Book Review: Return to Solitude

RETURN TO SOLITUDE – a collection of haiku & other short poems.
Hawakal Publishers: Kolkata (Nov 2018) | pp 100 | Rs 300 |ISBN-13: 978-93-87883-35-2
Review by Seshu Chamarty, Hyderabad, India
Email: seshu.chamarty@gmail.com

I  knew poet Gopal Lahiri from good old times when a handful poets from India writing originally in English used to post poems of every kind online again to a handful international poetry forums then. Gopal's expertise was to pull off anything on nature and love. He used to attract fans from across the world at the drop of a hat. The depths he could delve into, to describe nature in all its vividness or profoundness to capture beauty or pathos never stopped impressing me till this day.  All this he could do with equal aplomb without digressing from his trademarkrk simplicity. I used to call him Wordsworth from North of Vindhyas. He arrived on the scene of short poems only later that I suppose. Boy o boy, he did it! The book talks about what all I said above, but in handy verses. I started riffling through his book for the pages that could stand out for me to highlight. But it was a tall order. So I chose my favorits at random in the second half of his collection. There are senryu too, here and there, my favorite genre. Haiku, senryu or short poems, Gopal has that unfailing knack of carrying his readers with him.  I am sure no single buyer of his books would ever be disappinted.

gone the Simul tree
the fragrance, the mideaval sound
missing your verses

I can see a red silky canopy of those flowers, sense their fragrance and yet miss those sounds of one's loved one. Good play on our senses and nostalgia while sticking to an object under reference.

morning...
leaves are falling
one by one

Very sad about aging process that it might portray and the inevitable end.

I would like to highlight one more gem (alas no more, lest his readers might feel I am a spoiler). Here is one Senryu from among what he humbly calls short poems.

still surviving
on a piece of paper
the economy

Anquish there, and I would say a poor man was made helpless, a satire on our economy in the background of demonetization, or call it our bane in experimenting with macro economics.

Definitely a book worth reading, for insights so subtle to read on a rainy day or after siesta.

Kudos to Gopal Lahiri

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