Monday, November 14, 2011

Beyond the Scent of Sorrow: Review and Giveaway

Beyond the Scent of Sorrow is the latest collection of poetry by award-winning writer Sweta Srivastava Vikram, published in October of 2011 as part of the World Voices Series. I've reviewed other poetry books by this author, interviewed her, and read her exquisite novel, Perfectly Untraditional, so I'm already acquainted with her and know that she's a very skilled wordsmith. Regardless, my goal was to "judge" this work on its own merits, as much as possible.

In this new collection, the author draws an interesting connection between nature and women. In the Alejandaro region of southwest Portugal, countless old eucalyptus trees--once considered protectors of the forest--are being removed and replaced by oak trees, depicting the unjust (sometimes violent) treatment of women, who are treated poorly in many parts of the world, merely because of their gender. Using the eucalyptus tree as a symbol, this poet creates many brilliant and powerful poems depicting the plight of women, as well as their strength and ability to endure. Sweta Srivastava Vikram's bold and vivacious style captured me as quickly and as completely as it has on previous occasions. Here are some lines from one of the author's favorite poems in this collection, Unholy Men.

"Like the cork oak
selectively stripped of their bark
every ten years of their lives
to quench a lover's thirst
for wine in Evoramonte, Portugal,
I am undressed
night after night
until my wounds mock
the myth of one thousand years--"
~Sweta Srivastava Vikram

While the author may be pro-woman, she is not anti-male, as she states in the Acknowledgements section of the book, where she specifically thanks her husband for understanding her position. I also think it's important to note that better treatment of women and more equality benefits everyone--not just women. And while the poems in this book are decidedly serious, they are not without glimmers of hope, mist that awakens and enables us to "walk away from the nightmare". I relished this collection of poems that features intense emotion and vivid images, and am thrilled to offer a copy of this book to a reader compliments of the publisher, Modern History Press (U.S./U.K./Canada).

  • To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment.
  • For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower, or that you subscribe in Google Reader.
  • For an additional chance, post about this contest on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

Enter by 5PM PST on Monday, November 28. One lucky winner will be randomly selected and announced on Tuesday, November 29. Good luck to all!


  1. This writers poetry seem to share certain themes with the Irish writer & poet Nuala Ní Chonchúir. here is a poem by her.

    My body is a palimpsest
    under your hands,
    a papyrus scroll
    unfurled beneath you,
    waiting for your mark.
    I clean my skin,
    scrape it back to
    a pale parchment,
    so that your touch
    can sink as deep
    as the tattooist’s ink,
    and leave its tracery
    over the erased lines
    of other men.

    You are all that’s
    written on my body.

    NUALA NÍ CHONCHÚIR (From: Tattoo : Tatú)

    PS' already follow

  2. Sounds interesting and that's a great cover.

  3. This sounds like an interesting collection of poems Suko. I like the comparison of the eucalyptus trees to the womens struggles as well as their strength.

  4. I wish I knew how to appreciate poetry properly. It sounds like a wonderful book.

  5. Ms. Vikram is a very talented poetess & I would be honored to own a copy of her works.

  6. This sounds like an incredible collection, and I really enjoyed what you had to say about it. I would love to be considered for your giveaway as well, Suko! Wonderful excerpt and review today!


  7. No need to enter me … I struggle with poetry but I admire you for your devotion to this author.

  8. Sounds like an interesting read! I would love to enter the giveaway.
    I am a follower of your blog.
    I have posted about this giveaway on Facebook!

  9. Just like Vivienne says I wish i could appreciate poetry .. but the lines do sound nice :-)

  10. I did enjoy this verse but like all poetry I know I would get more out of it if someone was to read it to me. Good luck all who enter your giveaway - I'll be sure to add it to the comp/giveaway page on my blog.

  11. Parrish, thank you for sharing a poem, and thanks to thegalnxtdoor and Petty for helping to spread the word about this giveaway. And thanks to everyone else who took a moment to leave a word of encouragement and/or a comment!

  12. I like your post, Suko. I can read in English some novels , but poetry is difficult ! But I like what you wrote about thes poems and their author.

  13. No need to enter me. Glad to see you liked this collection. I've heard a lot of good things about her work.

  14. No need to enter me as I have just reviewed this collection today and love it. I hope you'll stop by and check out my review. Also, I hope that you will nominate it for the Indie Lit Awards:

  15. Thank you for such a beautiful review, Susan. And my gratitude to everyone who has taken out the time to support and encourage humbly yours. I really appreciate it!

    Have a safe and happy holiday season, all!


  16. Sweta, thank you for your kind words. I look forward to reading your next book! Happy holidays!


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