In "A CHOREOGRAPHER'S CARTOGRAPHY", the Indo-British poet Raman Mundair has crafted a varied collection of poems that reflect her love for the life and language of the Shetland Islands (e.g. 'Stories fae da Shoormal'and 'Hairst Mön Hamefir') as well as poems conveying the anguish the war, "the dynamics and historical by-ways of the waltz", "the movement of people and the crossing of boundaries", in addition to the effects of thwarted passion.
Special Note: There is a 'Notes and Translations' section in the book that provides the English translations of the poems that are written in the Shetland Islands dialect as well as the small number of Hindi, Urdu, and Punjabi words scattered across 3 of the poems ('A Choreographer's Cartography', 'A Servant's Tale III', and 'Vicky and the Sikh' - which refers to the close relationship Queen Victoria had with her Sikh manservant, Harminder Singh Sahib, during the latter years of her reign).
Much as I enjoy poetry, I confess that I don't read it often. On a regular basis, I dive deeply into prose to quench what has proved to be a lifelong thirst for knowledge and entertainment. The happy result of these peregrinations into poetry and prose has been an abiding love and reverence for language and its subtle nuances.
So, in reading "LOVERS, LIARS, CONJURERS, AND THIEVES", I savored reading poems that spoke of "the intense joys of intimacy and love, and the pain of their rejections", as well as the wonder of travel, the impact of the 1947 Partition which gave rise to an independent India and the birth of Pakistan, and "a passionate concern with the body politic." There were also other poems that evoked the physical scars of domestic violence and racist murders in the UK. Not easy reading, but I appreciated being informed through metaphor and subtle allusion about these glaring injustices. One poem, in particular, held for me a special resonance because it said as much about myself as it did about its author. It is entitled "Tidal Moods" ---
"There are clear, still moments
luminous as an African sky
at night or at sea
when she calms
when I wonder
what governs me,
whether this centrifugal pull
is from a source rooted in the moon,
stars or simply hormones;
whether the magnet
moon is in cahoots with my seratonin --
or perhaps my seratonin seduces
the moon with the promise
of eternal, ecstatic bliss."
President Kennedy aptly summed it up when he said that "poetry reminds [mankind] of the richness and diversity of existence." This book of poems I recommend to anyone for its richness and diverse themes.