SEXLESS SOLITUDE AND OTHER POEMS, now published
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Sexless Solitude and Other Poems
By R.K. Singh
Price: Rs. 98.00, ISBN 978-81-7977-307-9
R. K. Singh, in Sexless Solitude and Other Poems, comes across as dealing in nothing but sense and in demonstrating that the poems’ speaker has a firm hold on the truth. Singh’s most typical poems draw hard lessons and deliver them with verve and style. His tone is partly explained and vouched for by the poet’s own shedding of illusions. And the rhythmical sureness is not just a benefit of their rhetorical momentum – they are pleasingly clear. They seem to offer a "real people" thesis. As narrative they are of interest. Some invoke the unattainable by insisting on its unavailability.
Singh’s poetry is among the most sensuously embodied and imaginative writing to come out of India, and this collection is a reminder of how startling, original, and deeply relevant his poetry is. In Sexless Solitude and Other Poems, Singh brings us to the edge of civilization as we know it. How might the human spirit persist caught between its love of beauty, its acknowledgment of continuing injury and damage done, and the realization that a future may no longer be assured?
There is no better writer to confront such matters as R. K. Singh. In addition to his recognized achievements as teacher, critic and reviewer, Singh is also acknowledged as one of India’s foremost poets. As inventive as anything he has written, Sexless Solitude and Other Poems is an essential work speaking out for love, sensuality and the meaning of life.
The title may perhaps create an impression of painful loneliness, in mind and body. R K Singh is a daring experimenter. He has explored the human (more of men’s) mind in the area of sexual thoughts which are enjoyed as gossips or fantasies or vulgar jokes in small groups but never admitted openly. The intellectual and creative poet in him has not stopped at the cross level in which men often enjoy their sexual thoughts.
… It is such a truthful boldness of expression that sets apart R K Singh from many others. He has no fears. He is incisive in searching and exploring and bold in expressions. He is also blessed with sweetness of the language.
When you read this book neither will you feel sexless nor will feel a solitude. It will invigorate you to live a full life.
--Dr Y.S. Rajan
Sexless Solitude and Other Poems are concise and several of them are in the spirit of haiku. With the weapons of irony and satire, award-winning poet attacks worn-out traditions and corruption wherever he finds. Symbols are individual and graceful. R.K. Singh is the voice in the English poetry of India that cannot be ignored also because he is prolific, sincere and at the same time he is cosmopolitan in his style, themes and emotions.
--Dr. Stephen Gill
The poetry herein shows a complete understanding of the English language and its foibles carefully selected for use in poetry that could be understood by a wide audience. In my opinion, it is aimed at the educated regardless of their native tongue who have a firm grasp of the Western World and international wit in general.
Most of the poems in Sexless Solitude and Other Poems are vignettes of a dozen or so lines, as you'd expect from this poet, but their short length is very often their strength. In their brevity lies their force. You cannot read more than a few lines of R K Singh before you start squirming in your seat wondering when the next punch to your solar plexus, or even lower down, is going to come. Singh writes about many things; often of what he sees on a day to day basis in the streets of an Indian city. Sometimes he comes across as a lone voice crying in the wilderness. Frustration with life, existence, meaning, dirt, smell, sex, God, and consequently the driving need to explore these themes is never far away….
What's really behind R K Singh's unceasing output of verse? is a question I have asked myself more than once. Why does he strive so long and hard? Is there here an eternal search for some universal truth? Or is it simply anger at the way the world, and India, is?
This poet has created a mobile of words, which comes from the poet's heart and mind. Tinkling against each other, and reaching the readers inner perceptions in abstract forms, such as, " when the dead too are restless ".
It’s a hard course to conquer it (fear of future). It’s a spirit thing. It tastes bitter. However, the body can hardly change or hold by spirit. It must be go wither away. Then, practice (of) Buddhist teachings is needed. When he accomplishes this practice, we call he is the Buddha. A Buddha is sexless as Dr. R.K. Singh describes in his poem "Sexless Solitude"… It’s a higher condition. He walks away from "Fear" to "Sexless Solitude" and completes the practice of Buddhist teachings. He is not a vulgar, but a Buddha, a fairy, or in short, a god.
Reading your poems made me think of someone who has lived every word he has written. There is no way to write as clear headed as you do without knowing where you have been and where you are going. A particular favorite was "I want to sleep" because it honestly details what crosses one's mind when insomnia strikes. It could have been a frightening vision in lesser hands. In yours it reads like a mantra.
"Broken wishes" is another favorite. It details a moment in time when doubt weighs heavier than faith in things as they are. I felt her pain in longing for more.
I found an urgency to be forgiven for supposed sins in this collection. But forgiveness is only secondary to the mad urgencies that overtake us at odd hours. You write with clear thought given to minute details that others overlook.
It was a pleasure to read these magnificent poems. It is a collection written with honest intentions and insight that should sit well amongst one’s favoured treasures.
Reading "Sexless Solitude" is very much like experiencing a sleepless night. I have a feeling of hovering, invisible, over the pillow where the poet’s soul is tossing to and fro, embarked on a nightly train of thoughts which rolls through the whole range of inner landscapes from the acuity of wakefulness down to the hazy flow of next-to-dream states of mind, between longed-for quietness and the never-ceasing stimuli from the surrounding world.
Even though "my ordeals are mine alone/ In the valley of self" (Valley of Self), these ordeals, once they have been observed and portrayed, become ours to accept in recognizement or repress out of fear to see.
--Anna R Olofsson
To a poet, poetry can mean many things. To R.K.Singh it means life. This is clear from all his writings, and most evident from his latest offering ‘Sexless Solitude’. Few poets in the world today can write ‘erotic poetry’ with the élan that he does. Very basic sexual encounters take on identities that almost result in sanctifying sex. There are poems of disillusionment , despair, frustration and fury; there are poems of love for life in the spiritual, mental and physical form and there are cries for a release from life and living. There are various guises of love- as the loved and the spurned, as the loser and the giver.
R.K.Singh has, with this collection, charted for himself the most important role for any poet-- the task of self-definition. And that is the triumph of the book.
R.K.Singh is like Tiresias, the experiencer and the onlooker of the malady of the modern world. His impotent rage against the sterility of the modern man reverberates eloquently throughout the volume. The poet uses the technique of the ‘internal monologue’ and other sensational devices to arouse the jaded consciousness of contemporary man. It would be apt to call ‘Sexless Solitude’ a social document….
Singh’s present collection, comprising of 98 poems, has the unique literary gifts of supreme poetic craftsmanship, lyrical effusions and mature philosophical reflections. What distinguishes the volume is its extraordinary candour in delineating both the inner and the external worlds of the poet. Poems exhibit a curious mixture of the subjective and objective elements, as some of the poems are directly from the heart of the poet, while others offer ‘a criticism of life’ with the whiff of pitiless irony in them. The ordinary, trivial and mundane affairs of life are catalyzed into ‘a thing of beauty’ by the imaginative flights of the poet. The raw material, provided by the contemporary ethos, has been well processed/churned in the workshop of Singh’s creative faculty.
--Dr Nilanshu Kumar Agrawal
Posted by Prakash Book Depot at 5:16 AM
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