WHY SO ‘LATE’ SON?
BECAUSE Jonathan Swift took a lot of time to invent Vanessa and Ayn Rand to conceptualize the objective idealism of Howard Roark. BECAUSE Sarah couldn’t write the award-winning poetry until she loved and lost. BECAUSE Surdas had to be humiliated before his songs became divine and BECAUSE it took Narsimha Mehta and Raskhan a long tiresome journey to Vrindavan before they could write eternal bhajans…..BECAUSE all journeys to glory must follow a route through patience.
Technically speaking, it is also because Sketch thinking is tough, it is proven and Subject-fishing* doesn’t bear fruits instantaneously. And on top of that, feelings have always failed me. Nostalgia and memories, so far the two most important progenitors of my poetic-pursuits, obstruct my creativity just the same. And lyrical Writing, which I am very fond of, is like putting your finger in a boiling water and scream. And once the blister has doused, you do it again. But to gather the courage to put it back into the boiling water, it takes time.
I have realized (from the little knowledge I gained) that all literature is essentially about an inspiration first. Sometimes I am inspired by my own over thinking, sometimes by Whitman’s poetry and sometimes by contemporaries like Seshadri and Sethi. But even to get inspired, it takes time. Everything takes time. A lot of it. That is why poetry writing is a lot harder, trust me, than Fiction (simplest being the Adult fiction/Metro reads these days).
So please hear me out
as I give my excuses about
the delay in bringing out
to you ‘the Re-Reckoning’.
According to me, the most difficult part of writing poetry comes after you have conceived and vomited the first thought of the poem on the paper; the epoch-making thought, the trigger that gets you going. Once that is done, you sit and try to convert the original idea further into a poem, and want to invent a meaning and a price for yourself before you do the same for the world. Because until and unless you are not satisfied with your own poems, there is no reason you should be putting it out to the world for consumption.
But that could take a lot of time…
Poetry is like an author’s pregnancy that he/she carries with him/her all the time and all he can do is to wait for the right time for the baby to come out.
Some poems are just right there, they create themselves. Others are lazy. And yet some poems may as well take months to come to a form that, in structure, in diction, and in aesthetics, the poet has desired. My readers say, and I quote one of them, that my poetry is ‘Dense, Obsessive, lyrical, allegorical’. They say my words don’t wear masks or aprons. They are clear’. I am happy but, to be very honest, seldom I am satisfied with myself when it is time to close a poem. And I think it is a common predicament for many authors/poets. No matter how I start a poem, (and I will come to that point later), I always want to finish my poems just as perfect as the carved stones from Madurai Temple are. Have you seen them ever?. Divinely-beautiful, breathtakingly-intricate, out-of-the-world. A poem that evokes a tapestry of emotions and images like no other thing. A poem in which every word is just as colloquial as Kabir’s ‘dohe’ and is just as subtle. I want my poetry to shine in the minds of my readers for long. I don’t have many of them, but I believe that whosoever would read my poems, should feel a sense of wonder and connection. That’s is too much to say, I know. And often my poems, in the beginning of their creation, have resembled only like a big boulder isolated on a ridge with no shape and clear purpose. I myself abhor them even before finishing. And that is how I have a huge collection of unfinished poems, almost four times as big as the ones I have published so far….
I am not commercial, yet
Two things judge a person these days. What he writes and What he likes on Facebook. I don’t have much of a Facebook presence so my option is limited to first. And although I care less about the judging, I do respect the readers who put in their efforts and review ‘now and then’ authors like me. I want to ensure that they feel that the time they invested in the book was worth it, at least.
I have never written anything so far from selling perspective. (Should I do it?).
I cannot imagine twisting a poem’s collar and asking it to dance while it wants to swim.
I think with publishing, sometimes our over expectations and unrealistic desires creates our own tiny prisons where important quests of art like individuality, sense of universal purpose, rasa-evocation, the will to create something beautiful etc, that are essential to any artistic-curiosity and ambition, are detained.
But due to many reasons, both creative and categorical to publishing, we cannot wait that long for a poem to finish as well, no matter how much paranoid we are about perfection. And so it is always the poet who abandons the poem at some point in time even though he may not be fully satisfied with it..
‘Editing’ has a giant appetite for your time
During the process of editing, you struggle with the same problem (as above) but on a different level. The editors want you to omit words, change the structure and so forth but only you know the difference it will cause in the width and depth of your poetry. So you resist. Sometimes you win, sometimes they do…
My first book ‘Pilgrims’ was my experiment with thoughts and it was the longest such endeavor I undertook (~8 years in the making). ‘Musing of Desire’ which came out in December 2015 took me ~2.5 years. It was mostly lyrical in nature and was my experiment with emotions with many personal short narratives in verse and free forms in it. Some of them, as readers would tell me later, were too autobiographical in nature – my poem gives me away. The third book ‘The Re-Reckoning’ is going to be both, and more. It is also, in part, the result of my attempt to understand my nativity, Philosophy, and about my observations of many things around me, especially while living in Hyderabad. I wanted to write poems that talk about abstract subjects, like relations, life, human suffering and more, yet use very common objects of the daily chore to present their imagery.
Was it worth the wait, you have to tell me now…
Through blessings and Perseverance, I think I finally made it. But the journey behind had a huge number of rejections (almost 35-40), followed by a gut-wrenching depression, terrible failures, and solitude over the course of its making. All eventually worth it….atleast for me..
Life is all about perusing something that in the end will make perfect sense when nothing else will. And in all such pursuits, whatever remains of a man, would make him a philosopher.
And whatever kills his precious time, doesn’t matter. Be it Karl Marx’s lifelong worry over money or lifelong smoking and social-anxiety of Nietzsche, or the great procrastinating habit of Amit…
Amit Radha Krishna Nigam
*Subject-fishing: It is a framework of poetry writing that I invented. It is like throwing a fishing rod or a net in the vast ocean of the various ‘observance’ of the world ,and wait for a subject to get hooked. The bait could be your personal sufferings, your past or your passion.