Book Reviews

The Painted Verse: A Review

When poems and paintings converge, merge and fuse, what follows is a delectable feast to the eyes and the senses!
As one turns the pages of ‘The Painted Verse’ with poems by Preeta Chandran and paintings by Pankaj Kumar Saxena, it is difficult to know which came first – the poem or the painting – the painting or the poem...? The explanation is provided thus by the first of the many beautiful verses in the book, accompanied by the first of the many beautiful paintings (Alas, I cannot reproduce the painting here):

The pen inspired,
Stringing words together.
The brush, splashing them
With a myriad of colours and hues,
A small tribute,
The Painted Verse.

What follows is ‘Alma’ – an enchanting verse and an equally enchanting painting:

“From my brush to my canvas,
My pen to my verses,
I created You
In my likeness......
Pure Consciousness
One with the Universe”

And the next... and the next... and the next...
The poems and the paintings – the paintings and the poems - enchant, amaze, touch, move, fascinate and mesmerize you in so many ways – as they drench you with words, colours and the joys of creativity....They transport you to a state of euphoria one moment and the very  next  they transfix you ... with overpowering words and colours...
It is very, very difficult to pick one best poem, one best painting from ‘The Painted Verse’. What a collaboration! What a partnership of the written word and the paint brush and oh, what a beautiful collage of words and colours!  The poems and paintings complement each other so well that one is confused whether to keep looking at the picture or read the the poem or continue to stare at the picture...Ah...It all depends on what caught your attention first...which one attracted you first....! But it is very difficult not to glance at the picture while reading the poem and vice versa!
When I saw the painting accompanying ‘Two Trees’, I was stunned..

“Two trees,
One old, wizened,
The other, green, young,
Engaged in a heart to heart....”

Now visualize a picture for the above lines...Pankaj Kumar Saxena has done it! Oh again, my confusion – maybe he painted first and then, Preeta wrote the poem...? Or...?

“The little tree smiles,
“tell me more”, he pleads,
The wise one nods,
Pleased to acquiesce.”

 And the story follows...find out for yourself...The painting on one side of the page and the poem on the other, took my breath away...
Each of the poems and the accompanying painting eg. ‘The Diva’, ’A Greater Power’, ‘Hell but Heaven’, ‘Classified’,  ‘Impasse’ (with the painting that appears on the cover page), ‘The Canvas’, ‘The Butterfly’, ‘With you... A Whole New World’, ‘One Life’,  ‘Lend Wings to my Dreams’, ‘When I Rained’, ‘The Rainbow’ - I don’t know which ones to name, as I cannot name all of them here - ah, they are all beautiful, colourful, soulful, cheerful, thoughtful, meaningful, wonderful, thought-provoking, heart warming, sensitive, evocative, introspective, reflective, inward-looking, exuberant, .....This is what happens when poetry and painting converge and blend...
Long back, I had seen on TV, M F Hussain doing a live painting of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi’s ‘Aalaap’. At one stage I was only seeing and not hearing and then at one stage, when I was hearing Panditji’s music with my eyes closed, I stopped seeing (naturally) Hussain’s bold strokes with his brush..And then, I opened my eyes with a jerk because I just couldn’t afford to miss the process...! Indeed, the surfeit of sight and sound proved too much for me...!
Fortunately, with ‘The Painted Verse’ in your hands, you can both read and savour Preeta’s  poems, and see and be mesmerized by Pankaj’s paintings!
Besides being an accomplished poet from an early age, Preeta Chandran, a management professional, works full time in a senior position with a reputed global organization. Pankaj Kumar Saxena, while “he inherited his liking for drawing, painting and media of all varieties from his father”, too is a management professional and holds a key position in a leading multinational organization.
I can very well imagine and appreciate the toil and efforts that Preeta and Pankaj, both busy professionals, have put in for this successful fusion of the pen and the paint brush. Their passion for their respective craft comes through in so many ways in ‘The Painted Verse’.
I do hope, they continue to collaborate and come up with more Painted Verses, and continue to delight us with their word-paintings, despite their professional preoccupations and pressures.
Priced at Rs. 800/-, this book of poems and paintings may seem expensive by Indian standards. But according to me, it is a priceless acquisition to be held, frequently read, cherished and treasured.
Whenever I take up a book of poems to read, I read a few, close my eyes and then come back to the book and read a few more poems..And then, I attend to some work...Sometimes, it takes me a few days to complete a book of poems...
I opened ‘The Painted Verse’ to read a few poems and glance through the paintings...
This is the first time that I found a book of poems unputdownable – thanks to the sensory and visual treat it provided!

About the Book:
The Painted Verse - Poems by Preeta Chandran; Paintings by Pankaj Kumar Saxena
ISBN  978-93-82337-08-9  Price  Rs. 800/-
Publisher:  Promilla & Co., Publishers, C-127, Sarvodaya Enclave, New Delhi 110 027. India
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More by :  Padmaja Iyengar-Paddy

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Views: 3357      Comments: 1

Comment Thanks Paddy, for such a lovely and thorough review!

Preeta Chandran
14-May-2014 10:27 AM

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