Learning from Travels
Ketaki Kushari Dyson
DREAMS THAT SPELL THE LIGHT by Shanta Acharya Arc Publications, 2010, 67 pp., 00.00
April 2010, volume 34, No 5

Reviewing Shanta Acharyas previous collection of poetry, Shringara (2006), I had called it a sheaf of grief, an elegiac volume about the loss of loved ones, through which a rawness of the pain still throbbed. In the present volume, her fifth collection, we see her emerging out of that phase with the help of those precious resources which she has always commanded and which continue to sustain her in her diasporic life. These include a deep vein of philosophy which runs through all her poetry, a capacity for meditation that can draw peace, comfort, and hope from immersion in the simple phenomena of nature, remembered travels, vicarious journeys through the perusal of books and other documentary material, a wry sense of humour that does not abandon her even when she is clearly making a passage through tough tims, and, of course, family loyalties and childhood memories.

Two quotations at the head of the book, acting as epigraphs, reinforce the theme of learning from travels. The first is from T.S. Eliot: We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.

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