Poetry is the breath of life. As a literary form of writing, it was the first to evolve among all the genres of literature. From being the medium of expression of folk literature (which was verbal) to the written form of expression, poetry has evolved over time tremendously. A deft poet has his/her unique style which distinguishes him/her from the canon but at the same time shows the canonical influence strongly. This is one thing that is prevalent throughout Dr. Ranjana Sharan Sinha’s collection of poems, “Scents and Shadows”. Throughout her poetry, the readers get to see different moods and different colors which give an idea of the potential and capabilities of the poet. The poet already has a poetry collection called “Spring Zone” by her. Other than that she has also published a collection of short stories which is named “Midnight Sun” and other than that she has also done critical work in “Feminism: Times and Tides”, “Nature in The Poetry of Wordsworth and Pant” and also has written numerous research papers in “Different Dimensions”.

The poetry collection comes about as yet another insight into the poetic talents of Dr. Sinha as she explores a diversity of themes throughout her collection. These themes highlight the fact of not only her being well-read but also equally well expressive when it comes to her own thoughts. On reading her nature poems like “Once Again”, “White Fog”, “Mother Nature”, “The Sparrows”, “The Sun: Within and Without”  etc have a fine reflection of Wordsworth but at the same time the reader can also find her awareness at the current social level when she discusses issues like female foeticide in her poem in “Endangered Species”. The title may be misleading but that is the beauty of Dr. Sinha’s poetry. Through such titles, the poet gives the readers a different perspective to see the concepts they may have known for a long time in a different manner. The diversity of themes that the poet covers can be understood by her poems which are concerned with the environment which include “Scars of the Blue Planet” or direct references to Roman mythology in “Alfa and Omega”. This indicates her being well-read and aware of the different mythologies. This fact of being well-read is reflected throughout her work.

Sometimes her poems are of complex content like “Scents and Shadows”. The reader keeps reading them, again and again, to come up with different meanings every time.

Dr. Sinha also turns to write poetry on a personal level when she writes poems like “Mother” and “The Grey Horizon”. At the same time, she introspects as she sees nature changing with time in poems like “Deep Within”. Sometimes she becomes a spectator and observes what is happening in front of her in poems like “M.G. Road” and “Black-Eyed Susan”.

In her collection of 70 poems, the author explores different ideas and thoughts and does not restrict the poetry to one theme. This diversity is what makes her collection a legendary work which is sure to stand the test of time. In the present time when there is less of work having the themes being universal, Dr. Sinha’s work is likely to be counted among the canon of the present day.

As both a poet and a true reflector of what happens in the society, the poet does a remarkable job and leaves behind poetic verses that can never be forgotten. Through her poetry, she performs different roles like being a social informer, a loving daughter, a mature better half, a silent observer, and a lover of nature. She says in the preface, 

“Poets are trailblazers, seeker, adventurers, magicians, seers. Poetry is a profound insight that enables a poet to see the things or situations in a particular way and express the feelings of his own accord.” She herself matches up to the way she has defined poets and how they express. She may have opted for a simple language but the few words she uses in her poems have plenty of meaning attached to them. Every reader can read the poems from his perspective and come up with different interpretations on the basis of his understanding. Readers who are fond of poetry should definitely have this collection with them as the poet does not focus only on one single subject and write. She explores themes beyond the predictability of the readers and comes out with the best words that can be given. There is a lot more potential in the poet and surely the readers can expect more such landmark works coming out of her pen.


Author Name:  Dr. Ranjana Sharan Sinha
Book Title:  Scents and Shadows: Collection of Poems
Publisher: Authorspress (2019)
Paperback: 122 pages  
Review by:  Criticpsace Journal

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