I just read ‘Garden of Love – A Poetry Collection’ compiled by Anuj Kumar. Poetry is usually very beautiful when written the right way. So, naturally, I was very happy to receive a poetry compilation which are now getting extremely rare.
So, here is what I thought.
Upon first look, I found the cover very attractive. The large tree amidst the darkness is a beautiful design for a cover, especially this one. Additionally, though it may seem irrelevant in this section, I also really liked how the book was a bit larger in size when compared to the conventional dimensions. However, one drawback in my opinion is that I couldn’t link the cover to the title of the book.
Cover Rating – 3.5/5
I personally loved the title and thought it encompassed the essence of the book well. It really does deal with the magnanimous topic of love that the four authors share via their own perceptional ways. But I definitely wished there was an element of mystery to it. Something that wasn’t so predictable.
Title Rating – 3/5
Now, coming to the main part of the book. The poetry. The compilation is very strong in the sense that it is conceptually profound. The poetry is split among four talented young poets in two main genres – The pros and the cons of love. We have five poems per poet in the section ‘Heaven of Love’ and another five poems per poet in the ‘Hell of Love’ section. This totals to forty poems. I personally found that idea brilliant.
I am going to split the review poet wise and then reveal my favourite poem in each of the sections.
Anuj Kumar: The book opens with this poet. I liked the play of the rhyme scheme and how it kept flitting from abab to aabb and then also became non-existent in a few sections. It seemed chaotic but had poetic justice to it. The poet’s strength is clarity of thought which is evident from the flow of the poems. The weakness, if any, would have to be the conclusion of the poems. They seemed a bit rushed / incomplete in a couple of areas. My favourite poem was ‘Need You to Smile’ from the Heaven of Love and ‘Departure’ from the Hell of Love.
Maliny Mohan: The best part about this poet’s writing is how it feels as though there is a story being told through each verse. They link to one another and form an almost song-like lilt to the writing. This poet’s strength is the ability to connect to readers and the weakness, if any, would have to be the sentence construction. I felt it lacked power. My favourite from the Heaven of Love was ‘The Muse’ and from the Hell of Love was ‘I Breathe Your Name’.
Akash Deep Gupta: One main feature that stood out for me in this portion of the poetry was the simplicity. This element, I felt, was essential in increasing the connectivity to the readers. I found myself reading this author’s poetry a lot slower, enjoying the imagery that came from the language of the poetry. This, definitely, is the poet’s strength. The weakness, however, was the abrupt sentences. That affected the flow. My favourite from the Heaven of Love was ‘Theatre of Love’ and from the Hell of Love was ‘The Closed Door’
Abhijeet Singh Yadav: Abhijeet has a conversational style of writing poetry, which for me, was both a positive as well as a negative quality. Positive, because, it made the poems extremely engaging, but negative because it also made them seem more like stories than poetry to me. I found it a bit too dialogue oriented and tale-like than having any sort of poetic justice. My favourite from the Heaven of Love was ‘Love & Leisure’ and from the Hell of Love was ‘She Lives’.
There is clear evidence that every single one of these pieces was well thought out. The compilation was done excellently and on point. There was a definite indication of more positives than negatives. But there were two factors which dampened the experience for me.
One – I wished that each author’s section of the poetry was clearly distinguished with his / her name. I found myself going back to the contents page multiple times to try and recollect who the poet was for each of the poems. Maybe the initials or the name on the top of each set of the bottom of each poem would have made it a lot clearer and would have given the individual poets far more recognition.
Two – Hardly one or two poems stood out as marvelous / outstanding or as pieces of writing that I will remember for a long time to come. That number is very small for a book that consists of 40 poems.
Final Rating: 3.5/5
Verdict: Recommended for Poem Enthusiasts!