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Beyond the Scent of Sorrow by Sweta Srivastava Vikram

Beyond the Scent of Sorrow by Sweta Srivastava Vikram is a small collection of poems that draw parallels between nature and women.  Reminiscent of Ecofeminism, a political and social combination of feminism and deep ecology that draws parallels between women and nature and calls attention to the misuse of both by patriarchy, Vikram develops a dialogue about the harm done to nature and women across the globe.  Dominance of both by outside constructs — whether it is capitalism or man — has belittled the importance and strengths of both.  Rather than wallow in the pain and repression, Vikram’s verse strives to cultivate women and nature’s strengths to demonstrate there is a way to overcome the oppression.

"in colonies of Armani,
singing a sad melody, attracting worker bees and wasps

to give their friends honey, the walk on burning coals.
A trap before he shoots bullets" (from "It's a Man's World", page 4)

Specifically, Vikram discusses in the preface how there are parallels drawn between women and the eucalyptus tree, which were both once integral to society and are now thought of as commodities that can be replaced.  The collection is broken into two parts, with the first part seemingly more focused on the changing role of both women and nature in society and the dire consequences that occur because their worth is devalued, such as the displacement of birds and animals when the eucalyptus is cut down in “Eucalyptus Trees” (page 3).  Additionally, the poems in this section describe how women and nature are abused by society (not necessarily just by men), like in “Unholy Men” and “It’s a Man’s World” (pages 4-5).

In part two, the secrets held by women and nature are revealed — their strengths that must be hidden from society or be devalued outright.  Women and nature here are dichotomies in and of themselves in that they must present a strong front to the society that abuses them, while at the same time hiding their strengths and internalizing the devaluation of their gifts.

"Wearing a veil over my dilemma,
the skull of questions is hidden.

What was mine? Some could argue.
To make a point bland as sand, I say,

Ask the bird that lost its nest resting in the eucalyptus tree,
Mother nature faced irony with a damp silence --" (From "Silence", page 14)

Vikram’s verse is sparse and powerful, evoking reflection and a grander examination of the world around us. Beyond the Scent of Sorrow calls attention to the depravity of human action, but also to the hope that things can be changed if we have the will to change it.  Do not be fooled by the comparisons here in to thinking that men are the enemy because they are not; the collection is more about the decisions we make as humans and the consequences those decisions have on our world and ourselves.

Beyond the Scent of Sorrow by Sweta Srivastava Vikram is the third collection of hers that I’ve read, and since this was published in 2011, it is eligible for this year’s Indie Lit Awards.  It resonated with me for its references to Portugal, my father’s homeland, and for its echoes of a philosophy, social, and political movement I have studied and internalized over the years.

About the Poet:

Sweta Srivastava Vikram is an award winning writer, a Pushcart Prize nominated poet, novelist, author, essayist, columnist, educator, and blogger. Born in India, Sweta spent her formative years between the steel city of Rourkela, the blue waters of North Africa, the green hills of Mussoorie, and the erudite air of Pune before arriving in bustling New York. Growing up between three continents, six cities, five schools, and three masters degrees, what remained constant in Sweta’s life was her relationship with words.

Check out Diary of an Eccentric’s review.

This is my 31st book for the Fearless Poetry Exploration Reading Challenge.

 

 

This is my 3rd book and final book for the South Asian Reading Challenge.

124th Virtual Poetry Circle

Today’s Poem is from Beyond the Scent of Sorrow by Sweta Srivastava Vikram (page 8):

Skeletons of Women

My feet were ticklish
from the acorns sneaking
inside the pockets of large rocks,
scratching them like a dog's belly,
that's what I thought at first.

But I was wrong.
Woodpeckers conspiring with moths,
mimicking chained cries
of stripped branches dying their own death,
were asking me to put a period, not a comma, in my steps.

Too late, the fire moaned.
With feet sinking like a widow's hopes,
I stepped on a cask of ashes
only to find skeletons of women with no fingernails.
Hunger ate them.

Welcome to the 124th Virtual Poetry Circle!

Remember, this is just for fun and is not meant to be stressful.

Keep in mind what Molly Peacock’s books suggested. Look at a line, a stanza, sentences, and images; describe what you like or don’t like; and offer an opinion. If you missed my review of her book, check it out here.

Also, sign up for the 2011 Fearless Poetry Reading Challenge because its simple; you only need to read 1 book of poetry. Please contribute to the growing list of 2011 Indie Lit Award Poetry Suggestions (please nominate 2011 Poetry), visit the stops on the National Poetry Month Blog Tour from April.

So what do you think?

I’m Hosting Mailbox Monday #148

First, I would like to congratulate (Bibliophile by the Sea) on winning Where Am I Going by Michelle Cromer from the last Mailbox Monday giveaway.

Stay tuned for the next giveaway later on in the post, but for now, let’s get to this week’s post.

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. Thanks to Amused by Booksfor hosting last month.

As host for this month, I have a couple giveaways planned, but mostly its about sharing books and the love of reading, so I hope in addition to leaving your post links in Mr. Linky that you’ll peek around Savvy Verse & Wit.

Kristi of The Story Siren continues to sponsor her In My Mailbox meme.

Both of these memes allow bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received this week:

1.  The Time in Between by Maria Duenas for review (my second copy, look for a giveaway with the review)

2.   Twilight The Graphic Novel Volume 2 by Stephenie Meyer and adapted by Young Kim

3.  The Giver by Lois Lowry from the library sale for my daughter and myself

4.  The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis from the library sale for my daughter

5.  Who Am I? by Sesame Street from the library sale for my daughter

6.  Silly Sally by Audrey Wood for my daughter from the library sale

7. The Conference of the Birds by Peter Sis for review for TLC Book Tours in early November.

8. The Strangers on Montagu Street by Karen White for review in November.

9. Three Women: A Poetic Triptych and Selected Poems by Emma Eden Ramos for review.

10. Beyond the Scent of Sorrow by Sweta Srivastava Vikram for review.

11. Soul Clothes by Regina D. Jemison for review.

12. A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead for a TLC Book Tour at the end of November.

What books did you receive this week?  Please leave your link below to your mailbox.

Now, for the giveaway for the week.  I’m holding an international giveaway for Waking by Ron Rash.  Deadline to enter is Oct. 22, 2011.

I reviewed the book earlier in the month and is my first experience with Rash’s work.  Have you read other Ron Rash books, if so which one and should I read it?

I also posted a poem from the collection in the Virtual Poetry Circle.

Please leave a comment if you are interested in this book.