From one of the teachers and judges of local students’ poetry, comes her very own published poetry anthology – Midnight Muse: Venerated Verse, by Betty Bownath. Having the makings of a potential bestseller, Bownath’s debut collection is professionally punctuated with literary prowess, while being a universally appealing anthology of emotions, experiences and anecdotes.
Bownath’s collection comprises approximately 100 poems, and is divided into four principal themes: Restive Reflection; A Lightness of Being; On Love and Friendship; On Sleep, Dreams and Nightmares. Starting on a personal note, she gives her readers an insight into her perspective of her past. From a personal interpretation of her childhood, to the uncovering of life’s truths on her way to present day, readers would revel in the relatability of her reflections and revelations. In fact, readers are also likely to simultaneously experience their own journey of nostalgia, as they may see themselves in similar scenes, learn similar life lessons, or experience similar emotions.
In her second theme, Bownath pays homage to the internal and external light in every being. She douses her poetry with aesthetic images of nature through references to seasonal shifts, forests, and the passage of time. This is well complemented by the personification of inanimate beings like magic boxes and roses, juxtaposed within the context of reality. An underlying philosophy of existentialism could be inferred from the poems as she posits her sense of being and living. Her imaginative similes and metaphors offer her readers the impetus to connect with their own lightness of being .
The next two themes would interest growing youth as much as maturing adults. Love, friendship, sleep, dreams and nightmares are topics very much prevalent in today’s times, and interestingly, they are also generally mused about at midnight. Without offering any prescriptive advice, Bownath offers her unadulterated abstracts, all of which contribute to making the collection an intriguing and enjoyable read.
While one can only objectively measure poetry to a certain extent, it is beyond doubt that Betty Bownath has earned her laurels for largely satiating both academics and artists of literature. Being a teacher of poetry, she has implemented her syllabus with flying colors, and stands tall as an inspiration for her students and readers alike. To wholeheartedly express one’s self, and share those expressions with the world takes laudable courage. Bownath may inspire her readers to unearth their inner writer, as she urges them to ‘free the poem in you’. Before the works of her protege though, Bownath’s potential sequel is keenly awaited, possibly titled Morning Muse.
Midnight Muse is currently available at selected Dymocks bookstores in Hong Kong. It is can also be ordered online through websites such as Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, etc. For more details on the book, visit the official website, and follow the updates from the recommended Facebook Page.