Aditi Angiras is a poet and an artist based in New Delhi. She is the founder of Bring Back The Poets, a queer collective of poets and performers.
Her book, The World That Belongs To Us: An Anthology of Queer Poetry from South Asia (HarperCollins India), co-edited with Akhil Katyal will be out this summer.
Your writing schedule?
There hasn’t been one for the longest time. I’ve always had a poem find me like a fishhook that I chase around all day/ all night. I don’t sit with it, I don’t mull over.
I need to just get over with it. But, these past few weeks have been different. I wake up early to try and write. I write a line or 10, and then go on with my day. Return again the next morning to pick up the pace. I think it might have something to do with attempting fiction.
Does writing energise or exhaust you?
Depends on what I’m writing. Writing a poem has always felt like gasping for breath as if you’re stuck underwater.
You feel alive when you’re out. And, everything else that comes with a deadline feels like a chore.
I swear, makes me feel like I hate writing. Although the writing itself always feels exciting, this journey to it... well not so much.
Writing advice for your younger self ?
Rather, I’d ask my younger self to give me advice right now. I’d love to learn from her the fearlessness and how she’d frame what she was feeling without worrying about form and formats.
The only thing I might be doing better than her is practising the patient art of reading poetry by other poets, by all poets. So, go girl, read more poems! It’ll show you far more things than you’ll be able to see otherwise.
Literary success vs number of copies sold
I’ve been writing poetry for over a decade now, but this book business is very new to me. The spoken word scene has taught me that the only audience there is, is in the now. So, you write what you write and read what you have to a room full of listeners, then go back home and do it again. On a good day, they’ll clap. On a bad day, they’ll stare blankly at you.
Spot/s in Delhi you like to write at?
I’m a big fan of writing in cafes and bars. There’s something so movie-like about it. I also like to not be rushed and be bullied into spending money on mugs of coffee every hour.
A German bakery in Paharganj has been the kindest one. I’ve also written in college canteens and on campus lawns, but I now need my desk and keyboard to think and type.
I’ve been in love with Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels and in absolute awe of Ocean Vuong’s On
Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights and The Years by Annie Ernaux.
Poetry books are like summer romances. I’ve been going back again and again to The Veiled Suite by Agha Shahid Ali, New Delhi Love Songs by Michael Creighton, The Girls Are Coming Out Of The Woods by Tishani Doshi, Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith and Go Ahead In The Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest by Hanif Abdurraqib.