- Paperback: 72 pages
- Publisher: Modern History Press (July 1, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781615992560
- ISBN-13: 978-1615992560
- ASIN: 1615992561
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,096,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Wet Silence: Poems about Hindu Widows Paperback – July 1, 2015
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What I wouldn’t give
Just to see you one more time.
Just to tell you some secrets.
To hold your face
in amorous delay,
to place my head
on your beating, weak chest
These are devastating stories but at the end there is hope and they will survive.
I am a woman
Who can be left in a desert,
And I’ll come back smelling of jasmine
Those who appreciate great poetry will be glad they read this book. It is highly recommended.
Powerful. That is the word I would use to describe Wet Silence, the newest poetry collection from Sweta Srivastava Vikram. I devoured this collection in one sitting and went back to reread several pieces and I know I will read them yet again in the future. This collection relates the hardships of Hindu widows in India. We don’t know the women the stories speak of but we know that their stories are shared by many other widows in India. It is a very moving and emotional collection … very raw in the telling and one that will haunt your thoughts for days to come.
In my years of reading I have read many novels that portrayed the lives of women in India and that was, in fact, my interest in this collection. This collection addresses the many restrictions placed on Hindu women after the passing of their husbands. What they wear and eat is controlled. They are unable to love again and remarry. Basically they are expected to mourn their husbands for the rest of their lives whether they had been treated well or not. As a woman it saddens me to think of vibrant women, some in the peak of their lives, having to live a life like this – being dictated to and no longer being able to enjoy the pleasures life has to offer. Wet Silence perfectly captures the grief, sadness, and anger that these women feel and through Sweta’s voice, I too felt their sorrow.
Wet Silence is an amazing collection. It hits you hard – in the gut with it’s raw reality. When I read poetry I look for how it affects me emotionally and Sweta’s is one of the most powerful I’ve read in terms of evoking so many feelings in me. It is exceptional.
Please take the time to enjoy this video of Sweta and a reading of her poetry. I’ve never listened to an author read their own poetry and it really adds a whole other dimension to the words spoken.
And finally I’d love to share a piece of Sweta’s poetry with you…one of my favorites. It was the very first one I read.
My husband is leaving
Widowhood is trapping me unwillingly.
I can hear a white cotton sari weaving at the shop,
demonic voices sharp as the mustard paste in fish curry
speaking in whispers around the hospital corridor,
accusing me of standing and watching
his rotting flesh and dull eyes,
not brooding like soot on windows.
My husband is leaving.
It’s his touch gentle as velvet,
his angelic tone that I’m seeking.
Bidding farewell to our dream,
my curse: I keep on living.
(“My husband is leaving,” a poem, originally appeared in Sweta Srivastava Vikram’s poetry book: Wet Silence(Modern History Press: July 1, 2015. ISBN-13: 978-1615992560))
I don't normally read poetry and as a newlywed I think it was rather cruel to myself to read this book however I felt it was important to do so. I started reading this just within a few days of getting married and needless to say I was in tears by the end of the first poem. Additionally it was just completely fascinating reading the poems and imagining all of the things these women had to deal with. Husbands who didn't love them but used them for sex or those who cheated on them for years. Or having loving devoted husband but not being able to mourn for him and having to carry on taking care of others. It was definitely interesting seeing things from a different culture perspective. Many of the poems also left me feeling disgusted by the inherit cruelty of humankind. Obviously some things don't matter the culture. It was awful reading about how some of the women were treated but thankfully not all of the poems were sad or spoke of abusive. Plenty spoke of the triumph of love even after death. Many of these poems made me fearful as well because I know someday too my husband shall pass and it will be me alone. There were a few poems I didn't quite understand but in general the imagery is good and the point obvious. This was easy to read and only takes a few hours to do so. Also I will mention there is a glossary at the end of the book which is helpful for some of the unknown words.