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A Cognitive Canvas by Priyanka Samra
I wrote each piece with the goal in mind of creating a feeling on the reader’s end, whether its the California ocean breeze on a hot summer day, a hot cup of coffee in New York City with the company of my journal, the ethereal feeling of rainy days, the homeless boy on Skid Row whose hunger hurts him a little extra on Thanksgiving day, the power of mental stamina, the blueprint of modern-day society, social issues in the Western and Eastern worlds, cultural taboos, my father whom we lost in August of 2019 and much more. My father suddenly passed away from Valley Fever, entirely broken I turned to write and put together the chapter “iqbal singh samra” to share with all of you how wonderful of a person he was. My father was my best friend and influenced me to start writing at a young age; in the 29 years I had with him, he always encouraged me to follow my dreams and to see them through no matter how difficult. This collection has something for everyone! I hope you enjoy it!
A rich, heartfelt collection that combines light-hearted and deep, emotive themes, A Cognitive Canvas by Priyanka Samra explores social issues, the loss of a father, mental health, the beauty of everyday moments, and so much more.
The poems examine significant topics and personal moments that reflect on broader issues such as in the first poem, “The Girl in 205” which recounts childhood memories of a girl who hopes that her words will impact lives world over. She envisions her words inspiring and reaching the heart and mind of a girl living in the slums of India who hopes to use books as a way to break free from poverty. Other poems in the collection such as “Tenacious Anatomy” and “Formation,” are uplifting poems that celebrate a woman’s strength and the power to break free from conformity.
Other sections of the collection recount the experiences of Punjabi immigrants who leave their homeland in the hope of establishing a better life for their families in a new country. From her grandparents and parents’ experiences, Priyanka Samra explores what diversity is and how the cycle of prejudice can be broken. The collection is fearless when confronting social taboos such as in the poem “Village Secrets,” a poem that stands up for women in rural India who are opposed by men when they speak out for their daughters and themselves. Expressive imagery is used to evoke emotion and create visual pictures such as in the poem “A Letter to My Father” where the poet imagines her father’s resting place as a beautiful setting with air as fresh as clean linen on a Sunday. The collection’s final section examines important topics such as school shootings, acid attacks, the concept of the American dream, and homelessness through striking scenes. It paints moving events including that of a boy rushing to escape a gunman, a violent acid attack that robs a girl of her beauty, a struggling father desperate to provide for his family, and a hungry, homeless boy resting on bare concrete.
A Cognitive Canvas by Priyanka Samra is an amazing book of poetry that thoughtfully and cleverly examines current social and economic issues alongside personal impactful moments. It is a dynamic and stunning collection and will resonate with everyone. Reviewed by Edith Emunah for Artisan Book Reviews.
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