Title: Unsettled: Anthology of Poems
Author: Ruby Mohan
Publisher: MEENAKSHI DATTA
First Publication: 2021
Book Summary: Unsettled by Ruby Mohan
“On days I drench myself in humor;
The wine dripping from fingertips-
Is ink such as you have never tasted?”
In her first collection of poems, Ruby Mohan’s command of language and craft displays.
Here are witty, hopeful poems of quick intellect and a compassionate heart that will resonate in yours.
Book Review: Unsettled by Ruby Mohan
Good poetry is visceral. It smacks you across the face with an image, or stabs you in the heart with an observation, or blows your mind with a comparison of things you had never before put together. Mostly, I read poetry books for pure pleasure. What I want from a poetry collection is sonic pleasure, intelligent word-play, a noticeable attention to individual word choice and images, and depth. It is rare when I find a complete book of poems that holds me and amazes me from beginning to the end of the book.
Ruby Mohan’s “Unsettled” is just such a book. It is crazy smart and lyrically soaring. It resonates with me while managing to circle such mainstream topics as love, identity, heartbreak, and home without falling into familiar tropes. In fact, it is the fierce and lively voice of Ruby Mohan that catches me from the book’s first poem titled “Unsettled”:
I have not forgotten her hazel eyes
The challenge they held
I may not have taken her up then
But the score is unsettled
One day when she least suspects
I will accost her again
To torment her with my silence
Till she speaks aloud my name
As I lead her through this maze
A misstep she needs to make
Fools all those that fall in love
As will be her mistake
Each of the poems in the collection has a weight measured in depth; as a collection they create a perfect circle of teeth-gnashing humanity – a circumference dotted with points of joy, pain, celebration, humor and loss. They’re approachable in the nicest possible way, by which I mean you re-read lines for the thrill of hearing them again in your head, not because you’re confused. Ruby Mohan’s words feels like intelligent and warm and surprising and unafraid of simple candor.
In ‘Unsettled: Anthology of Poems’, Ruby Mohan has a great voice and you just kind of want to be friends with her. The poems are accessible and honest, sometimes funny, sometimes daring, often optimistic. In searing, concise tone, there is a burning away of the non-essential and a yearning for deep connection. The verses travel over a wild and acerbic province, resounding with incisive awareness that veers into heartbreak and humor.
All the poems in this collection are direct, simple, easy to grasp and full of passion. There are underlying layers and raw thoughts and emotions beneath those words that have me wanting to savour it, reread it. The overall effect is beautifully alchemical. The poet doesn’t leave off with complaint; she doesn’t take the position of victim. As a visionary, she wants to re-define life. The collection is astonishingly sincere and unpretentious, an authentic laying bare of shadow and soul. Pick up a copy. Take your time and savor the collection. It gives you permission to trust the innermost flame.