Perceptions Of Identity
Rachna Joshi
Perceptions Of Identity by Shanta Acharya HarperCollins Publishers India, 2017, 170 pp., 399
September 2017, volume 41, No 9

Shanta Acharya’s evolution as a poet shows three distinct phases, as William Blake has put it, of innocence, experience and higher innocence. She starts out in a restrained manner, goes through certain experiences, and then goes on to fully articulate her emotional experiences. She starts out with a reference to the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad—‘The Soul is not this, it is not that.’ Neti, Neti is a philosophy which states that the soul is always evolving. She seeks solace in Indian philosophy while living in the diaspora. And she peoples her poems with allusions to art, to literature, to history and to nature, philosophy, mythology, contemporary events, travel and also personal pain and longing. Her diction is literary and academic, but she chooses words carefully. There are two important strains in her poetry—the first, a love of nature and the second a quest for peace beyond the triviality of the here and now.In the last section, there is calmness and a sense of peace in the midst of nature.

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