City Times and Other Poems

Poetry - General
80 Pages
Reviewed on 03/06/2015
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Author Biography

Vihang A. Naik was born in Surat, Gujarat on September 2, 1969. He is India's contemporary poet writing in English. His poems have appeared in literary journals and anthologies along with some significant e-publications. Four collections of his poetry have been published: Poetry Manifesto: New & Selected Poems (2010), Making A Poem (2004), City Times and Other Poems (1993). His Gujarati collection of poems include Jeevangeet (Gujarati Poems) in 2001, dedicated to the cause of victims of Gujarat Earthquake of January 26, 2001. He also translates poetry written in the Gujarati language into English, including his own Gujarati language poems. He is educated from The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda with English Literature, Indian Literature in English Translation and Philosophy. He had his primary schooling from Navrachna in Baroda, besides other local schools. He took teaching as a profession serving in colleges since 1996 in Gujarat. His City Times and Other Poems enters Limca Book of Records in 2016. He lives in Gujarat. India.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

City Times and Other Poems is a collection of poetry written by Vihang A. Naik. Naik is a poet, professor and translator of poetry. This collection contains six major poem-themes with the exception of his visual, standalone poem, Self Portrait. The poems are free verse in form, with the sections of each chapter or poem-theme merging into and flowing from each other. Naik's style is terse yet rich in expression, form, shape and sound.

Vihang A. Naik's poetry collection, City Times and Other Poems, is stark and evocative. Each poem begs to be read aloud, slowly, to be savored for its mingled sounds, images and meaning. Some of the poems are quite moody and introspective, while others sparkle with intensity. At the Shore and City Times were the poems that resonated most strongly with me. You can hear the surf, see the waves and watch the fleeting images etched in sand in At the Shore. The subtitles of this poem are Distance, Illusion, Desire, Pleasure, Voice, Eyes, concluding in At the Shore, and each presents a different, yet connected aspect of the theme.

City Times is a heady mix of beauty, life and a visual array of the abstract sculptures and buildings that form the skeleton of the city. The section On Visiting Grandfather's house is nostalgic and moody: "Grandfather's father/ was a saint/ now/ a photograph/ lies untouched in an attic." Time seemed to stand still for me as I read Naik's verse. Each word is used with precision; each image is clearly brought forth with remarkable power and efficiency; each mood is brought to life, examined and then transformed into its successor. Reading City Times and Other Poems is a heady and illuminating experience. It's most highly recommended.