As a friend of many immigrants and an immigrant herself, Puneet Dutt has witnessed a common reaction from individuals who’ve encountered violence, racism and war during their migration journeys.
“The responses to these experiences … have largely been silence, something to get past, to forget, and that has been extremely strange to me as I try to understand my past, and my own life experiences,” says Dutt.
In hopes of encouraging newcomers to feel more comfortable speaking about the struggles they’ve encountered, the Indian-born author wrote The Better Monsters, her debut book of poetry.
Within the collection, Dutt discusses the complexities of politics, the idea of belonging and the ambiguous theme of monsters. Giving examples to explain the collection’s title, she says that natives to a country may see immigrants as monsters, newcomers may look at their new country as a horror movie setting, and both sides in war likely view their opposition as villains.
While exploring these different meanings and complicated themes, Dutt intends for readers to not only hear her stories, but to also relate then share their own experiences.
“I hope it will be more like listening — listening to the experiences that are largely silenced, since many of the people who experience [these issues] want to ignore,” she says. “I continue to think in terms of the political, if only to discover the unheard or silenced voices.”
The Better Monsters can be purchased on publisher Mansfield Press’ website.