will walk in the night

reading names of friends

and foes alike

in marbled italic inscriptions

how they will guffaw

at the memory

in eulogizing joy

pointing a witch’s wand

at some Mc Coy Donald guy

but cry in rivulet woes

for a child washed ashore

from the Mediterranean sea

and that Syrian mother refugee

that ached for freedom

now set free for eternity

and soldier-boy shot down

in rough terrains in Afghanistan

an old man dressed in khurta and dhoti

aged beyond a century

some ghosts will be silent

like the graves that be

but welcome us all

as the night awaits for you

and for me.