I don't normally write reviews but this is one chapbook that deserves to be acknowledged for the simple reason that grief surpasses both gender and borders. Sweta Srivastava Vikram's Because All Is Not Lost: Verse on Grief is an optimistic voyage through the process of grief and healing that draws upon the landscape and basic humanity as vehicles of expression.
The brevity of some poems encapsulates the universe of grief. In many ways, certain poems like A Fallen Soldier and Making the choice deliver guerrilla-style punches which leave the emotional impact of her visual and linguistic plays to carry on. Relentless poetry on mortality and finality can be potentially taxing to a reader but Sweta Vikram manages to effortlessly negotiate the boundaries of loss with last lines that leave the reader with moments of possibility - those of regeneration and healing.
The imagery of the landscape in Because All Is Not Lost serves as welcomed grounding motif to what is essentially an intensely emotional and intimate experience. Whether or not, life goes 'on like the Ganges,' the reader is reminded that like the natural world, loss is part of a wider cycle of birth, death and rebirth through acceptance of death. While the intensity of loss may diminish over time, memories of loved ones, like rivers, will continue to shape the landscapes of our individual worlds.
The real joy of this collection is its potential to be read in a single sitting, multiple times, with each subsequent reading revealing new insights. For poetry virgins, this text demands no sophisticated knowledge of poetics and literary discourse. To put simply, it is an accessible piece of enjoyable writing, a concept with which a lot of poets seem to struggle.
So what are you waiting for? Check out the book at Modern History Press or visit the personal website of Sweta Vikram.