Birds, Bones, and Melancholia by Anushri Nanavati: In Review

What can be said for a work of poetry by a worker of poetry in review, when so much touched upon is past us while blinding us with the days that go by? Nonstrictly a piece of lament, with overarching themes ranging from quantum physics (“...And paper snowflakes, cautious // And evanescent // And not quite true...”) to the inevitable stay in the mental ward (“...A man comes in with long forms, // He asks to sign away my rights. // He doesn't Recommend appeals for sanity...”) and everything in between, Ms. Anushri Nanavati is a smithy of the finest temper, effortlessly melding English language to her whim with excruciating detail to paint pictures—a picture—of life in science and decree. Resuming where things leave off, remembering the time and pointillist spectrum of love and hate and pain in a modern life seems like simply too much for one work—and yet it works; it is not too much, not by a long straw, not by a desperate sigh at all.

When “[February] // Sleet swept grey-feathered Sashays down a cheek // Of pallid snow, // Snuck whey wrinkles // Across the roof...”; when “March ended in a blaze // Of fauvist sienna. // I had teetered, caterwauling, // On the brink of antiquity...”; when “April arrived, burnt brackish, // Soot-flecked moon-cratered // Charred nights. // Ash settled in my bones...”; how can the reader help but consider their role in the cosmos of existence? Time, the ultimate variable, is diagnosed with avid poesy. Problems that so many suffer from are in lurid hue across over 50[?] pages of engaging free verse poetry. Ultimately, the meter is conserved, but experiments in lighter fluidity aren't off limits: “I breathe in december // whale talk and white smock // I hang my soul out to dry // on the back of a firefly”. Anushri is an avid observer of experience in life, denoting her relation to being and the people that poke around with it: “I fascinate her. I am a rare specimen in a museum of natural history.” With such wisdom, it is well put when she writes that poetry connotes itself as “Spools of breastfed poetry // To wean the breastfed moon.”

Surprisingly easy to process given its heft, Birds, Bones & Melancholia was a pleasure to read and reread. The multiplicity of meaning in the pages, lines, and words is beyond me—and yet, there is something that begs for connection and connections, that fools us into the delusion that life is not about death. Life is not here to be a simple delivery person of pleasant flowers and oceanic spray-fumes. Ms. Nanavati knows that, and she shares that with us: “I will see you // Hanging from clotheslines, // Flirting with the wind”. This volume is simply free verse poetry at its finest, and is recommended to anyone in a reader's slump or writer's block or who is simply looking for meaningful, thoughtful excitement and depth in their life. If only it weren't so short!

Anushri can be found at her homepage here.

Paper love from [AR]