Poetry is designed to arouse us. It does so by expressing different realities, from what we witness in the world around us to the urgings of our subconscious mind, dream imagery and every deep thing we are capable of exploring. A particularly beautiful benefit of poetry is that it doesn’t always require analytical conscious mind in order to feel its emotion. Sometimes we simply react to a poem or song lyrics without knowing why.
Love is commonly accepted as the highest emotion we experience. It is also one of the most difficult subjects to write about. Love poems can often be unbearably sentimental, trite or fall far short of the heights of emotion we actually feel. Nevertheless, I heartily recommend that poetry enthusiasts and novice adventurists alike read Romi’s new book of poems about love for its emotional power, shining beauty and brave support of women. Voices of Rocks in the Dusk approaches this elusive topic from the female perspective and also addresses itself to men. With an incomparable wit, Romi Jain’s courageous effort to write an entire book about love has succeeded admirably due to her fine sense of rhythm, original word choices and perfect timing. Romi is a bright star in what often seems an overabundance of bad writing or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, academic indulgence for its own sake.
Romi is Vice President of the Indian Journal of Asian Affairs and holds M.A. and B.A. (Hons.) degrees in Political Science, which understandably influence her deep concern for the station and plight of women today. Additionally, I detect amazingly precise concepts from neuroscience and a timeless spirituality in her poetry. I was privileged to have visited India twice and, from the small glimpse I was afforded, developed an American bias towards the role of women in Indian society. While it might seem true that Indian women are more oppressed than their Western counterparts, after reading Romi’s poems you may see, as I have, that the exact same prejudices and attitudes towards women are also felt in American culture, at least by women. For that reason alone, Voices of Rocks in the Dusk is a worthwhile read. Romi warns men in her preface to not judge women as being “traditional”. In my day the term was “old fashioned”. I can’t help but wonder how much progress has actually been made towards equating men and women as contributing human beings in our shared existence?
One of the strongest poems in this volume and a personal favorite, “I’m Consciously Insane”, echoes the condition of the creative artist as well as the condition of women driven to suppress their creative force from society’s eyes. Aren’t we all searching for love through our work, through our relationships, through our existence? Love arouses us to great accomplishments. Romi arouses us to uncover love’s purity secreted away under the irrelevant and detrimental baggage we pile upon its sheer beauty.
Poet Laureate of Douglasville, Georgia