Friday, February 7, 2014

Family Matters by Various Authors

Title: Family Matters: An International Anthology
Author : Various Authors
Publisher : Nivasini Publishers
Genre : Poetry and Prose
Number of Pages : 192

It has always been a tough call to review anthologies, because the space has everything under the sun and you can take some of the words it offers and leave the rest. This book gave a page or two to many talented writers and many more who show promise and should be willing to chisel their craft. 

Geoff Goodfellow is a poet who delves into details. Loved his poem 'In my mind forever' where he beautifully describes his first rendezvous with his daughter. Anand Madhukar is good with the pen but when writing poetry stringent structure could be of great help to him.The poem 'Womb' by Jerrold Yam reminded me of siblinghood and the relationship I share with my brother.
Susan Fealy's poem is an emotional account of a mother's love for her son. 'A tribute to my Father' by Christina Cowling struck a chord with me. Pretty imagery like 'shoes of suffering' make the poem a reader's delight.
Stephen Gill's 'A prayer for children' is a wonderful prayer for the children of the world and metaphors like muddy pellets of abuse, coin of deep human concern are clever.
I remember sharing space with Shigufta in the Aquillrelle May 2011 journal as the Poet of the month. 'Ancedotes' reminded me of my old neighbourhood and old neighbour. 'The Pallu of my mother's sari' is a beautiful tale of the Indian mother and the ends of her sari that act as her third limb. Carolyne Van Der Meer's renidition of the 'modern family time' tugs at your heart. Frank Joussen's poem Excavation Dream made me think of my ancestral family grave. Carol Faber's 'A Child Asks' is an innocent poem that takes you back to your childhood. Fathima E.V paints an Indian wedding with her visionary sight.Her vocabulary is strong. 'Family Bond' has interesting metaphors like tortoises and swords,although the composition can be tightened. Caroline Ilica's translators have done an awesome job in translating her poems. Lyn Vellins 'Earthbound' is a rustic poem that showers fatherhood with the kind of respect that mothers are often bestowed with. The poem is a rare metaphor. Thursday Night Shopping by Lyn Vellins tells us of the values we must not instill in our children. Miachel Farry's 'Grandmother' is like a fresh soft breeze while The First Grandson is a rustic poem. Chiara Gamboz's 'Home' is a neat poetic prose that reminded me of my ancestral house. Brian Wixon's poetry has Godly blissfulness to it. Maie joy Sau Buenaventura's poem 'Grandmother's God' talks intelligently of symbolism in religion. My Lodestar didn't manage to tug at my heart. Joe Kriss's poem uses exquisite imagery like 'weak as a whisper'. Familial Ties by Shloka Shankar is a take on the warring modern families in India. Sunita Prasad's poems are full of love although she can string imagery and adopt a tighter structure omitting the many connectors she uses. Ammama by Nivedita is a soulful poem with bright colors while that with Everette Jr makes you to contemplate.
Anu Cowalgi needs to indict imagery into her poems while Girish Kute's poem needs to be trimmed of the loose edges. Gulzar's poem translated by Pavan K Verma is a intelligent metaphor on relationships.

'Liar Liar' by Teresa Sweeney is a story with a yearning for the truth. Monika Pant's story 'My Grandma's House' reminded me of my childhood days. A plethora of emotions swept me off my feet. Tom Stable's 'The Secret We Know' is a testimony of sorrow that one goes through when a loved one is suffering from cancer. Truly a Caring Son by Dr Easwer H V is a wonderful tale of a simple man who could make a difference in the life of his dad unlike the many youngsters of today. An Epiphany is a tiny tale of escape from a serial abuser. Sunil Sharma's Home was the heart wrenching story of a poor guy who wanted to earn a dignified successful life but loses out to the unkindness of this big bad world.  25,000 cases is another heart breaking tale of the loss of a loved one. The Handbag by Mary Bradford has a twisted ending that surprised me in the end. It was beautiful to read the retelling of a bus journey undertaken by an Indian mother in Varun Malhotra's story The Mother. Loud Silence by Enja Stumpf in Loud Silence talks of the sourness of silence and boredom that can creep into a marriage and if not treated could kill the relationship. Miss-understanding by Ravin has a happy ending with a surprising twist that baffles you. Utsav by Soumya Sinha Talks of happy times with grandparents and how with passing times their loves for us never fades.
Time's Up By Lisa Elseberger is again a scary tale of an abusive husband that has a very sad ending. Grandparents by Ramakant J is again a wonderful dedication to all the grandparents of the world, talking of the daintiness of their love. Saumya Kulshestra's Forbidden is a well spun tale of dreams and choices that a woman makes. Some see fulfillment while others die a nameless death on the altar of sacrifices. White Light by Garrich Webster is an account of loss and battle with  the monsters of cancer, narrated by a daughter. Blood is thicker than Water by Ravin talks of diminishing importance of parents in the lives of young adults. Heaven Spam by Patrick Doherty is not the kind of letter parents would want to receive from a child. Joshua by Paulami Duttagupta moved me immensely. Sometimes being selfless is too costly she says. Twilight by Rochelle Potkar is a tale of friendship that grows thicker than blood. Maybe Paris by Barbara Leahy was the tale of a dancer who continues to live even after death, all thanks to a legacy she leaves behind. Grandma's stories by Frank Joussen talk of the lack of time we spend with our elderly, while Roshan Radhakrishnan's  A Mother's touch is a saddening account of medical ignorance as you may put it. Everything will be Alight By Yagna Mishra peeps into the lives of people struck by tragedy and how their will keeps them on their toes, come what may. Varsha Pillai's Approval is the sweet tale of a young woman seeking a yes from a person she loves, for a person she loves. Gulzar's story is a masterpiece. A very clever metaphor on the generation gap.

The book is a medley of emotions that would often take you down the memory lane. While reading the poetry and stories in the offing, you are reminded of many people you hold dear and many more you do not want to see, ever in life. Some stories were shorter than the others, which took away the pleasure of reading from the longer ones, although that is my personal opinion. There weren't any major grammar goof ups or spelling mistakes. Some stories make you ponder deeply about human relationships and stir your soul. 
It is a collector's copy you would want to see in your bookshelf.

I give it 3/5, two points go away for some stories and poems that needed more careful preening.

1 comment:

Monika said...

thank you for liking my story.
Monika Pant