Posted in Books

Book Review: Dandelion Seeds, by Arvinder Kaur

Poetry is something I love to read, as well as to write. To express my thoughts, observations and life in rhyme is challenging as well as fun. Looking back in time, I started my poetry journey with free verse, but I’ve tried my hand at many a poetry form after that… acrostics, cinquains, fibonaccis, sonnets, kyrielles. There are a lot of forms to experiment with.

To stick to a structure while trying to express thoughts is not an easy task. The less you have to play with, the harder it becomes. So it is no surprise that one of the most challenging forms for me is the haiku. I discovered it six years ago, and I’ve pursued it since, growing with each new aspect of the form that I learn of.

Tom Clausen, on the back cover of this book, says, “Haiku captures and gives magic to the things that move us in everyday life.” Six years back, I would not have understood that as easily. A haiku observes, and more importantly, I feel, a haiku makes us ponder about a moment, what it means, what it could mean. In three lines, it can have simplicity, and it can have depth in that simplicity. Even after six years of exploring the form, some of its nuances still remain a mystery to me. I know that that journey of learning will continue for a long time to come.

Alan Summers, another notable haiku poet, observes that the reader adds the color of his own life to that of a haiku or a tanka. My aim with this post is not to review the haiku poetry of Arvinder, but to add my color to it. Reading these haiku at random, I’ve perhaps added that color to all of them, but to share all the colors in a small review would not be possible, or right for that matter. I open the book to a random page and this comes across.

roadside puddle –
watching myself
walk past

In its brevity, it shows a lot. It shows the observation of a puddle. It shows the reflection in it as the poet walks past, or reflection elsewhere as the poet avoids the puddle altogether. The color I add to this exquisitely simple haiku is that I imagine the rain has just stopped and I’m hurrying past it before it starts again. The observation holds true to my life then, as much as it does to Arvinder’s.

If I were to look at the collection overall, I would feel, in all honesty, that these poems reflect life as much as it does nature. The contrasts in most of them are true to this aspect. When I find that poem relates to my life, it makes the poem stand out more, and it makes me return to it happily. Arvinder says that the book is about the seasons of the heart, and that puts the aspect furthermore into perspective.

To read a collection of wonderful haiku from a poet I know to be true to the form, and who has continued her journey to learn and write better each time, it was a pleasure. As a reader, I savored the English haiku in this collection a lot. I do wish I could have understood the beauty of the poem in Punjabi too. To my regret, I cannot read the script. For Arvinder, who has found recognition as a talented poet from her peers in India as well as abroad, my heartiest wishes for this collection of mysterious dandelion seeds to find their way to many in the breeze.

The Bookworm Rates This: 4/5
The Bookworm Rates This: 4/5
Book Details
Title: Dandelion Seeds
Author: Arvinder Kaur Genre: Poetry
ISBN/ASIN: 9789383092420 Publisher: Aesthetics Publications

The author gifted me a copy of the book. The views expressed here are my own, frank and uninfluenced.

(© 15th November 2015)



Poetry and writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

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