Review published on June 24, 2016.
Essays and stories can sometimes be tedious and long-winded. This is why I sometimes love to read poetry – because of its economic use of language, alongside rhythm and (sometimes) rhyme to say whatever it wants to say in a few words. This manner of brevity is further enhanced when every word counts, contributing to the truth beneath the words on the page.
Summer Requiem by Vikram Seth is a collection of poems on different life themes. On the subject of friends, the author wonders about the nature of friendship. he thinks about friends that we have not seen in years and the inevitable distance that sometimes develops as a result. “If friends are always elsewhere, never here. Do more than just their features grow unclear?” he asks in one of his poems, Cryptic Reply.
Going on from friendship, the author examines the despair that accompanies modern work life – the conflict between feeling like a cog in a wheel and the need to make money, in his poem, Can’t. He writes, “I hate my work, but I am in bed. I’d quit it all if I could live on air. I find I simply can’t get out of bed.”
The author also takes a cursory look at life, its shortness and the need to be joyful and be free of worry and vexation. He says in his poem, Evening Across The Sky, “Forget what chafed or held you fast, the stars won’t last. The moon will die, earth, evening, you and I.”
Summer Requiem offers a contemplative look at life and the myriad of experiences that goes on within it. This collection offers memorable and sharp passages and the author possesses an observant eye that captures distinct feelings most of us can relate with.
‘Yomi’ Segun Stephen
Summer Requiem: A Book Of Poems
W&N 978-1780228679 pbk Jun. 2016
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