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One Breath Poetry

By Neena Singh, SambhavnaPrakashan, 2020, 168 pages (Hardcover); ISBN:978-93-81619-12-4 Price: Rs.300, Available at Amazon


Reviewing Editor: Pravat Kumar Padhy


Neena Singh’s maiden collection of Japanese short forms of poetry, ‘One Breath Poetry” includes poems of varied styles. Brief head-notes on haiku, senryu, tanka, and elegant black-and-white monochromatic photographs on five seasons add richness to the book.


As she experiences different stages of life, she tries to reflect these through changes of seasons: exhilaration in spring, abundance in summer, revival in rain, a fall or loss in autumn, and a sense of solitude in winter.


Spring is the season of rebirth and joy. As if she recalls the famous quote by Algernon Charles:Blossom by blossom the spring begins …’and writes:


so many flowers

in the spring breeze

a butterfly flutters (p. 18)


She blends cultural layers with subtle allusiveness as the moon reveals its sublime presence amongst thick foliage.


the full moon

hides in the garden all night:

is it a leprechaun (p. 37)


Her haiku at places are alliterative in nature as she unfolds the abundance of summer and senses the sound in the stillness of noon:


sun and sand

burnish skin to gold

an unending summer (p.66)


The fading away of ducks after sunset, “Green lake Park /ducks paddle and fade/ into the sunset” (p. 65), is a captivating visual snapshot by the poet. Interestingly, the impression resembles that of Basho’s magical creation:


The sea darkens/ and a wild duck's call/ is faintly white


Her poetic reflections corroborate with life-related aspects. The reference of ‘revival’ during the rainy season is artfully captured in one of her haiku:


after the downpour

garden choir – in crescendo frogs and cicadas (p. 74)


She is a believer in complementary nature (yin-yang). Metaphorically, through shades of autumn, she explores the sanity of life with philosophical allusion.


back to earth

by a gardener’s broom--

dry leaves crackle (p. 90)


She embraces solitude and experiences the life sketch towards the very end:


leafless trees draw on the skyline a charcoal sketch (p. 110)


bony arms

hold the sky

life’s winter (p. 122)


Reconciling to reality, she wishes to stay calm and often finds solace through humour:


barefoot again -

the dog asleep

on my slippers (p.141)


Faith, love, emotion, and philosophical penchant have been reflected in her tanka. She derives zen-feelings when she visits places of pilgrimage and expresses her deep reverence for the lotus sutraNam-myoho-renge-kyo’. She cherishes the flourishing life of her companion. With time gone by, stepping into the world of solitude and melancholy, she inks:


an acorn, a red leaf

reminders of our walks together

when you said “hurry”

hands in pocket, touching them

I walk alone today… (p.154)


The metrical exhibition, imaginative blending, and lyrical exposition are embedded in her tanka as she portrays both joy and anguish:


the long wait over

my son becomes a father

hugs his son skin-to-skin

oceans apart, grandma's heart

misses a beat to connect forever (p. 155)


The book is worth preserving in the personal shelf of haikai compendium.





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9 Comments


lakshmi iyer
lakshmi iyer
Oct 12, 2021

Congratulations !!! Neena di, many more of such books in your treasure. The review by Dr. Pravat Sir is crisp and has touched most of the pages of your life. "One Breath Poetry" - as the name, so is your work!

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lakshmi iyer
lakshmi iyer
Oct 13, 2021
Replying to

Yes, very true!

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Muskaan Ahuja
Muskaan Ahuja
Oct 11, 2021

Many congratulations Neena ji! Wishing you great achievements💐

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neena singh
neena singh
Oct 12, 2021
Replying to

Thanks dear Muskaan for the wishes and the encouragement! 😊

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Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
Oct 11, 2021

Pravat, Just some points to keep in mind: All reviews have to go under the title of 'Haikai and Tanka Books' and should use the stack of books as the image. I have done it and the book cover to come under the review. All reviews go into 'Recent Post' and not into 'Featured Post' Ok? Thank you so much for being with us here. _()_

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Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
Oct 11, 2021

Congratulations, Both author and reviewer. Well done. Neena I'm sure you are very happy that the review is up. *** Thanks to Sushama Kapur too for proofreading the review and sending it over as soon as she could.

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neena singh
neena singh
Oct 11, 2021
Replying to

Thanks Kala, happy indeed! For the poet, their book is like their baby and reading good things about it is always heartening. Thanks for having it up on the website and to Sushama for proofreading it.

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neena singh
neena singh
Oct 11, 2021

Dear Pravat thank you so much for this beautiful review. I am overwhelmed and deeply touched by your deep knowledge, brilliance and research in writing it, quoting from the book and also giving examples from haikai literature. I feel humbled.


You have taken out so much of your precious time to study "One Breath Poetry" and write the review. Grateful to you dear mentor.🌸

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