Poems of Hope and Positivity: The Poetic Burden and Other Poems


Sushant Kumar B.K.

Sushant Thapa, a Nepalese noteworthy poet-friend from Biratnagar , Nepal has already introduced three collections of poetry: Minutes of Merit, Abstraction and Other Poems, and The Poetic Burden and Other Poems. He is currently planning to publish his fourth poetry book by World Inkers Printing and Publishing, New York, USA.

But today, I'm reviewing his debut collection of poems, The Poetic Burden and Other Poems. Since he has already published three anthologies of poems, including the debut one, In the process of writing, my intrusive self-wonders, "Why do I review his debut anthology while neglecting the other of his two recent anthologies?  At that moment, I realized that books are neither old nor dead. They can constantly be viewed from a variety of angles, and numerous interpretations can also be offered.

The imperative facet of my review for this debut anthology is to employ the poems as windows through which I can discover the poet's sheer strengths and good abilities despite being a budding poet at the time the anthology was written. Therefore, let's start by discussing the blurbs of the book.  Book blurbs often play a crucial role in selling books. As they attract readers to buy books since smart readers generally start by reading the books’ blurbs prior to purchasing them. In this regard, Thapa’s debut book is rich enough that contains eight blurbs written by globally renowned authors and poets. They are as below:

Professor Saugata Bhaduri-  Centre for English Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, Yuyutsu Sharma - author of Annaurna Poems and A Bizzard in my Bones: New York Poems, Dusticn Pickering-  Founder and editor at Transcendent Zero Press and Harbinger Aslum; Hoston, Texas, USA, Mahes Paudyal - Poet and Critic, Central Department of Tribhuwan University,Kathmandu, Nepal, Gopal Lahiri - Poet and Critic, Kolkata, India, Dr. Tulsi Acharya- Assistance Professor of English At South Georgia State College, USA, Jarle Sanden- Retired Managing Director of Romsdalmuseet, Molde, Norway.,Mia Savant,- Creator of Literary blog Ponder Sawant, USA have opined their perspectives as blurs about the book.  

As a critical reader of literary works, I discover such similarity is with Barack Obama's book, "The Audacity of Hope," as well. Also, it features ten blurbs that are written by great personalities and global national dailies: Joe Klein-The Times, Simon Jenkins- Sunday Times, Spectator, Oona King- The Times, Sunday Times, Guardian, Washington post, New Statesman, Observer, Independent.

 Countless authors and newspapers have contributed blurbs for the book, The Audacity of Hope in response to Obama's prior literary work, an autobiographical novel called Dreams From My Father, and his position as the president of the USA. The same fate has occurred to be for Thapa's debut poetry collection, The Poetic Burden and Other Poems, His habit of writing frequently, beautiful poems or stimulating articles motivated global authors and poets to pen blurbs for his debut anthology. Here, his strengths and abilities are reflections of his habits.

Yet again, my analytical thinking wonders why such widely esteemed authors and poets contributed blurbs to the book then. I explore that, by publishing poems and articles on national and international platforms before the book's release, the poet had already established his repute as a poet and the writer at the pinnacle of literature.

 I also discovered that the title poem, "The Poetic Burden," appears on page 85 and it is numbered 67 when reading poems in this book, whereas the poem “Let Your Fiction Flow” is numbered 1. Despite the fact that the book's title poem is usually placed on the first page. Why did the budding poet, Thapa choose to do so then? The answer is: comparatively, the poem” The Poetic Burden” is more psychological and the title itself is poetic in nature that general readers or citizens could feel difficult to comprehend its essence and sense but the poem “Let Your Fiction Flow” looks less connotative and easy to grasp even though we all assume that no poetry often contains ordinary language, the poet appears to be aware of how comprehensive the poem should be for general readers here.

 “With a soothing flow;

And an imaginative glow

A poem comes in between words and is

Always a delight to uncover words and know

Drenched in the burden to compose

Nothingness is viewed from a lens sometimes too verbose

Passion and politics

Nature and mankind

Shame and anguish

Can all rest below one topic and roof

Figures and figurative languages are s

Slipped slowly like tea

From life’s cup…”” (The Poetic Burden).

The poem "The Poetic Burden" is where the aforementioned lines are taken from. In fact, figuring out the poem's hidden meaning here could be perplexing for (general) average readers. Does the poet truly think that composing poetry is a burden? Undoubtedly not,  Even though the word "burden" has a negative meaning that generally refers to a worry or problem but according to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary(9th Edition)- “ Burden” means –(n)-“ a duty or responsibility, etc. that causes worry..”. Mind it, a duty and one should not take it as a problem, so, connotatively, the poet's burden is to ever be pleasant. He sees significance within it. The poet enjoys carrying out his duty regarding abstractions, analogies, and metaphors that are challenging to use in a meaningful way while crafting poems.

“… Your fiction which is real

Let them feel

The power of the heal

It is your words just wield

The folly critics should not make you yield( Let Your Fiction Flow)

The lines from the poem "Let Your Fiction Flow" that have been mentioned are more denotative than connotative. Even the general readers could understand it with ease. Apparently, he might have thought that a difficult reading always lacks its aesthetics, essence and meaning. So he purposely sets the poem on the first page to lure all types of readers through simplicity of its language.

Here, the poet also promotes the idea of writing self-stories (fiction). It is a process of healing oneself similar to script therapy, or script therapy itself; a therapeutic method in which mentally disturbed people have to write everything and anything to release traumatic feelings from within. That way, the poet correspondingly creates hope in our hearts, and if hope should be the first and foremost thing in one’s life, then why not a positive and hopeful poem should be in the first place or on the first page?

So, the poet appears to be wise enough in placing both poems in their respective places as they are numbered in the book.

Most of the poems in any anthology are normally composed over a period of years, at least within one year, and during such years, the poets may frequently change perspectives on everything or something and then they attempt to express such changes through poetry. Sometimes they express their rage, malice, somberness, hatred, ambiguity, and dualism; however, Thapa's poems take a stand on one point which is profound hope in life, even if he falls or fails. His poems find hope in life in any circumstance, and find light even in the darkest of times.

His poems remind the readers of the play Waiting For Godot by Samuel Backett. Here, Vladimir and Estragon, the two people, keep on waiting for the arrival of Godot. But Godot never appears. But they (Vladimir and Estragon) keep on holding onto their faith and hope.

Most of the poems in this anthology reflect tremendous hope and encouragement in some way, either at the beginning or at the end. For instance, the poet looks optimistic about life in the poem "The Choices." He argues that while there is darkness and the possibility of awful times, there is also brightness, and individuals have the choice. As we are all aware that during the COVID-19 pandemic, which had a disastrous impact on everyone's life and society, thinking positively about life seemed impossible to everyone. But the poet, through his poem "Writing on the Broken Wall" says that one should value both: night and day, as night is the source of day. It comes only after the night. In the same way, the poet believes that the pandemic has done something good for human beings too; that it has restored "lost" humanity in this so-called materialistic and calculative world.

Since this book ultimately offers optimism in the face of gloom or hardship, I would like to name the poet Mr. Hope. I also highly recommend it to give a read to those who are experiencing hopelessness or failure.

B.K. is a Nepali poet, translator, educator, and freelance writer who is from Gulariya, Bardiya, Nepal. He especially writes poems in English and Nepali languages. His poems have been featured in national and international anthologies, magazines, newspapers, and online portals. He can be reached at sushantacademia@gmail.com.)




How did you feel after reading this news?