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Poetry Chapbook Review:

Blue Rooms, Black Holes, White Lights

by Belinda Subraman

blue rooms black holes white lights by belinda subramanDeath holds a special place in the hearts of poets and in the annals of literature. Practicing nurse Belinda Subraman explores the topic in a personal and spiritual manner in her new chapbook Blue Rooms, Black Holes, White Lights. All in all, it's a good read.

Subraman brings to bear her Zen Buddhist leanings to the reading, delving into the mysteries – personal and spiritual – of the experience of death, drawing from her occupation as well as the loss of her father to that good night in 2008. She has dedicated the book to her father, a friend who passed away in 2008 and all her hospice patients from 2001 to 2007.

What strikes me as the principle asset of Subraman's poetry is its unassuming lyric qualities and linguistic earth tones. You can see this in the opening lines of “Blue Room” below:
Wildlife flickers above the fan. A hummingbird approaches. A plane lands on the wall. A lace wedding cake flutters in the breeze.
Such lines have the effect of putting the reader at ease and Subraman manages to maintain this posture throughout Blue Rooms, Black Holes, White Lights without falling into the snare of comfortable sleep. Her lines are not terse, but they aren't fat either and that's a relief. Unlike much of the dribble that tries to pass itself off as free verse, Blue Rooms, Black Holes, White Lights isn't emotional fluff. While Subraman isn't afraid to get sentimental, the sentimentalism she offers doesn't swag and stagnate like a puddle of water-oil on a driveway. Rather, it speaks and that's what poetry should do.

That said, not everyone will appreciate Subraman's style. She is soft and syrupy, but that's an asset in the right frame of mind. Not sappy, which would be a liability. Another thing I like about Blue Rooms, Black Holes, White Lights is how the publisher, Unlikely Books, introduces the artwork of Cesar Ivan to accompany Subraman's poetry. His surreal depictions of real settings is livening and compliments Belinda Subraman's personal reflections very well. In “The Taste of Gossip” Ivan makes us reflect upon the nature of gossip by showing a cocktail party where the participants have wine glasses instead of heads above their necks. The classic columns behind them tells us that gossip is not just a modern invention, but one passed down from antiquity.

Belinda Subraman's poetry is poetry written in plain language. It should be accessible to anyone of any age. Still, she can conjure a metaphor with the best of them as you can see:
I am mired in the muddy muse, in the dark swamp of my mind where night is punctuated with bomb blasts and lit by a house on fire.
Belinda Subraman doesn't take risks with language. Whether she does with emotion or not can only be known by her, but if you like poetry that is soft on reflection and hard on reality then Blue Rooms, Black Holes, White Lights just might be for you.

Order your copy of

Blue Rooms, Black Holes, White Lights
by Belinda Subraman


today.




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