Amaranthine: A Poetry Collection by Ami J. Sanghvi

Poetry can be so insightful into the author's daily life and experiences. Often, it is a subjective beast, where the reader can come from the meeting with a new perspective, fresh sense of adventure, crippling feelings, or an unknown depth of understanding. There are times when poetry might seem simple in its telling or hold a fountain of knowledge that can never fully be expunged. Either way, this literary expression is a short comprehension of symbolism, realism, and distinctive voice filled with emotions. 

For me, poetry is a form of escape. It helps me to write what I can't contain within myself any longer. It's a way to put scenes of my life into words, but also, it's a way to shape dreams and hopes. In this sense, I have found it difficult to judge poetry, except on terms of how it makes me feel and how I accept those emotions. 

With Lester Eugene Mayers's 100 Poems for 100 Voices, I was overwhelmed by the impact of his written word. It was hard to relate to and digest, but it was a powerful voice, and I connected on the sheer magnitude of compassion. Claire Buss's Little Book of Verse Volume 1 does a wonderful job of sharing the mental images of motherhood, and it stirs up visceral imagery of life in an effortless read, simple but reassuring in its camaraderie. Then again, Joy Harjo also became an addictive poet for me to indulge in reading with her American Sunrise, which sparked an innate sense of sorrow and kinship. 

Again, poets are difficult to read at times because their work is realistic and pragmatic. You can't see their work as anything less than their truth, and at times, it's arduous to partake in another's pain, joy, or misery. Yet, it has a grounding and enlightening affect, which moves its readers to understanding the world a little more from the core sense that we are not alone.

Author Ami J. Sanghvi is twenty-five years old and tackling her life through the art of poetry. She has written four Indian-American poetry books: Amaranthine, Devolution, Armageddon, and Silk & Cigars. These books are representative of her world, and we are welcomed in to see the dissection and analysis of those events that have helped shape her.

Other Sites to Find Author Ami J. Sanghhvi:

Twitter: @BabyVampAmi

Numeric Breakdown:

1: didn't like it
2: it was okay
3. liked it
4. really liked it
5. it was amazing

1. Writing Style: 5/5
The author appears to use a few styles of poetry forms within her work. Although no expert, I did notice her use of the technique enjambment. This is most often used to break up a line of verse in order to create a sense of expectation in the reader. It can also add to the overall dynamic or movement of the verse itself. Most of her poems hold a lyrical aspect and often utilize a rhyming scheme, which shares a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables or sounds that repeat at the end of a line or stanza. Some of the poems seem to stress the consonance or "looser rhyming approach" as well. 

They contain a narrative imagery presenting a lyric format, which projects a song-like quality through the examination of personal experiences and emotions. I'm uncertain which lyrical meter best represents her work as a whole, but I can hear and feel it as I read along. Essentially, each poem holds a literary device that captures the reader's attention and feels natural and easy to read. Sanghvi's use of imagery takes on metaphors and personification and helps embody her voice and experiences through our five senses. 

2. Overall Content: 5/5
The first thing I liked about this book comes from the Preface. It gave me a bit of understanding and cognizance before I began reading the actual poems. The backstory on how this book ended up with its title Amaranthine is beautiful and sets the tone for the whole purpose of the book. It sheds light on the context of the poetry as well; since, the word's meaning is "of a dark, purple-red color; perpetually beautiful; indestructible, immortal, or eternal." 

Sanghvi uses this title to convey a deeper sense of meaning within her poems and their justification of freedom, willingness to grow, and the ability to persevere. The meaning held significance to her on all levels, and it helped share a personal expectation with the reader, who can acknowledge these reasons and even adopt them. 

Each poem holds a specific picture in my mind. It's definitely a test to my senses and emotions as I read through. Since literature is another individualized platform, which can hold multiple meanings for multiple people, I can only share and express how I felt reading particular poems or what I suspected they meant in relation to my own definition and perception. 

"Before I Was A Mountain" brought to mind a literal picture of a mountain. It shared with me a knowledge of the strength and endurance of the natural structure and the comparison the author tried to make to that formation. However, she mentioned how she couldn't see herself in the same light, but instead, felt herself pictured "as the sky when it rains." 

To me, I love mountains. I love picturing them, but I also love the metaphorical embodiment they hold to actual events in my life. Here, they can be strong and symbols of growth and instruments of courage, or they can be hard barricades and inescapable enemies and unattainable processes. The author shows her own acceptance of this structure and her relation to it. It's definitely imagery and personification I can feel and relate to in one way or another. 

"Vigilante" feels really clear in its meaning to me of a relationship gone wrong. I think it holds such an impressive juxtaposition of what she thought or imagined in the relationship and what it actually turned out to be. The ability to be honest with reflection is beautiful, and it speaks on all levels for those who have felt the same about someone they felt was what they wanted until they realized they were mistaken. I love the line "The craftiest of all diversions." It's such a telling line and resonates deeply. 

The symbolism of "Traces" feels close to home for me. I like the contrast of being almost a ghost - by way of being unseen, unheard, or unloved, and yet, leaving behind "concrete prints" which signal a return of being. It's a lovely image. 

I found all of Amaranthine's poems were easy to identify with, and it gave me a sense of rapport with the author. Her poetry invoked a sense of sadness and sorrow, which I can understand with the help of her preface. I was impressed with how she used her imagery to conjure those emotions and visual understanding. The layers of growth and release are evident throughout the work, and I really enjoyed taking this journey with her and finding myself here and there, throughout her poems. 

3. Hooks/Attention-kept: 5/5
Sanghvi's poetry is attention-grabbing through its use of imagery, lyrical format, loose rhythmic base, and enjambment. I think the content itself is its own hook, keeping readers pressing forward through their connection. It is a collection that resonates within you, and I feel it's a voice for the modern female age.

4. Overall enjoyment of the story based on the genre: 5/5
I love poetry for the most part. It's something that can speak to my soul and holds meaning to me whether I relate to it, decipher it through my own eyes, or feel it within my own emotions. As a representation of this genre, I believe Sanghvi does an admirable job of using poetical formats and literary devices to capture her audience and give them a visceral visual of her own world. It's a contemporary voice for this generation.

5. Overall enjoyment of the story based on the content: 5/5
There were, certainly, some poems that I loved more than others, some I related to more than others, some that were more meaningful for me than others. However, it's always hard for me to judge and rate poetry overall, when it's such a part of another's life and experience. This said, I did fully appreciate the poetry found in this collection. For me, I didn't find anything that detracted me from the poetry itself, and although I can concede that it isn't necessarily a book I would read every day, I can say it is a book I will go back to from time to time and own.

If you're wondering why I wouldn't be inclined to read it on a more daily basis, I would have to mention that the type of poetry it is would represent for me my own time periods within life, and its haunting qualities might not lend itself to consistent reading. Like most poets, I would have to be in the mood to read and dwell on what's going on within, but I would still consider it a treasure among my collections.

6. Overall Story Rating: 5/5
We come to the close, and all I can say is that this is a worthy read. It's beautiful and symbolic and evocative collection. I would recommend giving it a read, especially if you'd like to read something that shows you that you are not alone. When dealing with relationships of all shapes and sizes, sometimes it's nice to hear of others' experiences and share in those moments and allow the emotions to be understood and released. This book does a nice job of doing just that. Therefore, my rating is 5/5.

Thanks for joining me, and as always, Happy Reading!!
~Rebecca Reddell


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