Of poetry: old loves, new favourites

Poets from different parts of India are in the city for Bangalore Poetry Festival this weekend

Published: 06th August 2016 06:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th August 2016 06:37 AM   |  A+A-

Simon Napier Bell, USA

Your favourite love poem

OF.jpgI just read this by Carol Ann Duffy, Britain’s current poet laureate.

I hid in my ordinary days, in the long grass of routine, / in my camouflage rooms. You sprawled in my gaze, / staring back from anyone’s face, from the shape of a cloud, / from the pining, earth-struck moon which gapes at me / and I open the bedroom door. The curtains stir. There you are / on the bed, like a gift, like a touchable dream.

It can be my number one love poem for the next week.

 

A poem / poet you keep going back to

Quite a lot of Philip Larkin’s poems. I guess because he’s very English. And he loved jazz, my teenage passion. And he’s just so down to earth.

 

The first poem you remember reading

I can’t remember, probably one by A A Milne -- perhaps Christopher Robin is saying is prayers.

 

Written word or slam? Or songs?

Written word.

 

Epics or anthologies? Or any other genre?

The shorter the better

 

Poetry vs prose

Impossible decision.

 

Inspiration and influences

Not really an influence, more a constant pleasure -- Jacques Prevert.

‘Volga’ Lolitha Popuri,

Hyderabad

 

Your favourite love poem

Nuvvu Nenu by Adavi Bapiraju.

OFA.jpg 

A poem / poet you keep going back to

Sri Sri (Srirangam Srinivasa Rao). His poetry is so powerful, socially relevent. He had an immense hold on the language. For the beauty of the langauge and theme of his poetry I read him almost every day.

 

The first poem you remember reading

A poem by Vemana, a 16th century poet and philosopher. His poems are introduced to children very early.

 

Epics or anthologies? Or any other genre?

Both. Poems from Maha Bhagavatham by Pothana. Anthologies: Mahaprasthanam, by Sri Sri, Krishna Paksham by Devulapalli Krishna Sastry and Karunasri poems.

 

Poetry vs prose

Both.

 

Inspiration and influences

Gurajada, Chalam, Sri Sri, Kodavatiganti Kutumba Rao.

Indu Mallah, Ooty

OFB.jpg 

Your favourite love poem

The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes though it is not a love poem in the conventional, romantic sense.

 

A poem / poet you keep going back to

For The Sake of Strangers by Dorianne Laux strikes a chord in me every time I read it, and its sub-text of inter-connectivity, which informs my own credo.

 

The first poem you remember reading

I really cannot remember. It must have been a nursery rhyme, possibly Twinkle, twinkle, little star. But I certainly remember the first poem I heard -- The Hunting Song by Sir Walter Scott. I have always been fascinated by rhythm and sound.

 

Written word or slam? Or songs?

I prefer the written word though songs have their place.

 

Epics or anthologies? Or any other genre?

Anthologies.

 

Poetry vs prose

I would choose poetry over prose any day.

 

Inspiration and influences:

While I continue to be inspired by many poets ranging from Gurudeb Tagore, and Rainer Maria Rilke to modern poets like Jane Hirshfield, Denise Levertov, Margaret Atwood, Shu Ting, Satchidanandan and Gopikrishnan Kottoor, I am not influenced by any of them. I write in my own idiom.

Prathibha Nandakumar, Bengaluru

Your favourite love poem

Kalidasa, Sangam Tamil poetry, Akka Mahadevi, Pablo Neruda, Octavio Paz, A K Ramanujan, Charles Baudelaire...

OFC.jpg 

A poem / poet you keep going back to

A K Ramanujan, Pablo Neruda, Akka Mahadevi, Allama Prabhu and the lot. I have a good collection of poetry, and I pick up anything that appeals to me at a particular time. I also read a lot of new poets on online poetry portals. A brilliant poem from a new young poet excites me as much as a Zen poem.

 

The first poem you remember reading

May be when I was in kindergarten! I remember the children’s rhymes we used to sing. Since I was a student of Kannada literature, the classics had a fascination for me.

 

Written word or slam? Or songs?

All. They are complementary and not contrasting.

 

Epics or anthologies? Or any other genre?

Poetry of all kinds. Just that it should sweep me off my feet and give a heady feeling. Like the first time I read Latin American or Australian lesbian poems or poems by convicts. Or when I revisit old classics. The possibilities of poetry are immense. The essence is what matters.

 

Poetry vs prose

Both, but written very well. Bad prose or poetry puts me off.

 

Inspiration and influences

When I started writing poems in the 1970s, there were hardly any role models in Kannada. I belong to the first batch of a handful of women poets of modern Kannada and we found our own paths. In the beginning, my poetry was purely my own response to things around me.

By the time I got inspired by A K Rananujan, I had already published two  collections. Though I was friends with most Kannada poets, no one influenced me. Instead, I stood on my ground and they admired me for that.

I read world poetry a lot, and currently the way poetry has been redefined, deconstructed and demystified fascinates me.

Poetry is no longer defined the way it was two decades ago. There are new poetics evolving. I am old, but in spirit I belong to Gen Next!

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