Growing with Janette : a review of ‘ Something here will grow ‘

Reading Janette Schafer is no less than a revelation to me. Not because her book of poetry ‘ Something here will grow’ startles me or sweeps me off my feet by its cerebral exercises, which as a book reviewer , I am , to some extent, accustomed to, but by its utter simplicity. So , with her start ‘ Floating above Detroit ‘ , trying to find the essence of the Green House , her first home in America. In ‘ Elixir’ , too , I again find myself in that house , and with her I go on searching for little slides of memories. Janette does not over power her poetry with imagery which is oblique or far fetched. Instead she narrates and while she does so, for example in ‘A Family History ‘ , we as readers , at once , visualize characters and places, she so aptly describes , without any ornamentation. She can easily announce ‘ My father was the first man I knew who broke my heart ‘ or ‘ My grandfather was the first man I knew who fought monsters’ . The same straightforwardness can be found in ‘ When I was seventeen ‘. She wrote quite matter of factly : I do not date or learn to drive. If straightforwardness is Janette’s key to poetry, her passion for music and sweetness of life , does not go unntoticed. In ‘ Harvest’ , she almost confesses : The sweetness of fruit is almost unbearable. Likewise, in ‘ Ode to Heroin’ , she weaves poetry with music asking queries like : How does the dolphin tell a dove of swimming ? How does a dove tell a dolphin what it is to fly? And yet , even after asking queries like these, she knows too well, what is it to surrender to passion , forgetting the prosaic aspects of life. So she falters not to plead : Kiss me beneath the waves ( That time I was naked with Lisa) or for that matter, in sing song manner, asks her readers to find her ( Come find me) . Reading Janette is like making a journey with oneself.

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