Reviews: Photonic Postcard
The Revelation is standing at the door.
Prose poetry, for some, is a form without a home, a form at the threshold of mutually exclusive modes of writing. It’s a mongrel form, best kept separated from its pure-bred parents.
If this is the case, the prose poems gathered here in Pragya Suman’s first collection amount to a whole litter of wild prodigies, scratching at the door, determined to be let in. They are endearing in their strangeness, yet the wildness in their eyes is a window to the uncomfortable uncanny. These are eyes which see right through you to the whole stars of infinity, before a single blink fixes them on the twitching energy in your skull and spine. Homeless, perhaps, but not lost; these are works which will dog your footprints and howl on the front step when you’re trying to sleep.
Inevitably, sooner or later, you’ll open the door a crack – you’re only human, after all – and in they’ll rush with their swords and crows, Hitler’s moustache, their impossible juxtapositions, and bricks of butterflies tumbling out of nowhere. And all over those neat preconceptions about prose and poetry – not to mention those tidy categorisations of devine and degenerate – Suman’s words are leaving … footprints in the strokes of each startling image. Owls are sipping cold coffee, Van Gogh is waiting for his lover, and a close relative dies in the night.
After reading (and rereading) this collection, you may not be sure where you are or where you have been – this is what prose poetry does so well – but at your side you will have a dog made of butter. A mongrel? Maybe, but it will surely be more faithful than the gaudy show dogs of verse and narrative from which it came.
And what’s that shadowy form scraping at the boundary?
Go and look!
Prof Oz Hardwick
Leeds Trinity University (UK)
I have really enjoyed reading Photonic Postcard. I especially liked the complex and beguiling play of ideas and images and the imaginative way Pragya uses the Prose Poem form.
Professor of Writing and Head of International Poetry Studies Institute
I love Photonic Postcard . There are so many poems I love in it --my favourite is “Mother’s Postcard” it’s beautifully crafted. I am so thrilled she is raising the profile of prose poetry in India.
Professor of writing and Literature
I did enjoy Photonic Postcard and put it with my collection of volumes that are in a special collection in my college. The Vincent poems were special, I thought—just the right blend of narrative leaps, startling imagery, and intellectual energy. I liked the father poems too, and I especially liked poems like “Dungeon” and “The Black Soul.” Pragya really know how to end a poem. Also, too many prose poems are loaded with meaningless surrealistic imagery and unnecessary magical realist tricks. Her imagery always works toward a purpose.
An American Poet and Novelist.
Professor Emeritus, Providence College, USA
"Photonic Postcard" by Pragya Suman alternately surprises and beguiles with its plethora of arresting and surreal images such as: 'Vincent dipped his figurative fingers in the earthen bowl as they were sodden in sweat for years'. Her poetry also displays a painter's sensibility in the following startling imagery from the poem, 'I am Covid Positive': '...I saw a shriveled woman sitting in one dimension, her face wrapped in a pestle-white towel'. The freshness and originality of the imagery in "Photonic Postcard" make this book a memorable read.
I have dealt realistically with beautiful forms of the language of prose poetry, some of which were insurmountable. By following the language written by the Indian Author Pragya Suman, I always felt that she was whispering in her rhetoric and words. And this whisper takes many forms and images. It is nice to follow those pictures and forms to see this enrichment in this beautiful color and unique language.
Author and Doctor, Iraq
Book is available on the following link