No, we're not related even though we do share a surname. And no, I didn't choose this book because we share that surname.
I chose it because it's a book of poetry. And I love poetry.
Shreya's poetry is mostly an outpouring of her feelings. Now I am all for offerings of these outpourings, because I believe that it is quite central to good poetry. However, having said that, much of Shreya’s work seems to be like a first draft; the feelings that must have gushed within and found an expression in words must have been hurriedly caught and put down on paper before disappearing altogether, for we know how ephemeral a thought can be. But once the thought has been captured, it must be prodded, teased, fretted over and had hair-torn-out-in-clumps until perfection is attained. I know how easy it is to get too close to one's own work and that chopping a word here or slicing a verse there feels like we are butchering a small part of ourselves, but this kind of attachment does not make for good writing. It makes us too sensitive and it makes us stupidly stubborn.
Yes, I identified with many of her thoughts and feelings, after all, poetry is universal and that's what binds us. Some of her insights into the world around us as well as into her own soul are poignant and thought-provoking. You understand what she is trying to say and where she is coming from and you can’t help but smile a little wistfully. What I loved most about this collection is the little foot-notes that she added to some of her poems, giving us a peek into the inspiration behind the poem. Poetry is, after all, very personal, so it's a privilege to be given an insight into what thought, word, picture or moment gave birth to the idea of a poem.
That Shreya has a giant love for poetry is obvious. Unfortunately, that is not enough. She needs to nurture it like a mother nurtures her child and she can't give into it's stubborn, wilful tantrums. She must deal with her poems with a firm but loving hand and do what's best for them. So if words and whole verses need to be dropped, scratched and rewritten, then so it must be, for only then will the end results make us cry with pride.
Shreya has a long way to go, but she has started upon the journey bravely and boldly. Some of the poems written by this Wanderer do show remarkable promise, there’s no denying that. Had she worked on her craft a bit more and had her work fallen into the hands of an editor who understands the craft of poetry, and, more importantly, cares about poetry, this collection would have been far more impressive.
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