By Jaya Mehta
Published by: Notion Press, Inc;
first edition (7 May 2018)
'The Poetic Saree is a book in many avatars: the poetry book, an audio book on SoundCloud and video-poems on YouTube.'
- Angela Paljor, The Morning Standard
'...what is going for Jaya Mehta is the intensity with which she writes. There is an irrepressibility about her poems. They are not words; they are a symphony of emotions that demand to be expressed.'
- Anjuly Mathai, The WEEK
'A dazzling collection of poetry, full of beauty and grace.'
- Sonia Faleiro, author of 'The Beautiful Thing'
'When dance is called poetry of the body, we see words becoming dance in Jaya's poetry'
- Leo Spreksel, artistic director, Korzo Theatre, Netherlands
'I can get playing this game: just pick up lines or stanzas from Jaya’s poems and lay them out in any order. You can also try this game. I bet that these lines taken out of context create their own context and make sense as another poem.
A sugarcane is sweet whichever part you taste. So you is this book of poems. ‘ Beautiful in the beginning, beautiful in the middle and beautiful in the end’- This is what Lord Buddha said of Dhamma. The same can be said of poetry as well, in this slim but significant, simple but not simplistic book of dance poems.
These poems don't look at us like other poems. It took me some reflection to see that they are 'still poems'—not the sort someone else writes. They are 'dance poems'. They are the sort only a dancer can write. Not all dancers, at the same time. Only somebody filled with the devotion, enthusiasm, commitment and passion of a pure- hearted bhakta can melt into such poems. Here colours, images, elements, rhythm and the flow of nature, spins, swirls and ecstatic movements of the dancer become poems, in which the meaning is dance itself.
The poems reminded me of the following lines from Shiva Sutras : The Nartaka aatma, Chittamantarangam and Prekshakaaniindriyaani.'
- H S Shivaprakash, Kannada poet, playwright and Sahitya Akademi awardee
'In her poems, the dancer Jaya Mehta pays tribute to the timelessness of nature and its beauty and compares it to the impermanent nature of our mortal existence. Through her words, it is easy to see how landscape, seasons, flowers, and forms have inspired so many of India’s first bards and poets.
Mehta finds dance in everything around her. In Javakusum, she compares the flower’s “waxy red petals” to the curls of a “flamenca’s skirts.” In Sakhi, she listens to the companion in all of us, for “sakhis know we’re all poems that sing through the night.” Indeed. Just like friends who nourish our souls are magical, our words, dances, and other creations too come from a place of magic.
Mehta also pays tribute to our ancestors and what we owe them. In Grandma’s Yellow, she is enamored of the stories her grandmother’s sarees tell her and connects with her past, to the Hanuman-like energy and life force within us all to ask, “As you wore it, washed it, did you weave these chants into yellow silk?” These poems, that richly intersperse Hindi and Sanskrit words within them, will inspire everyone to listen to themselves and to the world around them.'
-Sayantani Dasgupta, author of 'The Fire Girl'
it floats around me
Like pebbles in my waters
I find it
this vision, this blindness
How did it never come to me before?
My boulder being
in the poetry river
I hold on
only to let go
the spiritual beloved
This poetry, draping me
always powdery, fragile
I soak in my own poems, my sakhis