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New Books
Volume 1 | Issue 4 | February 2007 | 

Third world-Post-Socialist poetry

By C.P. A

Flower is the Adventure
Eastern Crisis Continues

On the new book published by Monsoon Editions
Title : Third world-Post-Socialist poetry
Edited by Lana Derkac and Thachom Poyil Rajeevan.

The beautiful poem Grass from Croatia by Davor Salat tries to describe the new position of its writer in the world. It is done in a heart-rending way.
I forgot you
in the grass
on the succulent autumn
now you are hiding
from vagabonds
and quiet knives.

The poem opens like a crystal; none needs to interpret it. But it is not easy to understand it word by word; we can only experience the poem. And that is the real worth of poetry. Nothing is more dangerous to poetry than theorizing that poetry is to be a mere carrier of ideas or messages and that aesthetics would not be useful and illuminating to the world. Words are a great attainment of mankind; words combine in umpteen rhymes and patterns and give us burning, cooling, nostalgic, and, what not, effects. I see a rose and sing on it; fide Erken of Turkey sees another rose flower and sings; Thachom Poyil Rajeevan sees a rose flower and sings; perhaps we three sees he same rose flower and sings different songs; we see the same flower at different times and sing different songs. There comes the inquisitor and asks: where is religion? Where is politics? We cannot help it. Only rose is there. See the rose in the way we want it in a given state. Or even do not see it; ignore it. Still it is there; life is there, poetry is there; aesthetics is there, poetry is there.
And see what Slavko Mihalic has written in his The Exile’s Return:
He is the ruler of the country which once exiled him,
He’s not a king or the king’s minister, he just does what he wants,
Watching from the window the crowds of the deluded roam the streets,
Himself wise and handsome since he’s free of purpose
Yes. Now he is like a child and also like a tomb………

I hope it might be an enviable state.
But look at the line,
But the greatest adventure is a flower in a glass of water.

From Slovenia, Primoz Cucnik writes with spell-bound optimism:
But soon we will return, back to our everyday chores,
In our narrow houses overlooking blocks of flats,
Glorious skyscraper landscapes and rubbish heaps in the background.

When I got the mail from Muse India telling me to buy the book edited by Lana Derkac and Thachom Poyil Rajeevan and published by Monsoon Editions, I immediately contacted Thachom Poyil. Next day, he was ready at the University with a copy for me. But I could not delve deep into the book, which, by its content and adjectives and background, deserves special reading. Therefore, I request my readers not to consider this write-up as a review of the book. It is just to mention the publishing of this book and also to tell myself the importance of such a book that I write this. I tell myself that this is a book of poems from the region that gave Poetics to the world. It is also from the region that gave a new social system based on equality and equitable distribution of wealth. It is from Macedonia, the place from where Alexander set out for the conquest of the world. A new book is launched to conquer the sensitive minds of the world with all good intentions, although the editor, Thachom Poyil Rajeevan declares that these were written in the “poets’ uncompromising opposition to inhuman power centres and authoritarianism”. It must be true because I have read ( and also loved) many poets, like Blaga Dimitrova of Bulgaria who fought for the withering of the socialist state of Bulgaria, while at the same time writing beautiful poems for the sake of the suffering men. This might seem contradictory, but it is true. At least the poems I read give me this impression.
The teacher of Alexander was a very studious person called Aristotle. Karl Copek has written a beautiful narrative of Alexander’s confessions to his conquests and his justification of the wars in his very famous Apocryphal Stories. Alexander’s justification is that he had to conquer for the sake of his tiny kingdom; after the conquest of the neighbouring kingdoms, he had to save his new possessions, again for the sake of his tiny kingdom; this necessitated further conquests; this again necessitated further invasions and annexations.
So, the counter evolution at last brought freedom and liberty in the Third World, and so,. Post-Socialist poems are written.
Apart from these political moorings, perhaps unwanted, I must tell myself that some of the poems I glanced and read give me pleasure and insight. Freedom is to have the right to act according to one’s own conscience. Even a loaf of much needed bread would not suffice to compensate the loss of this freedom, freedom to have one’s own moments: poet Arian Leka would express it in his poem “Alone” in a peculiar way; with no one to coming behind, we are free to enjoy the wine in two glasses, one with the red horse label and the other with the white horse label; it is alright, but the poet feels that there is none to share his the wine with him. Everybody has begun to delve in his own self-created cave. I am not going to say that Gulab Archipelago was a bad book; I indeed believe that even bad books can coexist with good books. The point is the absence of social extroversion, at least in the minimal level. When food is denied, we can fight for it; it is political struggle; when sharing of one’s mind is denied, what sort of struggle could be fought by anyone?

( three)
Glancing at the biographical notes of the poets, I find that they were all born around 1960s. They have certainly their loss-awareness in the societies they were born into. Earlier during the revolutions, it was hunger and political casteism that endangered the lives of their fathers and forefathers. Sure, they had fought and won; they also lost because when they attained the right to food and freedom from hunger, they lost a freedom they thought the other people of the world enjoy. This sense of loss is certainly genetic. This was the real Eastern Crisis. And now in the new unrest expressed in many poems the eastern crisis continues.
( four)
I must recommend this beautifully presented book of poetry to my enlightened poetry readers. I am really proud to have a copy of this book. And these moorings are the result of just half an hour of glancing through the volume. God knows, had I had much more time and patience, I would have written an entirely different essay in appreciation. But alas! The title of the book led me to my pattern of writing!

1St February 2007.









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