#BrokenSpineReads: Sanjeev Sethi’s Wrappings In Bespoke is Poetry Bridging Life, Language, and Emotional Discovery


Wrappings in Bespoke delves into diverse subjects, from childhood memories and family relationships to introspective musings and observations about life. It employs vivid imagery, rich language, and a distinctive voice.

It begins with the poem Biog describing a life as if it were an academic text. Every poem is a journey into the linguistic world of Sanjeev Sethi. His use of language is a defining characteristic. In a sense this is what defines a great writer. The reader is reintroduced to language they thought they knew well. It is a mind as well as word expanding experience. I am led on a journey through his collections by words I don’t know.

In Biog, Sanjeev employs ‘indite,’ an archaic term now seldom encountered, which means ‘to compose’ or ‘to put down in writing.’ This word choice signifies the onset of a journey through language that is emblematic of every piece Sanjeev crafts. Each poem offers an expansion of vocabulary, even in the depiction of everyday objects. For instance, he refers to a bathroom cabinet as an ‘ambry’—a niche or cupboard traditionally found in the walls of a church, imbuing the mundane with a sense of history and spirituality.

Furthermore, Sanjeev ventures into the less trodden paths of the English language with words like ‘iatric’, derived from the Greek ‘iatros’ meaning healer or physician, enriching the texture and depth of his poetry. This meticulous selection of words is not merely for their rarity but for their ability to convey nuanced meanings and add layers to the reading experience.

The title suggests that the book has been wrapped especially for each individual reader. In a sense this is true, as a book is gifted to us by a combination of our unique experiences and the words on the page. So our experience of it may have commonalities, but is also uniquely ours.

The collection explores the essence of poetic creation, how a poet distils experiences of life into verses, custom-crafted for both self and others. Allopatry, for example, uses a biological term to discuss themes of separation and diversity, referring to species or populations that exist in distinct, non-overlapping areas. Dilection delves into the realms of love and preference, showcasing Sanjeev’s ability to navigate the complexities of human emotions through his unique linguistic choices.

Asafetida, a term for a pungent resin used in both traditional medicine and cooking, and Druthers, a colloquial expression of preference, further illustrate Sanjeev’s skill in selecting the perfect words to express intricate ideas and emotions. Megrims, referring to depression or whims, continues this exploration, inviting readers into a reflective space on the ebbs and flows of the human psyche.

The journey culminates with Tuneful, which, contrary to expectations, is not about music but about the act of reading itself—an agreement between poet and reader to embark on a shared journey of discovery.

Sanjeev skillfully navigates emotions, incorporating elements of nostalgia, loss, love, and self-discovery. The use of unique titles for each poem hints at a thoughtful and deliberate selection of themes.

He asks readers to reflect on their own lives and connect with a shared human experience. Overall, Wrappings in Bespoke is a well-crafted and thought-provoking collection, challenging readers to engage with the complexities of life through the language of a poet’s experiences and reflections. 

A master poet, he widens our vocabulary by recovering archaic and seldom-used terminology that are exactly the right words he needs to use. We enjoy Sanjeev’s indite. Buy here.

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