Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Watching Aliens by Elancharan Gunasekaran + #FreeBook

Watching Aliens by Elancharan Gunasekaran
Self published in Singapore in September 2016.

Featured in WorldReads: Singapore

How I got this book:
Downloaded the ebook via Smashwords

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Watching Aliens is beautifully spread across 500 pages. The work is a combination of short and full-length poetry. A versatile collection that embodies the observation of humans. Actions, feelings and situations that may seem so alien to us are in fact, things so common. We humans, in this digital age have lost what is commonly known as, personal touch. Watching Aliens, is inspired by Jack Kerouac's modern haikus and the need for an inclusive society in this current age of rapid modernisation.

Reading through Watching Aliens was an unusual poetry experience for me because the work itself is mostly written as a series of haiku, three to a page. Some appear to be linked together over several pages to create a longer work on a single theme, others provide just a glimpse or a snapshot of the poet's thought before he moves on - almost stream of consciousness writing. These haiku are not titled and they flow without a break in long chapters until, occasionally, I was surprised by a single long poem. I have taken screenshots of each poetry style to show what I mean:

The work reminded me, strangely, of Rust Is A Form Of Fire by Joe Fiorito although it is so long since I read that book that I can't now put my finger on why I connected the two! I think it is the sense I felt of detachedly watching human action and interaction from the perspective of an outside observer. Watching Aliens has an almost hypnotic rhythm and often quite abstract imagery which focuses on feelings and emotions rather than physical sensations or visual descriptions. I couldn't always identify with Gunasekaran's observations - and sometimes failed to understand his meaning at all - but generally I felt I could appreciate the work. He explores social themes such as the treatment of migrant workers and homelessness, as well as personal feelings of love and relationships. I liked the breadth of subjects and Gunasekaran's ability to flow from one to another. Watching Aliens also includes a series of striking monochrome artworks, I believe as chapter markers, and these are fascinating. Most are simply created yet impart strong emotions and provide a breathing point for the reader.

Etsy Find!
by Azure Allure in
Birmingham, England

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Books by Elancharan Gunasekaran / Poetry / Books from Singapore


  1. I always admire those who read poetry. I just can not get into it, no matter how I have tried in the past. I think my brain is just not wired that way.

    1. Admittedly poetry can be hit and miss for me. I find some really speaks to me whereas other poets could be writing in a totally different language!