Book Review on Surbhi Islam’s The Bliss of Solitude by Prof Shiv Sethi

If we desire to find an ideal combination of truth, beauty and goodness, we can only best find it in poetry. Here, Surbhi Islam’s debut book “The Bliss of Solitude” deserves special mention and instantly grabs attention. Indubitably, the book is replete with many of such short poetic pieces which warm the cockles of human heart and usher the readers in a deeply contemplative state of mind. It will not be hyperbolic to state that Surbhi Islam has a profound understanding of this genre of literature and she scintillatingly excels in it. When I was occupied reading her anthology with the objective of reviewing it, I was certainly but spontaneously transported into a mysterious landscape of subtle and sublime emotions with a sense of heightened joy. Most of the modern poets have dwelled on one or two finer or baser human emotions. But this is not the case with the author of the Bliss of Solitude.

She has artistically reflected on the gamut of human feelings and thus endears a very vast spectrum of the readers. The ease with which the volcano of emotions erupts out of her heart makes the poet stand with the league of remarkable poets. TS Eliot’s close friend Hazlit has remarked that profundity is the hallmark of great poetry. Similarly this anthology consisting of 141 poems has immeasurable depth of palpable emotions that breathe and pulsate trough the words. As one flips through the pages of the book one feels nostalgic, blissful, content but poignantly perturbed too. The books gives the clear cut impression that the writer is well versed in the nuisance of both native and English poetry. The lively sparkling similes, meaningful metaphors, refrains and alliterative rhyme intensify the grandeur of the book and make it a delightful read. With both subjectivity and objectivity the writer has sunk the distinct differences between the exponents of Art For Art’s Sake and Art For Life’s Sake schools. When we savour the flavour of a poem “Woh Ishque Janta Hai”, we tend to formulate the opinion that like most of the love poets the author chooses to wallow in her own grief and sorrow by toeing the conventional line and Art is for her only for the sake of Art. But it would be a hasty conclusion. And to judge the poet on this matrix and with this yardstick only does not make sense. There are a slew of poems like “Paayal Ke Naam Par Bediyaan” which firm our conviction that the author is not only restricted to her own ivory tower. She does not merely celebrate love or laments the pangs of separation. Here she seems one with Faiz Ahmed Faiz who says “Aur bhī dukh haiñ zamāne meñ mohabbat ke sivā rāhateñ aur bhī haiñ vasl kī rāhat ke sivā” 

Endowed with super sensitivity and refined sensibilities, the poet has a great social consciousness and conscience. She loathes to see the suffering of the women who are doomed to domestic drudgery and subjugated to slavery. She does not only endeavor to infuse cathartic bliss and beatitude in her readers but also awakens them to some ghastly realities of our society. Therefore, her poems resonate well with all who lays their hands on the book. Bliss of Solitude is an impeccable work which must find its due space on your book shelf. 

Title: The Bliss of Solitude
Author: Surbhi Islam
Publisher: Notion Press
Available: Amazon

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