WHEN STRANGLED VOICES SPEAK: A Review of ‘Strangled Voices’ by Nancy Paul

strangled voices

“The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.”

When Sylvia Plath, one of the most dynamic and admired poets of the 20th century notes this in her book ‘The Bell Jar’, it speaks us about the very beginning of Women’s Writing in the world.

Women around the world and in every single diverse culture are instructed since the beginning to talk unobtrusively, not to swear, to start inquiries with expressions of remorse and qualifiers, and to hang tight to talk until they’re addressed. Composing is a domain wherein they can talk up as noisily as they need. The genre of women’s poetry is found to be more unique and creative especially because the perception is from an entirely different dimension. Though this reflected upon the west several decades ago, in India it took a few days, perhaps a period of time where the women slowly came out of the domestic barriers. Though there was a sense of reaching a magical world of freedom that they never experienced echoing in their voices, later the same became more profound when the writers started raising their voices for their rights which have been silenced throughout centuries.

nancy paul Post-Independence Indian English Poetry has seen a few gigantic improvements. The ascent of female idyllic voices is the most critical among them. Women verse, for sure, is defiance to the regular job of lady as a spouse and mother. The women writers started expressing both opposition and self-assurance. Indian English women writers grasp women’s activist thoughts and hypotheses from the west into Indian verse in English. These ladies artists affirmed post innovation in scholarly articulation. Especially, in the domain of verse, Post-Independence India has seen full-blooming and development of an enormous number of Indo-Anglian Woman Poets whose idyllic abilities and innovativeness merit our consideration for their legitimate assessment.

Fortunately for us, there are a lot of ladies scholars who can compose sincerely and self-assuredly about their lives. They may expound on woman’s rights, however, their composing is likewise itself a women’s activist demonstration itself in that they disturb and deconstruct a man-centric artistic convention. The rundown could continue endlessly, however, authors like Marge Piercy, Toni Morrison, Gayatri Spivak, and Caitlin Moran work inside a women’s activist structure (in poetry, novels, theories etc.) and take part in intersectionality, realizing that feminism is an intricate creature involving race, class, religion and age. Nancy Paul belongs to that string of writers who have successfully contributed to the enrichment of women’s writing.

‘Strangled Voices’ by Nancy Paul is a work that perhaps has originated from the inner cry for the freedom of women from the walls of prejudiced minds. Because I personally know Nancy Paul and the family background and also the socio-cultural background of the Indian state of Kerala, I would not consider the themes mentioned here has resulted from her own personal experiences but from observation which is considered as vital in determining timeless poetry. The greatest success of a poet is his/her strength in bringing out the picture of her times through a number of factors that determines the nature of the age where he or she is living. I must say that Nancy Paul’s works must be celebrated as a grand success of this. Here is a quick glimpse of a few of her poems that I admit has come out from an avid reader of poetry rather than a critic.

“Heralds of Hope” is a poem about hope, which gives an optimistic note about the society. ‘An unwed mom’ is about a victim of gang rape, a girl who gets pregnant and gives birth to a baby girl. However, the girl is not portrayed here as a victim, but as a fighter. “Death for dowry” and “Dowry the blood money” are the poems about the atrocities towards women in the name of dowry. Death for dowry is based on a real incident in Kerala. “Female infanticide” is about the ill-treatment of a girl child from the womb of a mother. “The Murder by a sex worker” is the bad fate of a girl who was sold at an age of eight.

“Tabooed life” is a poem about the traumas of widows. “The unpaid maid” is a real-life situation faced by many women. “Woman writer” and “The words in the realm of the kitchen” are the experiences and struggles of a woman writer. “Wife of an alcoholic” is about the assaults on wife by the husband. “Usurper” and “At the family court” depict the present scenario of weakening family relations. “The Heavenly Music” is the tribute to the famous violinist Balabhaskar of Kerala who departed us at the prime of his youth.

The wailed veiled night is about the brutal rape of a poor insane girl. “Asifa; The red rose of Kashmir” is based on the real gang rape incident of a small girl in Kashmir. “The Music of Life”, “Sermon of rain”, “Bizarre Tomb” are a few nature poems. “God’s painting” is a poem about Africa and its culture. “The frail” is about a man who walks on the razor’s edge of insanity, “Oh! My soul”, “When your silenced roared”, “The winter wool in blue”, “Time a weird Wizard” are the other poems in the collection. Strangled Voice is an anthology of poetry that brings hope into a world where the voices of women are often muted.

Nancy Paul, one among the most powerful voices in the arena of contemporary English poets not only presents here a volume of poetry but a slice of her times, that the future generations would cherish.