Cards on the table, I know the author personally. I hope my known antipathy towards free verse would neutralize some of my bias in the reader’s mind though. 🙂
Raw. Naked. These words best describe most of the works in the book. Jyoti doesn’t hide behind the paper, nor does she wash the stains off before forming her words. Of course, knowing her personally makes me relive her memories and experiences with a more immediate clarity, but no sensitive reader would come away without feeling her hopes, joys, confusion, pain, and bitterness after reading her verses.
Itineris is Jyoti’s journey, from the hopes of youth to the disillusionment of adulthood. From fantasies of love to their initial fulfilment; from the beginning of a mutual drift to the loneliness engendered in our collective lives, it’s an arduous, tragic, poignant, and ultimately predestined journey narrated through unrhymed lines; some staccato, some flowing, some primal, some wounded, but all, all, telling of a loneliness that gives no succour but will not let you go. And that’s an experience we’ve all lived through.
There are delightful links between some stanzas, often paged apart that tell their own, sad story; Jyoti’s metaphorical use of colours spins a tragedy of its own through the oft-rent fabric. It’s a book of unrealized dreams, unmet needs, unfulfilled desires, unquenched thirsts, unbridled passions, and unbearable pain.
If love and happiness is what you seek, stop after the first two sets of verses. If the reality of human relationships is your goal – read on.
Towards the end, I could feel the fire ebbing; the verse was flatter, the ideas forced: there was a feel of artifice to the last few that is nowhere to be seen in the rest of the collection.
The metre, of course, is absent though some thoughts do naturally flow into one another. And my grouse with calling non-rhyming prose poetry still remains. 🙂
Look beyond that however, and you see a person as open, as naked, as confused as we all have been; or still are.