City Times and Other Poems
by Vihang A. Naik

the road unwinds
you'll pick up
the race
and melt away
in the noises
of a city
whose streets
lead you nowhere."

Renowned poet and teacher, Vihang A. Naik puts his arsenal of poetic devices on display as he describes the modern city and its residents, particularly in Gujarat, India. Having authored Jeevangeet, a poetic tribute to the lives lost in the devastating 2001 Gujarat earthquake, Naik is well versed in exploring critical topics with compelling imagery and sentence structure.

Right from the start, “The Song of a Journeyman,” Naik demonstrates his grasp on literary devices like enjambment and metaphors, such as “the desert of my heart.” While the underlying message is powerful and should force man to think critically, the aesthetic value of the verse is just as alluring.

Naik philosophizes using the concept of time and, especially in “Mirrored Men,” conveys the crooked nature of man. In fact, he compares man to a chameleon; man changes allegiances as situations change in the same way a chameleon changes colors to fit into his environment.

In “The Path of Wisdom,” Naik seemingly takes a jab at the multilayered, hidden agendas attached to religion. He asserts that one's word should hold weight, and one’s silence should be appreciated. To that end, he uses line spacing and leaves several pages of white space in between words of the same poem to evoke feeling. Another figurative device that appears to be a personal favorite for the author is alliteration. Naik employs phrases such as “sharp sunrise yawns,” “to see vultures scanning skies,” and “paper kite in a clouded sky.”

The entire compilation is meaningful; however, specific favorites from the “City Times” section include “A Broken Song,” and “On Visiting Grandfather’s House.” The imagery of the Ganges River screaming for help is startling, powerful, and an excellent way to depict the problems of a polluted planet.

Vihang A. Naik is a master of his craft and City Times and Other Poems, along with his other works are must-reads.

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