Deluge of Emotions in the Poems of Tikuli

Vibhuti reviews Tikuli’s book, Collection of Chaos. The reviewer says that the poet has ventured to utilise very different forms of poetry, and yet maintained her voice in it. Here’s the review.

Book: Collection of Chaos
Author: Tikuli
Paperback: 124 pages
Publisher: Leaky Boot Press (January 20, 2014)
Language: English

We were all taught nursery rhymes at kindergarten and we grew up learning poems by heart but how many of us really found expression for our feelings in verse? Poetry is the voice of a soul. It cannot be adopted. It’s born, somewhere deep in the warm cockles of the heart. Poetry is a maze of words, with routes going into and out of the heart.

I am glad I came across Tikuli’s book, Collection of Chaos. And I am even happier that this will be the first collection of poems that I’ve read, in 2016. I’m delighted with this book of verses because they are straight from the heart and yet the fluent poems are made of words that have been intelligently woven together. I have been reading Tikuli’s poems and Haikus for almost a decade now and her inimitable style of saying so much within a few lines, a handful of words continue to enthrall me.

I have somehow always related the reading of poetry with the first rains that mark the beginning of the season- petrichor! And Tikuli also uncannily opens the collection with a beautiful simile to describe the predominant emotion that mingles with the petrichor, by saying,
‘The solitude
the smell of rain
slaking the parched earth.’

Tikuli’s collection of poems is a deluge of emotions, each separate piece a heavier thought than before. Her words definitely come from a lifetime of myriad experiences and jarring observations, from changing times. From the little understanding that I have of poetic meters and such, Tikuli has ventured to utilise very different forms of poetry, and yet maintained her voice in it. She has given expression to a whirlwind of emotions and yet Tikuli manages to maintain order in the usage of correctly chosen words.

While one poem is a poignant reminder of The Stoning of Soraya M.– a 2008 American Persian-language drama film; another describes mindless Indian rituals, and there are those poems that give us a heart-wrenching peek into the minds and lives of woebegone, torn women.

There’s also a fresh whiff of romance now and then. My favourite is this short verse that captures a memory so skillfully.
At dawn
I gather the scent of the night jasmine
And with it
The scent of you
Encased between the white
And the vermilion

However, while I kept sailing from one poem to the next, what I found sorely amiss was a befitting title for each piece. Or maybe that would be a stereotypical packaging for presenting one’s gift to the world. I suppose Tikuli prefers to leave each story told between the rhyming lines, to grow on the reader and take on a title or maybe a moral of its own, as per the reader’s personal connect with the piece?

It took me around two days to finish reading each of the poems, couplets, verses and haikus. And I am a slow reader. I like to roll the words on my tongue as I read, feel their weight, wait for it to travel down and sink in. And that’s appreciating poetry for me, much like enjoying the whiff and roll of a good wine.

There are around 90 poems in the book of 124 pages. And there is a different shade of known and unknown emotions to read about.

In the foreword given by Kris Saknussemm, the poetess is aptly described as a ‘student heart’, for she really seems to be curious and readily imbibing all the goings on around her. Quoting Saknussemm,
“Innocence isn’t something we begin with and then gradually lose through the
hardships of life experience, it’s a perspective and a state of mind
we may achieve—through perseverance, humility, and an unquenchable
curiosity about the world.”

There’s one more poem from Collection of Chaos that brought a smile to my face. There couldn’t have been truer words.
Fantasy is reality
reality is fantasy
and in between
there is a poet
on a Ferris wheel

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