Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Vatsala Radhakeesoon

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.

guitar of love pic

Vatsala Radhakeesoon

was born in the exotic island, Mauritius on 17 October 1977.
She started writing poems at the age of 14. In 1995, when she was 18, her poem Loneliness was published in the most prestigious and widely read local newspaper L’Express. She is the author of the poetry books When Solitude Speaks (Ministry of Arts and Culture Mauritius, 2013),
Depth of the River (Scarlet Leaf publishing House, Canada, 2017) , Hope (President’s Funds for Creative Writing, Mauritius, 2018), L’aurore de la Sagesse (Scarlet Leaf Publishing House, Canada, 2018) ,Smile Little Butterfly (Alien Budha Press, USA, 2018) , Guitar of Love (Real Vision Inc Publishing, UK, 2018). Vatsala has also co-authored Journey to Victory and Freedom ( Alien Buddha Press, USA, 2019) – a spiritual/philosophical book with Indian author
Sundeep Verma .

Vatsala Radhakeesoon is one of the representatives of Immagine and Poesia, an Italy based literary movement uniting artists and poets’ works. She has been selected as one of the poets for Guido Gozzano Poetry contest, 2016, 2017, and 2018. Vatsala currently lives at Rose-Hill, Mauritius and is a freelance literary translator, interviewer and reviewer.

Links:
Amazon author page:

https://www.amazon.com/author/vatsalaradhakeesoon1710

Blog:

Poetry and Creativity

https://vatsalaradhakeesoon.wordpress.com/?fbclid=IwAR3LlX3TtG8oO9ijRLp6iaeB0sb6Z9dHTO28w12zspmreGyyyrQxBEWz83c

The Interview

1. When and why did you begin to write poetry?

Thank you Paul Brookes for interviewing me for Wombwell Rainbow!

I started writing poetry at the age of 14 in 1992, inspired by the songs of my favourite French Canadian singer Roch Voisine. As a teenager, I was shy/ timid. So poetry was a means to express my views, dreams and fears that I couldn’t say aloud to anyone.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

I was introduced to poetry at the age of six by my late mother who was a Hindi teacher. She mostly taught me Hindi poems. Then she also helped me to learn a poem by heart for the prize giving ceremony at school when I was in Grade 1 (1st year of primary school in Mauritius). I recited the poem on stage for the first time. This has remained as a unique childhood memory.

3. How aware were and are you of the dominating presence of older poets?

Honestly, I have been fully aware of the presence of older and great poets. I always have much respect for them. However, I consider poetry as my mission guided by God. So I keep my own voice and go on writing. I believe all poets have a place in society. The older poets have never been an intimidating source for me or I have never tried to imitate them. I never try to compete with any poet. I run my own race.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I write during anytime of the day when I feel inspired and when I’m free. I love writing with a relaxed mind.

5. What motivates you to write?

I have always deeply felt in my heart and soul some strong energy sustaining life and everything around me. I think in this way I feel God/the Divine. So, my real motivator for my poetry-writing is God. I feel it is Him who gives me the strength to keep writing and he has blessed me with that mission.

6. What is your work ethic?

To be honest, frank, humble and a justice- fighter and not being afraid to say “No” or stand alone. Whatever happens, always face the truth and keep truth as a principle. Lies lead to nowhere.

7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

William Blake has influenced me to maintain a simple language in my poetry.   From T.S Eliot and Victor Hugo, I’ve learnt to bring depth to poetry. From Charlotte Bronte and Carol Ann Duffy, I’ve learnt to be daring and frank.

8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

Among novelists I mostly admire Mitch Albom for his simplicity of language and depth in the content of his works. Albom’s books always teach us life’s lessons or remind us to remain humane. Among poets, I admire Scott Thomas Outlar for always being truthful to his works and simply saying things as he feels it from his soul , nothing less or more , never masked.

9. Why do you write?

To let my deeper thoughts surface to my outer world. To let go of all pain, stress and keep calm. Writing for me is also a means to stay connected to God –just as focused during a prayer or during meditation. Writing is like a cerebral exercise (exercise for the mind).

10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

Try to develop love for reading books and appreciating the artistic world. All arts are interconnected. Develop constructive criticism while reading. Write down your own views about anything that you feel like. Briefly, Love Words!

11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

I’m mostly at a stage of my life where I wish to write more spiritual books, be it in prose or poetry. I don’t have any exact title for my upcoming work though but I know it will be in this line.

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