Book Review: Songs of Sonority and Hope: A Collection of Poems: 2010-2017

Songs of Sonority and Hope: A Collection of Poems: 2010-2017
Author: D C Chambial
ISBN: 9789387651234
Year: 2018
Language: English
Binding: Softcover
Price: ₹ 251.00

Reviewed by Prof. Nandini Sahu

Nandini Sahu

For decades, poetry therapy has been ceremoniously acknowledged as a cherished form of interpreter and registrar of human maladies, and it has been proven actual with a varied group of clients. This poetry collection, Songs of Sonority and Hope, by D C Chambial, a pioneer among the contemporary poets, apprises the integrated poetry therapy practice model with a host of existing issues, and some of the poems sound like performance poetry. This collection is a truly precious source for any thoughtful practitioner of poetry, a mentor, or researcher involved with poetry therapy, bibliotherapy, writing remedial poetry, or the broader area of creative/expressive skills therapies as a whole.
In this collection, Songs of Sonority and Hope: A Collection of Poems: 2010-2017, I can confidently say, D C Chambial is a poet therapist with profound awareness of sonority and colour, yet also coherence and energy, and imbued with a heartfelt affinity for rhyme, rhythm, metre and music. It’s a poetry book of contentment, celebration, hope, happiness and success:

True happiness lies here on this Earth
when we have time to look around and care.
The Nature too seemed all the more happy:
She blessed them all with a mellow mizzle,
hot after-noon, by beach, the place asizzle. (Songs of Sonority and Hope ,73)

D C Chambial offers ample scope of understanding life as his poems bring co-relation and connectedness between ecology and humanism. Very few poets are better than Chambial in dealing with human character. In this sense, he is not only diligent but also the finest humanist. His personae occupy a perfect world, metaphorically more often, and ecology around themselves. It is rather exciting and interesting the way he leads to them to usher in their environment to liberate themselves as it is his essentialism to be eroded against social inequality, injustice, and discrimination between gender, race, age, sex and class-- of cross cultural and cross historical nature. Basically, his poems are the songs of peace and harmony, like the title poem itself:

When exploitation and coercion
cross the bounds of humane humanity,
it becomes must for Nature
to restore the natural justice.

The wind turns into gale. The fire – wild fire
when they join hands and move in the valleys,
on the hills and the mountains. There dances
devastation. Revolutions result

from ruins of mansions great and powers high.
The grass soaked in blood stirs from slumber;
picks up the reed and sings with wind’s fury
A new song of sonority and hope. (Songs of Sonority and Hope ,147)

Like any other ecofeminist, he often stands against patriarchal dominance, militarism and capitalism. Moreover, his poetic personae widen the scope of ecofeminism with its growing attitude from time to time to dismantle binary oppositions between man/women, heaven/earth, mind/body, human/non-human, spirit/matter, culture/nature, white/non-white etc as they are empowered by the supremacy of his powerful poems, expanding ecofeminist rule to authenticate their stance as advocates of deep ecology. They raise voice against the subjugation of the marginal and nature and oppression by power. Let me quote a few poems from the collection in this context:

During rains and school vacations, all went
in procession with herds to the village green;
all minds fresh and preen. Hey! Ho! All cried
in harmony as one. They cut the grass,
spun, and twined the single rope for Savana-swing,
apace to make it doubly strong.
Beamed their faces after the task done,
as though the heaven was won.  (Songs of Sonority and Hope, 20)

Soft is what one needs:
Soft sentiments, soft moments,
Soft touches and, of course,
Soft relations
To avoid hurts and bruises
For copious growth
Of shout relations and roots.  (Songs of Sonority and Hope ,23)

This collection subtly intends to consider different kinds of connections between human and nature/ecology/environment, objecting proto-typical patriarchal system that the characters never dissociated from time and order. More obviously, there appears the conceptual connection -- a value hierarchy, a dualism-- the binary oppositions that both male and female characters can be studied through ‘isms’ such as sexism, racism and classism,etc. A few poems substantiate the above statements:
So goes the world with her artless mean naïve,
Siphon blood out of ones, who direly crave. (Songs of Sonority and Hope ,42)

God made Man, they say, in His own image;
Man rebelled, strayed away for doing damage. (Songs of Sonority and Hope ,43)

All human milk is dried in human heart
That can balm the wounds of misused mortals
To give them hope, a puff of balmy breeze,
To take them out to soothing sun from freeze.
They too long to stand, enter the portals
With warm blood in veins, song divine in heart. (Songs of Sonority and Hope ,44)

True, “Life is a nine day’s wonder”,
Live it, live with winning thunder! (Songs of Sonority and Hope ,59)

The songs in this collection resonate with deep, pleasant sounds of music, euphony, harmony, sonority and hope. The poems are soothing, having the ability to touch the core.

Prof. Nandini Sahu, Director, School of Foreign Languages and Professor of English, IGNOU, New Delhi, India, is an established Indian English poet, creative writer, theorist and folklorist. She is the author/editor of thirteen books;has been widely published in India, U.S.A., U.K.,Africa and Pakistan.Dr.Sahu is a triple gold medalist in English literature, the award winner of All India Poetry Contest and Shiksha Rattan Purashkar. She is the Chief Editor and Founder Editor of two bi-annual refereed journals, Interdisciplinary Journal of Literature and Language (IJLL) and Panorama Literaria. Her areas of research interest cover New Literatures, Critical Theory, Folklore and Culture Studies, Children’s Literature, American Literature.

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