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Dhaka Tribune

As the quilt unfolds: A critical reading of Dust-Decked Rainbow Quilts by Laksmisree Banerjee

A polyphonic literary journey into the mysteries of life and politics

Update : 08 Jun 2024, 07:52 PM

The collection of poems, Dust-Decked Rainbow Quilts, has neatly projected a range of subjects, including the various dichotomies of life, the various ongoing crisis, the fleetingness of time, the dynamicity of life, the mysteries of Creation, and many other themes have found their place in the said work. In spite of the apparent meaninglessness of existence and the existential crisis, the work shows reliance that akin to the art in a kaleidoscope, bits and pieces can be sewn together, and hope and faith must not be lost.

In A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf writes: “Anon, who wrote so many poems without singing them, was often a woman”.

 In spite of the employment of the metaphor ‘Quilt’, which brings back the memories of the era when instead of pen, needle has been the medium of expression of women as they have woven their myriad experiences into quilts or bedspreads, and in spite of the words of the poet, Laksmisree Banerjee: “This Collection of my poems is all about the events and experiences of this world seen through my female perspective”, Banerjee’s poems will not get the justice they deserve if readers attempt to read them through the eyes of a feminist. Her poems encompass a plethora of philosophies and ideologies, and this perhaps comes out best in the very first poem from which her collection has taken its name Dust Decked Rainbow Quilts, that sets the tone of her work and guides the readers as they too attempt to unfold the quilts, and “unravel the tales tucked inside” (Banerjee 22).

A glance at her poem Mirror will make the readers aware of the presence of psychoanalytical hermeneutics. Poetry becomes the “mirror”, and acts as the bridge between the Self and the Other, between the Semiotic Flux and the Symbolic, as the poet writes: “Poetry came and went like the lightning/ robust in fire feathers of touch/ a sudden fireball of water to allay the knife/ gleaming in love and terror, a mirror of life” (Banerjee 28). In “My Tree of Poetry”, the poet shows how in contrast to the libidinal drives of Eros and the fleetingness of time, the poet and her poetry emerge victorious as the Creator and her Creation get the taste of ‘immortality’.

 Again, her poem My Lamp delves into the mysteries of ‘Creation’ via the Big Bang Theory.

 On one hand, the readers perceive a teasing sensuousness in poems like Nude Dazzle and The Mermaid and Pegasus among others, on the other hand, her works like Rain Rhapsody and Blue among others serve one of the true purposes of poetry- to give delight which she does successfully like a deft Romantic.

Banerjee’s works also uphold a mirror to the erring society urging it to reform from within casting away the masks of artificialities, shallowness, and hypocrisies

 Banerjee also depicts the mundane sufferings of an ailing society, as a new bride gradually discovers that conjugal life is after all not a bed of roses: “The young bride pushed into/ an alien household with her wails/ in subterranean folds of her trousseau” (Banerjee 44). The comparison of the woman with Ma Durga as both are immersed into oblivion and thus deleted from the Conscious of memories is unparalleled.

Banerjee’s works also uphold a mirror to the erring society urging it to reform from within casting away the masks of artificialities, shallowness, and hypocrisies, for instance, The Naked Emperor which has become the perfect translation of Nirendranath Chakraborty’s Ulanga Raja, keeping the essence of the original unaltered.

Kolkata’s Park Street’s glory is neatly projected with the canvas side by side portraying a city’s poverty that cannot affect the divine and pure love between a mother and her son, as is evident in Banerjee’s poem “Two Souls In Company”.

If on one hand she has paid homage to Vincent Van Gogh through her work Sunflowers On Display, on the other hand, she has also paid her tribute to the indigenous ethnicity, for instance through her poem Art Of Nature.

Banerjee’s Collection indeed has explored a range of themes and has efficiently presented the various dichotomies of life with a very prominent expertise.

 

Reference:

1) Banerjee, Laksmisree. Dust-Decked Rainbow Quilts- A Collection of Poems. Kolkata: Penprints, 2023.

2) Baral, K. C. Sigmund Freud: A Study Of His Theory Of Art And Literature. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers Private Ltd, 1995. Print.

3) Selden, Raman, Peter Widdowson, Peter Brooker.  Readers Guide To Contemporary Literary Theory. London: Routledge, 2016, 2017.

4) Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One’s Own. London: Hogarth Press, 1929, 1935. Print.



Oindrila Bhattacharya is an Assistant Professor of English at Regent Education and Research Foundation Group of Institutions. She has a flair for creative writing and is a published writer. She has also graduated in Kathak and has been awarded “Sangeet Visharad” in the said art.

 

 

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