Monday, March 29, 2010

Poetry Meme

Poetry isn't really my favourite genre but there are some poets whose work I love and thereby, got interested in poetry. Priya gave some fascinating answers for this great meme and here's my take on it:

1. The first poem I remember reading/hearing/reacting to was:

Sarojini Naidu's The Bangle Sellers. I think I read this for a competition in school. It's just so vivid and descriptive and I love it! A few lines from it:

Some are like fields of sunlit corn,
Meet for a bride on her bridal morn,
Some, like the flame of her marriage fire,
Or, rich with the hue of her heart's desire,
Tinkling, luminous, tender, and clear,
Like her bridal laughter and bridal tear.

2. I was forced to memorize (name of poem) in school and……..

This is the poem I loved memorizing for school! Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare. Few lines from this masterpiece:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

Austen-fan that I am, I absolutely love it when Kate Winslet playing Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility recites these lines in the pouring rain. Perhaps one of the most powerful moments in the film. Almost always makes a tear slide down my cheek!

3. I read/don’t read poetry because….

I read poetry when I'm in the mood for it. I don't read it that often because a lot of poems go over my head, to be honest. Some poets aren't at all my kind and I'd rather read the poets I love than pretend to appreciate popular poets!

4. A poem I’m likely to think about when asked about a favorite poem is …….

Priya wrote about this too, and I've already mentioned this poem before in this blog. Those who visit my blog know about my Thursdays With Tagore meme and would have guessed rightly that he is my favourite poet.

 Well..this is the Tagore poem I read that made me a life-long fan. I remember reading this for the first time on Independence Day and realizing that I'm crying. 

Such an experience has never happened with any other poem till now in my life. Perhaps it was the occasion that was overwhelming. But that poem captivated me beyond words. 

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

In a similar vein, I love Sarojini Naidu's poem To India:

O young through all thy immemorial years! 
Rise, Mother, rise, regenerate from thy gloom,
And, like a bride high-mated with the spheres,
Beget new glories from thine ageless womb!

The nations that in fettered darkness weep
Crave thee to lead them where great mornings break . . . .
Mother, O Mother, wherefore dost thou sleep?
Arise and answer for thy children's sake!

Thy Future calls thee with a manifold sound
To crescent honours, splendours, victories vast;
Waken, O slumbering Mother and be crowned,
Who once wert empress of the sovereign Past. 

5. I write/don’t write poetry, but…………..

I don't write poetry because I'm not comfortable with that style of writing. I haven't tried it much, to be honest.

6. My experience with reading poetry differs from my experience with reading other types of literature…..

Most certainly because there's just so much more to a poem than what you read. The poem on paper is just the beginning of an experience of sorts for the reader.

7. I find poetry…..

Powerful. The poetry I like is the one that gets to me emotionally, lingers on my mind and never let's me go. Unforgettable, emotional and powerful poetry is the type I love.

8. The last time I heard poetry….

was so long ago, I don't even remember!

9. I think poetry is like….

An optical illusion like this. Different people see poetry differently and it means one thing to someone and yet another possibly opposite thing to someone else. I think poetry is an experience, a personalized experience worth cherishing if you find the kind you like! :)

I tag anyone interested in doing this meme. It's fun!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Anne of Green Gables - Lucy Maud Montgomery

Rating: 10/10

Anne Shirley loves big words and wishes that her name was something romantic, like 'Cordelia'. She loves to use her imagination and lets it run wild. She can talk and talk and talk and can sometimes do the most unbelievable things, shocking all and sundry. She has flaming red hair that she hates and an equally fiery temper. And there's no way one cannot fall in love with her.

It's been a while since I was totally charmed by a protagonist. But Anne Shirley, the girl who turns up when Matthew and Marilla Cuthberth of Green Gables had wanted to adopt a boy who would help in the farm, is a heroine like no other. I'll admit I wasn't really excited about the idea of a 'vivacious, energetic, lively, chatterbox of a girl' because several times, authors get the character wrong and she turns out to be irritating, pretentious and annoying.

But Lucy Maud Montgomery is a fantastic writer who knows exactly what she wants her characters to be like and she gets it right. Anne is a most original heroine. There are dialogues where Anne speaks for pages, but never is the dialogue boring or pompous. Nor does Anne sound too mature for her age, which is another problem I've seen in books with young protagonists. 

Anne of Green Gables is all heart and soul and makes for a beautiful read which will make you emotionally bond with the characters. It made me smile, laugh, reminisce with nostalgia and indeed cry at some parts.

 The book is a bit like taking characters out of an Enid Blyton book, but giving a Jane Austen touch to the narrative. The girls are wonderfully adorable, have their own flaws and it's fun to see them grow up. All the women in this book are fabulous characters, skilfully crafted. There's harsh yet caring Mrs. Lynde, the 'bosom friend' Diana, the inspirational teacher Miss Stacy and of course, perhaps my favourite secondary characters, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert. And as for Gilbert Blythe...don't you known that strange feeling when some character you read in a book resembles someone you know?

This book is an easy read with a witty narrative, excellent dialogues and some breath-taking descriptions of nature that bring Green Gables to life and make you feel as though you're walking past Lover's Lane and seeing the beauty of the Lake of Shining Waters. Lucy Maud Montgomery is a joy to read and her Anne, our Anne, is an unforgettable heroine whom I look forward to following as she goes about her life in the sequels  to this book. I'm planning to watch the BBC version and movie version of this great book. 

If you haven't become part of Anne's wonderful world, I suggest you go pick the book and read it. It's never too late!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursdays With Tagore - March 25

Every Thursday, I shall read one of Tagore's poems as translated in this book or some other poem I can find. I shall post some lines from the poem and perhaps a detail of how I liked this poem or not. Any others who want to join in this meme are absolutely welcome to do so! 

This is a poem that goes much on the lines of Shakespeare's 'All the world's a stage. And all the men and women merely players', though I personally think Tagore's take on this is more impressive. I love the exquisite use of words to create this atmosphere of an epic feeling.

In creation's vast field
the play of fireworks in the skies
with suns and stars
is on a cosmic scale.
I too came from the invisible without beginning
with a minute fire-particle to a tiny spot
of space and time
Now as I enter the last act, the lamp's flame
flickers, the shadows reveal
the illusory nature of this play.
Joys and sorrows, dramatic disguises,
slowly become slack.
Hundreds of actors and actresses through the ages
have left their many-coloured costumes outside the door
of the theatre. I look and see
in the greenroom of hundreds of extinguished stars 
the king of the theatre standing still, alone.

The final few lines are especially brilliant. They made me pause and understand the magnificent imagination Tagore has, to interpret something as commonplace as life, death and God.  The more I re-read this poem, the more I love it! :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Meme + A Thank You!

Veens tagged me for this awesome meme. I love book memes! :)

Are there any books you would like to beg, borrow, or steal?
Oh yes. My To-Be Read list just keeps piling up and I'd love to 'indefinitely borrow' some books that are on my list ;)

Are you addicted to trips to Borders or the public library?
Library. I'd be penniless if I was addicted to visiting book shops (which I already am, sort of ) because I just can't do window-shopping. Nothing's more torturous than gaping at a wonderful book knowing you can't buy it! 

Do you have a way to remember what books you have read?
Goodreads. And a stick-it note with a list of books I need to read soon. I love striking out the names in that note when I'm done reading the book. 

When did your love of books begin? 
As long as I can remember? Starting with the Berenstein Bears to Enid Blyton to Harry Potter to M.J.Akbar and Ramachandra Guha, I've been in love with books for as long as I can remember :)

What is a favorite book? 
Most definitely can't pick one. It used to be Little Women at one time, Malory Towers at another, Pride and Prejudice and Harry Potter some time back....but I can't zero in on one now. 

Authors would be Jane Austen, Jhumpa Lahiri, M.J.Akbar, Shashi Tharoor, Arthur Conan Doyle, Nayantara Sahgal J.K.Rowling, Agatha Christie...

Do you still have in your possession a book borrowed, but not returned to its rightful owner?
Yes. An old copy of My Experiments With Truth by Mahatma Gandhi, that I borrowed from my Mum :D

What's the most in library fines you have owed
Too many hefty fines too many times that I can't even remember. 

Do you loan books out to others?
Yep..but I'm always worried about how/when/if it will come back. LOL. I heave a sigh of relief when I get back the book :)

How do you keep track of them? 
I don't lend that many books to lose track of them. I usually remember them well enough.

I tag anyone who wants to do this meme! 


A big thank you to all of you who have taken time to read my blog, post comments and encourage me to keep this blog running for almost a year now. I have some more things planned for this blog and hopefully, I have enough time to do it. 

You guys are fantastic and I'm so very glad to have reached the magical 50 followers mark! :D

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursdays With Tagore - March 18

Every Thursday, I shall read one of Tagore's poems as translated in this book or some other poem I can find. I shall post some lines from the poem and perhaps a detail of how I liked this poem or not. Any others who want to join in this meme are absolutely welcome to do so! 

This is an extract from a lovely poem called Sunday:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and others -
       grim-faced old stewpots!
They don't like little boys. With us
      they are always cross!
But as I get up in the morning
      at the end of  Saturday night,
who should I spy but Sunday,
      her face lit up by a smile!
How she cries when she says goodbye
      and gazes with yearning at us!
   Like you, Mum, she must be
   the daughter of a poor family.

It's amazingly simple and beautiful and dwells on the familiar feeling that Sunday runs away fast before we  realize it while the rest of the days crawl. Tagore has an interesting explanation for it, that of Sunday being the daughter of a poor family who delays reaching her destination probably because her house is farthest from the others and leaves fast because she has more chores than the others. 

I enjoyed reading it and will be sure to remember it every time I yearn for the weekend! :)


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