Wombwell Rainbow Interviews
I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.
Jay Gandhi is a Software Engineer by qualification, an accountant by profession, a budding Guitarist & a Yoga Sadhak at heart and a poet by his soul. Poetry intrigues him because it’s an art in which a simple yet profound skill of placing words next to each other can create something so touching and literally sweep him of the floor. He is 32-year-old Indian and stays in Mumbai. His works have appeared in the following place:
An ebook named “Pav-bhaji @ Achija” available in the Kindle format at Amazon.in The poem “Salsa; a self discovery” published in an anthology motivated by Late Sir APJ Abdul Kalam. The poem “High Caloried love” selected for an upcoming book “Once upon a meal” The poem “Strawberry Lip Balm” selected in the anthology “Talking to the poets” Four poems published in a bilingual anthology “Persian Sugar in English Tea” Vol.1 Two poems published in the anthology “Poets on the Run” compiled by RC James.
What were the circumstances under which you began to write poetry?
It started when I was 19. I wanted to impress a girl whom I liked in my computer science class.
How did you impress her?
I sent her the poem. MS word file through the MSN messenger. She read it and liked it. But she did not show romantic inclination.
The poem was her birthday. I sent it on her birthday
That didn’t discourage you?
No. I wrote another poem a few days later.
I joined emerging poets.net
They all called it EP
What poets were your earliest influences?
My readings were mostly online. I read a lot of Emily Dickinson. I had befriend a very good poetess Maggie Flanagan Wilkie and Vidya panicker
Vidya’s poems inspired me a lot
What was it about Vidya’s poems that inspired you so much?
Vidya’s poems had a lot of “Indian-ness” the issues she tackled like dowry, poverty, discrimination are still present in my country.
Vidya’s poems had a lot of “Indian-ness” the issues she tackled like dowry, poverty, discrimination are still present in my country. I could connect a lot and I realised how poetry has a lot to do from the places we come from.
How important is a sense of place to your poems?
A great deal. My ideas come from the local trains in my city. The way people flock the temples. The way vegetable vendors scream to sell veggies
Though I can travel in space and time, the local settings are the biggest influences.
How important is using the five senses to convey a sense of place?
Mostly the visuals do trick. I try to put up images to create emotion. Though other senses are equally important, they come up subconsciously.
I put most of the effort in showing
What is your daily writing routine?
I do not write daily. But i read daily. Mainly on poetry websites. Writing is intensive. Only when i know i have 2-3 hours at a stretch is when i write. I get such oppotunities twice in a week
I need a very clear head before writing. Incomplete tasks and chores nag me a lot.
They dont allow me to concentrate
What motivates you to write?
Uncovering the sensitivity in myself. The thrill to convey something different and i get hugely motivated with the limited fame that the poetry brings within my own circle
Writing poetry is like peeling inner onion.
What is it about the limited fame that motivates you?
In my head there is a clear way in which i perceive the people who read my stuff. They are classes, masses and both. I always want my poems to appeal all the sections. This limited fame is the oil for my poetry lamp. Sometimes i even dream big and think i will make it bigtime. But the ground reality is different. I have found happiness in my little pond.
Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
. Daniel flore ||| David Belcher and Maggie Flangan Wilkie. No big names but reading them is always a pleasure. I have read a bit of Billy Collins and he has a distinct style.
I like the Hindi lyricists Gulzar and Javed Aktar.
Some of those names may not be well known to the readers of this. Please can you tell us more about them.
Daniel J Flore III is a poet from Unites States. His published book is Lapping Water. A lot of his work is quite organic. He writes it as he sees it. I feel he is a complete natural. He does use poetic elements but they flow with the work. There is no attempt to write poetically.
David Belcher is a around fifty years old and lives in U.K. David has never been “published” but he strives to write quality every time he has a pen in his hand. He experiments a lot and his poetry is quite imaginative. He looks upon Lance Rocks as one of his ideal. His critiquing ability is right up there and he has a great feel for the poems.
Maggie Flanagan-Wilkie is an editor at Nelson Pearl Publishers. Her writings are generally very tight. The form and meter are impeccable. She has a great “ear” for the poems. Her editing is quite heavy and many would even feel that her editing often takes off all the “flesh” in the poem. But her edits never even have a misplaced comma! I learnt a lot about meter from Maggie. She used to make me so a lot of monostich for getting the sound right.
Javed Aktar and Gulzar are two maestros of Hindi music industry. Their poetry and lyrics have enchanted Indians all over the world. Their writings often make me wonder how every word is so important and how to “construct” poetry by putting words in different combinations. Both are very good with Urdu.
You stated earlier that you write to uncover the sensitivities in yourself. What does this say about why you write?
When i am writing, i get to understand a lot about behaviours of people. I realise why a person does what he does. Poetry genuinely helps in understanding people. And the i also realise my reactions, my habits and how i manage daily things
Poetry and yoga asanas are my keys to explore myself.
What are Yoga Asanas?
Yoga is ancient science meant for good physical, mental and spiritual health. Asanas are basically postures.
It helps in keeping mind calm.
What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
I would tell him to read a lot of poetry and from as many sources as available. They should sit down with a coffee and a pencil whenever they get time to pen thoughts. Continual editing is very important. I edit a lot while I write. That works for me. Lastly, write enjoy the process.
Tell me about any writing project you have on at the moment,
I would like to go back to a series of poems which I had created under the title 7:34 Badlapur Local. These days I sit calmly on Sunday evenings and allow my muse to take control. Not working on anything specific.