A Palette Of Feelings
Indu Mallah
ALL THE ANSWER I SHALL EVER GET by Tanya Mendonsa HarperCollins, 2017, 160 pp., 350
April 2017, volume 41, No 4

Tanya Mendonsa’s journey across con-tinents, from India to France and back again to India is mirrored in her poetry as a hunger: a thirst for a spiritual way of life in harmony with the physical so that the potentialities of both are realized to the optimum. Her roots remain deep in the classical tradition while her scope and language are entirely contemporary. Mendonsa’s poems have been widely anthologized in India and abroad, and she has written a regular column on poetry for the magazine Arts Illustrated. She is also a painter, which has influenced the sharpness of her observation and the unexpected slants of imagery in her work.

All The Answer I Shall Ever Get is Mendonsa’s second collection of poetry, (the first being The Dreaming House published in 2009) and is divided into two parts, with an ‘Interlude’ of haiku-like poems in between. The first section concentrates on the losses, betrayals and joys of love and friendship. Many of the poems draw on fairy tales and myths (Ondine, Fairy Tale Reversed, Triangle Into Square), but the language is sparse and hypnotic, relying heavily on metaphor.
The love poems, while retaining this tensile quality of language, are lush and sensuous in their imagery and emotion:
In ‘Too Much Love’:
A Lotus-eater he wanted to be
forever eating a flower
he had never imagined tasting
before he touched her skin.

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