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Philosophical Musings for a Meaningful Life: An Analysis of K.V. Dominic's Poems Paperback – Import, 1 Feb 2016
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Dr. Kumaran has done great service to the contemporary Indian English poetry by editing this book on our contemporary poet -Dr. KV Dominic. The book has 24 articles by various critics and one interview with the poet that throws light on his poetic philosophy and creative art. He tells his interviewer: "The main objective of our life is happiness and we can attain this happiness best by serving others" (210); besides, "Man has to learn a lot from Nature, especially from the animal world" (211). In his introduction, PCK Prem observes that "Workers, farmers, laborers, and the exploited encourage him to write and write" (15), and in his article on Winged Reason, he observes that Dominic's poetry manifests "a humanitarian view of men in distress" (53). Kumaran traces Dominic's humanism in Winged Reason and observes: "the analysis reveals the poet's faith in didactic poetry and ascertains the relevance of his writing" (23). Sudhir Arora also explores Winged Reason critically and affirms: "The poet in Dominic is an angel who searches for the angelic qualities in men" (29). In Multicultural Symphony, Dr. Arora finds that the poet "is grieved when he sees the present India that has now become 'a hell of intolerance and religious fundamentalism'," and the poet is resolved "to win the hearts of his readers by virtue of his 'content'" (39). Chambial studies his book, Write Son, Write, and infers, in his study, that his poetry is full of "humanitarian philosophy steeped in contemporaneous societal consciousness" (45). TV Reddy, in his study of Winged Reason and Write Son, Write, argues that "his poems are a strong testimony of his socialistic ideas, to his leanings toward communistic ideology, and to his earnest zest as a social reformer" (61). Sugandha Agarwal opines that Dominic's poetry addresses "the entire humanity about its prevailing issues and problems in society. ... and [he] believes that the real wealth of a nation is its citizens" (78).
-- Reviewed by Dr DC Chambial: Editor Poetcirt,
About the Author
Dr. S. Kumaran is working as an Assistant Professor in the PG & Research Department of English, Thiruvalluvar Government Arts College, Rasipuram. He has received his doctorate from Anna University and has obtained PGDTE from English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. Further, he has qualified both State Eligibility Test and UGC-National Eligibility Test. He is actively engaged in research work and his research contributions include: thirty journal publications, three books, forty paper presentations, eight papers in various anthologies, and guidance to doctoral students. Moreover, he is the Treasurer of Guild of Indian English Writers, Editors and Critics (GIEWEC); Associate Editor of two refereed inter¬national biannual journals, Writers Editors Critics (WEC) and Inter¬national Journal on Multicultural Literature (IJML); and a Member of the Editorial Boards of various journals from India and abroad.
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Dr. S. Barathi
K.V. Dominic is a prominent writer from the southern part of India. A poet par excellence has numerous awards and honours to his credit. His maiden anthology, Winged Reason published in the year 2010 had a great response from the readers. He has also published two more Poetry collections, Write My Son Write and Multicultural Symphony which has won wide acclaim among the poetry lovers and researchers. Born in Kerala, the land of scenic beauty and pure nature, the writer naturally has the gift of appreciating his surroundings. Besides, the writer is also the editor of refereed and indexed Journals Writers Editors Critics (WEC) and International Journal of Multicultural Literature (IJML). He is well known among his peers and persons close to him for his humanistic attitude and as a compassionate soul.
Philosophical Musings for a Meaningful Life is a book of scholarly research articles by writers from across the globe. There are 24 critical research articles and an interview with the writer. The book has a Preface by Stephen Gill, Poet Laureate and writer of Indian Diaspora. Gill highlights the notable works of K.V. Dominic and appreciates the book for covering all the aspects he has noted in the poet’s works. It is worthwhile to note the word of appreciation from a fellow poet that, “I am convinced that Philosophical Musings for a Meaningful Life will inspire scholars from the West to find rubies and diamonds in the Indian Poetry of today.” (iii)
The Introduction from the poet discloses the poet’s thoughts to readers about his inspiration, his contribution to the society and his ultimate goal in his writing career. Though a baptized Christian, he believes in advaita philosophy and feels that it is his foremost duty to unify the world through his literary works. The poet as a social critic, attacks the three mafias¬¬---Religious, Political and Intellectual. Other themes of his works include disparities in society, gender issues, description of nature, multicultural beauty of the universe and the poet finds affinity between Man, Nature and God.
The preface by editor, Dr. S. Kumaran, is highly impressive and it gives a bird’s eye view of the chapters. The division of articles to chapters will help the readers to get a comprehensive view of the book. The editor has justified the book by his brief overview on each chapter. In addition, the short biography about the poet with the publication details is certainly an added advantage for the students doing research and people who indulge in Indian English Literature.
P. C. K. Prem, a renowned critic has contributed two chapters, the first being the introductory chapter titled “Introduction: Poetic Mind of K. V. Dominic”. In this chapter, he has analysed all the three poetry collections of Dominic. He explores the various themes present in the anthologies and comments on the language that, “the poet believes in simple, straight, and unadorned language while displaying genuine anxiety for the socially neglected segments of society” (1). He further investigates the poet’s experimentation with his day to day experience in life and values the philosophic undercurrents in the poems. He also points out how the subjective poems provide an objective outlook as the poet through the personal theme moves on to universal themes. Prem has touched on almost all the poems in the collection and even writes of the “Unhealthy and Deformed system and Karma” in Dominic’s Winged Reason. In the conclusive part of the first chapter, he focuses on the message from the poet and describes the poet as an optimist, who aspires to live in an idealistic society.
The second chapter titled “Humanism in K. V. Dominic’s Winged Reason” by S. Kumaran, the editor of the book, explores the humanistic values and love for peace. The article portrays the poet as a patriot, a humanist and martyr “ready to sacrifice his life for the sake of the country” (18). It also focuses on the various aspects of humanism in Winged Reason. The article also shows the poet’s love for peace through his poems and brings out the poet’s faith in humanism.
The third and fourth chapters by Dr. Sudhir K. Arora on “An Angel in Flight: A Critique of K. V. Dominic’s Winged Reason” and “K. V. Dominic’s Multicultural Symphony: A Critique” arethe critiques on the two anthologies form the subsequent chapters and emancipates the poet as a social critic. Analyzing Multicultural Symphony, the writer focuses on the language and comments that, “What matters for Dominic in composing poetry is content, not form. He believes in authority of content over form and thinks that form will take care of itself and open naturally its arms to take content within” (32). The writer notices the lack of imagery and figures of speech in Dominic’s poetry and writes about the poet’s influences by Jayanta Mahapatra and Robert Browning. The articles also emancipate K. V. Dominic as a poet of Indian Landscapes.
D. C. Chambial has made a thematic analysis of K.V. Dominic’s poems in the fifth chapter titled “K.V. Dominic-A Humanitarian in Conception and Socio-Consciousness: An Analytical Study of Write Son, Write,” while in chapter six, P. C. K Prem scrutinizes the portrayal of humans and society in his article “K.V. Dominic’s Winged Reason: Poems of Man’s Earthly Life and Painful Realities”. Here he highlights the poet’s experiments with multiculturalism and interpretation of life through his experiences. He praises the anthology Winged Reason as “a rare collection of poems in Indian English Poetry” (47) and also appreciates the poet’s use of language, which is simple and down to earth with fewer poetic devises and no lofty images and metaphors that usually embellish the poems. The writer discusses various aspects found in the Winged Reason like, the suffering of the poor in “A Nightmare” and “Haves and Have-nots”, the poet’s criticism on ineffective education system in “Harvest Feast”. The writer also notes the influence of Mahatma Gandhi and John Ruskin and appreciates thus, “… the poet is uniquely contemporary and yet a bit ancient while he is apprehensive about the value-system in economic and social life, a rare commodity indeed” (53). The article also highlights Dominic as an advocate of a socialistic pattern and ethical values that care for the poor and downtrodden people. It shows the poet as a socialist and a compassionate soul.
Chapter seven by T. V. Reddy entitled “Social Criticism in the Poetry of K. V. Dominic” investigates the wide range of subjects in the anthology Write Son, Write and answers the poet’s question in the Preface on corruption that, “Writers, particularly poets who are like prophets” (61) will save the society from the corrupt leaders. T. V. Reddy criticizes the poet and calls him a poet with social awareness. He also identifies the poets profound effort to uplift the marginalized.
In chapter eight, Dr. Sugantha Agarwal, on “Concurrent Predicaments and Urge for Philanthropy in the Poetry of K. V. Dominic” presents the various themes in the three anthologies of K. V. Dominic. The poet as a realist and briefs on the social realism in his poems and appreciates the poet’s unique way of expression and outstanding thinking. She also wonders at the poet’s philosophy on the various aspects of human life and further states that “Undoubtedly, the thoughts of Dominic are just like invaluable diamonds elegantly strewn in the golden necklace of his poems” (78).
Chapter nine by Rob Harle, on “Poetry for a Better World: A Critical Look at the poetry of K. V. Dominic” focuses on the poet’s positive attitude and wish to reform the society. Chapter ten comprises of Dr. J. Pamela’s article “A Requiem for the Disconsolate: K. V. Dominic’s Poetry as a Social- Criticism” where she calls him a social critic and compares Dominic to R. K, Narayan in his literary style, also visualizes the poet as a Gandhian and lover of nature. It also elaborates on the poet’s lament on the loss of the philosophical, ethical and humane values.
Chapter Eleven on “Poetry for a Meaningful Life: A Critical Analysis of K. V. Dominic’s Poetry” by Bhaskar Roy Barman has investigated all the three poetry collections by K.V. Dominic. It unveils the philosophy behind the poetry of K.V. Dominic. Chapter Twelve by Dr. S. Ayyapa Raja on “K. V. Dominic as a Social Critic: A Study of His Poems” brings out the social criticisms in Dominic’s poems. According to him, K. V. Dominic has carved a niche of his own as a great social critic in the arena of Indian Poetry in English. The study also illustrates and establishes him as great lover of humanity. Chapter Thirteen on “Philosophical Voyage of K. V. Dominic” by Arbind Kumar Choudhary values the poet’s expression, his dedication to serve humanity. He compares K. V. Dominic with contemporary Indian English poets like D. C. Chambial, P.V. Sahani, C. L. Khatri and Kamala Das.
Chapter Fourteen titled “The Poet of the Marginalized: An Analysis of Dr. K. V. Dominic’s Poetry” by Anisha Gosh Paul argues that K. V. Dominic’s has a strong philosophical base as his mind is steeped in Advita Vedanta Philosophy. The poet is inspired by great thinkers and humanitarians like Swami Vivekananda, Mother Teresa, Adi Sankara, Gandhi and Nehru. By analyzing the poems she proves that the poet champions the cause of the marginalized. Joe Palathunkal in Chapter Fifteen titled “K.V. Dominic’s Poetry: Rebellion and Reticence on Winged Reason” illustrates how sympathy and empathy are reflected in the poetry of K.V. Dominic. The writer also explores the position of Indian women in the society, where the poet indirectly questions the attitude of Indian men. He also observes the rebellious attitude of the poet even when expressing sympathy in a given situation within his worldview. Commenting on a poem from Write Son, Write, he records, “I am sure his poems will compel man to search for an answer for God and His creation” (137). Patricia Prime’s “Critical Analysis of K. V. Dominic as a Philosophical Poet” forms chapter sixteen, where she comments on the language and style of the poet in Multicultural Symphony thus:
The language is simple, until we begin to question it, but Dominic can manipulate words as well as anyone. The power of his writing comes to the fore in this volume; in poem after poem he thrusts forward themes and ideas with an economy of words that pushes our minds to comprehend: (141)
Chapter seventeen on “The Relation between God, Man and Nature in K.V. Dominic’s Poems” by Mahboobeh Khaleghi opens with a quote from the poem “How I Became a Vegetarian” and moves on to analyze various anthologies by Dominic. She observes the poet’s sympathy for all living beings and the juxtaposition of harmony and disharmony of nature in the poem “Anathu and the Wretched Kite”. She drives home the point that to have a better environment one should learn to coexist.
Sangeeta Mahesh’s “K. V. Dominic, the Messenger of Humanity, Peace and Harmony in the Universe” is the eighteenth chapter, where she glorifies the poet as “a worshipper of peace” (164) and apprehends the theme of humanism, peace and harmony as in the poems of Dominic and calls him a poet of “tender heart that bleeds not only for the sufferings of mankind but also for animals, birds, fish, and even insects” (165). In chapter nineteen, Dr. Radhamany Sarma on “Philosophical Musings for a Meaningful Life: An Analysis of K.V. Dominic’s Poetry” traces and highlights specific social issues like human rights and human dignity, nature’s grandeur, environment, war and peace, child labor, cruelty to animals and religious fanaticism. She observes that:
In the philosophical entourage, we see hawks and eagles soaring high, viewing the world of collusion and conspiracy, and we view those aerial birds with an agnostic eye, partially in the sense of slighting their existence and beauty and bounteous duty in their own way; we overlook their part in this soil. (179)
This proves the oneness established with the society by Dominic through the necessities and pitfalls to be healed in the society.The subsequent chapters deal with Eco criticism and environmental issues.
In Chapter twenty Anisha Ghosh Paul, “The Landscape of Kerala in K. V. Dominic’s Poetry” highlights Dominic’s passion for his native state kerala. “Kerala thus becomes his muse, the greatest inspiration of his poetic endeavors”(185) and the poet romanticizes Kerala and his success in delineating the landscape of Kerala is highly significant as he could portray the local, the individual and even a specific incident in a philosophical context. Chapter twenty one is by Dr. S. Barathi on “Eco-Critical Perspectives in the Poetry of K. V. Dominic” analyses Dominic’s concern for environment and emancipates him as a secular poet, tireless experimentalist and one who ventures on nature. Rincy Mol Sebastian’s “Ecological Issues Reflected in the Selected Poems of K. V. Dominic” forms Chapter twenty two addresses the various environmental issues in India. Chapter twenty three by Arbind Kumar Choudhary’s “Ecological and Social Issues in K. V. Dominic’s Poetry” investigates the relationship between human and nature. It also captures the environmental consciousness of the poet and discusses various issues pertaining to environment. It further analyses the ecological issues focused in Dominic’s poetry.
Chapter Twenty Four is Kavitha Gopalakrishnan’s article “Holistic Musings: K. V. Dominic as a Poet with Purpose” abounds with quotes from the poems, thus conveying her message in a nutshell, as the poem speaks for itself. The article also examines the three anthologies and brings to light the vision and mission of the poet. Chapter twenty five, the final chapter is an Interview with the poet by the reputed Italian Professor Elisabetta Marino, which appeared in MOSAICO, a renowned Italian Journal and its English translation appeared in the Labyrinth, an international peer reviewed quarterly journal. The researchers pursuing research in poetry will definitely be benefited by this book. The book is a must have in the shelves of scholars doing research on poetry, especially Indian English poetry.
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