Write an appreciation of the poem ‘Small Towns and Rivers’.
Ans: Mamang Dai from Arunachal Pradesh is the poet of Small Towns and Rivers. Being a poet, she is novelist, journalist and former civil servant, who writes in English as well as Adi language. She is also an active radio and TV journalist. She has received Padmashree Award in 2011 and Sahitya Akademi Award in 2017.
This poem is taken from the collection of the poems, ‘The River Poems’, published in 2004. The poem describes that the river is an important element of the nature. It is based on the belief of the tribal people from the North East that the souls of the beloved ones dwell in the natural elements around us. The title of the poem creates curiosity in readers mind.
The theme of the poem is preservation and conservation of natural elements to save the earth as well as all the living beings. It is the anxiety of the poet about the developments in the small towns.
The poem is written in free-verse, because there is no rhyme scheme used in all seven stanzas. She has used variety of poetic devices in the poem which enriches the poem. They are Alliteration, Repetition, Simile, Metaphor, Inversion, Transferred Epithet, Antithesis, Personification etc. The use of transferred epithet helps express the feelings of the poetess and personification makes the river alive.
Mamang Dai has used simple and easy language in the poem. It consists of seven stanzas each having an irregular line-count and the length of lines is also different. The overall poem doesn’t contain any specific rhyme scheme.
The poet gives us message that we should stop the degradation of the natural elements in our locality and protect and conserve them.
I like this poem because the poet now lives in the city but she has not forgotten her home town, her language and her tribal culture because she has recorded the poem with the help of the beliefs of Adi’ community. I think this is the best poem by Mamang Dai.