A Thousand Flamingos
First Edition: 2016
$15 / Rs. 200/-
This book “A Thousand Flamingos” by Sanober Khan has beauty, delicacy and wisdom. What more could we ask for? But, as for her three books they are all the works of an extremely gifted author.
Her metaphors delicate or powerful as on Don’t Mind Me where she uses charming anthropomorphism:
I might tell you, that the bird
perched outside, has a bit
of a schoolboy crush on me
She reveals the emptiness of word alone without inspiration when she writes in Wingless (page 8) of the Muse entering her:
I feel You
entering my mind
like a breath
of golden beams
Kahn uses all the techniques of the poet. In Don’t Mind me on page 7 once repeats her use of the metaphor but also uses alliteration in the words ‘kidnapped’ which conjures great wild images of a lover who tenderly gives the ‘mere kiss.’
She often interjects humor as in
I may tell you…of my plans
of running away to Antarctica
in a dead serious tone
On page 10 of the same poem she says something which leaves me speechless except to point to the common saying that life is the dash between the birth date and the date of death on a headstone. She uses stark realism combined with tender joy:
Don’t mind me, if I tell you
things about life
dark things, maybe
that life is nothing, sometimes
but a wound…left to heal
that the crescent moon beneath
the passing clouds, is actually
a kiss left in the sky.
In Silent Night (page 17) Kahn expresses the place she turns to find her inspiration:
where nothing else matters
where the only wonder
warmth and validation I need…
is my own.
Kahn certainly does have a very strong and solid personhood and as well throughout her work is the romance, ‘the wildest ambrosia’ and ‘the purest heartache.’ I have rarely read a poet who juxtaposes joy and sorrow, companionship and loneliness with such beauty as Sanober Kahn. Her work is distinctive and of the finest quality.
in the midst of anger and bitterness
I long to talk to You
and then I know
it is already You
who has been whispering
in my ear
And yet love is composed too ‘of fears…unfathomable’ and is ‘an ache.’
In her short poems, set throughout, such as All My Life we can see the poem in its entirety as a man. Rage (page 24) is a wonderful metaphor. In this poem her work lifts us up with images, sounds, touches, and emotions as her work does throughout. In addition she gives us lessons which are magical and wise as in Failures (page 55) in which she has an original opinion about the struggles of life:
The splendid thing
about falling apart
you can start over
as many times
as you like.
The final poem in “A Thousand Flamingos,” reminiscent of going into a cozy sleep and ending the day, is Tuck the Night (pages 96 & 97) is wonderful and beautiful in concept. A Prayer:
where every prayer
purifies my heart
and blesses my soul
it lacks words
where a single moment
than a hundred years
I most heartily recommend that you read every one of Sanober Khan’s poems in “A Thousand Flamingos” and pay special attention not just to one or 2 but to each and every one. No poem here is lacking!
Khan is a fine and accomplished poet whose work glows, and her books of poetry are a must for readers of fine contemporary poetry.
Sanober Khan is a Mumbai-based poet and is a freelance writer. Her work has been published in many journals including the Taj Mahal Review and the First Literary Review-East. Her first book “A touch, a tear, a tempest” was shortlisted in 2012 for the Muse India National Literary Awards. This most recent book “A Thousand Flamingos” has been quoted widely. “Turquoise Silence” is most certainly equal to the others. She reads her poems around the globe.
By Mary Barnet, Poet and Editor,
Copyright 2017, Mary Barnet
All Rights Reserved.
86 Sonnets for the 21st Century (Casa de Snapdragon, 2015) ;
The New American : Selected Poems (Cyberwit, 2006) ;
Arrival (Casa de Snapdragon)
Editor-in-Chief for 20 years of PoetryMagazine.com