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  • like to applaud Debjeet to write so many meaningfu

    Frankly speaking, I have not read/reviewed poem book in the past, not in English or not even in my mother tongue Gujarati. During Diwali vacation, I received this book from Debjeet Mukherji in my mailbox. I checked the blurb and 1-2 poems and thought of giving a try. I started reading it during a long train journey and surprisingly I was able to finish it within 2-3 hours. As the name suggests, "Voyages Volume I - A Collection of Poetry" is a collection of poems, each written at a different time in Debjeet life (I am assuming it) with a different thought. It has poem related love, relationship, friendship, inspiration, society and what not. Wordings of each poem are simple but meaningful. Not at a single point, you will feel that Debjeet is flaunting about his vocabulary. Poem topics are selected so nicely that for everyone at least few poems feel /touch on a personal front as if written for that individual. Another good part is a short quotation given at the end of each poem which gives the crux of the poem. I liked many of these quotations. Few even made to my Twitter and Instagram timeline as well. My personal favorite quotes are 1. “Lovely is the shape of the heart in cards Because the real heart has more to bear than fantasy” 2. “To take care of your loved ones is not easy. But who said it would be easy keeping a promise!” Cover design/selection is also proper for the type of book. Just like poems, cover shows us slow serene and deep mind; and our navigation through a voyage of life. Many of the poems are based on harsh reality which shows us the real face of the world. And most of the poems are realistic, very few are imaginative. I would like to applaud Debjeet to write so many meaningful poems at such a young age.

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  • Authentic and honest poetry

    It takes plenty of time and energy to become a skilled writer, as Debjeet Mukherjee demonstrates in VOYAGES Volume I - A Collection of Poetry. In this slim collection of poetry, Mukherjee makes the bold move of allowing readers to trace his journey as a writer from 2011, at the age of fourteen, to 2018, at the age of twenty-one. This is a unique approach that gives the book an air of a coming-of-age story. Aspiring bards may glean inspiration for their own writings among the many themes presented in VOYAGES, from the pangs of romantic love to reflections on the nature of humanity. Despite these weighty topics, newcomers to poetry have nothing to fear; Mukherjee’s writing is genuine yet familiar; no Greek allusions or complex limericks are designed to trip up readers. Given its brevity — 97 pages — VOYAGES Volume I is technically a quick read. However, given the nature of poetry, it is best to read only a few poems at at time and reflect on their meaning before transitioning to the next set. Mukherjee makes this strategy easy for readers to stick to, since he includes just about six or seven poems for each year. VOYAGES Volume I is a heartfelt collection that forms a critical stepping stone in Mukherjee’s literary explorations. When I’m looking for something to read, poetry isn’t usually what I dive into. But thanks to a high school project about Sylvia Plath and social media’s fascination with Rupi Kaur, I’ve been trying to expand my horizons. Working through Debjeet Mukherjee’s VOYAGES Volume I - A Collection of Poetry was an interesting exercise in pushing myself to understand the written word in a different format than the dense history tomes that typically clutter my bookshelf. I was relieved to find that Mukherjee is eager to make his poetry accessible to any reader. In the preface, he openly admits that reading poetry can be a challenging experience, which can make newcomers to the genre feel more comfortable. Instead of taking on a pompous attitude, he earnestly encourages readers that they are better at poetry than they may realize. That being said, I found that Mukherjee’s writing has not yet reached the caliber where I would present VOYAGES to a poetry connoisseur. He has a heavy dependence on simple rhyme (AA/BB/CC/etc. or A/B/A/B/C/D/C/D/etc.) which is not a problem on its own but can become a little tedious when it shows up on page after page. The lines themselves are passable, albeit unoriginal. I’ve seen phrases such as “Let people think whatever they like” (page 74) and “Hope is there till our very end” (page 3) in dozens of movies and books. Of course, everyone has their own preferences, but I would like his poetry to move away from such literal, unmemorable prose and work on a higher plane. To me, symbols, metaphors, and other such devices are part of the joy of poetry. I was also a little confused at the quotes that were beneath each poem — are they meant to be footnotes from the author? Is he quoting someone else, and if so, where is the citation? On the occasion that I did really enjoy a poem, such as “Snowy Winter,” which discusses what it is like to be a refugee, I would have enjoyed a little more context to it. Is it written about him, a friend, or a figment of his imagination? What inspired the poem? The slightly odd quote that followed the poem — “Seasons have a profound impact on the lives of men, Probably because there is no one to feel the weather on Mars!” (page 16) — did not assist me in this mission. I would also like to comment on my thorough confusion about a 2018 poem named “Modern Anne, Frank” (page 9). I’m usually pretty good at figuring out the meaning of a text, but this one escaped me. I dearly hope that I am incorrect in my hesitant conclusion that it is about a breakup, because I would strongly disapprove of a Holocaust victim’s name being used in such context. However, great growth is seen from his earliest poems, written when he was fourteen in 2011. I think it takes a certain degree of bravery to put out older, less polished works into the world. I would note to readers, though, that since the poems are shown in reverse chronological order, the writing quality generally decreases throughout, which can make it difficult to inspire readers to keep going. In a future publication of Mukherjee’s, I would perhaps enjoy seeing poems grouped by theme, instead of by year. Still, labeling the year is certainly interesting and I appreciated that peek into his writing journey. I hope that Mukherjee continues writing and remembers one of his selected quotes — “[S]uccessful pilgrimages require well-paved roads” (page 18).

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  • Literary Titan

    There’s a lot to miss about growing older: strength, hair, elasticity. But a collection of poems by a bright young author will make you miss something a little less noticeable – the way the young look at the world. Voyages by Debjeet Mukherjee, an 18 year old writer, is a collection of poetry arranged in the most unusual manner. He arranges the poems by age, nothing new, but in a Benjamin Button like twist, the ages go backwards. The collection starts with an inviting preface that encourages all, not just the elite or cultured, to experience the poetry of life. This transitions nicely into the poems themselves. Here, we find another added touch: small quotations at the end of each poem designed to carry “a message of what the preceding lines were all about.” Mukherjee takes this approach not because he deems his poems too complex for the average reader, but as a way to help readers learn to dilute the figurative language of poetry in general. And these poems are soaking in figurative language. Worn out topics such as love, friendship, and spirituality feel fresh when enlivened with Mukherjee’s metaphors, couplets, and symbols. The one flaw in the collection is more due to editing than writing. It only takes a few sentences of the preface to notice some minor typos and some formatting issues move the margins from one page to the next. But these small mistakes should not discourage potential readers. A highlight of the collection is “Prayers Alive in Hope.” The poem opens with a suppressed sense of rage as a “Syrian boy” prays “to the Lord to keep families safe, Not in this world, perhaps somewhere else!” Lines like these transport the reader. They allow us to see the world from a different perspective; from a background other than our own. The voyage that Mukherjee take readers on ends in a place of hope- that special kind that perhaps only the young can truly see.

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