the forest i know- By Kala Ramesh( A Book review)

The Book
Book Review 

Title of the Book: the forest i know ( a gathering of Tanka Verses)

Author's Name:  Kala Ramesh

Format:  Paper Back

Genre : Poetry

Publisher-  Harper Collins 


About the Author: Kala Ramesh, the Founder and Director of TRIVENI Haikai India, is an editor, anthologist, and an external faculty member of Symbiosis International University Pune, where she has been teaching haikai courses since 2012—a first in India. She has organized many haikai conferences in India since 2006. To bring haiku into everyday spaces, she has initiated several projects, notably haiku wall and haiku Dhanya. She created the ‘Rasika’ form, an eight-verse renku (collaborative linked verses) fashioned after Matsuo Basho’s non-thematic style in 2014. Her first award-winning haiku book for children was published by Katha Books in 2010. Her book of haiku and haibun Beyond the Horizon Beyond (Vishwakarma Publications) was shortlisted for the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize in 2019. The Forest I Know is published by HarperCollins Publishers, July 2021.

What is Tanka : Tanka is a 1300 year old , five line lyrical form of poetry from Japan . It was originally called ‘waka’, which translates as ‘short song’. This book is the very first book in this genre, consisting mainly of tanka, tanka prose & tanka doha.

Content:  This book is an experience and with every turn of page , you get a new perspective towards many things that otherwise might seem mundane. The book is divided into six sections namely maya, backward well, pellets of desire, within and without, tanka doha, oneness . This book is a treat to the mind because it touches the very heart as it meanders through human emotions, behavioral dimensions & relationships. The author paints vivid pictures while she depicting many finer moments & invites the reader to see it through her lens. The book tries to decipher the various complex hues of life like tangibility & intangibility aspects, complexities & simplicities of life. Themes of disillusionment, betrayal, alienation have been presented in a very unique manner. The longings, the desires of the human heart, the worries and the aspirations of the mind have been beautifully portrayed in the Tanka verses . There are pages that narrate an imagery or an instance and then poems that relate to it and while you immerse yourself in these thoughts that convey the emotions, you deeply feel within the message that is being conveyed. The feminine aura, the issues like menstruation, female infanticide , the the delicate & strength of being a woman has been immaculately portrayed through out the pages. The poetic landscape depicted is so magnificent that you get lost in it only to discover a different layer of meaning to the thoughts presented here. The realities and the philosophical aspects are entwined with each other and have been developed with nuanced details.

Few of the verses that touched my heart :

increases a hundredfold
when in a crowd
there's no one
to stand up for me

peals and peals 
          of laughter
from the apartment below-
will my kids
have time for me


a sudden spurt
of warm feeling...
          my blood
        from a womb
I knew nothing about

the quickening beat
of rain on my window...
from within
a flow of words
as I write a poem for you

at twilight
the forest I know
by sight
becomes a forest of sound...
cicada summer

The Forest I know , is a vision that is colored with empathy, aspirations and has a human touch through out that is sure to resonate with the emotions of each of its readers. The unique style of mixing Tanka verses with the intricate storytelling ability of the author is praise worthy & certainly takes one on a mesmerizing journey.

The book is available for on Amazon both in paperback & kindle edition.

This review is a part of Blogchatter’s Book Review Programme



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