"Winter Blossoms" by Mamata Misra

"Winter Blossoms" is a collection of poems depicting the inequity faced by women who are caught in a cross-cultural journey. These women are destined by society to experience the complexities of indignity, hostility, and domination. Mamata Misra has captured a yearning for change, and a call for understanding. In a courageous bold voice she uses her poetry to speak loudly with a message of hope to these courageous women.

The illustrations by Indira Chakravorty vividly reinforce the message of the poetry. These poignant words and pictures tell the story of the restlessness of communal violence, offer a prayer for peace, describe the loving presence of a mother, and relate the bravery of Seetha walking into fire to prove her chastity to prove her worthiness to be queen.

The book is arranged in a topical format. Pen and ink drawings coinciding with the words of the poem impact and enhance the message conveyed through the written word.

The topics include "Mother and Child," "War and Peace," "Questions and Answers," "Hope and Despair," and "Sound and Silence." The final chapter entitled "Poems and People," includes a brief background on each of the poems, the time and circumstances of its origin, and a brief comment or two regarding the message being conveyed. A biographical sketch of the author and the illustrator are also included.

The poems in "Winter Blossoms" reveal the amazing insight, of the author, into the nature of the struggles faced by South Asian women. Mamata Misra brings to the forefront the need to speak out against the reality of family violence, and abuse. She faces squarely the incongruity of the power struggle of war in the guise of establishing peace. I was deeply moved by the poem, "Despair."

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