Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A is for Abin



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.


10 comments:

Kerry O'Connor said...

It is always a privilege to be afforded a glimpse into the life of one of our members. This made for fascinating reading. Thank you both for your time and effort.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Fantastic glimpse into the life of this talented poet. Abin, I enjoy your work very much! So nice that you are part of this community. Great job, Kenia!

Kay L. Davies said...

What a great team — Kenia as interviewer and Abin as interviewee. I sensed an ease of communication which led Kenia to ask the right questions and Abin to provide answers which satisfied him, and us.
An excellent interview.

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

sayan said...

proud moment...
it has been a pleasure knowing you...getting a glimpse of your work and reading them..your sharp insight and razor sharp analysis, your observation of life around you...and your ability to "beat them into rhyme"....vamos....

Sui Generis said...

It's overwhelming!!!
So proud of you.


Best wishes for future endeavors in life.

shawnacymariekiker said...

terrific interview. i very much enjoy abin's words, and hearing a small part of the story of the poet behind them makes them richer still.

the swansong is fantastic.

Marian said...

abin, so glad to get you know you a bit better--and i always squeeee a little with pleasure upon seeing the snapshot photos of such terrific writers, hah! i so much enjoy your poems and am glad you've joined us; i look forward to following your adventures in words!

Mary said...

Abin, I always enjoy your work, and the poem you quoted above is wonderful! Kenia, very nice interview as well!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Kenia ... and Abin .. very interesting read .. so I look forward to seeing more - on both your sites - always interesting to see others' points of views .. thanks - Hilary

insanebloom said...

Nice to know you, Sir.
I'm from Kolkata too, and literature is my love...