by Harnidh Kaur
Reviewed by Arul Benito
Harnidh Kaur’s Ease of Forgetting is a collection of personal poems. One might call the work as confessional, domestic, amorous, and lyrical. By referring to them as personal, I am consciously posing them against the public. A personal poem is shy, looking elsewhere against the (burning) world. In this case, the poet is staring at exploration of the self both as an individual and as a poet. As a poet myself, I am conscious of the fact that being a writer means that one articulates one’s personal and social experience through poetry. In the case of personal poems, the audience are either confused at the cryptically coded verse that attempts to translate private knowledge or amazed by the unabashed honesty with which such experiences are revealed (though there are more positions than these two). One must appreciate the Harnidh for being opaque in her poetic revelations. This is a collection that celebrates being young, confused, angry, love-struck and nihilistic.
As a book, the collection can become monotonous. There are few detours that describe the city and childhood experience. But otherwise the collection largely focusses on the loneliness of human existence. It is not philosophical but emotional. Are emotions evil and degenerate? Certainly not. However the poems capture emotions in their rawness – they neither evolve nor dissolve into larger metaphors. The collection displays strengths in the areas of formal composition though she uses with restraint any overtly poetic devices such as rhyme. This is poetry with a strong and confident voice.
“but tonight I/need a story to put me to sleep”. We all need stories and poems to put us to sleep. Harnidh Kaur captures this anguish in a series of poems that are as gloomy as the vision through a rain stricken window in a moving bus.
Arul Benito Gerard Arokiasamy is a graduate student in English at Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad, India. His poetry has appeared in Lehigh Valley Vanguard, Cerebration, The Machinery and Random Poem Tree.