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The book presents a collection of R.K.Singh's published poetry in one volume. It also includes almost all his tanka and haiku besides the earlier books that may be out of print or available on
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  • By Ram Krishna Singh
    Jan 16, 2010
    Dr R.K. Singh writes “transparent poems…deft and readable, with clean insight.” “We may safely enjoy much of his love poetry for their directness, and clarity of expression at times enhanced by images quite evocative…” His “poetic personality is distinctly emergent through the theme or themes, finely modulated diction, sharply seized moods and other poetic devices so competently handled.” “…full of irony; satire against customs, religious practices and politics; pathos, sensuousness, eroticism….Small lines gush out like the leap of a fountain.” “The poet sees the world as an extension of himself—his flesh and blood. It is this outlook on life which enables him to endow the most unpoetic subjects with some poetic quality.” “Perhaps the most impressive characteristic of the poems is verbal economy. Singh does not grope for the “exact words” as some Indo English poets are known to do. His words flow naturally into emotional—and sometimes dramatic—structures.” “An explosive talent,... More > watchful, seeing everything, missing nothing, Dr Singh is known for his astonishing imagination, riot of images and extremely telling clarity.” “Singh wields his English through this delicate and complex world of awareness and experience with absolute control, authority and originality, never witnessed before in Indian English poetry.” “Poetry for R.K. SINGH is a passion tamed to the tune of thoughts that flow gracefully through lines of implosive violence. He is an artist acutely sensitive to the world of beauty lacerated by pain that defines the limits of human existence.” “Woman is the centre of Singh’s experience. Her various manifestations figure prominently in his poetry. No other Indian English poet has observed women so thoroughly, minutely and aesthetically with her divinity, belovedhood, wifehood, and even her penury leading to prostitution.” “While reading his erotic poetry, one does notice the impact of poets like Donne and Shiv K. Kumar, on the one hand, and the Upanisads, on the other. But one doesn’t see anything being borrowed and breathed in his poetry. His erotic poetry is fresh, fragrant and fluorescent.” “The imagery of R.K. Singh presents a queer blend of sensuousness and gloom as if drawn from the quizzical despair of the modern man and his predicament.” “He is an unusual poet whose sensuous imagery and varied moods encompass his deeply emotional and haunting beautiful feelings.” “R.K.Singh emerges as an illustrious poet whose poems, conspicuous for precision, economy, apt and evocative imagery, which is suggestive of Indian sensibility and ethos, and complete linguistic command, are pregnant with deep emotions and profound thoughts…” “The serious endeavour of R.K. Singh is admirably confined to the class of form conscious readers who care for the exploration of the human mind and its finer sensibilities.” “In poems of R.K. Singh contents grow rich with cumulative shades of symbols; we come across portraits in words, situations rendered in images; the poet only suggests, and surface hides a depth-structure. In FLIGHT OF PHOENIX, the poet harmonizes the real with the ephemeral, the sensuous with sublime, the feeling with perception, and tries to transcend himself through the verbal medium of poetry.” “R.K. Singh’s poetry appeals because he is able to write without taking recourse of mannerisms. His poems do not make too many demands on the reader but they speak to him and bring to him a sharpened awareness of reality.” “…These are fine, reflective, meditative poems that are also shot through with shafts of light and insight. The form and balance of the structure he creates reflects his own interpretation of a personal inner reality. “Some of the verses have an overriding sensuality that comes across powerfully, and others are gentle and understated. The poet has tried to acquire a very high quality both in form and content.” “Both as an editor and as a critic, Dr R.K. Singh has rendered yeoman’s service to Indian English poets. With keen insight as a critic, he penetrates to the core of a poet’s work. He quotes profusely from the poets to present a vivid picture of their works. As an editor, he has played the much-needed role at the present stage of Indian English poetry by bringing to light the emerging poets of whom many are throttled to death by the non-publication of their reviews in the so called esteemed journals….” “R.K.SINGH, widely published and anthologized in India and abroad, is a unique poet sharing an international sensibility in keeping with his ‘Baha’i mind’. Poetry is his service to humanity. He is perhaps the only Indian English poet who does not believe in giving titles to his poems because in his reckoning titles tell too much and interfere with the autonomy of the reader’s imagination.” “Sex in his poetry is often taken very literally whereas I perceive a deeper undercurrent that leads it to super-conscious level and brings him close to D.H. Lawrence’s philosophy of life and blood.” “Singh’s language has a gospel tinge, too, down-to-earth, yet mystical. It is obviously influenced by wide reading.” “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.” “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.” “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.” "R.K. Singh's work is a rare find, as an avid reader, when I come upon something unique, fresh and completely engulfing as his body of various works, I am thrilled and it’s like coming upon a banquet, I almost drool in anticipation of reading his work, and savoring each piece in all it's delicious wonder." “Most of the 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?” “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.” “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. “ “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.” “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.” “The sheer range and control of his prose and poetry is impressive, as is his scholarship, creative energy and inventiveness.” “Singh’s poetic capability lends itself more effectively, I feel, to tanka rather than haiku….Singh’s tanka are concerned with a number of recurrent themes – with continuity; with the mysterious quality of the natural world and the moments of revelation that sometimes come to those who appear to live on the edge of that world, in the suburbs and small towns; with notions of identity—as an isolated individual with a shifting sense of self, and as a member of the larger community concerned with academia, his colleagues, politics and social policies.” “Singh is capable of creating pure poetry where nature is left to itself but observed from a close angle. It is not a glance but a gaze.” “Probably, the shift in poetic form, from long poems to haiku and tanka, must have happened to the poet naturally, because even in his long poems the poet ‘articulates his feelings and thoughts in measured syllables, eschewing unnecessary flamboyance of language or flights of fancy.’ It is this poetic talent which makes Singh a prolific writer of haiku and tanka.” “His use of language is not accidental, but rather that of a wordsmith of large talent and definite intent.” “The poet Singh, like the prophet Jeremiah, shows a deep feeling for nature, and perhaps for everybody.” “It is in that meeting point of vision, skill, knowledge, and heart that R.K.Singh’s poetry lives.” “By exploring the work of R.K. Singh we may not only come to understand something of the world of this unique poet but may also come to discover more secrets about ourselves and the world in which we live and have our being.”< Less
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September 30, 2011
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