2 out of 4 stars
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Desiderata by Aakash Doshi is a book of poetry written in different poetic forms on a number of different topics. Each poem is titled differently; some of them being: Chemistry, Oye Como Va, Neat Probability, and Ballard of the Proper Fool.
Most of the poems are written in free verse, with a few other forms like haiku and narrative. All of them are short usually one page or less with a few longer ones mixed in. I counted a total of 39 poems all together with the book being 45 pages in all. The book also included a couple of palindromes that the author wrote out as well as a couple other writings he included that were more like word puzzles than poems.
This book left me disappointed. While the poems themselves were okay, nicely written and very few grammatical issues, the description of the book led me to believe it would be something different. The book was described to be more story-like, rather than just random poems thrown into a mixture. Even though I was frustrated, that it didn’t turn out to be as I thought, I did find a few poems that I enjoyed.
It felt like the author, at times, was just trying to prove their intelligence by throwing in uncommon, seldom used words that many people would consider using in a college essay rather than everyday English. Words like amine and gauche, found in the first poem alone not to mention others scattered throughout the book. In fact, it felt like many of the poems may have come from a college assignment.
Some of the poems didn’t make much sense to me, but there were a few that almost felt story-like. I enjoyed the one that was in haiku form titled, “The Way They Come,” and ones that were short and simple like the one titled, “Snippet of Lime”. There were a few word puzzles thrown in that I wasn’t really fond of, and wasn’t sure why they were in a book of poems. They were one sentence, and then the next line would be another sentence with all the same letters, minus one, used to create a new sentence until that last line was just one letter. The palindromes were interesting, but I felt like they were out of place in this book. This is why it led me to believe this book was a collection of college assignments.
I am rating Desiderata 2 out of 4 stars. There are definitely some poems in this book worth reading. The fancy word use leads me to believe that some readers who are looking for a relaxing read will not find this book appealing. I believe some readers who can overlook big word use and puzzle-like poems will find this book enjoyable. If the author would have left out the puzzles and palindromes I would have likely given it 3 stars. I would recommend this book to those that enjoy short poems and books that can help expand their vocabulary. If you are looking for a comfort read this is probably not what you are looking for.
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