Painting Vignettes with Sounds and Silence
Kasturi Kanthan
A TRANSPARENCY AGAINST THE SUNLIGHT by Jyotsna Agnihotri Gupta Writers Workshop, Kolkata, 2022, pp., ₹ 550.00
June 2023, volume 47, No 6

The title of this poetry collection is rather intriguing. The ‘Foreword’ implies that it can be understood as an exposure ‘to the bare bone, a sort of nakedness which is an uncomfortable feeling, to say the least’.

Ada Limon, the current U.S. Poet Laureate says, poetry helps us ‘walk into the room of ourselves’, and in the very first titular poem the poet sets the tone with, ‘A transparency against the sunlight I stand, in the class room self-revealed to you striking a pose clothed in much verbiage, books and notes. There are times when I have heard an inner voice say I am the emperor with no clothes.’

There is clarity and honesty in this unclouded expression of 96 poems divided into four sections—24 poems under ‘Ruminations’, 38 Love Poems, 8 for ‘Dear Daughter’ and 26 poems around ‘Reflections’. The intermingling and intersecting themes bring them all under the large umbrella of what I will call ‘binaries’. Having established the ‘bare facts’ the poet proceeds to introduce herself in Introduction as ‘Aristotle’s golden mean’. Interestingly, she fits in well in the common space inhabited by a large number of us—the teeming least common denominator.

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