- by Prarthana Mahato
- Do you think poetry can or should be judged? If not, what is ‘good poetry’ and ‘bad poetry’ ?
~ Like with any other form of Art it is difficult to lay down strict guidelines as to how poetry should be judged if at all it should be judged. But there is no doubt that there is good poetry and bad poetry. One yardstick I would apply is to look at how honest a poem is. Poetry is above all about emotion. And when the emotion that a poem expresses is straight out of the heart of a poet, it touches the reader. And that is good poetry.
- Do you think poetry is popular enough among the mass? Or is it’s popularity limited to upper middle class?
~ I write in English. And therefore my poetry reaches only those who have had an education in English. But if you look at poetry in my mother tongue Malayalam, it is popular among the masses. If you look at the lyrics of Malayalam film songs specially the old ones all of it is poetry and it is hugely popular.
- How important is it to a poet if a poem is not interpreted as it was written?
~ I do not bother about interpretations of my poems. I think the charm of a poem lies in the fact that it is open to diverse interpretations.
- When and how did you start writing poetry?
~ I started writing poetry as a child. I do not remember how I got started. But my mother says one fine day, out of the blue, a five year old me recited my own poem out aloud!
- You are a familiar face in the Malayalam media. Your presentation in ‘Better Half’ and ‘Filmi Talk’ is very appreciated. You have freelanced with ‘The Hindu’ as well. Do you think your being in the media industry helped you in getting across your book to more people?
~ I being in the media have not particularly helped in the promotion of my book. Whatever genuine appreciation my poetry receives is I believe because of its intrinsic worth.
- You are a Mohiniattam dancer as well! We would love to know how do you juggle your career, family, poetry, dance everything…
~ It is no doubt a tight rope walk. I am able to pursue dance because I have found a teacher who gives me the flexibility of choosing my class timings. I do not dedicate special time to write poetry. When it chooses to come to me, I receive it! As far as family is concerned I apply my management skills in dealing with my boys!!
- Does social media help in popularizing poetry?
~ For me the answer to that question is a big YES. If not for social media I would not have been answering this questionnaire now. It was Facebook that opened up a whole new world for my poems. If not for social media, I would probably have written poems, but they would have stayed hidden in some diary in my cupboard.
- What inspires you to write? And who are your favorite poets and writers?
~ Majority of my poems are love poems. So love or the lack of it no doubt inspires me!! I have no academic background in Literature. And I read purely for pleasure. I do not have a favorite poet or a writer. But there is always some book or the other that I am reading. Currently I am reading The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh.
- We hear that publishing poetry is very difficult. How much truth and myth is it?
~ It is true that publishing poetry is very difficult. This is because selling poetry is difficult.
- Do you plan to write a novel ?
~ I do not know whether I have the patience to write a novel. I write poetry because it comes to me naturally. A novel calls for hard work and a different set of skills. I do write short stories. But haven’t thought of a novel so far.
- A message for LaughaLaughi.
~ This is not a message. But thank you for taking this interview. Your questions are intelligent and well researched. I enjoyed answering them. I find your website interesting and relevant. Best wishes.