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).
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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!