Poetry of Sabarna Roy
Sabarna Roy is a much awarded, critically acclaimed bestselling author of 6 literary books: Pentacles; Frosted Glass; Abyss; Winter Poems; Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012 – 2018, and Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020. He is the lead author of a technical book, which has been published from the European Union and has been translated into 8 major European languages.
He has been awarded the Literoma Laureate Award in 2019, Literoma Star Achiever Award 2020, Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012 – 2018 won the best book of the year 2019, the A List Award for excellence in fiction by the NewsX Media House, Certificate for The Real Super Heroes for spreading a spirit of positivity and hope during the COVID-19 Pandemic from Forever Star India Award 2020, the Certificate for Participation in the Indo Russian Friendship Celebration 2020, and the Literoma Golden Star Award 2020: Lifetime Achievement.
Sabarna Roy in various interviews has said: Poetry is an easier art compared to prose. Yet, he has in the last 10 years written voluminous prose and poetry and in fact, considering the Indian perspective, he has revolutionized the content and format of English poetry writing in the recent times. The deeply held existential issues concerning post-modern urban landscape and newer ideas on philosophy and sharp drama comprises his poetry from day one.
His poems are a deep architecture of dreams, images, reflections and stories. Most of the times they are written in a narrative tenor within a poetic idiom. The poems are inseparable in a hidden way and are magically sequenced like various kinds of flowers in a garland or chapters of differing shades in a novel.
Sometimes, he writes using traditional rhyme, although, many of his poems sound like unshackled bombs that poignantly evoke the stark reality of urban life in free verse, hitting you straight in the guts. The use of everyday urban imagery adds to the appeal of the compositions including the stark characterization of each character in the story within the poem.
At times Sabarna’s poetry is spine-chilling.
Sabarna says, he writes poetry during the winters and prose during the summers.
In the Preface to Winter Poems, he writes:
“Winter Poems employs the narrative style. The poems appeal to the mind and arouse feelings not only owing to the themes and ideas that I focus on, but more importantly due to the association created by the imagistic records and kaleidoscope of nature that enrapture the mind and are likely to stay rooted in memory.”
Let us look at some of the striking examples of his poetry by reading out some of the excerpts.
In the opening paragraph of Chasing in Pentacles, he writes:
“The true art is in the art of chasing not ideas or dreams,
But people who interest you all of a sudden at street corners,
At railway stations, at ice cream parlours, at grocery shops, at libraries,
And graveyards, inside hospital lobbies, so on and so forth.
What draws you closer to them,
Could be the strains of mist in their eyes,
The waves on their hair,
The incongruent stains of food on their shirts,
Or, even the dogged hunch of their backs.”
In Jelly-ness, Fears and Masks in Frosted Glass, he writes:
“These moments are best spent walking through narrow crowded lanes
Negotiating with the jelly-ness of living
Sometimes drinking sweetened milk tea in clay cups from underground teashops
Smoking one cigarette after another
Tackling fear with smoke
When suddenly, but invariably, in a street corner I would find my face being sold off as a beautiful mask”
In Winter Poems, he writes:
“I walk down the woods immersed in fresh bags of fog
In search of memorabilia and amulets left behind by ancient travellers
Invisibility of a winter morning making my task almost impossible to proceed
I walk as if blindfolded losing my way in this vaporous maze
Losing my way I saunter near a row of trees devoid of leaves on its twigs
Barring a few yellowed leaves here and there
Besides which I find heaps of iron scrapings made out of crumbled ships and deluxe cars
Is it the end of the world where I have reached?
A few more miles and I will float into infinite space.”
In Sekhar in Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012 – 2018, he writes:
“Then there was absolute darkness – mother of all dark rooms I had been to
Believe me, you guys, I clicked all your pictures at some point in my life and took them all with me to the darkest room of my life”
In the last poem of the Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020, he writes:
“You took me to your land full of
Trees of royal poinciana, African tulip, trumpet, cassia, gold medallion, coral, silk floss, golden pendas, orchid and jacaranda
You undressed me and made love to me like the queen of your forest
Then we fell asleep in each other’s arms, naked on a bed of leaves and flowers on tropical soil, the scents of our bodies soaring up in the sky”
In his poems, Sabarna and his alter-ego, soothe and shock you in turns until you burst out of the last page, breathless and asking for more.