Sonnet Mondal’s poems tend to think, pause and question aspects about life


Sonnet Mondal’s collection “Karmic Chanting” true to its title has a meditative poise about it. The poems tend to think, pause and question aspects about life which affect him from the minuscule to social and political happenings. History. In fact, Sonnet’s poems create their own histories, politics and a certain warring with words:

“My mind is heavier than my soul.

   What seemed impossible 

    was always possible”

    (“From Tushar’s Apartment… p 1)

There is innately in Sonnet’s poems a tendency to question and philosophise. This brings into his poetry levels of conundrum:

“Sometimes we run into someone

  just for once in our lives”

 (“Strange Meetings p 4)

This level of meaning compels the reader to explore it philosophically and not as a commonplace happening. His poems intertwine life and destiny in fortuitous ways:

“for the known seems less

  and the unknown inside-vast virgin.”

  “Aperture p 7).

Mondal’s poems are essentially narratives. They explore an internal consciousness. Good examples of this are: “ Grandma” and “ Why”. Of course, these can be multiplied. Sensory images form a footnote to his poetry where the range is from personal explorations of love to poverty, the triple talaq and happenings in Syria with a sharp poetic focus on the child, leading to pathos. 

Intact although there is pathos in some poems the overarching world is philosophy, questioning or self-doubt through internal narrative or monologue. The monologue features in his poetry to devise analogous methods of metaphors or conceits:

“When you feel

   like being with yourself

   more than with others

   life seems a piece of fiction”

   (“Being Yourself p 18)

Sonnet Mondal’s strength lies in a certain felicity of expression and linguistic virtuosity. His craft is that of exploration and self-investigation. The poems adopt a colloquial and conversational tone. His poetic resilience in terms of range of experience is unmistakable. “Snapshots of A Dying Soldier” has an esotericism but is a brilliant recreation of the orbit of violence we are in today. Form wise too, the poem is experimental. When experimental he is at his best.

The poems of Sonnet Mondal collide and conflict with several worlds of the personal, inter-personal, social, political and contemporary. They contemplate losses and mourn both for the dead and the living. Compassion, orb of both light and darkness. The poet never takes a moral position but an amorality grows out from within the poems into a cadenced combination of history and the present.

One certainly hopes to read more from this young but cerebral poet in the future:

“When old leaves fall

   trees celebrate the space

   for the new”

   (“Asides” p 87).

Ananya S Guha

Ananya S Guha

Ananya S Guha works in the Indira Gandhi National Open University, Shillong (Meghalaya) as an Academic Administrator. He has over 30 years of teaching and administrative experience. He has six collections of poetry and his forms have been published world wide. Some of his poems are due to appear soon in an Anthology of Indian Poetry in English to be published by Harper Collins.