Corona Diary that Demands a Reading – Aritra Sanyal

Dec 30, 2021 | Bookworm | 0 comments

Corona DiaryCorona Diary : Before and Beyond
Harshita Srivastava
Writers Workshop

Entries of a diary don’t expect a reader, a poem does. ‘A lump of time/ Stuck in the throat/ Of this universe,/ An old dusty book/ With a new name,/ A white bird/ Following white birds/ On their way home,/ Storms, tears, love –/ They’re all here.’ This ‘write-up’, titled ‘24.03.20’, that appears in the ‘Corona Diary’ section of Harshita Srivastava’s book ‘Corona Diary, Before & Beyond’ displays the making that is essential for a poem; it is carefully crafted and lively. Sincerity and honesty are what we search for in poetry and we expect these two to satisfy our voyeuristic pleasures in a diary. ‘Confined into spaces/ Of a few inches/ With people hidden inside,/ They are grumbling./ Walls, screens, doors –/ All begin to look/ Like chains./ Look beyond,/ Watch./ Not everyone is home.’ (28.03.2020) Harshita is looking into the void that life, at times, appears not to be. The drab surrounding, the reign of silence, the isolation – everything of the pandemic phase is meticulously described in these ‘untitled’ pieces, and making the poems look like diary entries effortlessly add an element of play-acting on the part of the poet. The poems pretend to be something that will never be read by others, they do not have titles; only dates filling that space separate one poem from another – and this style add up as there are poems which even being less evocative than the ones they are flanked by, successfully manage to sustain the tone of the book – contributing to the noise Harshita wants to make. There are two more sections in the book – ‘Before’ and ‘Beyond’; the poems in those sections, not bound to maintain the uniformity in style between the pieces of a series, introduce variation to the voice of the poet in the collection.

Harshita SrivastavaHarshita Srivastava is a post graduate in English (gold medalist) from St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata. She completed her graduation from Loreto College, Kolkata. At present, she is an independent scholar and intends to join a PhD program as a Junior Research Fellow soon. Her first book Corona Diary, Before and Beyond, a poetry volume, was published by Writers Workshop in 2020. She is very passionate about creative writing and poetry slamming/recitation.

Excerpts from the book 
24.03.20

A once-favorite lipstick
Smirks inside
The closed drawer,
Mocking my verses
Which praise naked
Sun-burnt clouds,
Deformed beyond fix.
The little wretch
Has long known
My fear of flaws.
__

09.05.20

Drops of sweat
Trickle down the skin,
Like melting wax
Of a burning candle.
Even with the breeze,
Drizzle, showers and storms
Mild yet strong,
Something burns
All the time.

__

Rainy Nights

On nights like these
When raindrops are confused
Whether to fly or fall
Or remain snugged in clouds,
The mind begins to wonder.
It goes places far off
Into the alleys of the past
And jumps beyond the future.
The rejected embraces,
The imagined phrases,
The freshly-dead images
Of love, longing and want.
They often well up the eyes
With a tear or two.
Are you thinking this way too?
Or are you busy as usual
Standing with your damp sleeves
Placed on the railing,
Counting stars, counting fireflies,
Counting shadows and memories
And the people you destroyed?

__

Aritra Sanyal (b.1983), a poet, translator, researcher, amateur photographer, and ex-sports journalist (The Statesman) works as a teacher at a school currently. He is the author of five books of poetry in Bengali, the latest of which, Bhanga Manusher Bhumikae (In the Role of a Broken Man) came out in 2020. He is the recipient of Sunil Gangopadhyay Award (2018) conferred by Kabita Academy, West Bengal He has translated and collaborated with poets from different parts of the world. He co-edited Bridgeable Lines, a book of Bengali translation of 12 contemporary American poets in 2019. In 2021, he co-edited and published the Bengali translation of Salome, by Adeena Karasick.

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