30 Dec 2016: ‘Sunny Rain-n-Snow’ by U Atreya Sarma released

Well-crafted poetry appealing to every taste

Sunny Rain-n-Snow | Collection of Poetry | U Atreya Sarma | Partridge India. 2016 | ISBN-10: 1482868547 | ISBN-13: 978-1482868548 | Pages 158 | Paperback $ 9.99 | Rs 399 | Kindle $ 2.54 | Rs 169 | Flipkart Rs 360 | EBOOK (Google Play) Rs 118.30

“The story of a very sensitive human being from all aspects of life, that finds an echo in all our hearts – this is exactly the poetry collection Sunny Rain-n-Snow by U Atreya Sarma,” observed Dr Tutun Mukherjee, former HoD (English), University of Hyderabad, after unveiling the book as chief guest at the ceremony held at Ravindra Bharati, Hyderabad in the pleasant Sunday morning of Dec 18, 2016. She congratulated Atreya Sarma on having carefully stored his experiences and vignettes of life over the years, and on crafting them with care. A reader friendly miscellany of poems, years of effort had underlain its preparation, and the language had been polished and re-polished to bring about the desired impact. Like a good poetry, Atreya Sarma’s too ‘is invested with the beauty of sounds and words, imagery and alliteration.’ Highly creative and engaging were his poems whether he talked of hills, the fair sex, terrorism, or the birth of poesy itself.

Dr Tutun went on quoting the entire poem “Cradle of Poesy” –

When flight of fancy
And a worthy wreath of words
Cohabit on a bed of aesthetics,
The labours of their union
Conceive the baby of poesy…

If everything goes well
A blooming baby is born
To the swinging delight
Of the cognoscenti.

She said that this poesy poem was highly creative and it reminded her of Chaucer’s creativity when he went on to say “When in April the sweet showers fall” and how those showers would be productive.

Quoting another short poem “Hills” from the collection, Dr Tutun draws the readers’ attention to its succinctness, impact, apt diction and alliteration.

God turned
All hardness
Into hills.

Harder-hearted man
And began blasting them.

"TS Eliot says, 'Poetry is very simple to write, but it is difficult to be simple,' and Atreya Sarma’s poems were simple in that sense without being complicated or mysterious at all."  “Poetry also means a raid on the inarticulate," according to Eliot, and Atreya Sarma had made such a raid, said Dr Tutun, recommending the “well-strung pearls beaded together” in the form of his “olio of poems for pleasure.” The book published by Partridge contains 63 poems under 12 thematic sections in xvii + 139 pages.

‘When you read Atreya Sarma’s poetry, you would wonder whether it has been written by an Englishman…, he has such a perfect command of English language with the most appropriate diction,’ opined Dr V Kondal Rao, educationist, multilingual writer and former Director of Telugu Akademi who was the distinguished guest on the occasion. Atreya Sarma knew the poetic craft very well, and his poem ‘That my poetry is too…’ is an example of how many types of criticism – as many as twenty four, to boot – could be levelled against the poetic persona’s poetry, and how he effectively silences all the critics just in a single line. The poems like ‘My birthday baby’ inspired by personal relationships and equations were so well written that anyone could relate themselves to them, deliberated Dr Kondal Rao.

‘What an evocative and aesthetic title – Sunny Rain-n-Snow – that brings cool and sunny smiles on the face of every reader while feasting on the variety of poems in it!’ wondered Dr KB Gopalam, a polyglot and prolific writer. A media consultant and analyst, he was the special guest at the launch. "Most of us, the Indians tend to think in our respective mother tongues and that style reflects in our writings. But Atreya Sarma is a striking exception; his poetry is real English, the English as used by the English people," observed Dr Gopalam. “Open the book wherever your fingers flip you along… you will find that poem wooing and wowing you… For amazing and effusive imagery you should visit his ‘Wow, what a white magic!’ for the exotic American scene,” he commented. “No doubt, Atreya Sarma’s poetry is certainly for pleasure, but it has a striking social purposiveness too; and I see a Tiruvalluvar, a Sarvajna, and a Vemana in Atreya’s poetry,” maintained Dr Gopalam.

Chepuru Subbarao, former HoD (English) and a bilingual writer who was the guest of honour applauded Atreya Sarma’s poetry for its richness of language, imagery and thought. He also acclaimed the editing and translating acumen of Atreya Sarma, who is incidentally the chief editor of Muse India, a 12-year old literary e-journal.

‘The poems in the section Femina are so realistic and poignant that any of the fairer sex would approve of them,’ perceived Padmaja Iyengar, poet-writer-reviewer and Hon. Literary Advisor to The Cultural Centre of Vijayawada and Amaravati (CCVA). ‘I smiled, I laughed, I roared, I cried… as I read through the poems in Sunny Rain-n-Snow,’ said Padmaja. ‘This is a wonderful collection of poems with such a treatment and thematic diversity that is unputdownable and a must-read for everyone, of any taste… And especially to my liking are the nine tickling limericks in the olio,’ said Padmaja. She also drew the attention of the readers to the nine-line double acrostic stanza – a very difficult feat - that is the finale of his poem “A Tryst with the Terrorist.” And “Vertigo” – in the form of a dramatic monologue – was a testimony to Atreya Sarma’s keenness of observation and his social angst.

Several from the audience came up and spoke about Atreya Sarma and his poetry. Among them, Mocherla Sriharikrishna, a language enthusiast and author of three works on the beauty and nuances of English language quoted Dr Sunil Sharma, a multi-genre writer who did the Foreword to the book: “He [Atreya Sarma] can be comic, satiric, gloomy, edgy and philosophical in his musings, altering moods and tunes as per the requirements. An imagination literary; narrative styles variegated; an itinerant poesy and command over English – well, well, the alchemy is superb; so is the result!”

The others who spoke in the Open Floor session were writer Varanasi Nagalakshmi, actor U Subbaraya Sarma, ex-bankers KLS Raj and V Venugopal, and former ISRO engineer US Rao.

Other writers who graced the event and blessed Atreya Sarma included Dr Asavadi Prakasa Rao, Dr Dittakavi Syamala, Bulusu S Murthy, Swatee Sripada, Sailaja Mithra, Vallinath Mangalampalli, Konakanchi Murali, Raj Babu Gandham, Pranab Ghosh, and Harisshva DV.

The sparkle in the event was the recital of a limerick from the book by the 11-year old Deeksha and the endearing speech by the 7-year old Lakshya, both granddaughters of Atreya Sarma.

The programme was ably co-emceed by Dr U Shri Harsha & V Srinivas whose impromptu but lively performance came in for much praise. The event came to a close with the felicitation of the dignitaries and the vote of thanks by Atreya Sarma and a group photo of all the dignitaries and participants.

Report by: A Rohit, Hyderabad, rohitadivi@gmail.com

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