Wet Silence – Poems About Hindu Widows by Sweta Vikram – Book Review

Wet Silence

Wet Silence – Book Review

If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off,
I know that is poetry.

― Emily Dickinson

When you think about the type of book that has the power to raise social awareness about an entire group of women who are systemically discarded, degraded, and discriminated against after suffering devastating loss, a volume of poetry probably isn’t what comes to mind – but that’s exactly what Sweta Srivastava Vikram has created with her brilliant work, Wet Silence – Poems About Hindu Widows.

Wet Silence is a haunting collection of poems that vividly chronicles the plight of Hindu widows in India.

According to Sweta, the poems are inspired by real life events that have occurred among educated, well-to-do urban families in India. They reflect the experiences of countless widows who have suffered from the detrimental effects of patriarchal rule in one of the largest democratic countries in the world.

The poems in Wet Silence are divided into three sections.

  • I can hear a white cotton sari weaving at the shop
  • I didn’t promise to sleep in your shadow
  • Silence became my lover, that’s why

As you progress through each section, the emotional content of the poems escalate in intensity.

Losing a spouse under any circumstances is traumatic and life-altering, but the effect is amplified in a culture where widows are forbidden to remarry – are blamed for their husband’s deaths – are ostracized and dehumanized – and worse.

Wet Silence gives voice to widows who live in a society that has taken their voices away.

Sweta’s poetry leaves us with many memorable moments, but my favorite poem in the book is her final one – Willpower – because it reflects the strength and resiliency of these women.

I am a woman
who can be left in a desert,
and I’ll come back smelling of jasmine.

In the Forward to Wet Silence, author Shaila Abdulla writes:

Only a few times in life will you read poetry that transports you to another world and shakes your very being.

Readers, you have been forewarned: When you pick up this book, be prepared to plunge to unfathomable depths and soar to impossible heights.

Wet Silence by Sweta Vilkram will do that to you.

Reading Wet Silence is an experience you will never forget. I highly recommend this book to you.

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.

NOTE: “Willpower” a poem, originally appeared in Sweta Srivastava Vikram’s poetry book: Wet Silence (Modern History Press: July 1, 2015. ISBN-13: 978-1615992560).

Queens Literary Festival Poetry Reading

About Sweta Vikram

Sweta Vikram

Sweta Srivastava Vikram, featured by Asian Fusion as “One of the most influential Asians of our time,” is an award-winning writer, three times Pushcart Prize nominee, Amazon bestselling author of nine books, novelist, poet, essayist, and columnist who currently lives in New York City with her husband.

Her work has appeared in several anthologies, literary journals, and online publications across nine countries in three continents.

A graduate of Columbia University, Sweta reads her work, teaches creative writing workshops, and gives talks at universities and schools across the globe.


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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. However, the opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

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16 Responses to “Wet Silence – Poems About Hindu Widows by Sweta Vikram – Book Review”

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  1. Wow…This is a book, I would definitely like to read. Loved your review. 🙂

  2. Serena says:

    Thank you so much for reviewing Sweta’s book for the tour. I’m glad that it resonated with you. It is an important collection. These women have a voice.

  3. tea says:

    I would love to read these poems about the suffering widows in India. Can’t believe they are blamed for a husband’s death.

    • I included a must-read link to an article that details the plight of the Hindu widows in greater depth in the Resource section of this review (along with a link to an Interview with the Author).

      Wet Silence was my first introduction to this situation as well and I am appalled by it.

      Everyone who reviewed the book on this tour did an amazing job in reviewing what is truly an unforgettable book!

  4. Thanks for your amazing coverage of Sweta Srivastava Vikram’s volume of poetry “WET SILENCE: Poems About Hindu Widows”. It is extremely challenging subject matter and it is a credit to her writing that it became so accessible. I hope many people will take interest of your review.

    Victor R. Volkman
    Senior Editor
    Modern History Press

    • Thanks, Victor for visiting us at Create With Joy – I’m glad you enjoyed my review of Sweta’s book, Wet Silence.
      She did an amazing job writing this book and I was honored to take part in this blog tour!

  5. Wow! I had no idea this book existed! Thanks for bringing it to my attention as it could be useful to our ministry. Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday!

  6. I love poetry, and this looks like an intense read.
    That Emily Dickinson quote you started off with is amazing!

  7. Mary Hill says:

    Thank you for sharing this important book on Literacy Musing Mondays. You wrote a very powerful and moving review.

  8. Leslie says:

    It is always sad when women are marginalized. God created women to be so much more!

    • You know, Leslie, the entire time I was reading this book, I was thinking of the Gospel, and how “radical” Jesus and His view towards women was considered in His day. As a 21st century American woman, that’s always been a little hard for me to comprehend – but reading this book really brought the contrast to life for me!


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