BENGALURU: Mustansir Dalvi, from Mumbai, was part of last weekend’s Bangalore Poetry Festival. He talks about his inspirations.
Your favourite love poem:
I am not very sentimental, but I keep returning to Rang hai dil ka mere, a Faiz Ahmed Faiz lyrical love poem I enjoyed translating.
Excerpts: Ab jo aaye ho to thehro ki koi rang, koi rut, koi shai / Ek jagah par thehre / Phir ik baar har ik cheez wohi ho ki jo hai / Aasmaan hadd-e-nazar, raahguzar-raahguzar, sheesha-e-mai-sheesha-e-mai.
Translation: Now that you are here, stay. / Stay, so colours, seasons, so everything / comes to rest in one place. And once again, / let all things be as they are: / the sky stretched as far as the eye can see, / the road stay a road, / a glass of wine, a glass of wine.
A poem / poet you keep going back to:
Arun Kolatkar, for his robust but deeply insightful poems rooted in the everyday, but transcending the quotidian. His Jejuri is a collection I read over and over, particularly the fabulous Yashwantrao, his ode to an amorphous deity he addresses with bhakti and bawdiness in equal measure.
I keep going back to his work in English, and am now translating his poems from Marathi.
Written word or slam?
Written word. No question.
Slams are too ephemeral, fun momentarily, but for those deeply involved in poetic reading, poetry in a book, always. Songs with lyrics that stay with you, sure.
Epics or anthologies? Or any other genre?
Anthologies. I am delighted to have my poems and translations in several, and have been enriched by each. Also, accepting our mores today, our world of punctuated chaos, where we multi-think as well as multi-task, epics may be too linear, although their worth cannot be discounted.
Poetry vs prose?
Poor choice. Both. Either.
Inspiration and influences:
Arun Kolatkar, Narayan Gangaram Surve, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Muhammad Iqbal, Shakespeare, T S Eliot, Emily Dickinson, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, and mostly the poems of my wonderful friends — Ranjit Hoskote, Sampurna Chattarji, Arundhati Subramanium, Hemant Divate, Jerry Pinto, Priya Sarukkai and so many others.
I wait with delight and anticipation for each of their forthcoming books.