A poem is an important medium to express one’s expressions about anything one (the poet) deems appropriate. On that list, poems about society are very important – they often extend a unique perspective on social issues. Poets who write about social realities can shed light on the experiences and struggles of different groups of people. Social justice, gender equality, economic disparity, social anxiety and many other things feature in the most important poetic corpus produced by leading poets. Social poems also serve as a form of social commentary attracting the attention of people on important topics. Melodies of Society by Arav Rajesh is a poetry collection on the same lines. The young poet has written a few of the most thought-provoking poems I have written recently.
Melodies of Society is a contemporary poetry collection that takes up the issues of present society – and the poet has wonderfully categorised his poems under different subjects to make it easy for readers to understand what they may expect in the poems ahead. Arav has written about political suppression, social anxiety, substance abuse (drugs), child labour and also about the COVID-19 lockdown’s impact on human emotions and minds. The categories are aptly defined and that can be verified once you read the poems.
In poems in the first category, political suppression, the young poet, only 16, has expressed his concerns for India, our nation, and its flaws – with imagery that could imagine with whatever limited information he might have about from various sources (the poet mentions the same in the brief introduction to this book). The poem This is Our Nation wonderfully invokes the emotions of readers and pushes them into thinking about these bitter, harsh but ‘true’ realities. In another poem from the same category, Abuse, the poet has contemplated the Taliban and its brutalities – ‘Taliban invasion of Afghanistan in 2021’. There are lines that break down terrorism unleashed by these cruel and blinded by hatred people. An example follows below:
“They come with their weapons, what follows is simple – bloodshed
The other two poems in this category are full of pathos and aspirations that often waste unheard, unsung and unseen. Arav has a unique way of fusing his emotions and observations together and offering his readers lines that convey these things lyrically and emphatically.
In the group that contains poems about the COVID-19 lockdowns and horrors, the poem Farewell to Friends had very connecting lines that would invoke emotions in any reader who goes through the same. It was a dreadful hour that has fortunately passed (at least for now). However, in passing, the pandemic has swept many miles of the lines of existence that we cherished. Arav writes in this wonderfully worded couplets about the same:
I was not ready; I was not
I could not fathom letting go of the memories that we shared.
I thought they were people I could love and cherish,
I never expected them to leave, die and perish.
Many other poems in the collection are noteworthy and appreciable for many reasons. However, the one reason that makes this poetry collection, Melodies of Society, worth reading and praiseworthy is its message. The poet may have limited information about the functioning of the world but he has utilised the same to express his opinions and thoughts in a wonderful manner. Yes, there are flaws as well. For instance, the poems may have been adjusted ‘ruthlessly’ at times to accommodate the illustrations. In return, these illustrations do enhance the visual appearance of the thoughts and messages in the poems. However, I believe, a poem should have a visual expression and aid in its words. And I expect the poet to agree. Moreover, at times, the lines rhyme beautifully adding a lyrical effect to the overall message in the line. Sometimes, nevertheless, the lines seem forced to rhyme at the cost of the intellectual flow of the messages. Well, only those who have read an abundance of poetry might notice that and it seldom strikes an imbalance for non-frequent and casual readers. They will find it alright and just okay to keep going and finish the collection within a few minutes, aided by visually appealing and supportive illustrations.
Poetry is a process and it betters with the evolution of the poet. Hopefully, as the poet matures and learns more methods of poetic expressions, he will have more to offer. At times, in the present form, his debut poetry collection has struck some serious chords of pathos and thoughtful expressions. Anyone interested in contemporary English poetry by Indian English poets must enjoy these realistic, communicative, and expressive poems by Arav Rajesh.
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Review by Ashish for Indian Book Critics
Melodies of Society by Arav Rajesh – Book Review
- IBC Critical Rating
Melodies of Society by Arav Rajesh is a collection of beautiful, illustrated and thought-provoking poems that seldom a reader would miss appreciating!
wonderfully written review… I like the sincerity of the young poet who cared about writing for the subjects he chose.