The landscape of Naveen Kishore’s poetry in his new book — Mother Muse Quintet — is shot through, like dense fog shot through with sunlight on a spring morning, with loss.
Uttaran Das Gupta, Associate Professor of Practice, Jindal School of Journalism and Communication, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
An early poem in Naveen Kishore’s new book, Mother Muse Quintet (New Delhi: Speaking Tiger, 2023), negotiates with grief, especially numbness-inducing bereavement:
shut the door on fingers made numb so I may feel pain
grieve a little longer
Mental health scholars have pointed out that numbness is a common response to bereavement, a way to contain overwhelming emotions of loss. In 2020-21, as the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the world, claiming millions of lives, doctors across the United States prescribed poetry to their grieving patients. Poetry, they claimed, could help process the cocktail of emotions one experienced with death all around.
The landscape of Kishore’s poetry in this book — like its predecessor Knotted Grief (New Delhi: Speaking Tiger, 2022) — is shot through, like dense fog shot through with sunlight on a spring morning, with loss. But unlike the previous book, which explored, through poetry, public grief, in this one, it is intensely, furiously personal. While the narrator of the book — it is essential to distinguish between the narrator and the poet — negotiates with the loss of a parent through memory, history and language, he also desires to heal. The stunning image of the door slamming on one’s fingers to make one feel something — anything — is a cry for catharsis.
Published in: The Wire
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