Book Reviews

Brief book reviews of  Nandini Sahu’s books

Sita: Cover

An Alternative Narrative: Reading Nandini Sahu’s Sita (A Poem)

The Poetry Society of India, New Delhi, Second Edition 2020

Excerpts from Review by: Sagar Kumar Sharma

Not a re-telling of the Ramayana in any form, rather, “penned as a poetic memoir of the heroine of the epic, Sita, told in the first-person narrative”, spanned over a space of XXV cantos, Nandini Sahu’s Sita is a classic read in gender politics. A testimony of the poet’s extraordinary ability to write sustained narrative poems, Sita is a mark of distinction in terms of poetic perfection. The epic-scale poem deals in a much required balanced way a subject that is as delicate as it is serious. Sahu so fuses her own eco-feminist concerns with the myth of Sita’s birth that it becomes difficult to tell Sita from Nandini or Nandini from Sita, they become one, and in that sense, Sita is Nandini, Nandini Sita. Sahu’s Sita is an exercise in a feminist narrative of its own kind–it does not exclude men; in fact, she admires men for the roles they play in her life

Nandini/Sita deconstructs the consciously crafted patriarchal construct and studies the operational procedures of the subjugating forces in society from various viewpoints. The text presents a sincere criticism of the indifference of history to the real issues of Sita and the likes of her.

To sum up the reading experience of Nandini Sahu’s Sita (A Poem)– it is exhilarating, enlightening, electric, and essential. It is not another long narrative poem, its effect is permanent; it is an unforgettable experience, a sheer delight, eye-opener, and a compulsory read for all.

 

Zero Point (A Collection of Poems) by Nandini Sahu

Authorspress, New Delhi, 2018

Zero Point: Cover

Excerpts of Book Review by Dr.Pushpa P Menon

In the present anthology Zero Point, Nandini Sahu begins at zero point literally and figuratively. A fresh start. The poet has come to a full circle of her personal and poetic vision. The poet and poems in the collection are “inclusive, compassionate, universal, tolerant, accommodative, acquiescent and patient.”

The preface to the collection provides insight to the poet’s philosophy and vision of life. It offers a lens through which the sense of the poems unfolds itself. The poems deal with a range of themes.

There are moments in her poems that refuse to be shackled, tied down and be compliant. In These Days I do Only what the Heart Says, the poet sings in racy and energetic madness. She has reached a stage

“When I can dictate terms and life doesn’t have much of a choice.

For Nandini Sahu, “In the times we are living in, only poetry holds out a hope. Poetry, which is larger than life,” which can help “construct a world in which the reader can find delight, inspiration, experimentation, information, understanding, passion, magnificence – all inclinations of art.”

 

Selected Poems of Nandini Sahu (Spring 2021) :

Spirited Life, as She Lives It

Signorina Publications, New Delhi, 2021

Excerpts from Book Review by Dr. Devendar Sandhu

 

Selected Poems: Nandini Sahu: Cover

Author, prodigy, inspirational folklorist, mythologist, uncompromisingly rebellious feminist, and prolific poet Prof. Nandini Sahu is one of the legends of mythology, folklore and culture studies in India.

This anthology is her labour of love. She did not try to make this labour look gruelling though it might have been as she churned fifty poems in two months. She was down with Covid and she shifted to her own humble abode. She made the compilation look delicious and entertaining like a kaleidoscope of her conscious experiences of exciting herself with the feelings of youth, introspection, love, nostalgia, reverie and passion. With simple inner structures of the poem, the collection deals with a range of emotions in-depth.

The entire collection is a delightful read. And a must read for the lovers of poetry.

 

Of Poetry Ever Alert and Cogent:

A Critical Introduction to Selected Poems of Nandini Sahu (Winter 2020)

Signorina Publications, New Delhi, 2020

Excerpts from Book review by Prof. Anand Prakash

Nandini Sahu has a fire that keeps the poetry in her going. It also carries the unmistakable colour of emotion to the viewer. But does she have a tangible viewer in mind, a somebody who would spot the urge for making sense. One does not know. Sahu is engrossed in the domain of tough issues that cannot be easily cracked. The good part is that she dares. In that resides her talent of carrying on.

 

Sahu is critically aware of the pitfalls of matrimony and family. Both are at the centre of a woman’s existence. In the conventional sense. Indeed, conventional defines her life, the very essence of clearly formed boundaries. They do not inspire her to realize the potential she would be carrying in her heart. Am talking of the woman in India’s contentious conditions. The symbol of the mythical woman Sita spontaneously emerges. Sita was someone’s obedient servant even as she assumed willingly the role of a committed follower. Soon after the decision of following the husband-master came into effect, questions multiplied. These related to norms of behaviour on one side and the problems of living away from homely surroundings. Of prime importance in Sahu’s approach is the centrality of woman’s concerns.To her, Sita as a myth had a firm basis in Odisha’s culture. And rightly.

 

It is of interest for the reader that Sahu does not leave sight of the social norms while fervently taking recourse to myth and fantasy in one integrated move. This is made clear as we face the myth of Draupadi so effectively delineated in the other epic Mahabharata.

 

In her epic poem Sita(A Poem), Sahu talks about a Sita who is progressive, optimistic, ecofeminist, who takes life in her stride, never brooding over destiny. Sita defines every woman in such poetic and poised terms.

A strong point of Sahu’s poetry is its sensuous nature. It appeals to the reader at the level of evoking, expanding suggestions. What is stated initially as matter-of-fact soon becomes more than a statement, indeed an atmosphere of colours and lines.