In Depth

Of travelling hearts and contemporary poets: Reading Sonnet Mondal

Poetry being a mellow saga of traveling hearts and dimensions has pushed poets over centuries to travel and traverse across borders to spread aura of poetic languages to the other cultures. As a well-travelled Indian poet, Sonnet Mondal upholds that tradition with the poetic elegance.

Crossing countries, I look at rivers.
They cross threshold Without consent
Without blockade. Without dirty stamps of dissection.
One world with waters unbounded…
Yet, find hard to deal flags.

These thought awakening lines not only stir the nest of human follies and borders but also goes on to paint the immaculate bond between the poet and Mother Nature.

These lines have been penned by Sonnet Mondal, a well-known Indian poet, whose poetic collection has already made it to two books, Karmic Chanting (Copper Coin) and Ink And Line (Dhauli books).

We hover in coop while roars roam around us in the chill
captivating mist dangle themselves over salty fluids,
blurring reality in the splendour that seduces us with drunken eyes.

His poems are scented with a spark of salvation and mysticism, merging dilemmas and confusions with a sense of belonging. He draws his fair share of inspiration from the hues of culture and territories he explores.

Toils will evaporate with the smile of the moon
The dawn will hear sounds again-
sounds of iron striking against rocks.
The air waits to weave those sounds
and strike a twister with them-
Tall enough for the world to see
bold enough to step over mountains
Clear enough to show the waving hands
begging a day out of slavery.

Sonnet is well-travelled, and therefore, well-versed.

“Travelling happens to be the most knowledgeable part of my life,” Mondal talks about the importance of travels for a writer. “Perhaps I, wouldn’t have been able to write, if I hadn’t travelled.”

With a history of travels from Struga Poetry Evenings, Macedonia to International Poetry Festival of Granada in Nicaragua, and from Berlin International Poetry Festival to Istanbul Poetry and Literature Festival, the poet has already cut out a globetrotter image for himself.

Civilization looks as blank as
a dry river
that doesn’t thirst for rains. 
Somewhere in your ruins,
hope peeps like a thief
through a broken tooth
of a child, smiling at a broken tank.

His works have appeared in the Words Without Borders, World Literature Today, Kyoto Journal, Rochford Street Review, McNeese Review, Irish Examiner, Anomaly (aka Drunken Boat), Palestine Chronicle, Indian Literature, and Asia Literary Review.

Sonnet was a featured author of the ilk Routes project of the International Writing Program, University of IOWA and led a cultural delegation to the 14th Ars Poetica Festival, Slovakia in November 2016.

As an editor, he has been the driving force behind The Enchanting Verses Literary Review and edits the Indian section of Lyrikline Poetry network.

He has also acted as a guest editor for Words Without Borders in 2018 and Poetry at Sangam in 2017. His works have been translated into Hindi, Italian, Chinese, Turkish, Slovak, Macedonian, Slovenian, Hungarian, and Arabic.

Dear Nature-
I am thinking if to marry you,
or keep you as an Escort…

These lines from the poem From Tushar’s Apartment shows how the bard shares an intricate bond with the every elements of life which are deeply rooted somewhere in the womb of Mother Nature.

Basking in the flamboyant shades of Sunderbans or losing oneself in the midst of deep blue seas and Oceans, he paints a picture of the surroundings with words and emotions.

His literary journey is full of jovial anecdotes from all across the world. Freely falling over the existing norms of life and breaking them with an unbridled enthusiasm is the key to live and not just exist, he believes.

Your ovaries are dead.
Your ribs have turned into razors
wiping out your sentiments.

Book singing by Sonnet Mondal during Istanbul Poetry Festival

These lines are one of my favourites and are taken from his poem Nobody Speaks of you Syria, which shows the menacing, deplorable and dying Syria. It makes one feel that all of us have been reduced to mere dormant spectators, while humanity batters around us.

The poet seems to imbibe enlightenment in subtle ways. One can find a lingering desire to live life in its crude ecstasy in his conversations and monologues.

Someday I would lose everyone. Someday Everyone would lose me. The worth of life lies in the sense of losing…

That’s how the life flows from one space to another, from one country to another, and from one life to another life like a spirited nomad, he reckons.

Verses bow, prose too – ideas too vast for them.
Logs of wood keep us
alive till they rot,
afloat in them till they float…

Deeksha Srivastava writes from Allahabad. Her passion includes writing, travelling, and working as a philanthropist for social causes.

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