*every so often at DFP we spotlight a title we haven’t released. As Editor in-Chief I usually end the year spotlighting several books from different publishers featuring authors that may or may not have contributed to Dumpster Fire Press.
Bhoj Kumar Dhamala’s THE SELFISH CITY was going to be one of those works, however sometimes (let’s be honest, most of the time I’m no polished literary critic) there’s someone out there that can do a better job than you…
The Selfish City:A View
“Money, matter, you no eat golden rice” (Line 4 “The Selfish City”) is striking line in Bhoj Kumar Dhamala’s anthology of poems. The poet addresses the second person pronoun in the poem like his other most of the lines in the poetry collection. Written in conversational language, the poet provides a tremendous glimpse to reflect the images in his modern mirror of the verses. Optimism, pessimism, religion, culture, marriage, struggle, hardship, ignorance, nature, contemporary lifestyle and so forth are artistically depicted in the anthology. One of the striking techniques he has used in the poems is that he has not forgotten to apply and address ‘you’ in most of the poems that binds the author and readers together.
If you are a reader of rhythm, tone and rhyme of poetry, his collection of poems may not give you such taste because he has almost ignored the sweetness of combination of words. This style helps readers appreciate the poems in real sense because they can fix their concentration on the meanings and choices of words rather than sweetness of voice.
The variety of style is another unforgettable strategy in his poem. In some poems, title itself becomes a part of line while in other poems, title adds meanings to the poem. In “Morning Glory” for instance, title is also a part of the first line. “Morning Glory”/comes with a-fresh new swear within”. In “Selfish City” if title is removed, the meaning can be otherwise. Therefore, his collection of poems is the result of ample reading of other great poets from whose impression is vividly found.
There is a balance in his writing and meaning. In “The Selfish City” he talks about the people in general regardless of country, religion and culture. He starts the poem from pessimistic view and concludes with an amazing assurance that this is the fate of everyone that they have created problems being unable to control their ever-growing demands.
“A Degree Holder” in contrary, concludes with pessimism depicting the condition of educated people who are tired of searching for good jobs but end up in getting nothing. He mentions the problems in the poem and writes the causes how many young people are out of jobs and opportunities penning: “In the country whose pride is overwhelmed/By nepotism, and favoritism, he finds valueless.”
He has deep faith on the creator either nature or mother. He serves emotion and sentiment amidst optimism. The use of analogy of birds and nature to present the importance of mother is worth reading. “A Solid Boulder to Everyone” is really a great poem. His personal feelings pervade in the heart of readers in the poem. Motherly love is the cause of success and moral background, as mentioned in the poem. In twelve lines, a dictionary of meanings is incorporated leaving the innumerable doors and windows for exit and entry of interpretation.
A philosophical idea is transformed in his “A Devil.” In the poem he writes, a devil and angel are within oneself. To understand angel, one needs to understand devil. They are all in human beings. It is intellectual thought of them to segregate and have dominance on devil or angel. Therefore, we are humans who know when to be devil and when to be angel.
Some of the readers may assume that the contents are very common. They may think of skipping some poems because of the title of the poems. However, they will be astounded by the unique presentation of ideas though he deals with common theme. He justifies in his own way to defend the title. In “Blank is What I am You See”, for instance, he writes that you see blank to an object when you see it from back. It is his own approach and view to define blank. He serves different approach to flow his ideas.
His themes revolve around contemporary issues in which modern people are experiencing. He wishes to test the mind of modern people through the collection of poems by incorporating varied issues. He takes readers from one issue to another in such a way that they feel like a maze. It becomes a bitten rice of iron to guess what kind of poem is written in the next page thematically. This is one of the striking features of his poetry that leads readers to opening the pages until the end.
Although there are fifty-four poems in The Selfish City¸ they represent his young life belonging to the same age. His mature voice and experience are presented in the poems. He does not remain aloof from the poems. He is in the poetry and every situationthat strikes him. The use of language and choice of words have a great balance not to create boring to the readers. Rather than reading in a single sitting and stacking in a bookshelf, readers like to read and understand the meanings gradually. Almost all his poems cover the people of all ages. Thus, the poems are untimely and contemporary. The debut book, of course, opens the door for other poems. The psychology of the readers seeks other poems in the days to come.
-By Ram Prasad Marasini
Mr.Marasini, M.Phil graduate, is the lecturer of English.