Reading poetry has always been a passion for me and when it comes to the poems of budding poets, I can hardly resist the temptation. Monsoon letters is a known platform for the aspiring poets. Recently I have come across Monsoon Muse-a bilingual collection of poems and read it at a stretch. Like a colourful bucket of flowers, it offers varieties in form and theme. But the thread that binds all the poems in a bunch is the fact that all the poets are young and offering a youthful vision of life.
Published in association with the British Council in January 2016 this collection is edited by RubanaHuq. It contains 16 brilliant English poems and 27 poems written in Bangla.The major themes demonstrated in this collection are related to contemporary socio-political-cultural phenomena. Particularly the recent murders of innocent people and children and the effect of urbanization on people’s private spheres that dominates the modern man intocrises like senses of loss, alienation and nostalgia. Mostly experimental in form, the poems are devoid of poetic diction which has allowed the poets a special kind of license in regards of expression.
The young poets’ attitude to the urbanized city is expressed in many of the poems. For example, the very first poem “An Old Man Mutes” by Gopa Biswas Caesar complains of “a netted sky/Where wires crisscross and/Disallow the city crows to fly”. Armin Khan’s poem Carbon Souls too mentions “…smoke from the angry train”.
Modern man’s sense of loss is portrayed in some poems. RushnafWadud’s poem“Deafening” condemns the nuclear family culture and ultra-modern lifestyle when the poet says” We did not look like a family/that lives more apart than together/Inside the same house”.
Some poems demonstrate the poets’ attempts to experiment with form. In this regard my attention was caught by Umme Salma Alam Leena’s poem “In Void We Live” where the disjointed sentences reflect the chaos of the lives we lead. I am tempted to quote her here:
Hesitate to start talking
I always practice the face
Of a friend.”
The current issues of the killings of innocent people and children got special attention in SumognoSouro’s poemHottyakarirProtiAshirbaad (Blessings for the Assassin)and Foyez Ahmed’s poem Prayshchitto (The Penance). The second poem talks of a city which is full of sinners who kill the innocent children. Sarkar Mohammed Jarif in his poem “Shohor, Ami BhaloNei” (Oh City, I am not well) is in pain because the city has lost its beauty in the name of modernization and high-rise.
The double standard of a society that keeps visitingthe brothel at night and condemns prostitution in day light is dismissed by Farjana Yasmin Tithi’s poem “Rater Rani” (Queen of the Night) where the poet has given the lady of the night a strong and rebellious voice.
I cannot but admire Monsoon Muse for offering the aspiring poets such a good platform. I think young poets should go through it to see what their contemporary poets are writing and the established poets will also find something new in this promising collection.