Y.S. RAJAN. Jumping Genes. New Century Book House (P) Ltd., CHENNAI 2006. Pages ix+114. Price Rs. 60/-. ISBN 81-234-1013-1
Speaking of writing. I enjoyed reading Jumping Genes again. This reading though gave me a fresher and more critical perspective and I have many thoughts I would like to share with you.
The running theme of all the poems (though there doesn't have to be one) seemed to be the innate humanity that we all share, but the common pool of greatness and depravity that we also draw from and continue to contribute to through our actions since time immemorial. You have artfully reconstructed concepts and constructs so basic (mathematics, education, poverty, the human body, scriptures, food, innovation, extinction, ideas, poetry, intuition, hope, death, love), so very humane, and yet profoundly divine. I did enjoy, to my pleasant surprise, your references to gods and goddesses. In my growing years of questioning, I have consciously distanced myself from idols and the names that go with them. Your poetry allowed me to view these names as manifestations of ideas that were much greater than human capacity. For instance, your representation of Creation transcended any concept of science or religion - it spoke to the dichotomies and regularities of basic human cravings and fears. Your usage of words, especially alliteration, or clever rhyming to juxtapose one concept against (or with) another reminded me of the work of both modern day and classic poets I have read. Even so, your voice in the poems is distinctly yours. I am so glad I have had the chance to hear and see you read your poetry - your voice carries strongly through these words. Jumping Genes has been an enriching read and I will not hesitate to read it again and again and make my notes on each poem as a distinct entity - a smooth pearl - that conjoins to make the incredible pearl necklace this book is. This is a book for all ages - because it charts our human experiences and fragility with poetic shrewdness. Here I use the word poetic to not only refer to its form but also in the way it creates and recreates ideas through inquiry, which I believe is the most fulfilling purpose of poetry. Thank you for sharing this book with me. I cannot wait to read the next one, especially the idea of two different people writing one poem!