Would one ever think that grandpa’s dentures, cardboard cartons, a roadside puddle, dal makhani or last night’s dirty dishes would be subject for poetry? Well city poet Arvinder Kaur certainly thinks so. Not only that, she gathers such small moments with care, as one would scattered pearls, in her mini poems written in the tradition of Japanese pithy form of haiku, senryu and tanka.
Arvinder’s bilingual book (English and Punjabi), of miniature musings ‘Dandelion Seeds...’, was launched at the Punjab Kala Bhawan on Thursday.
Indeed she is the poet of small things and it is her exploration of the everyday world that gives flight to her words and the small things are linked to immense thoughts. Talking over poetry, Arvinder said, “Poetry has always been my companion and moving from free verse to the pithy Japanese form was not a case of jumping onto the haiku bandwagon. I felt that it was a fine medium for catching fleeting thoughts and emotions. Taking the same theme in two languages was a challenge because each has its own idiom. So published side by side they yet reach out to the readers differently.”
Japan Times award-winning poet Allan Summers in a foreword to the book, says: ‘Arvinder Kaur’s poetry will make you laugh, and will make you cry, but she will never make you sad forever, as you read her gritty and honest work.’
Just a taste of a poem or two is enough by way of teaser to get to read her book as she blows dandelion seeds and finds wish fulfilment in verse:
kitchen gossip/ the sound of knife/ on the chopping board’ or ‘end of autmn- / grandpa’s dentures/ begin to chatter
The past few years Arvinder’s verses have been published in prestigious journals home and abroad. She began her literary journey with an anthology of verse in Punjabi titled ‘Kujh Kasaile Supane’. She won much acclaim for her translation of the letters between Amrita Pritam and Imroz titled ‘Amrita and Imroz - In The Times Of Love And Longing.’ She teaches English in a Chandigarh college.