Reviews: Love Versus Terrorism by Nikhi Parekh
Review: Love Versus Terrorism by Nikhi Parekh
There’s nothing timid about Nikhi Parekh’s Love Versus Terrorism. The ambitious poet clearly states his overarching thesis in his introduction: “In a planet usurped today by graveyards of terrorism, this poetic collection imparts enlightenment, optimism, courage, and an eternal desire to breathe free.” While that’s undoubtedly a lofty goal, a reader quickly realizes Parekh’s zeal for his undertaking. He moves from an insistent call to cease war, urging readers to become vegetarians, and a victorious followed by a mournful tribute to America both centered around the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001.
The wide range of subjects that’s explored is practically incalculable within the almost six hundred pages. God: the one unifying motif that runs throughout. Indeed, religion is the thread that is woven throughout and serves as the backdrop to a corrupt and violent world. For example, “One God” yearns to make our earth “a more magnificently / royal paradise” but remains pessimistic since we live in “vindictively upbraiding” and “mercilessly incriminate” surroundings. The poem concludes by proclaiming that God remains ever-present through all of mankind’s weaknesses.
While Parekh’s passion is never diluted, at times his ambition brought a poetic sledgehammer when a chisel would have been more appropriate. In “Abortion—The Greatest Sin,” Parekh makes his views on abortion abundantly clear; for example, “A word that indefatigably rots in the aisles of murderously / cold-blooded hell.” One can certainly write a poem against abortion but there’s nothing subtle in Parekh’s approach. Just from the title alone, the poem is relying far too much on telling and not showing. It slaps a reader in the face with an overbearing agenda that leaves no room for careful nuances. Any lover of poetry emphasizes that a certain restrained quality elevates particular works to a truly memorable status.
Once a reader studies Parekh’s collection from start to finish, “Bless Me With Poetry” is an apt example of the engine that drives his book forward. The speaker begins by describing his eyes as “invidiously smoldering fireballs” and then his hands as “deadened corpses of / lugubrious stone.” After each repetition of describing a particular body part, the poem proceeds to establish a stark contrast to “everything around” him that is overflowing with beauty and glory. Even though the world is incredibly corrupt as people solely interested in money and power controls the masses, God’s love is the redeeming factor. As it is a war between two extremes, “Bless Me With Poetry” and Love Versus Terrorism as a whole poetically explores this unending clash.