Hello Toads! It's Kenia here. This week I've talked to Abin Chakraborty, a poet from India whose young age doesn't stop him from writing thoughful deep poetry. Hope you enojy getting to know a little more about him.
Tell us a little about yourself and describe your work.
I am a senior research fellow at the Department of English, University of Calcutta and also a Guest Lecturer at Presidency University. I am now pursuing my doctoral research on Indian Theatre. My love for literature has brought me to the study of English literature and my poetry is largely born out of my studying of literature. This apart, I am an avid football fan, I love Manchester United, idolise the cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and play chess, occasionally. I am a rather introvert person with only a select few friends. Poetry remains the one avenue through which I connect with others in the world.
How did you start writing Poetry?
I've been writing rhymed lines in my vernacular Bengali ever since I was a child. I started writing in English only after I entered college, that is around 5 years back. Needless to say, my writing has gathered momentum from the poets I have studied. T.S. Eliot, Yeats, Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney, Agha Shahid Ali are some of the poets who inspire me.
Where do you get your inspiration from? Do you work in silence or do you listen to music? How often do you write?
It can come from many sources. A bus journey, a look at the sky, lonely evening walks, other people's poetry, a hurried glance at something/someone beautiful - anything can set things in motion in the mind. The thing is, I dont have much control over it. The moment of origin happens unconsciously - I can only shape the rest. I prefer silence. That's where the central idea/image generally originates. But those moments of inspiration have come amidst urban cacophony as well. And my frequency is determined solely by the caprice of that inspirational flash.
How did growing up in India influence your work?
Profoundly. My images, rhythms,themes, diction - all of it is conditioned by my personal setting and what I have grown up with. But as I said, my reading of English poetry, as well as people like Neruda, Cavafy, Faiz and others have also shaped my sensibilities. So I would say that my Indianness is always synthesized with such international influences.
I see everyday life in India is a recurrent theme in your poetry. Where else do you find inspiration to write?
everyday life in India is the external and at times thematic setting of my poems. But ultimately what matters is what happens within the chambers of mind. And as I said, its difficult to pin down how inspiration works and what exactly would inspire me.
Who is your favorite poet and how do you connect with his/her works?Who are some poets you’re reading now?
my favourite poet is T.S. Eliot. His poetry is part of my being and whatever I write, consciously or unconsciously owes a lot to him. What I love most about his work is the way in which it deals with urban squalor and sordidness, the hypocrisy and artificiality of life and how the consciousness always seeks some source of renewal beyond the pervasive ennui and disjointed wholeness we are thrust with. Right now, I am mostly reading Agha Shahid Ali and also Usha Akella.
Out of all the poems you have written which is your favorite and why?
Probably, The Swansong of Abinash C. Halder, as it is very close to my heart and represents things that I have not been able to achieve in other poems.
If you could not be creative through the medium of poetry, what other medium would you choose?
Maybe drama. But I really don't think I have the patience to write anything other than poems.
What do you wish to see happening to Indian people and arts in the world scenario in the next years?
Ah! That's too big a scenario for me to comment on. I only hope that in this gizmo-centric, commercialised world, art retains the power to provide alternate visions and continues to provide solace, courage and inspiration to people.
I’ve tried my best, to fit in as I can
In crowds of rust and wrinkled old masks:
I’ve dotted all the ‘i’s and slashed all the ‘t’s
Smiled just so, and wore what I must,
And nodded all day at players on stage
Who rant their lines and paint in the air
And vomit into wind all verbiage of dross
Seeking yet still all statues of gold
With glass-loaded eyes and dimples of grace
That wrench in the entrails with force,
Questions of unacknowledged spleen...
Please follow the link above to read the entire poem at Abin's Literary World.