Tuesday, February 21, 2006
If a book is short and carries choice verse, few would leave it to a second sitting. Miami author Nadia brown instantiates this assertion in her first book of poetry Unscrambled Eggs (Publish America, Baltimore, 2005). A collection of sixty poems, Unscrambled Eggs is an artistic pluck in the floating stillness of mundane thought. A daring, dissenting return to self-respect is the upshot of Miss Brown’s poetry.
The individual poems in the book are short, each centered closely on a distinct point. Tone varies from aspiring to confessional, though never leaving the self-conscious position of a deserving soul in the broad social milieu. Themes explored are more humanistic, less illusory or sentimental, and crucial to one’s self-esteem. Social injustice in Sea of Poor (in a country of gold and ledger, lies a sea of poor), self-respect in The Lesson Learned (Yet I exceed, your scant recognition) an urge on poet’s art to be more than mere words in Liquid Muse (what good are handsome metaphors, when profoundness eludes your pen), the nature of skin-deep, lie-loving love in Unforeseen Affair (it was not maliciousness, that hastened you away, but truth), and many vital issues are taken up in a mere 70 pages.
Unscrambled Eggs defies the conventional, the prejudiced, and whets the human spirit with determination, hope, unyielding fidelity to one’s purpose, and confession of one’s own fallibilities. There is a strong penchant for a purpose in life, at times growing morose. But the poetess never fails in keeping hold of the softness that opens the reader’s unbiased ear. This is achievement.
The degree of freedom with which the themes involve us is maintained in the lack of absence of end rhymes, reinforcing the mode of free, unprejudiced writing. Alliteration is not ardently employed and rhythm solely bears the characterization of verse. Nevertheless, the balance is secured. Cadence is not perfect but melodious and smooth. A quality that cannot go unappreciated is the feeling of fullness in each and every poem; no brusque truncations.
The crux of Miss Brown’s book is enmeshed in two poems sparkling with brilliance. Suppose glances wistfully at the irreversibility of time and its damage.
‘imagine life as a chalkboard
where errors are erased’
And certainly, the title poem Unscrambled Eggs pictures the ‘holes of the size of mountains’ each of us has in his or her life. How assiduously we try to refill them, the task is no easier than unscrambling eggs.
‘but when will I learn
I can no more unscramble eggs
Than change the past’
Unscrambled Eggs is a gift to poetry lovers.