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Burnt Rotis, With Love By Prerna Bakshi Review

book coverReviewed by Adam Levon Brown

Bakshi is a fervent feminist with a unique gift of language, which she uses in this book to spit in the face of the double-standard patriarchy and all of its crimes. Bakshi uses powerful words in a story telling form to grasp the reader by the face and demand that they see modern society for what it is committing: femicide. Inside you will find many references to the Hindu religion and Indian culture, which Bakshi, as an activist, uses to confront and dismantle modern hypocrisy; whether it take the form of religion, state repression, or sexism. The author is obviously sickened and angry by the torment which feminine-identified people face in this world and this book is a rally cry for feminists everywhere. This is a real page turner, as it enlightens with every word.

Bakshi blasts through the gates with the poem, “I can Hear You,” telling all who think of opposing, beware. “Family Gup-Shup” takes us into the frozen tundra of modern patriarchal society, where women are rarely paid a compliment, much less a dollar, for their hard work. “This Morning” is deep metaphor about the struggles of domestic abuse survivors, and how they have to rebuild their lives after being hurt. The author uncloaks the patriarchal dogma while using Hinduism to bolster and empower feminine sexual/non-sexual energy in, “My Women Have Spoken.” In the poem, “The Coward Gods,” Bakshi tears down the caste system in India by calling out the Gods and Priests for not allowing certain people into temples. It’s a socio-political piece for ages. “On a Call with Death” confronts the myth of work; as it makes the reader ask the question, “Is all I’m really good for is to make money for other people?”

The poem, “The Homeless Man,” is a sad poem about the life of the unhoused; but more so on the growing lack of empathy and sympathy within the confines of cellular society. “The Fight for our rivers, Mountains and Forests” should evoke strong emotion from anyone who has ever called themselves an activist. “Democracy” examines the obvious gap in wealth between people living in democracy: “Trickle down” economics doesn’t work and never did, and Bakshi paints that picture with clarity and compassion. “Because ‘Nature Poetry’ is Never About Nature Alone” speaks heavily of environmental racism, an often ignored subject that deserves all of the attention. “Sexism Doesn’t Exist” tears down the all too commonplace myth that sexism is dead; penned in only 7 lines and yet saying so much. “The Cooking Gene” gracefully kicks the ass of the chauvinist ego in flaming glory; I really loved this piece.”A Table of Round Rotis” takes the reader into the hard existence of women, whose predetermined role is domestic. “A Bite You Won’t Forget” is justified anger worked into metaphor to warn anyone who would dare cage the bird of hope. “To Love is to Lose Oneself” is an anthem of the ages that tells of the gender disparity within the confines of marriage. The piece, “A Public Space” is about the lack of privacy women deal with and how accustomed the modern woman is to putting up with it. “Gone and Buried,” the last poem in the book, is a call to action for everyone to hear the horror stories, the hard times, and the harder times that women have to talk about.

This book is excellently written and I recommend it to everyone, to get a fair viewpoint of what happens to women every day, hour, and second in this world.

Adam3Adam Levon Brown is a published author, poet, amateur photographer, and cat lover. His writing will transport you to another space where you won’t want to leave. He is currently putting together several chapbooks and collections of poetry while aiming his sites at a poetry prize sometime in the future. He is also working on becoming part of the poetry scene in Eugene, Oregon. He attends Lane Community College and will soon attend the University of Oregon as an English Major/Creative Writing Minor. Adam can be contacted via his website at where he offers free poetry resources.