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Sunday, 12 February 2017

Why I feel that there are no real poets anymore..

Once upon a time in my life I was madly in love with poetry......Does it mean that I don't love poetry anymore? The answer is somewhat neurotic...I love some poems more than others but I do realise that there is an abundance of terrible poems that people for some reason like, like for example poets of the Beat generation...I don't really get them...I mean I do on some level understand the gist behind their writing but not really connect to their verse like say the World War 1 poets like Wilfred Owen, or the Romantics or John Donne, Christopher Marlowe and Alexander Pope.

I guess I am no longer going through the thoroughly maudlin phase that I went through in my late teens...poetry at that time of my life was my way of telegraphing all my teenage angst through poems. Now that I am older I have learnt to really enjoy the beauty of certain poems just for the great works that they are and on an unselfish level really let it be about the brilliance of the person behind the poems.

A good poems can really change one's perceptions about life. I can say with a lot of certainty that there are a lot of people who would agree with me when I say that some powerful lines from great works of poetry really changed their lives.

Abelard and his pupil Heloise by Edmund Blair Leighton
In times of turmoil I always find myself remembering lines from poems and they really provide me with solace, strength, and a sense of belonging even. How wonderful is that? Novels are in my opinion powerful works of prose that can shape one's philosophy, and yet it takes you some time to read through one. Poems on the other hand have the magical quality of conveying so many impactful emotions in short bursts. Especially those times in our busy 21st century lives when we are compelled to stop and really take in the surroundings.

I feel that we have lost the ability to be eloquent like our ancestors, in this day an age we have this constant compulsion to be up-front; which is not necessarily a bad thing, and yet we have somehow forgotten to feel and convey those feelings. I wish that someone still had the ability to write about a simple flower like a daffodil that Wordsworth wrote about, or convey separation like Pope did in his Eloisa to Abelard, In our constant modern chatter, we have perhaps lost that unique ability to convey a lot in really few words and that in my opinion is one of the unspoken tragedies of the modern 21st century society.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Books that change our lives

Good Morning and Happy New Year! I want to begin 2017 by talking about something that gives me immense joy; reading. My uncle gifted me a copy of Pride and prejudice by Jane Austen on my eleventh birthday and that day and that book changed my life.

 In the movie You've got Mail, one of the characters talks about reading habits by saying that one of 20th century's most profound truths was "you are what you read"and then Meg Ryan's character summed it all up with this gem  “When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.” Truer words were never spoken. Pride and Prejudice and later, Jane Austen played a major part in shaping my identity, I can still recall the crisp paper and that unique smell that accompanies brand new paper. From the moment I opened the page and read the memorable opening lines I was pulled into a world of genteel late Georgian/ Regency society; where an independent and intelligent women had only selected avenues to lead her life. I confess now, that first reading didn't really open before my eyes the complex layers of the characterizations and situations in the novel, in fact it is only now that I am beginning to fully comprehend the subtext. But I do so cherish that first time reading. I was captivated and couldn't put the book down. I loved it and couldn't stop thinking about the story. 

For a long time I even slept with my battered and worn copy under my pillow. If you ask me the reason behind that odd quirk now, I really couldn't answer why. I just did!I was proud that I had read such a 'grown-up' book and made certain to boast about my accomplishment in front of everyone, needless to say I did not end up endearing many.

 Reading Pride and Prejudice gave me the confidence to read further and opened up a whole new world of classics, I devoured Jane Austen and then moved on to Charles Dickens whom I adored, Anthony Trollope, the Brontes, W.M Thackeray, Elizabeth Gaskell, Walter Scott and many others followed in quick succession. I loved them all. For me Pride and Prejudice opened up the world of reading and literature, and I am indebted to Jane Austen for playing a major role in forming my healthy reading habit.

So yes, to paraphrase Meg Ryan 'I certainly am what I read due to the fact that reading Pride and Prejudice at the tender age of eleven made a love for classics an eternal part of my identity as an adult'; it was most certainly a book that changed my life.