Book Review on Sonnet Mondal’s Diorama of Three Diaries

Most poetry in the poetry books written by poets in India in the past few years can be mainly put into two categories. Either they are very straight forward and raw or they are too much imaginative and aesthetic but whenever I am put forward to read this poet’s poems, it’s all about balancing. Sonnet Mondal specializes in balancing in crude realties, narrating them in simple evocative style balancing them philosophically with elements of nature. Though his ways of penning are straight, he prefers twisting them like corners in a straight high road which often leaves room for ambiguity.

The anthology Diorama of Three Diaries penned wholly in free verse and modern style of writing poetry sometimes are traditional and metaphysical in tone. Sonnet has used his keen observation of day to day happenings as a key to his satirical, ironical and philosophical verses. His verses are lyrical but that do not necessarily indicate that all are his own experiences. He has raised social issues and simple facts that are neglected in the fast and hectic rota of the twenty first century. Sonnet’s poems often provide a platform for the neglected masses, the heartbroken lovers and old people approaching a sad end in their life. He never forces his poetry to speak colourfully about the dark facts of the civilization but speaks the truth in an eye opening manner. The flow in his verses is ideal and seems to lift our muses to a different level when read aloud.

The poems Seduced in the Sunderbans present live images of the dense mangrove forests in the deltaic region of South Bengal in India.

The opening lines in the poem create a travelling effect over the watery stretches.

Blue above, blue beneath; waters and skies kiss at yonder point

A thick line stretches with flags of greenery, bold enough

to sustain salty tides, as muddy lands, bronze in sunrays

swathe themselves with the poignant carpet of the Ganges.

The poem closes with the lines

A serene approval haunts the heart as we depart, kicks the pendulum

Faster to say, “Come here and float but beware of seduction.”

These lines create an echoing effect calling the travellers again and again, to feel its beauty warning at the same time of the dangers in the forest region.

Almost a same effect is created in the poem Walls, Stairs, roof and nature”.

The poem “A Call through Misty Eyes” portrays an encounter of the young poet with an old man. The poem thematically compares old age with youth and the nostalgic factor prevailing all along in human lives. “Those Soft Fingers” speaks of a condition of a depressed lover who prefers to see his image in wine after losing his love.

Love for nature is obvious for all poets and this poet has often used nature elements to add exemplary meaning to his poems. The poems “Howling Night”, “Springs”, “Pollen Love” are some pieces depicting this.

Sonnet’s “Ashes Won’t Claim Honour” which I quote entirely indicates that the poet is very practical and believes in fully living a life rather than worrying about death and thinking about afterlife.

Live another life today

Laughing louder than ever.

Care not those who hate

The mad and crazy

For ashes won’t claim

Honour or pride.

They even need air

To fly and yet

Fly so irrelevantly,

Scattered all over

Just after the blaze of funeral.

Childhood is an important part of every man’s life but how Sonnet’s reveals the days of childhood and ringing memories associated with it perhaps gives a beautiful description of rewinding memories in a few lines:

Dolls clatter and the sounds

Get recorded in the conclaves

Of our ears…

Like creaking of old cassettes,

In an outdated tape recorder,

They play, rewind and play again.

The burning commotion in closed

Ears too frail to raze them.

Another speciality of his poetry is the global aspect. Being an Indian, he seldom speaks of things that will connect the readers only with his native place and language. His areas and thoughts are vast and sometimes relate even to the darkest forests of Africa where even the light of the Sun fails to penetrate.

Diorama of Three Diaries is not a new invention or trend breaker but it is twenty first century reader oriented book due to its variety of themes, different styles of penning and principally due to the short size of verses. Sonnet’s verses have marvellously and expressively spoken a lot through few words in this book.

Title: Diorama of Three Diaries Author: Sonnet Mondal Publisher: Authorspress ISBN : 978-81-7273-610-1 Paperback: 165 pages Price: Rs. 200 Genre: Poetry Language: English Publication Year: 2011 Available: Amazon

Reviewer’s Bio: Dr. Sudesh Sinha is a book review writer.

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