Going Native Authors

A welcome intersection

BEYOND THE GENRE Rochelle Potkar

BEYOND THE GENRE Rochelle Potkar

Much to consternation of Rene Wellek, who almost single-handedly propounded the absolutist premise of all prose and poetry forms, cross genre writing has become a sought-after aesthetic endeavour and many creative minds across the globe look up the intersection of poetry and prose with reverent awe.

The ever increasing popularity of a Japanese genre Haibun that juxtaposes prose and poetry with equal gusto is the living evidence of what constitutes the contemporary literary discourse. Haibun, a Japanese verse form that uses laconic verses as poignant and comforting postscripts to the prose has made strong inroads into the writings of highly accomplished contemporary Indian poets.

Reinventing Japanese form

A celebrated poetess Rochelle Potkar, having an incredible penchant for thinking beyond the genre specifications, has decided to reinvent the Japanese form with a view to comprehending the mysteries of the transient world around her and a collection of her elegantly envisaged Haibun has been creating waves in the literary world. Haibun that comprises an astutely written passage of prose and a 17-syllable poem “haiku” has been made the medium of her creative outpourings by Rochelle who wishes to plunge deeper into natural scenes, travel observations. Subsequently, she produces a wondrous mix of longing, anguish, tension, suspense that usually formed the intimate personal remembrances and wistful nostalgic anecdotes in a narrative that is immaculate yet curiously unpretentious.

The collection “Paper Asylum”, carrying nearly fifty prose-poem offers a resistance to plaintive metaphors and poeticised idiom and imagines a world where nature is in us and we are not in the lap of nature.

Imagination works

Rochelle, through her astutely written prose and stunningly executed laconic poetry, sets the readers free from a big psychedelic mess around them and her leaping imagination explores the idea of an existential or emotional journey. In her musings one get an insight into an enthralling moment of experience to which one feels inextricably connected. Here woman is not spoken in terms of mother, sister, wife, companion and embodiment of fidelity as the protagonist of Haibun Selena who drew flak from her husband for not covering her breasts with a stole and wearing salwar kameez with too wide side slits.

Paper Asylum

Paper Asylum

In retaliation, she divorced him and later she accepts the apology of his husband who walked 20 kilometers with holding water in his mouth under a very hot sun as a means of penance and she got remarried and now her routine is poignantly told by the distinguished poetess

“For herself , she has a secret gym membership for the late mornings when the children are at play group

she packs figure -hugging jeans and cleavage-clinging singlets into a bag when she sets out - that's why her bag is always full

She has a part-time job in the early evenings, where she glances at men hungrily and greedily as she walks on the road , and is glanced at back equally hungrily and greedily

She also has a dream... that someday she will take the kids to a foreign land and meet a suitable partner, and may be, who knows, even find true love.

This takes her a long way off. this, before the dream bell rings.

shells of snails remain the same

our holiday homes too....

It clearly goes beyond adolescent exuberance instead it is a resonant experience that is told through prose and poetry. One can notice that the sparse and shortened verse does not explain or amplify the prose. Instead it exposes the inherent contradictions of positional dependence of observation. Many prose poems such as Seed, Tatoos, Spice Garden Reflux, Asylum Quiet Chaos, and Retake 2 essentially discuss the vicissitudes of life through a comic lens mixed with searing anguish and angst Rochelle Potkar's creative oeuvre is destined to motivate and inspire us and she deserves plaudits for fashioning a narrative that is intellectually stimulating and riveting

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Printable version | Aug 17, 2022 7:54:13 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-authors/a-welcome-intersection/article24106880.ece