In a world wrought with hatred and violence, Lines Across Oceans is like a splash of cold water on a fevered brow. Not only does this slim volume written by Nalini Priyadarshni of India and Russel Micnhimer of USA explores various facets of love but also confirms, as Nalini rightly points out in the introduction, that “love everywhere speaks the same language”. Consisting of about 55 poems, some of them written as duets, some in Japanese forms, while others epistolary, this book is glued together with intense emotions and breathtaking imagery.
The book starts with a quote of Rumi which also sets the tone of the book. While the book seemingly celebrates sensual love there is certain depth which elevates it to a whole new level. American poet and author of Rumors, Silva Merjanian comments- “The love Priyadarshni writes about is not infatuation of a young girl but the longing, lust and passion of ancient women with centuries of experience.”
squeeze cool succulent winds
pour wilderness in barrels
ferment with scent of passion”
(Blossom of Wondrous Heart: A Mondoka, Pg. 17)
Written in two continents across oceans, Lines Across Oceans is alternatively an evocative and playful collection. With over four decades of experience in writing poetry, and several poetry collections under his belt, Micnhimer engages with profound statements and striking language choices. The poems in this fetching collection not only command attention by arousing intense emotions but also leave a powerful impact with their powerful imagery.
Let no winds lay asunder
Nor rains wash us away
Twirling and whirling
We dance in sunlight
Free from confines of
Bodies and minds (Just Us Dust, pg. 21)
Hot caramel of my skin
Spread slowly over
Golden vanilla of yours…
We melt into marble swirl…
Sweeping our hearts
Into a single constellation
In forever’s sky.(Marble Swirl, pg. 11)
Lines Across Oceans is, as Silva Merjanian rightly points- “An erotic dance of words that engages every sense in the reader. A sensual urgency permeates the verses lifting the intensity and complexity of love from flat pages to entice anyone reading this poetry to want to fall in love, to have a name on their lips, the aftertaste of which will be —
precisely the reason of my refusal
to speak about anybody else” ( Your Name)
With intricate and powerful imagery, Lines Across Oceans at once titillates and gratifies. No wonder it, finds favors with readers of all ages.
Hot tip of your tongue
Like the tip of a dagger
Pierces my dreams
Bringing my sword from
To sharpen it
On the edge
Of your breath. (Defining Destiny, pg. 4)
Nalini and Russel have used various forms and patterns, which not only shows their proficiency in using various poetic forms with ease but also keeps readers enthralled. The exquisite use of language and unique metaphors keeps the poems from becoming monotonous.
Sweat of your longing
I grow in beads
On your upper lips
Cradling a thirst
To trickle down
The sun you hold
Between your lips
And sizzle before I go (Thirst, pg. 11)
This is a collection you can revisit and relish each time. The lines are erotic without being vulgar, evocative without being provocative and easily make the readers want to fall in love. For example
Let me put the brightest piece of moon
On your tongue
And lick the crumbs clean from your lips (Moon Pie, pg. 10)
I wrap your spry musk
Around my shoulders
Let your fingers trace desires
Along my sizzling brown back
Whispering forgotten lores
To solitude of my soul (Blossom of Wondrous Heart: A mondoka, pg. 17)
Poet and blogger Namitha Varma says – “The beauty of the love poems in Lines Across Oceans is that they transcend time, space and existence, and take the reader to a plane inhabited solely by the emotion called love which is not only rosy and dreamy, but also the one that hurts and disassembles you.”
Listen not what reverberates in your ears
But the song that springs from my core
Sweet to those it’s meant to resonate with
Cacophony to the rest of the world ( Listen, pg. 25)
The poems in this collection are passionate, and capture emotional experiences including turmoil and pain involved in a relationship often recalling past conversations and thoughts.
Dreams of gushing rivers and broken dams
Tip toe into afternoons where you interpret them
as we peel mandarins on deck and let
their tangy sweetness drip onto our fingers to
mingle with cranberry and vodka on our breaths.
I gather your laughter in chalice of my gut to heal
lightening charred fissures with scent of forgiveness. (Mango Sun, pg. 31)
This book is a duet of two immensely talented poetic minds of our times. Like a tapestry where myriad emotions have been interwoven, this book unfolds a new dimension of love with each page you turn. It starts with apprehension and finishes with reaffirmation and covers multifariousness of love in-between. A must read for true romantics who believe its love that makes the world go around.
Title: : Lines Across Oceans
Author: Nalini Priyadarshni and D. Russel Micnhimer
Publisher: THE POETRY SOCIETY OF INDIA
About the Authors
D. Russel Micnhimer (1948- 2017) was an American author of several books on rock art, fiction and poetry including his collections Notes to Be Left with the Gatekeeper, Leaves and Pebbles and Lotus Mirage.
Nalini Priyadarshni is an Indian poet writing in English, who has authored a poetry collection, Doppelganger in My House and co-authored Lines Across Oceans with an American poet, late D. Russel Micnhimer She is widely published in India and world over in numerous literary magazines and journals along with several international anthologies. She has edited several poetry anthologies including Contemporary Major Indian Women Poets (2016) and English Section of Resonating Strings (2015). Her poems and views on poetry and life have been featured on All India Radio, FM radio and podcasts in India and abroad. Nominated for The Best of the Net 2017, her recent publications include Better Than Starbucks, Different Truths, Duane’s PoeTree, The Ugly Writers, Counter Currents, Women’s Web, Madras Courier and more.
About the Reviewer
Andrea Ashima is an avid reader and a movie buff. She has a blog Bibliophiles Cafe, where she reviews books and interview authors along with sharing her occasional gastronomical experiments. Musically driven, she enjoys all genres while dabbling in poetry. Her poems have appeared in literary magazines like Better Than Starbucks and Duane’s PoeTree.