Book Review: Blushing Candles by Roopam Chadha

I’ve been participating in the NaPoWriMo 2023, which began on April 1st, but my head’s not been in the right place. I guess it’s because it came just as soon as I had published my debut novel, Coming Home ; the entire publishing process has left me drained.

In an attempt to ground myself and find my bearings, I decided to do some reading. And since it is poetry month, it was only natural that I picked up a poetry book to read. ‘Blushing Candles’ by Roopam Chadha had me attracted from the title. Whoever said, ‘What’s in a name?’. Those two words, ‘Blushing’ and ‘Candles’ is poetry in itself. If the name be that soft and easy on the tongue, I wondered what lay within.

The cover image of candles glowing in the dark and the name of the book couldn’t be more apt. The poems in the book are tender, simple (with no hard-hitting, complex words or themes) and sweet- just the thing to read when one wants to fall in love with poetry again, is exhausted and wants to unwind. In the introduction, Dr Santosh Bakaya, author and poet (who incidentally also was the one who suggested the name for the book as the poet mentions in the preface), rightly says, “To quote Dylan Thomas, ‘poetry is what in a poem makes you laugh, cry, prickle, be silent.’ Here we find Roopam Chadha’s poems doing just that. Some of her poems have been written in a humorous being, and make one laugh, in some poems, like ‘Migration, you can sense her outrage, and others make you go deep inside oneself and introspect.”

About the book

The book of 102 pages has 76 poems of different structures, providing a beginner with a door that opens into the vast world of poetry – haibun, roseate sonnet, abecedarian, shadorma, minison, ars poetica, erasure poem, tanka, haiku, villanelle and many others. These are bound to interest the reader and make them try writing poetry themselves.

Given the current state of my mind, this book gave me what I needed- a place to begin again- go back to feeling. I opened the book on a random page. On it was the poem, ‘Ars Poetica’ (The art of poetry).

The last stanza in the poem reads,
Poetry is
When the blue ink bleeds on the white shroud of paper
Written to be remembered/forgotten as a memoir/obituary
 and to be set free.

In the minison, which is a 14 word poem, the poet says-

leaves blow
kisses to the wind
as waves whisper on a 
shore nearby

I loved the tanka, Past, present and Future

Insomnia at night
I glance upon an album
Kept in the cupboard
Nostalgic memories rush
Future hangs in the closet

There are humorous poems such as ‘A cockroach Sermon to an Insecticide‘ and ‘Granny’

The roach king gives a sermon
to the defeated insecticide
'Hail the King, long live the roaches
We rule from the desert to the arctic with pride.'

From the poem, ‘Granny’

She sits all day darning socks and knitting
With a stomach so round rumbling and grumbling

She walks around the house swinging her stick
Muttering nuances. Oh! Be wary of her tricks.

On the whole, ‘Blushing Candles’ is a beautiful book of poems, and the problem with writing a review for such a book is one has a tendency to overshare, and I do not want to do that. So, I’m not going to give out any more. But I’ll tell you that I loved, ‘A Smile is on the Way’ for its sweet simplicity and the reminder that a smile can give you, ‘ A smile plus one more,’ the poem ‘Cosmos‘ for sharing the one truth about life in a nutshell – ‘ The paradox of live, love and death/All meaningful in a moment/And yet so temporary.’ The poem, ‘Scars’ is so relatable for anyone who has lived life and the poem, ‘The Blue Paper Rose’ written on account of World Autism Day evokes sensitivity and responsibility towards Autism. In the poem, ‘A Bagful of Goodbyes,’ the poet, Roopam Chadha, says, ‘Not all Goodbyes are hard. Some are liberating too.’ There are many other poems in the book that I enjoyed but I leave it to you to read and discover.

Who the book is for?

The book is for anyone who wants to start writing poetry- it provides an array of forms that beginners can try writing from. It is for those like me who love poetry and want to be reminded of good poetry and for those who write poetry. Roopam Chadha’s poems comes as a breath of fresh air- cool and refreshing.

The book is available on at Rs 295.00

About the poet

About Roopam Chadha

The poet Roopam Chadha was born in Nagaland to a devout Sikh family. She completed her schooling at Mater Dei Convent, New Delhi. She is a graduate in Economics (Hons) from Delhi University. She lives in New Delhi with her family. Besides poetry, painting is also her passion. Her poems share space in several international anthologies. She is the author of ‘And the Canaries Sing On’,her debut anthology published in 2020.

If you enjoyed reading this review, be sure to follow the blog to read more such reviews. And if you’d like to check out my debut novel for the Kindle edition of the book, please click here. The book is available in most countries.

The paperback edition is currently available only in India. You can get your copy by clicking here. I am working on getting the paperback version in other countries as well. All Rights Reserved.

One response to “Book Review: Blushing Candles by Roopam Chadha”

  1. robbiesinspiration Avatar

    Hi Smitha, this is a lovely review of a beautiful book of poetry. I am always pleased to meet new poets.


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