Review of Unturned Verses by Gopa Bhattacharjee
“A book of mundane verses flowing like a brook that will soothe your soul, making you fall in love with contemporary poetry”
'Unturned Verses' by Gopa Bhattacharjee is not a typical anthology, rather I would prefer to call it a chapbook of poems with some 61 odd poems that majorly are the candid expression of the poetess and it has much more to offer. Thus, I would love to take you to the journey of my feelings that I experienced while reading this book. To begin with I would say the first poem itself is the most intriguing one entitled ‘I am not a Poet’ that clearly portrays the innermost feelings of the poet and how unpretentiously she is admitting that poetry doesn’t come to her so easy while weaving a poem out of those raw emotions with so much ease. As the few lines from that poem go like this:
I am not a poet.
She doesn’t knock my door everyday.
But sometimes, when I have stomach filled nights
Few jumbled words do cloud my mind.
A poet who believes that words are not her game but yet she has played them wisely, is what this poem clearly reflects. Soon after her confession we see the poet becoming a metaphor herself where she has found meaning and many other emotions sometimes from nature, from life, from people, from love and from her own existence. She is that mundane poet, who has turned all the above things into metaphors of pleasantness and resonation. Each poem would fall on the parched soul of yours and you will feel how easily you are connecting with the poet through her book.
But if you read her poem Burning Emotions, you would know that even a roasting Brinjal has a poem to offer, because it is all about seeing and feeling the verses that are everywhere around us and how a true poet sees them and captures them is all that matters! Gopa has done that with great opulence and the poem sits most contentedly in your soul. I am sure myriad women readers would resonate with the poet’s feeling here.
Largely, you would see a quagmire of desires, emotions, some unanswered questions and reflections of her love filled heart. The poet has expressed them in few of her poems, her qualms of the pangs in love, some untold words that didn’t find their way out and many silenced emotions lost somewhere in time. A poet has to be a lover first to feel the twinge more and Gopa seems to have done it in the most sublime manner.
She has found a bag full of her unsaid words and has spread them across the pages of this chapbook, without failing to convey her gratitude to her teacher, to her Baba (Father) and to those as well whose pain she feels or had felt in the process of compiling this book perhaps. The bouts of nostalgia that has often groped her, the bygone time that she still misses, those old letters and postcard days, her childhood to her youth and many things of her essence, you would see it all under one roof called ‘Unturned Verses’.
Another of the most intriguing at the same time a poem that I particularly liked is My Father, A Cobbler, where the poet has portrayed the most humble and honest feelings towards what her dad taught her, ‘that no matter what work a person does, he needs to walk with his head held high’.
Her verses say it like this in the book:
I ran to ask him
“What do you do?”
He smiled and said:
‘I’m a cobbler,
I make people’s shoe”.
This poem here abruptly reminded me of Syliva Plath’s confessional poem ‘Daddy’ addressed to her father only.
You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.
Although the similarity is only in terms of dedicating the poem to a Father, but Gopa has certainly ended the poem on a wiser note with a life lesson she has revealed to have learnt over the years.
Now if I have to talk about the narration, style and poetic elements, Gopa’s style is undoubtedly contemporary with free verses flowing with ease, language is lucid and uncomplicated, prosaic style is more dominant in each poem and this is what makes it an interesting and a pleasant read. We don’t see any strong influence of any particular poetic style or poets if I have to say it most bluntly but the verses are straight from the heart, uncompromised and purely raw.
Chrysanthemum Chronicles’ Verdict: ‘Unturned Verses’ is a book of which I am pleased to receive a signed copy from the poet herself. It is more of a privilege not only to read, but to journey along the poet’s petite world of carefully woven words. I believe that we get to know a writer/poet more from reading their works as much knowing them in person, and from this chapbook we will see a hopelessly romantic poet who has carefully captured herself in the book. All you have to do is turn the pages and read her verses. This poetry collection I would recommend to every reader/writer and would like to rate it 4.5 on the scale of 5 for its novelty, mundane vibes and simple yet very good poems.
Gopa Bhattacharjee is born and brought up in Kolkata. She is an entrepreneur and has been the Director of a Private Limited Manufacturing Company for the past 26 years. But she is passionate and enthusiastic about weaving poetry relating to the realities of lives and diversities of nature.
She completed her Masters in English and has been a part time teacher trainer in CMTC for many years
Her poetry book UNTURNED VERSES was published in Kolkata International Book Fair 2020
She has been the guest poet in many poetry meets in and out of Kolkata. She is one of the leading actors and producer of ‘Kolkata Cocktail’, the short poetry film presented by ICCR. Her poetry has been published in various national and international magazines, journals like Different Truths , Our Poetry Archive, The Raven Claw ( Germany ), Soflay .Inc ( Mexico ) , Universal Culturi ( Poland ), IPPL journal December 2019, SETU and also in an anthology named “Muffled Moans Unleashed “,as well as in the international anthology named ‘Women’
She has been the featured poet at the American Consulate, Kolkata Lit Meet 2020 ,NagarKirrtibas and many other cultural meets in and out of Kolkata.