Foreword Reviews

Blissful Blues

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

Blissful Blues is a youthful, playful collection that works through a failed romance toward self-discovery.

In her heartfelt collection Blissful Blues, poet Rhea Madan explores youthful love, longing, and loss.

The opening poem paints the portrait of a young woman, a “girl … in love with love.” While the poems may not be intentionally linked, the verses in Blissful Blues capture the end of a romantic relationship, with that theme touched on with enough frequency to create a developed story. Verses talk about exams and university as well as roommates and family, providing a setting, conflict, and characterization.

Madan captures a range of emotions in her poems. At first, they convey longing and sadness, then they exude relief and joy at moving past the breakup. Poems also cover occasional backsliding, sometimes into doubt and anger, sometimes back into love after seeing the object of her affection again.

Verses capture the fragility of resumed life after a breakup and the uncertainty of being single; they are universally sympathetic. While some poems veer into expressing unhealthy codependency, the joy of the collection is that its poems work toward a healthier truth. In the end, the narrator is her own best friend, moving on and discovering herself.

Blissful Blues isn’t only about star-crossed love. Other poems express happiness at having supportive roommates and a loving family. In one poem, Madan captures a street scene in Delhi; in another, she discusses racial prejudice. One powerful poem explores what it’s like to have a final visit with a friend in the hospital. Such poems lend the collection greater depth and a sense of a coherent world view.

From a technical standpoint, poems play with a variety of rhyme schemes. They evince a talent for unusually paired rhymes, as with the connection of “integral” to “lethal.” In parts of the collection, rhyming is entirely disregarded, exchanged for interesting breaks in verses and even the plain prose of microfiction.

In playful turns, the collection produces one-line poems that consist entirely of alliterative words. “A Literary Three” runs “Crazy chaos causes captivating creations.” Such lines evade digging deeper, though. The collection is strongest when it converts the feelings behind its verses into more tactile dramatic scenes and noun-rich action.

Blissful Blues is a youthful, playful collection that works through a failed romance, moving into the mature discovery of the greatest kind of love—of one’s self. Such movements of self-realization put the bliss into Blissful Blues.

Reviewed by Katerie Prior

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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