Arugan: Tamizhachi Thangapandiyan; Uyirmai Padhippagam, 11/29, Subramaniam Street, Abhiramapuram, Chennai-600018. Rs. 110.

In this era of post-modernism and ethical relativism, one cannot go for an absolute definition of anything, especially in the field of arts, and more so, in poetry. “When the lips have spoken, loved accents are soon forgotten” says Shelley. To annotate a poem is to write its obituary.

Dr. Sumathi, aka Tamizhachi Thangapandiyan, says in her introduction to Arugan, a collection of 39 poems, that her poems are “not emotional experiences recollected in tranquillity, but a spontaneous outcome of an integrated moment, when realism and imagination merge into a vision, perceived in eloquent silence.”

In one of her poems she refers to “the still and overwhelming silence after the heavy rains” that puts to shame the linguistic arrogance, which, a poet calling it poetry, ventures to display it on paper.

If words were to grow wings, what would happen? She discusses this issue in one of her most elegant poems. Happy and excited, they start flying, conversing with each other, perhaps, announcing the freedom of speech and thought, but suddenly they were restrained by the most ancient and experienced Word, biblical in its antiquity, “no talk while flying.” The words, stripped of their luminous wings, are grounded.

T.S Elliot said, “No poet has his complete memory alone,” which means, he carries his heritage in his memory. Some of the poems in this collection bear continuity to the classical Sangam poetry of the distant past.

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