The Inability of Words by Harnidh Kaur

Harnidh Kaur
Writer’s Workshop India, 2016 – 112 pages

This book, published by the Writer’s Workshop India, looks beautiful with its handloom sari-bound hardback and the elegant golden calligraphy on it. It comprises of sixty-six poems, divided across six sections. It was exciting to hold the book except twenty-six poems in and not much stands out.

It feels like I am reading the diary of some teenager in high school who used to sit between the backbenchers and the overeager front runners, somewhere in the middle, looking out the window, scribbling in her personal diary. Poetry has to have a point right? It has to mean things and introduce one to newer dimensions of existence and this book fails to do that. It has no point. It seemed to be the same. Similar to everything else out there and that for me was exhausting. It is predictable and unprovocative. I am curious how she got it published. That the poet thought that words fail to describe her, fail to describe the condition she has been through borders on arrogance. It was the inability of the poet to use the words, I think, to mean.

I did like ‘Citric’ and ‘Reorganizing’. The poems paint striking images using simple words.  Maybe the voice of the poet reminds me of the voice in my head. And I hate the voice in my head, its shitty, irrelevant, can’t express itself and overthinks everything to death. The book is okay; you have to hunt for gems. But that’s just my opinion, and my opinion doesn’t mean shit. Get the book and form your own. The friend who lent me this book loved the simplicity of the prose and the title, apparently, was very very relevant to him. And he writes poems. So that.



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