Book Review: House Arrest & Disobedience (ISBN 978-0-9930315-1-9) by Sumeet Grover

House Arrest & Disobedience by Sumeet Grover

House Arrest & Disobedience by Sumeet Grover

The poems in this collection (ISBN 978-0-9930315-1-9) have a sense of place; sometimes implied by the language and sometimes by the actual names used. They seem to portray hidden taboos in those places. Someone who is not from that culture may find the poems quite complicated but at the same time the reader will be haunted, shocked, revolted and rendered helpless by their meaning. They are the kind of poems to read very slowly but one comes away with images evoked and whole lines lingering in the mind so that one can never forget the evils of human nature and a bent society.

Most of the poems expose domestic violence and show the most brutal side of absent fathers or abuses by those present – most especially the effect of a ‘father’ in a family. In Black Leather Belt,for example, one is shocked to find a withdrawn wounded mother whose arrows have bent the path of her son into ‘pointless days’ of emptiness, despair and cold heartedness. The deceased father is not missed in ‘Flown’ but his death has brought freedom for his daughter in the loving arms of a caring mate.

The language in the poems suits the emotions the words arouse – sometimes heavy, sometimes haunting …‘pointless days; bomb shaped eyes; black leather belt’… and sometimes light…‘she just flew away’.

There is much to be admired in the strength of the poet to carry the heavy burdens of his subject matter and deliver it in a way that makes the reader get a glimpse of the beauty in human suffering. Beauty because the poems will make one cry because the reader is so touched, and because one is touched, one learns to tenderly nurture and protect those under our care – women and children – boys and girls. We respond with the longing for change.

This collection may be intended for a particular audience – a male audience because it is a male voice that runs through most of them. If that is true, then, this book of poems must find its way into every male hand and to be read as a guide, a counsel, a caution, a rebuke – and as truth to inspire change. For women, there is a caution, hope and beauty – I think this poetry is for all humankind!

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Betty Kituyi

Betty Kituyi is a Ugandan writer, science communicator, researcher and teacher. Her work has been published in journals and anthologies. She is a winner of the BN Poetry Award 2012.

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