A Review of Some Resonance Some Desire

Some Resonance Some Desire
Author: Gopal Lahiri
ISBN: 9798215452554
Edition: (2022)
Price: ₹ 500 | $ 30
Published by International Publishing Centre.

Reviewed by: Sutanuka Ghosh Roy

        Gopal Lahiri is a bilingual Kolkata-based poet, critic, editor, writer, and translator. A Geoscientist by profession “Some Resonance Some Desire” is his nineteenth book in English. In the Preface to the book Lahiri writes, “In this collection of poems, I instigate a different kind of possibility in poetry and a more sustained attention to language. The resonance and desire widen the space for individual feeling, for self-examination, for second judgments, for admission”. The collection has a taut structure and is neatly divided into three segments, ‘Effulgence’, ‘Cadence’, and ‘Tapestry’. Each section carries inquisitiveness about how our physical world and selves are continually heaved toward disbanding and dispersal. The poems in this collection employ various forms of poetry, like free verse, sonnet, haiku, senryu, haibun, and memoir that create a magnetic pull through the montage of images and metaphors resulting in a pure unadulterated poetic mien. What is most interesting is that language operates here in different ways.

        Lahiri’s writing has a subtlety that uniquely prompts new techniques and language usage. Wyndham Lewis refers to the image as the ‘primary pigment ’of poetry it primarily relates to the painterly content of the language. In the foreword to the book Santosh Bakaya writes, “To one’s joyous amusement and serendipitous glee, one realizes that some images have furtively crept into one’s heart and settled there, refusing to be nudged away.” In ‘Beyond the Visual Realm’, Lahiri writes, “stillness rewrites the morning glow that is spilled/ memories from the branches/ the breeze, then and now, perfectly weightless”. The spillage of one imagery/poetic experience into another is intentionally curated to enhance the delicately embroidered words, “listen to the wind, wood cracking, leaves rustling/ take inside the sounds of the natural world/ the pure joy extends beyond the visual realm”. With quietude still reverberating in the poetic language with the synesthetic vibrations and cascading overtones we go on a pilgrimage in quest of fulfilment. This desire for the other nudges the unprecedented experience of coming together of the poet and the reader. The poet brings resonance and desire and the reader has the unique poetic experience of overlapping beats of emotions—“Window sills scribble poetry behind the flower pots,/small shops sell marbles and lollypops./The black coffee turns cold, cigarettes burn to ashes,/words hide behind the clustered stems”. 

       There is perhaps no poetry without desire, in Shelley’s words “the desire of the moth for the star”. This desire brings together the poet and the reader through a midway path, and the result is an ingenious act of devotion that gives birth to a poem. The desire of the poet and his/her readers are mutual—“The moment of truth comes well after the dawn/ without anybody’s knowledge” writes the poet. In “Hope” there is a palpable image that has a haunting effect, “Strapped in grey surrounds, the distance/ between the unheard voices increases, / you expect the light to go in silence, / what to do with the motion of the sea/ yet hope glistens from afar”. Each word of the poem is so finely produced that it can engage the readers for great lengths of time. 

      The collection has a section on haiku, thirty-five poetic gems—it is easy to visualize how the poet has intricately dipped his ink to add depth to his haikus—“stretching the old truth/ evening melts in your coffee/ birds’ tweet in silence”. “In Stillness” which is a haibun Lahiri emphasizes that nature can be temperamental. “The silence surges forward. It hushes, leaps, seeps. The quiet and quaintness of the tea gardens inhale the calmness under another sky. Tea bushes have a different kind of intimacy. They tap breeze at times writing dozy metaphors. All the shadows are buried near Eagles Crag. Are they absurd evil? On the hill slope, the red of the tin shades disappears in the mist. Prayers fall into the void”. 

     There is calmness in Lahiri’s poetry and there is a silent power and panache to captivate the reader. He is a keen observer and has a playful finesse to wrap truths in a surreal realm. The magic of turning the mundane into ethereal is key to the collection. Aesthetics is kneaded into intellectual capability resulting in giving shape to the image that Lahiri has in his mind. Without a pause he writes, “I know that in all of these places where the color blooms and a part of me stands there still, till a few drops of rain wet the soil and I cup my hands, follow it out, as I do always break into a song, ‘The stars in the sky do not respond to my call’.  As one comes to a close there is a crisp desire for more resonance that creates blueprints of intricate and elaborate poetry. “Some Resonance Some Desire” is here to leave a footprint on the annals of English poetry. 

Sutanuka Ghosh Roy is Associate Professor in English, Tarakeswar Degree College, The University of Burdwan. 


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