Book Reviews

Book Review and Author Interview – Collection of Chaos by Tikuli

Collection of Chaos by Tikuli


(From the foreword by Kris Saknussemm) As with all the poets I most
admire, words are living things for Tikuli. But as you will come to
discover, they are never deployed for their own sake. She uses them to
tell stories. The images, scenes, characters and fragments of visionary
empathy that you will find in this book are all rooted in her native
India-and yet they reach out far beyond national and cultural
boundaries. They do so because they have an interior cohesion of spirit.
Her subjects are often the dispossessed, the lost…the abused. There
are undercurrents of sorrow and anger. And yet love shines through, even
when it seems to be fading away. Above all, there’s a powerful sense of
hope at work-a conviction in the redemptive strength of poetry.

Book Review by @sulekkha


It was a pleasure reading Tikuli’s lovely collection of poems, they tell a story of a poet’s inner turmoil and emotional journey. Though there are sad undertones in a few of them, they are lovely to read. Some poems about silence are heartbreaking.

Reading her poems is sometimes an intrusion into her mind and heart, makes one feel like a peeping tom peering into her soul.

Tikuli takes inspiration from life and strings together its different emotions and experiences to make a beautiful garland of fragrant words. The depth of her words and her versatile writing elicits admiration from the readers, and her poems satiate their hunger while leaving them wanting more.

Author Interview

1. Why do you write poems? When did you start writing poetry?

You can say a lot in a few lines , you can play around with words and have a finished piece in a short time. That’s what I love about poems and that’s the reason I write them. One of the other reasons is that poetry flushes out a feeling, an emotion, a thought, a question that you never knew lay buried inside you. A little arrangement and rearrangement of words opens up a lot of possibilities. I think for me writing poems is like striking a balance between inner and outer world. Writing poetry helped me change the old order. I find it more intimate and tender to express in the form of a poem. When I read a good poem by someone I feel it in my pulse. I see my own face in their experience and that is why I write. To be this connect is very important.

I must have been in my teens when I started penning down short poems, they were actually observations, on pieces of paper anything I could get hold of and then I would transfer them in a notebook. I actually began to learn the art of writing good poetry some five – six years back. I have been fortunate to find great mentors who nurtured me selflessly and helped me in my learning. They still do.

2. What inspires you to write poems? Do you have to be hurting to write sad/tragic/dark poems and happy while writing romantic/humorous poems?

I can answer that in one word ‘Life’. Music also plays an important role when I write.

Emotional state does play a role especially in my writing but there have been times I have written happy poems during days of deepest sorrow and vice a versa. I do agree however that most of my poems especially the personal ones have been influenced by my state of mind at that moment. Life events do affect my writing.

3. I found this poem to be very moving. Which is your favorite and why?

Your silence

Cold, razor-sharp

My words

A shredded tapestry

I also liked the heartbreaking poem about a boy with red hand-prints.

Thank you. This one and a few others are very personal. There was a lot of turmoil when I wrote this. Yes, the one with red hand-prints is my elder son’s favorite too. It was written long back. I think after the Mumbai terrorist attack. I am glad it connects with you.

You are asking me to choose between my children. It is tough but this one is special for me

I am attracted by your  unavailability

the half-shut windows where

we sometime connect..

It’s called ‘yearnings’ and is on my blog too. It was part of a series called ‘You and Me’. A very personal poem written with a purpose. Sometimes being a poet helps to say what you want so effortlessly. There are times when in real life situation one is unable to put the feelings in a way one desires. This one was written on one such occasion and is close to my heart.

 4. Do you decide to write poems on a particular topic for your book or do they just randomly write themselves in your mind?

I usually don’t plan and write. Very few poems in this collection were specifically written keeping in mind the theme etc. They are all random poems brought together as a bouquet.

5) Do you write every day? Do you shut yourself in your study and write or prefer to be inspired by nature?

I am not a very disciplined writer unfortunately though I am trying to mend my ways. It is very important to have a professional framework along with the ability to express oneself. Working with deadlines, writing for a theme or a topic has helped me discipline myself and polished my writing too. I do try to write something everyday . A story, a blog post or a poem. Sometimes just some thoughts just to keep the flow. There have been times stories or poems have emerged from these scribbling. I am not bound by my environment. I can write anywhere. I just need some quiet place.

6) Any favorite poets? Who is your Inspiration?

Byron, Milton, e.e.cummings, Neruda, Octavio Paz, Longfellow Walt Whitman, Emily Dickenson, Amrita Pritam, Jayanta Mahapatra, Kamla Das, Keki Daruwala. The list is never ending. I love so many of them and each one has inspired me in some way or the other.

Facebook brought me in contact with many poet friends who write exquisite poetry. Just reading them has helped me improve on my writing style. Each day is a learning and some of these excellent poets Seb Doubinsky, Cynthia Atkins, James Goddard, Matthew Bailer, Praneta Jha, Tim Buck, Uma Gowrishankar have been instrumental in my poetry evolution. These are the people who are still part of my journey as a writer. Here we are just talking about the poets. There are some more very fine writers who have been a driving force in my evolution as poet/ writer.

7) Do you agree with the statement that those who have suffered a loss write better? Is a broken heart an essential prerequisite for a successful poet?

No. here are many examples of poets who had bad relationships, unhappy lives, broken hearts…. difficult to say; but there are many, many more examples of poets who didn’t suffer these things. At the end of the day poetry is a form of fiction, and like all good fiction it will be informed by personal experience.

8) There are a lot of poems on silence, in your book. Are poets lonely people or do they like to be alone?

I won’t say poets are lonely people or they like to be alone but we all have our reflective moments. Times when we want to be alone but that doesn’t mean we are lonely.

In my case the poems on silence were born from a deep feeling of aloneness and loneliness. They reflect the chaos I was experiencing in my personal life . I think it was cathartic for me.

9) Does writing help people heal?

Yes, it does. I have experienced it myself. As a young girl writing helped me cleanse my inner. I would sometimes just pen down whatever came to my mind and then tear the pages or burn them. I wrote for myself at this time. Writing helped me find answers, clarity, calm. It does it even now. My blog proved a great healing tool for me in the worse times of my life. It helped me get my stilled voice back, gave me courage and made me who I am right now. I know many people who have healed by writing. Friends fighting cancer, people in relationship problems or those who were trying to help others heal.

10) Any writing tips/advice for your readers.

Remain a student. Enjoy the mess of the process of writing. I guess the best works are born from the chaos that is in your heart and in your mind. Let it guide you. Writing is a constant work, a discipline. Enjoy it. It may seem clumsy or foolish in the beginning but there is nothing that can’t get better with training, by working hard, by learning. Be ready for rejections, failures, disappointments, they are great teachers. Embrace yourself as you are, seek connection and self-awareness, be open to learning. Write, rewrite, reject, edit , write again.. keep the process going.

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About the Author:


Brought up in Delhi in a family of liberal educationists
Tikuli is a mother of two sons. She is also a blogger and author. Some
of her short stories and poems have appeared in print and in online
journals and literary magazines including Le Zaparougue, MiCROW 8,
Troubadour21, The Smoking Book (Poets Wear Prada Press, US), The
Enchanting Verses Literary Review, Mnemosyne Literary Journal, Women’s
Some of her print publications include poems in
Guntur National Poetry Festival Anthology and much acclaimed Chicken
Soup For The Indian Romantic Soul(Westland). Her work has also been
featured on websites related to gender issues and child sexual abuse.
She blogs at
Stalk her @





By Sulekha Rawat

9 thoughts on “Book Review and Author Interview – Collection of Chaos by Tikuli

  1. So good to see Tikuli here at your space, Sulekha! She is such a versatile writer. Her writings are so reflective and profound. Loved her writing tips. Wishing her the very best in all her endeavors. ♥

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