Silence is never silent so long as there is a listening ear. (Back cover of book.)
After four readings of Subliminal Dust I am still finding lines to enjoy afresh and differently. The poems bring out voices in movements, whispers amid chaos, sounds trapped in small rocks, the stretching voids of unspoken emotions, terribly pale silences.
There is music in this triangle, as in a shell ..
Iain Sharp of The Sunday Star said of Pooja Mittal, ‘Exceptional … A voice rather like that of a Zen master – insightful and enigmatic in about equal measure’. Zen often springs to mind on reading her poems, in particular the notion of koans.
Kōan, in Zen Buddhism of Japan, is described as a succinct paradoxical statement or question. The effort to “solve” a koan is intended to exhaust the analytic intellect and the egoistic will, readying the mind to entertain an appropriate response on the intuitive level.
I don’t suggest that Mittal intended her work in quite that way but certainly her images and unexpected juxtapostions had that effect for me. They set you loose from the usual tightness of linguistic meanings and adrift into the spaces and arenas of one’s own mind.
Gentle universes that float past
like tall, starry ships .
A favourite poem for me is ‘Seducing A Poem’ (p. 26), which so well conveys the frustrations of writers and the patience needed to bring to the fore that elusive something that you know you must write down, somehow.
.. come here poppet on little black shoes ..
Pooja Mittal has been widely published since the age of 13. At 17 she was the youngest Featured Poety ever in Poetry New Zealand. In 2007 she was featured in The Best Australian Poetry 2007. Her work has been performed in Moscow in Russian translation.