Book Review of “New and Selected Poems.”

New and Selected Poems is a self-published poetry book by Dominic Alapat. Spread through three previous ebooks, this poetry collection contains 113 poems, both old and new, encompassing mental health, nature, and a mystical element that grabs at you in the simplicity and beauty of moving language and imagery about life in the city of Mumbai.

“to fade away
to go away
like that
when until now
I was thinking
of the lake
and forests
of Periyar
how those
old trees
against a particular bend
looked prehistoric
to me…”
—excerpt from “O For My Mind.”

“…with chirp and song
and whistle
the paradise of summer
in the mist
beautiful white buildings stand
like they were eternal
in the trees gulmohur bloom
bright red…”
—excerpt from “In The Morning.”

It is an exploration into different thoughts, feelings, and musings with relevancy to the self and writing among light and darkness. We first view this in the beginning as it constructs a narrative of life around others and within others. You can see both the beauty and despair throughout the author’s words as they depend on what is around them for comfort. The references to beauty in the night, the bars, the cars, the people outside the salons, we get a glimpse of the narrator’s inner world and how they perceive life. The book delves into often a city-based setting which reveals both the joys and horrors the narrator experiences/witnesses, either externally or internally.

“But never mind all that.
It’s the ghosts I was speaking of.
And the ghost city on the move.
See how one rushes
to the other as he gets crushed
by a train.”
—excerpt from “Ghosts.”

“As though there was a world
beyond the question-mark
you had to slip into and like.
Here, there is a cauldron of constant
possibilities and impossibilities.”
—excerpt from “Meeting.”

We continue to see topics of hope and hopelessness, and perhaps cynicism for the repetition that dwells in our own humanity. A cycle of how we react and rely on instinct or remain still. There are predicted reactions to events, but yet the possibilities and impossibilities wander throughout in a strange, mystical way the author creates throughout their words.

“are open.
You know
somebody
who wants
to die.”
—excerpt from “The Windows.”

“What I’m trying to say is that
it is better to know this
when the heavy evening
having lost her happiness
comes to you
there quiet in your bed
it lays down in
the dark with you
then you know the meaning
of sorrow…”
—excerpt from “See The Dream.”

“some dead singer will croon
of love
of loss
and then the bar will bristle
the conversations start to flow
forks and spoons
clatter on plates
when a glass could
fall to the floor
from someone’s hand
who couldn’t hold it anymore…”
—excerpt from “The Evening’s.”

“I am reminded of laburnum flowers
fallen on the ground
the smell I can taste on my tongue
and gardens fill up my mind
with dew…”
—excerpt from “There Is The Smell.”

What’s powerful is how the author delves into serious matter of mental health issues and depression (with the occasional, unexpected rhyme in free-verse pieces), and how realistic it is with the impact on individual daily life. There is a real element to Dominic’s writing and it transports you to a worldview that, while so drastically different to some, can be vaguely familiar—just like everyone’s imagination and perspective is, we can only understand an inkling through our own experiences and not the full picture as we don’t live in other people’s heads. The philosophy in this poetry collection is profound; it explicates normalcy in a world that is anything but—how normal is what is often condemned as not normal.

Dominic communicates this with puissance, respect, and grace. I thoroughly enjoyed reading his poetry collection and I would highly recommend it, especially if you like more abstract poetry. His style is raw, honest, realistic, and it reminds me of Leonard Cohen’s poems from the Leonard Cohen Files.

This is a great poetry collection to read start to finish. You can purchase the e-book on Amazon and as well read the reviews that substantiate his unconventional, intriguing, and evocative writing style.


About the Author

Dominic Alapat is the author of three ebooks of poetry; Reeling (2012), Circling the Sky (2013) and The Branches (2015), all published on http://www.lulu.com. His poems have appeared in Nthposition, decomP, Kavya Bharati, Nether and Big Bridge, among other poetry magazines. He blogs at www.woodsmoke.wordpress.com and www.dominicalapat.wordpress.com. Alapat lives in Mumbai where he is a freelance writer and editor.




Categories: Poetry, Prose

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

12 replies

  1. this does sound like an intriguing book, lucy! I shall check it out for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much Lucy for this wonderful review! No one so far has delved so deep into my poems, and described them in such clear and lucid prose as you have! I cannot thank you enough! My best wishes for your great writing and this outstanding blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re so very welcome, Dominic, I was happy to do this review. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to read your poetry book, it’s incredible and what an experience it was in each page. Also, my apologies for not seeing your original message months ago, WP is funny like that.

      I thank you as well for the kind and encouraging words. My best wishes to you too with your writing, publications, and blogs. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Many thanks for introducing me to this book and the poet, Lucy. I am intrigued by and like the extracts sighted in your review, and will certainly purchase the collection. Best wishes. Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

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