The Many Shades of Life and Death
Kanu Priya
THE PRISM OF LIFE by Ivy Imogene Hansdak Writers’ Workshop, 2022, 64 pp., ₹ 200.00
March 2023, volume 47, No 3

The Prism of Life is a collection of poems in English by Ivy Imogene Hansdak, published by Writers’ Workshop in 2022. Having completed her higher education from Jawaharlal Nehru University, she currently teaches English in Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. In the poetry collection under review, the poet reflects upon the various shades of life and in doing so, aims to connect with the readers, which is evident in the beginning where she dedicates the book to ‘all those who have walked like me through the many shades of life’. It is her second poetry collection following her first one, The Golden Chord, which was published by the Writers’, Workshop in 2010. The collection consists of a total of forty-four poems spread over four sections titled ‘From the Margins’, ‘Question Mark’, ‘Monsoon Sonata’ and ‘Songs of Worship’.

The poems in the first section portray various aspects of human life that remain entangled with social, political and religious scenarios. Hailing from the Santhal community of Jharkhand, the poet depicts true events in poems like ‘Budhni’ and ‘A Requiem for Sister Valsa John’. ‘Budhni’, written in the form of a ballad, narrates the story of a tribal girl who was excommunicated for garlanding Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1959 during the inauguration of the Panchet Dam in Purulia.

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