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City Times and Other Poems: A Review
Nov 20, 2014 09:19 AM 2037 Views
(Updated Nov 20, 2014 09:21 AM)



In an age when nations and individuals routinely exchange murder for murder, when the healing grace of authentic spirituality is usurped by the divisive politics of the religious organizations, and when broken hearts bleed pain in darkness without the relief of compassion, the vihangvoice of an exceptional poet introducing exceptional work is not something the world can afford to dismiss. And this is what I can say after going through Vihang A. Naik’s City Times and Other Poems.

The anthology comprises of six different poems which reveal the different aspects of a human psyche. The first poem, Love Song of a Journey Man, segregated into seven parts puts forth the psyche of a prototypical modern man who for the first time gets a taste of a special feeling called love. The poet describes the whole journey from the beginning till the end of his ‘lovely journey- from the first songs that he could hear in the ‘desert’ of his heart till suffering from the deep pangs of separation.

There is a clear echo of T. S Eliot’s ‘Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ which reverberates through the theme of the poem; however, there is stark difference between the subject matter of the poems. The second poem ‘Mirrored Men’ also divided into seven parts describes the various vices that have existed in the subconscious of every modern city dwellers. He presents man through the images of living organisms, insects to be precise. The insects like spider, crab and chameleon are famous for their deceptive nature. Mr. Naik draws a beautiful analogy between these lower grade insects and human character. Through the use of such animal imagery he presents the ambiguity and the deceptive nature of human character. In the end he says that in the end all the vices and follies in man lead them to enter into a world of nothingness. The use of animal imagery can be compared to ted Hughes use of animal imagery in his poetry, although there is a stark contrast between the intentions of the use of such images.

The poet then leads the reader into the ‘Path of Wisdom’ which is the title of the third poem. Here the poet catches the attention of the reader with his philosophical views. His intuitive and philosophical lines leave the readers in a state of numbness. ‘The Self Portrait’ as the poet entitles the fourth poem of the anthology really surprises the reader with few strange yet effective lines. The peculiar structure- with four phrases being placed at the four ends of the page followed by few vacant pages- leaves the reader with a lot to think. The rest of the poems ‘At the Shore’ and ‘The City’ also catch the imagination of the readers by virtue of their titles itself. The psychological depth that the end poems provide gives a perfect finish to some well crafted poems.

The job of the poet(a job which can’t be learnex) consists of placing the objects of the visible world which have become invisible due to the glue of habit, in an unusual position which strikes the soul and gives them a tragic force. In that sense it can be stated that Mr. Vihang A. Naik has done an excellent job. The way he has brought forward the picture of modern life is quite unbelievable. Such intensity and uniqueness make this anthology a must read for those who enjoy modern poetry. Also those who are not ardent fans of poetry, I wonder how many are there, still guessing that there are few people who do not feel at ease with poetry will find it interesting. So just go for it and delve into the realities of modern life.

(Reviewed By Argha Ghosh)

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