Knotted Grief: An Intimate Rendition of Loss And Longing | Review By Sabin Muzaffar

September 13, 2022
Knotted Grief | By Naveen Kishore

Meditative pauses, abrupt halts, soulful variations and metaphoric juxtapositions weave the lilting fabric of lyricism that makes up Knotted Grief.

A book of poems; it is rather a moving rendition that goes beyond line, meter and length. The artist tentatively unclasps all the twists of despair and the tightly fastened boughs of despondency – these are perhaps singular marks of reconciliation of our collective humanity – and only when undone, do the gnarly knots turn into specks of dust drawn in … by the reader. Capitulated!

When tasked with penning a review for a work of fiction, one might indeed find the exercise thrilling. Unraveling creations as riveting as Knotted Grief takes one on a soul-searching journey, navigating not just through one’s own experiences of the whips and scorns of time; but also through the crooked timber of humanity that has even led philosophers of old to surmise no straight thing can ever be made.

But, perhaps that is what Naveen is compelling us to comprehend and make sense of. Life seeks no sensibility! Existence is… like the ‘sun shrouded in a cloak of night refusing point blank to rise’ [pg 9]… reluctantly awaiting to be violently birthed & weaned from the womb.

Words coerce us to contemplate and discern what ought to be crystal. Is it not as ‘transparent’ [pg 3] as the ‘crumpled sheet of light’ [pg 17] that ‘ricochets’ in a ‘room made vacant made lonely…’ that our only respite from the compulsively addictive morbidity of mortality is through ‘death’s soft whisper’[pg 7]? Perchance… life is…(or metamorphosed into?) ‘the room emptied of thought .. all of it” or a ‘landscape of green’ where ‘crushed underfoot leaves’ are ‘daring to breathe.’

Indeed deep and bewildering grief may be, it is – also – visceral as it is constant. A solace for the ‘young widow ‘ who ‘waits and waits’ [pg 3] with sweet sorrow keeping her company or placating comfort even for the ‘wounded earth awaiting the onslaught of winter snow’ [pg 50]. Grief is, life’s constant, ever-trusted companion, entwined with it in an eternal, Quasimodic, embrace that turns into ashes when separated. What is grief but a healing salve for the soul scouring away all the violations of life. Life is like a book of ‘yellowed pages’ containing ‘freshly pressed petals’ replacing ‘older, dried, brittle flowers.. gathering dust and silverfish’ yet sanctioning affliction as one traverses through it – flicking through – with fingers ‘full of papercuts’ [pg 81].

Knotted Grief by Naveen Kishore, is a ‘mirror vast and silent’ – and yet truly evocative as it compassionately speaks volumes of anguished pain, desolate yearnings and a deep sense of loss that is irreparable in spaces that are both intimate and personal as well as open and collective.

Buy your copy of Knotted Grief, published by Speaking Tiger, from or direct from the publisher’s website.

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