Review: Speak, Woman! by Smita Agarwal

Overview: Converse, Girl! by Smita Agarwal


The title of this quantity, Converse, Girl!, is of a chunk with different books by ladies poets. Since ladies have suffered the ills of patriarchy for millennia, as Robert Graves says in The White Goddess, they need to have raised the banner of protest earlier and never let male prophets, kings, philosophers and knights (who prided themselves as saviours of “damsels in misery”) stroll throughout them. After all, it might be unjust to think about Smita Agarwal’s quantity as simply an outcrop of feminist revolt. It’s greater than that. After the preliminary thrust, her poems coil themselves round what she desires to say and what’s truly stated, and the tip is a shock, as we see in her first poem Guru Mantra the place the guru…

requested me to unhook my shirt.He positioned his palm on my throat “Sing” he stated. I noticed, Nationwide Geographic: the sparrow paralysed earlier than the swaying hood of the Cobra, I felt nothing. Nothing moved. And I’ve been singing since.

The poet is a vocalist who ‘might memorise at the very least/ 5 tough melodies in a day.’She zeroes in on Meera She lived in her head: in a panorama the place fantasy blew in gusts of affection

It is a fantastic poem.

80pp, ₹299; Crimson River

A dentist asks her to open her mouth and she or he sees in her creativeness ‘the celebrities, the planets, the revolving galaxies’ within the mouth of the Goddess, ‘the demon slayer.’

The ironic vein persists within the poem Monsoon Musings:‘Half of life wasted, some would say/ valuable time misplaced mendacity/ on a woolly mattress of cloud’.

Converse, Girl is split into 5 sections over 50 pages with the final part comprising simply three poems. Rapist at my Door is essentially the most spectacular. ‘There are different sorts of rape too.’ Frozen within the patriarchal psyche, male attitudes masks the unconscious question: “How dare the girl write or suppose higher than I?”

Worry of flying comes by in one other vivid poem. ‘That second when the aircraft/ leaves the bottom/ and turns into a hen’ the flyer comes head to head with ideas of dying. Although the poet has used the overused phrase ‘intimations of mortality’ to make this level, the guts of the poem rests within the line that regardless of the ‘hundred thousand trials’ the flight ‘could not work, simply this as soon as.’

In a Raksha Bandhan poem the poet’s persona takes on the function of a moralizer, and in her advisory capability, tells the lady: ‘You might be all you want. Be your personal buddy. Nurture your strengths.’

Poet Smita Agarwal (Courtesy the author)
Poet Smita Agarwal (Courtesy the writer)

A few of the poems on occasions rescue this quantity from the humdrum. Lockdown is a fantastic, although chilling, work a couple of drunk man chucking dinner plates when he comes residence within the night, beating his spouse, and finally killing her. The son, frightened like everybody else, of the virus, watches because it all performs out throughout the lockdown.

Gripped Climber: An Elegy is a graphic description of an unnamed younger mountaineer dying on Everest. In Triple Talaq, the husband tells his spouse ‘I’m sorry…you have to forgive me…/ Individuals change, I’ve modified/ I don’t love you anymore,’/ This was their triple talaq. The understated final strains elevate the poem and make it unforgettable:

A twig cracked underfoot,It was sizzling. There was no signal of rain.

Keki N Daruwalla is a poet, brief story author and novelist.

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