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Review by Bernard M. Jackson
essay [ ]

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by [kksrivastava ]

2010-02-05  |     | 

AN ARMLESS HAND WRITES - A Collection of POEMS - K.K.. Srivastava
Price: Rs. 250 ISBN 978-81-269-5 PP : 178

"An Armless Hand Writes contains a whole host of life impressions offered with deep wisdom and truth and with the look on the essential things— touching and thought provoking. All on a high linguistic level. I think the author wants to carry forward justice, to disseminate truth, to faithfully record history............................ to expose darkness and corruption to purify society from a new angle and to promote the advancement of human civilization."
Prof Kurt F. Svatek, Noble prize nominee for literature from Austria
in Poetcrit

“We write our most beautiful lines
in solitude of two extremes,
one that reveals nothing, posing no
threat to us and
the other that secretes compulsive

Following the remarkable success of his first collection, INELUCTABLE STILLNESS , an intellectually challenging tome, highly rated by international critics and review writers of prominence in the literary world, K.K. Srivastava has adroitly followed up with a poetical work of even further probing depth and linguistic complexity. There can be no doubt that this well-versed poet is a wordsmith of consummate skill and breathtaking creative ability. Eloquence and a masterly voice of realism are the twin keynotes of his introspective manifestations in his characteristic free-verse writings, but the empathetic reader readily, senses here that this impressive bard is at no point inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity. On the contrary, Srivastava’s poetry is endowed with the essence of unabashed sincerity and a scholarly, intuititive onward course of development. Yet the commanding tone of much of this writer’s work draws the reader by the sheer force of the authoritarian insistence thus employed:
“We float between intellect and
We float between verisimilitude and
We sink in the quagmire of
forlorn hopes.”
AN ARMLESS HAND, a collection of 51 poems, some of longer extended length, deal with the complex interaction of conscious and unconscious aspects and processes of human psyche; and Srivastava, like a virtual Sophoclesian Tiresius of the more modern, decadent world to which he clings (and yet does not entirely belong) comments incisively on the self-centered facades masking the shell of an empty and purposeful society. Again, as in his previous collection, there are distinct echoes of T.S. Eliot. Compare, for instance:
“The winter evening settles down with smell of steak in passageways.
Six o'-clock,
the burnt-out ends of smoky days - - -“
“That cold, wintry afternoon, and those
cold, icy thoughts trickling down my spine,
a place bringing to the fore the beauty
out of creatures, live and agile,
out of trees, tall and green,
out of smoky evening, glowing nearby.”

And Srivastava’s above-quoted poem, a poem with one of the longest titles I have yet encountered, really provides microcosmic insight into this writer’s mindset and entire psyche. For in this particular poem, he resurrects abounding images and impressions of the former student life to which he had once belonged:
“time ticking away and the uneasy
calm paving the way for bigger
disquietude, already on the anvil.”
In another poem, notable for its incisive perception, Srivastava again nurtures echoes of Eliot's timeless observations:
“We are fictitious people.
We are feeble people,
we live by ourselves alone.
We are crippled people,
we live by our holes.
We are inverted people,
we live by our live ghosts.
We survive by impressions alone;”
In other poems there are distinct sentiments of regret and the gnawing pangs of those unrequited yearnings for certain- bond of youthful love he had once been honoured to share:
“Alas, the youthful exuberance of silence
strikes me too early, too silently.
The detours I hate and hate, lead me to
a rendezvous with .forgotten memories,
shoving themselves upwards.”
In his aching search through memories of yesteryear, Srivastava revisits old, familiar places and earlier meeting grounds. His journeyings in verse are spiritually motivated, but at no point doctrinaire, for direct religious allusion is never actually made - though intrinsic principles of practical morality are ever to be observed near the surface of his profound introspection:
“With you and you alone
I saw an indecent burial of a corpse,
I saw an indecent meal being served,
I saw worn-out clothes sobering us,
I saw her dying coolly patiently and happily,
I saw lepers playing with stray dogs,
loving them, cajoling them,
I saw my parents lost somewhere.
I saw my teachers quarrelling with their poverty.
I saw my beloved retreating far off,
enchanting me with what she never promised me.”
The poetry of K.K. Srivastava provides clear insight into the psyche of this introspective poet, and this collection is further enhanced by the poet/author’s detailed preface, an absorbing 17-page essay outlining the writer’s aims, inspirations and raison d’être. Here is a modern writer whose profound output in verse is meaningful, openly addressed and exquisitely penned.
One of the more fascinating collections that I have delved into for quite some time.

Bernard M. Jackson, a poet from U.K. is Secretary of Cinque Ports Poets (England), and is a member of the International Association of Writers and Artists (Bluffton, Ohio, USA. He is the Articles Editor for Quantum Leap Magazine and current Advisor to Norfolk Poets and Writers. He has recently been honoured with Fellowship of Temple of Arts Academy, New Zealand.

( This review first appeared in ezine eTIPS Winter issue Number 12(December 2009 issue) edited by Wendy Webb, London based poet. Desirous readers can ask for the ezine at following emai [email protected] )

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