A Memoir in Verse
A fine collection of poems that record a life’s
experience, First Contact is Soni Somarajan’s debut collection of poetry.
A Poet's way of Seeing
A poet, copywriter, editor, and content consultant, Soni Somarajan’s poetry and writings have featured in anthologies, magazines, and newspapers, in India and abroad. An alumnus of the University of Iowa’s IWP Advanced Poetry Seminar 2013, Soni is the Creative Head at The Quarantine Train, a poetry collective, and lives in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
On the Book
The Vapour of Stories
A narrative spanning four-and-a-half decades, Soni Somarajan’s “First Contact” is a memoir in verse—an illuminating arc of autobiographical imagery rendered in a voice fresh and transcending. From the earliest years to the present, across times and places lived in, the collection dwells on a riveting mosaic of joy, triumph, love, loss, anguish and angst, embodying the poet’s indomitable spirit in the face of tremendous odds.
Get a Signed Copy of "First Contact"
Signed copies of the first edition of “First Contact”, Soni Somarajan’s debut collection of poetry is now available for purchase online, with a personal note from the poet. Click to get a copy !
First Contact Blurbs
"A Must-have for all Seasons"
This fine collection of poems records a life’s experience, from the first poem, the birth of a relationship, through poems of memory, childhood in a military family, connections, rain in all its moods and colours, all with the grace of word-music and a poet’s way of seeing. A Malayalam alphabet symbol is like a caterpillar, ‘a ho-hum line of rowing paddles’; falling fruit ‘the hello of yellow’; sunlight ‘a speeding train, a corruscating line of beads/....a turn of phrase at the tunnel’s end’; to the last line of the final poem, a vow to survive loss: ‘Now that I walk the waters, I know I'll live despite you.’
Soni Somarajan's poems have — to use a phrase from one of his poems — the ‘vapour of stories'.That is his aesthetic — being caught unaware by the moment, catching the moment unaware. That secret is the secret of his poems — a secretive and intimate pleasure, as nutritious as dreaming.
First Contact is Soni Somarajan’s debut poetry book, which tells us not only about the poet’s memory and emotions which gain momentum, but also speak about the significance of poetry. It is a journey of language, both the language of living and the vernacular language of feeling. Milestones cave into the rearview mirrors—here memory burns like rubber—acrid smelling. They hold the homes the poet has lived in, the places he has travelled, and sum up his philosophy of life. Anything the poet recognises is his pole star, the passing of irrevocable time. His inner eye surveys the landscape of images and transforms them with the scalpel of words, precise and incisive. We see a vernacular language being learnt and becoming metaphors. We are invited to find new meaning in everything. For Soni, poetry begins where the clamour ends. We are left with the poet’s words, 'I know I‘ll live despite you.' We too are caught in Arachne’s web of poetry. And take my word for it, you will be returning to these poems more often than you think. Involuntarily. I promise you that. They are precious!