Foregrounding the Question of Women
Rana Nayar
Herstory by Neha Bansal Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, 2022, 77 pp., 100.00
February 2023, volume 47, No 2

It is a tragic irony of our times that the cultural space for poetry is fast shrinking in our midst, and so are its readers and/or publishers. Known to us, humans, as one of the most primordial and also sublime forms of self-expression, poetry is moving out of our lives, almost imperceptibly. Sadly enough, the poetry that speaks the real language of the human heart, doesn’t appear to have many takers, at least, in our hyper-real times.

It is, therefore, extremely heartening to know that the Sahitya Akademi has launched a new series called Navodaya. This series not only aims to encourage young writers, especially the budding poets, but also seeks to rescue poetry from oblivion it is apparently sinking into.

Ordinarily, we have very modest expectations of a debut collection, as we either see it as an on-the-job learning exercise, or as rites-of-passage.  In Neha’s case, happily, it is neither.

Reading this collection, one doesn’t get an impression that Neha is taking her first, halting steps into the enigmatic world of poetry. Her poetic voice is both self-assured and confident, her use of the language reflective as well as self-reflexive, and her understanding of agony and pain of women, both ancient and modern, remarkably controlled and restrained.

Continue reading this review