Gauri Deshpande’s poetry deals mostly with everyday life and she writes often to release the tensions which keep building in her and demand utterance, the experience being “transmitted in terms of imagery, rhythm and nuances of words”. In the words of C.P. Singh her poems “show an artist in making, a struggling towards the happy blending between deep experiences and a congruent poetic form that makes a gem of art out of the raw metal of personal life” (“Between Desire and Vision: A Study in the Poetry of Gauri Deshpande” in Indian Poetry in English Ed. Hari Mohan Prasad, p.223) Her Indian Treescape is a typical illustration of her attempt to present a subject matter which is totally Indian in a language which is both rhetorical and evocative showing an acute sensitivity to the colours and shades as well as the sounds of nature.
In fact there is a Keatsian sensuousness in Deshpande’s poetry which shows the poet’s rapturous love of colours and perfumes. But the themes which are recurrent and dominant in her poetry are isolation and lost love. Many of these poems show how Deshpande, like Kamala Das, writes in an uninhibited way but as Eunice de Souza has observed, there is in her poetry “a great deal about blood and sweat and clenched teeth, and about “lashing” and “throbbing”, the final effect for the reader is not one of intensity but embarrassment”. “The lady doth lash too much” As Ms de Souza further observes, there is no wit or humour or irony or something “to shape this amorphous mess”.
Ms. Deshpande is at her best really in short poems and “The Female of the Species” is one in which she conveys a kind of feminine feeling. While this poem, does not illustrate either Despande’s ability to evoke a world of colours and sound or to project more thoughtful and provocative ideas as in poems like “Renaissance” or “Prometheus and Orpheus” it is a comparatively simple poem which arises from the need felt deeply by the poet to communicate with the world as a woman.