An Interview With | Sujata Chatterjee | The literature todayOctober 9, 2019
“The endless deep sea and the wide sky so blue,
Every kind of a little thing reminds me you.”
Que 1: Many congratulations on your wonderful book Looking Through The Prism, Sujata! What response are you getting on your maiden work from the readers? Please share your experience with us.
Ans. Looking through the Prism is not my maiden work. My first published book was FLIGHTS OF FANTASY, which is a collection of short stories. LOOKING THROUGH THE PRISM is my second book, which is a collection of 17 motivational poems and has been greatly appreciated by my readers. My poems have been written in lyrical style with rhyming. Mostly the poems are on nsture and how the journey to the lap of nature influences our life, what we learn from the environment and how we can face our troubles with positivity and optimism. My readers have loved the style and content of the book and have written great reviews for the same. I have recited my poems in various platforms and they have been greatly praised. Some haven even told me that the poems have a Wordsworthy touch in them, specially the poem The Cottage. This is a great honor for me as I have been compared to one of the greatest poets of English literature. One elderly person bought 2 books and donated one book to another reader at Chennai Book Fair. Many readers are in touch with me, by e mail, Instagram and Facebook and they have formed a Fan Club.
Que 2: I have read the collection now and I found it very beautiful and filled with emotions and joy. How did you make this book happen? What was the motive behind this writing?
Ans. I was in love with English Literature from my childhood and used to compose poetry from then. I was always overwhelmed with nature and I loved travelling and photography. The sunset, rainbow, sun, moon, stars, sunrise were captured in my camera vividly and the sheer beauty made me compose poetry on them. Wherever I went, was followed by a verse or a two. Nor only that, some real life experiences also taught me to write poetry. When I saw the students of this generation, struggling with peer pressure, it made me compose the poem, Exhaustion. When I hear about violence and terrorism, I wrote the poem, Destiny. Hence the real life emotions were a part of this anthology. Most of my poems have a touch of optimism in them which would help the readers to face the eorld with positivity.
Que 3: Sujata, most of your poems are related to the nature and beauty of it. And you have properly connected it with life, like “Colors of Life”, “Come O Spring”, “The Lake” and so on. How you manage to connect all these? Do you think poetry gives us lots of freedoms to write? Why did you choose this narrative?
Ans. As I told you, my poems have been greatly influenced by the beauty of environment. I have travelled to various places and I have written poetry after experiencing great joy in the lap of nature. Hence, it was easy for me to write the vivid descriptions of the elements of nature, which shows us how life and environment are deeply connected. The difference between poetry and prose are that prose is an essay about a fact as in an article and fiction as in novels and short stories. This relates to the creativity of the author. Whereas, the poetry is the emotion of the author written in a special style which touches the heart of the readers. Poetry emerges from the depths of the heart and soul. Hence writing poetry gives a freedom to the writers to pen down their emotions. I love the poetry to be rich in lyrics and rhyme. That is why each of my poems has the notes of music in them. You can easily make a song out of it. LOOKING THROUGH THE PRISM as the title relates to the a passage of a white light which when passed through a glass prism breaks up into a myriad of 7 colors called SPECTRUM. It reminds us of the VIBGYOR in the rainbow. If you have gone through my poetry you will find a description of vivid colors in the verses related to life.
Que 4: The distinguished poet that you are, what does poetry mean to you? Do you see poetry as something which must be objective or an expression which must be charged with subjective views or an amalgam of both or something else? I would like your views reflected on it.
Ans. As I have already pointed out that poetry is a collection of words which expresses the emotions of the poet. Poetry can be both objective or subjective. The expressions will tell you the title or the content of the poem and how it is matched with each other. As I have already mentioned that Looking through the Prism depicts the VIBGYOR of a Spectrum or rainbow. All the poems are a collection of different emotions beaded together to form a garland of poetry.
Que 5: Talking about the technicality, Sujata, do you think poetry is mostly a kind of monophonic dialogue which takes place between the poet and a shadow of the poet?
Ans. Monomorphic dialogue between the poet and the shadow of the poet; well I have never thought in that way. I think it us mostly a collection of words which depict the emotional condition of the poet at that particular time. I have heard that poets like R.N Tagore or Nazrul used to write poems which were derived from real life experiences, like love, bereavement in the family, seasons, dramas etc. It is said that a dance drama Bhanusingher Podaboli is a reflection of the poet R.N Tagore in another name. Similarly, I would think that writing poems reflects the soul of the poet, of what his or her heart’s desires are.
Que 6: I want to know about the process which makes poetry happen for you. To you, is poetry a random incident, which, like Wordsworth, is a spontaneous process or it is something which you aim at and shape carefully? In a broad perspective, do you think that poetry is a random art or it is a careful process of thoughts?
Ans. Poetry comes from the spontaneous emotions from the heart of the poet. Yes, practice makes you more experienced, while shaping of the poem. Your vocabulary helps you in choosing your words and finally the feelings overflow. The picture which is in your mind starts to take shape and a poetry is written. In my case, it is a random picture, which starts as a flow of feelings and culminates into language and poems. I have never been too careful about using English language for my poems. Once I decide to write on a topic, the thoughts come as spontaneous flow of feelings and words.
Que 7: What are your views on the role of poetry in the contemporary world? Do you see it like yesterday or find it changed?
Ans. The role of poetry has greatly changed in the contemporary world. There used to be a sublte and simple thoughts depicted in the poetry of yester years. Nowadays, the young readers enjoy reading dark poetry. The contemporary world has seen many episodes of negative elements of the human race. These are greatly incorporated into the poetry written today. The women empowerment, wars, violence, heartbreaks, etc.have been portrayed in the present day poetry. Well, not saying that these are not good, but again too much negativity in the poems is the result of contemporary world which we live in.
Que 8: Today, we only know one thing when it comes of a writer or poet’s life – is he or she a best-seller! How do you feel about the commercialization of creative writing? There are many who do write better than these ‘best-sellers’; what are your views about it? Readers want to know.
Ans. Well, to tell you first of all, my book is not a best seller. But in the world of critics, it has acquired a special position and has been appreciated by many judges and jury. I do not write about violence or depression. My poems are optimistic and full of positive vibes. Those who love English poetry may love my poems. But perhaps the contemporary and young writers and readers may not agree. When I share my poems in contests or in front of a jury, they have come out with flying colors.
Que 9: As a poet, everyone has certain influencers. Which poets do you think have shaped the poetry in you, or have a major or minor impact on your poetry? Please let us know about it.
Ans. Yes, I am an admirer of John Keats, Robert Frost and Wordsworth. I loved their poems and still do. R.L Stevenson and Lord Tennyson also have influenced my work. I think the poet who had maximum influence in my work is Wordsworth.
Que 10: Thanks for this wonderful conversation, Sujata! looking forward to more interaction with you in the future for your upcoming books. All the best!!!
Ans. Its my pleasure to speak to you about my work. Thank you for your good wishes. Yes, you may again knock at my door soon with some new books just round the corner.