Saturday, January 7, 2017

Panjab Moods- A Literary Adagio by Satish Kumar Shukla, New Delhi: Sanbun Publishers. ISBN: 978-93-80213-24-8, 2010, Price- 100/-, Pages-111. Reviewed by Shaleen Kumar Singh

Panjab Moods is a collection of poems that deal with various moods and modes of Punjab, one the most culturally, materially and even spirituality rich state of India. The fantastically written blurb clears the poetic motive of the book:

Panjab is one wholesome movement, extended adagio in the eternal music of Indian nationhood. Those who know the land know to know it in its Himalaya fresh airs, pastoral surreal scenes, the fertile fields and that one off hearty JAT JIGRA. Those who don’t may get a first introduction in the pages of this book per bons mots- the literary adagio. (Blurb)

The Author’s note is also worth reading for the Indian English Scholars chiefly those who have developed a peculiar kind of distaste for the Indian English poets and their visions as well. Once again, Satish K. Shukla has raised the question of expected seriousness of Indian Writers in English who “are blandly poor, both in themes as in syntax”. He has justifiable criticized such “Indians” who “have at best learned Pidgin English, remarkably poor in colloquialism and Idiom, both together building the backbone of any literary language and without which no ‘learning’ can flower and fruit”. And this context “the language of most of the Indian English poets suffer “solecism”, malapropism, bad punctuation is remarked by him.

He has considered his poetry volume as an “extraordinary initiative” (which is advocated by him) as an immediate redressal of persisting imbalance in matters English Language and progress is at stake…”

He also considers that his book “will lighten the students’ burden “somewhat”, at least make sure they learned English language via material which is nearer to their sights, hearts and minds than all the Othellos and Hamlets which anyway teach but human insufficiency…”

The self-laudatory proclamations in which the author on one hand terms his poetic attempts as “extraordinary” and on the other trivializes this  “extraordinary” initiative, as an initiative as that will merely lighten the student burden”. The author is not fully confident about the responses or impact of his sincere initiatives? Or has he too not come out of the conch shells of phobia which made panicked most of Indian English professors and authors for decades who have criticized Tagore, Ezekiel, and other translated poets and writers for their English language skills, however the criticism ended with the passage of time but not surely the  popularly of afore mentioned writers.

At first, the poet Shukla has to know that his self proclaimed extraordinary initiative is not a new one in Indian English writing. Innumerable poets have brought out countless anthologies of such kinds. Poets from Orissa, North East and Bengal have remarkable anthologies of poetry and criticism all in standard Indian English. Even in Panjab, Prof. Hazara Singh has done commended service to the Muse and prose and Mother Earth by penning qualitative poetry and anthologies.

However, the sentiments of the poet shared in the poems are well-composed and equally well expressed. All 43 poems of the book are soaked in the fame of Panjab. The most beautifully penned poems are the poems on the five rivers of Panjab- titled “Satluj, Beas, Chenab, Ravi and Jhelum”. One can enjoy all the seasons of the State by going through the poems as well as can have a very graphic glimpse of the state by the perusal of the collection. In fact, these poems are encyclopedic in range and will surely not just “lighten” him but will enlighten him with knowledge about literature, society, History, Geography and tradition of the great State.

The language of the poet is remarkable and the style is impressive. The poems Guru Arjun Dev, Guru Tej Bahadur, Guru Gobind, Panjab Holocast, Khalistani and Neo Panjab are some of the finest pieces of the book. I must congratulate the poet for such a nice poetic volume.

21st Century Love Poems: Love is Lot of Work by Rajiv Khandelwal, Pub. by Global fraternity of poets, Gurgaon (Haryana). Reviewed by Dr. Shaleen Kumar Singh

Rajiv Khandelwal’s latest collection 21st Century Love Poems- Love is Lot of Work as the title suggests is the book of love poems that carries myriad hues and fragrance of multiple types. To quote Reginald Massay’s words, “The  verses of Rajiv Khandelwal speak to today’s technocrats in a language that they will comprehend and to which they will relate mostly readily”. The collection contains poems of fresh imagery, symbols and figures that appeal directly to the “new generation of the new world.” Besides, editor of the book Bhupindar Parihar has tried to define and justify the title and work  of the poet by terming it as “an attempt to reconcile with spaciousness of the post-modernist world” and as an attempt to “Break the word and free the thought /Break the thought and free the thing.’ (Editor’s Preface, iii)

Rajiv Khandelwal is not just a poet with ample promise but he is a multi dimensional personality. He is a self-employed manufacturer and a bachelor of Electric Engineering whose interest transcends scientific and commercial boundaries of material world and lead him to the world of art, literature and cinema even. He also co-produced a documentary film Visit India, Discover Agra that testifies his personal love that requires a lot of work too.

These hundred poems of love have an appeal to the lovers of new generations as the simplicity of diction and the usage of familiar terms mirror the tackling of love in an upto date manner. In the first love poem of the collection one can mark out poet’s post-moderns thoughts:

You sitting
Like Beatrice Portinari
And I,
Like Dante in church. (1-2)

Another title poem ‘Love is A lot of Work’ is a fine example of common modern modes exhibited in opening verses when we read:

It is irrelevant
That devouring
Medically prohibited
Chocolate pastry
Gave me intense pleasure. (3)

He continues that it is “Immaterial that HBO / Beamed Romantic comedies Like ‘Runaway Brides’ or ‘the daily news channels/ spoke about politicians’ insensitivity…’ but for a lover the thing that torments most is another:
What is of dying importance
Is why
She did not communicate
Today. (4)

Most of the poems carry romantic grandiosity of lovers, fragrance and grandeur of flowers- like hearts of romantics, lyrical elegiac and even silent appeal of longing hearts. These hundred poems are monument of poetic heart of modern poet. The poems are touching to mind and heart of a lover so the present collection will not dishearten the lover of poetry readers and for a serious lover of poetry, Rajiv’s collection will surely appear as a kaleidoscope of modern modes and images that will consequently establish that love is for all ages, time and place.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Journey Book Launch

Pietermaritzburg based poet and publisher, Graham Lancaster launched Journeys, An Anthology of Poetry from different parts of the globe. The book has an eclectic collection of poems that makes a great reading. I usually pack it in my coffee bag during calls to the hospital. The book has been edited by Graham Lancaster and Shaleen Kumar Singh.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Shaleen Kumar Singh's unusual poetry book, Proprietary Pains published by our publishing house, Poets Printery was launched at Durban on the 25 March 2009. This book is now available for saleBook launches would take place at Allahabad and Badaun
Please contact with Shaleen
Shaleen's work in his book is a trail blazer for Indian poets, poems that are experimental, feelings that have emerged as words at the spur of a moment.

We at Glorioustimes believe in his immense creativity, this book of short poems would continue to inspire poets who believe that poems can be mere words bereft of structure and laws, if understood to its fullest capacity.

The Hungry Generation Movement that started at Kolkata in the late sixties advocated the same principles which Shaleen's work gives a whiff.
Shaleen Singh from Uttar Pradesh has contributed to a movement that is iconoclastic, reminding me of such people as Sasthi Brata and Erica Jong.

Attached is a photo of the bookRegards

Amitabh Mitra
Congrats! The young Indian poet goes to South Africa and conquers hearts in the land of Mandela and Nadine Gordimer! Really remarkable! Keep on adding to your your conquests.Regards,
Dr Sunil Sharma (Eminent Fiction Writer) Bombay
CONGRATS, dear Shaleen. You have been doing very well on both critical and creative fronts.
R K SINGH A veteran Poet and Critic
Dr. Shaleen- let the release be auspicious-
Aju Mukhopadhyay (Pondicherry)
Dear Shaleen,
Heartiest congratulations! May you reap rich rewards from the Proprietary Pains.
Dr Nibir K Ghosh editor Remarkings
Hello Shaleen,
Dr Uma Parmeshwaran, renowned Critic Canada
ohh thats great congratulation for achieving this milestone
Ram Pratap Singh Chauhan, a young Scholar
Hello! I read your poetry i am so impressed that i can't tell you indeed you are the youngest author in UP
Saifi Adnan a devout scholar
Hi Shaleen,

I got a copy of your book from Amitabh. It is very powerful and the words cut deep into the soul giving the reader a view into your life through your eyes not theirs.

Very deep and thought provoking!
Shameela Abrahm
Proprietary Pains
Dr. Shaleen Kumar Singh
published by Poets Printery, East London, South Africa.

It was my great pleasure to be invited to review Dr. Shaleen Kumar Singh’s anthology of poetry, Proprietary Pains. Written in the thirteen days after his father, Dr Vinai Kumar Singh’s death and in honour of a man the author held in great esteem:
A shadow
Soon departed –
Left the sun, the heat,
clearly demonstrates the author’s view “-- a true poem needs no introduction, nor any foregrounding nor backgrounding rather it speaks itself what it is- “ which of course is the way of the true craftsman, which the poet undoubtably is “-- therefore I leave my poems to you to listen and feel what I say…” Which is exactly what comes to the reader’s mind in thought and clear word pictures:

A lamp
In deep Abyss.

The slim anthology of one hundred and four, three line, untitled nor catalogued poems is unusual in itself and also in its setting out of openness in this coffee table sized book with an attractive hand painted cover by Dr. Amitabh Mitra. Yet it is easy on the eyes and refreshingly unselfish and un-bounded in the sharing of such deep and personal feelings so soon after the loss of a parent:

A marsh
Feeling helpless

The collection spanning some thirty years of memories - and the sudden hollow lost feelings of tragedy and anger are deep and without restriction:

A tornado
In thoughts
In words

And yet we find great sadness in the father’s life:

Smouldered whole life
In last
Turned to ashes.

One can only believe the writing has been cathartic, which will ultimately bring about some form of peaceful acceptance of the inevitability of life and the realization that Dr. Vinai’s life also held pride and happiness in his family’s love:

Deprting You
Bidding adieu I
Mute Pantomime.

I wish Shaleen great success with Proprietary Pains, and also have the belief it will bring comfort to many.

Graham Vivian Lancaster
Alexander House
Review of the Proprietary Pains

Proprietary Pains (PP) is haunting!
The way the old Spanish or the soaring Gothic castles are still haunting for the modern tourists!
Or, the vast Russian steppes in Turgnev, running down to the very rims of the infinity, are for the readers. Or, the majestic Brahamputra of Assam, flowing down across the heart of an ancient land, is for the travellers. Or, the fleeting ruins of a Rajasthani haveli are, as seen in the afternoon sun. Things that refuse to fade from your mind already exposed to info overload. After reading the PP, you get the same feeling. It is like hearing the rustling wind in an empty room of an abandoned colonial-era bungalow set on a hill: It is the sad but redeeming MUSIC of the inner space vacated recently by somebody very dear. As we all remember songs from our childhood and can not erase them from our remembering adult heart, in the same manner, some precious persons/ special moments can never be forgotten. They get enshrined in memory. The PP by Shaleen does that for him and his readers. The young bearded poet mourns his father---an unsung college teacher, in the hinterland of India---in this bouquet of 104 short poems, published from South Africa. The poems come straight from a grieving son and the poet within transforms that personal loss--- a family tragedy but a routine thing for others outside the immediate circle---into haunting music and marvelous verbal cadence. It is about remembering an ordinary father, in a celeb-driven age, where the very act of remembrance is Herculean resistance against trivializing mass culture that reduces everything, including art, to trivia and nothingness; where family and values are all dying fast, and, where the human beings and early robust humanism have been all made redundant by the emerging consumerist society. Amnesia is promoted here. Man is superfluous. Only ads, objects, sensations, ephemeral things are made sacred and desirable, crowded out by others competing for your eyeballs. In this universal age of instant gratification and instant replacement, memories of the dead, of the past, personal histories--- of a person and nation, are all heroic attempts to retrieve a slice of the slipping past and capturing it in verbal structures of pure harmony and beauty and thereby, resisting the general forgetfulness endemic to nations and groups. Shaleen pays glowing tributes to a father in a minimal, sparse poetic style and transmutes the felt pains into flowing, arching Niagra fall of loss and recovery, in the face of extreme pain, hardships and emotional black-outs. In the process, a son feels orphaned by the parental death but a promising poet is born…cleansed by mourning and finding strength in that personal tragedy, emerging as a true person, down but not out by the slings of misfortune…the stuff of serious art anywhere and occasion for deep meditations on Life. It is also an elegy on patriarchy, now in the throes of crisis everywhere. Broadly, it is about the loss of father figure, an angst felt by us, while growing up. It is about finite that is man and an infinity that is art!

---Dr. Sunil Sharma

Review cum Personal Essay on Shaleen Kumar Singh's Proprietary Pains by Shreekumar Varma

"i read the book through once again just now. your words are loaded with grief and an effort to be brave so that they reflect--- however or wherever they are placed--- the heaviness of your heart. your father's profile comes alive almost as surely as your bereavement. if all these poems were written during the 13 days following the loss of your father, it's no wonder the words weep. they justify the book's title. but at the end, i wondered whether you shouldn't have included the memory of a few moments of happiness and laughter in his life as well, so that the personality as well as the poetic balance is complete. but then, of course, fresh grief can't be channelised, and this is a moment all men face, and only poets know how to express. i see your tears on amitabh's cover as well."

Shreekumar Varma

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Handbook of Language and Literature by Sudhir K. Arora, Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 2009. Reviewed by Shaleen K Singh

A Handbook of Language and Literature (For Competitive Examinations) by Dr. S. K. Arora is a book ‘designed with a view to keeping the requirement of the candidates preparing for the PGT/TGT Recruitment Test.’ The book is the outcome of an ‘inner-urge’ that ‘forced’ the author ‘to pen a handbook for the ‘strugglers’ (for job) that will remain with them as a faithful and reliable companion in their struggle’. The author without claiming ‘any originality’ has tried to present both a standard introduction to the close reading of literature and an invaluable resource for English Postgraduate students and aspirants of Lecturer’s Examinations like TGT/PGT or NET. Though, the book is designed specially for PGT and TGT Examinations, yet it can be a better companion to students of English literature who have a weak background and also to those who have a sound background but have an urge to sharpen their knowledge as well as a desire to attain excellence in the subject.
The book is divided into two parts of Language and Literature. In the first part, fourteen chapters are included dealing with grammar vocabulary, unseen passages, spelling, punctuation and narration. Part two carries Literary Forms and Terms, Figures of Speech and general introduction of the Authors and their works.
In the first part of Language, the author at first provides basic rules of grammar (in a precise and concise manner) and then includes objective questions to test the knowledge. These methods develop a succinct, thoughtful and incisive approach in the reader and enhance the level of understanding.
One notable feature of the book is that the definitions of various Literary Terms, Figures of Speech and the author’s introduction and other information are short, simple and easy to understand which clears the fact that the book is designed with a view to keeping the level of understanding of the students of U.P. in particular. For example, we may look at the definition of oxymoron that runs as follows: “In oxymoron, two opposite words or ideas are put together.” I think there can no shorter definition be given by anyone. Besides, the example to clear the above definition is also the easiest to note which goes as follows: ‘This is an open secret.”
Similarly, in the second part of Literature, the author’s introduction and some important points to remember are also written in point wise manner in an equally simple, short and clear way with a few objective questions on each author and his/her works.
The book is arduously prepared because author has vicariously experienced the pain and humiliation of the strugglers. There can be no greater reward for the author if some aspirants qualify their examinations with the help this book or benefit themselves by developing an insightful understanding of literature. Kudos to Dr. S.K. Arora for preparing such a nice book!