Interview with Vihang A Naik

Vihang Ashokbhai Naik, also known as Vihang A. Naik born in Surat, India on 2 September 1969, is a contemporary poet writing in English, widely published and won awards. His English language poems have appeared in literary journals such as : Indian Literature: A Sahitya Akademi Bi-Monthly Journal , Kavya Bharati , POESIS : A Journal of Poetry Circle , Mumbai, The Journal of The Poetry Society ( India ), The Journal of Indian Writing In English, The Journal of Literature and Aesthetics, The Brown Critique, The Poetry Chain among other significant journals and e publications. He is educated from The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda with  English Literature, Philosophy and Indian Literature in English Translations.

From Surat, he moved to Baroda, Ahmadabad and other cities out of Gujarat. He had his primary school was from Navrachana, he changed cities and schools. His travels gave him unique insight into life and humanity and he wrote “City Times and Other Poems” which enters Limca Book of Records : 2016 ; Michel Madhusudan Prize : 1998 among other significant awards.

His collections of poems includes City Times and Other Poems (1993), Making A Poem(2004) and Poetry Manifesto ( New & Selected Poems) (2010). His Gujarati collection of poems titled Jeevangeet (Gujarati poems) (2001) is dedicated to the cause of victims of Gujarat Earthquake 26th January, 2001. He also translates poetry written in Gujarati language into English including his own Gujarati Language poems into English. His poems have appeared in some of the most noted literary journals and anthologies. His poetry has been translated into Japanese, Spanish, Italian, German and Portuguese. Besides two comprehensive critical studies books have been edited on Vihang A. Naik’s poetry. The two edited anthologies are Vihang A Naik: A Study of his Mind and Art ( edited by Dr. Sanjay P. Pandey) and The Poetry of Vihang A. Naik: New Literary Dimensions ( edited by Goutam Karmakar ) along with some significant literary critical essays by literary critics. He began his teaching career as a lecturer in English in 1996. During his professional life, he taught English at various colleges in North Gujarat and retired from his job as the Associate Professor ( English ) in March, 2019. He lives and works in Gujarat, India.

Interview: Vihang, I would like to begin by telling you that your book is one of those rare ones which is very difficult to find these days! How could you think of a theme which is so different in poetry?

Vihang A Naik: Well, as you have pointed out about the theme of my Making A Poem … I mean, I just was on my way to develop a theory of poetry making or writing you can say creative writing. After much meditation it flashed upon me …I thought, rather than theorizing I should put it in poetry. Ah, it was than Making A Poem.. 

Interview: Being a poet yourself, dear Vihang, anyone might ask you this, was it easy for you to write poems on ‘Poet’ and ‘Poetry’ or it was bit difficult than random poetries?

Vihang A Naik: on ‘Poet’ and ‘Poetry’ are right but I believe that to write poems on ‘Poet’ and ‘Poetry’ needs a bent of creative tendency which comes on creative literary pursuit. I don’t remember that I have ever forced on any title or theme or thought or emotion , initially it comes naturally than perhaps one can work on it or rework in ones private literary workshop .  

Interview: How did you prepare yourself for such an important book? How much time it took to write the complete collection? Please let us know about it.

Vihang A Naik: Making A Poem is creative, intuitive and my personal aesthetics and of course , I often experiment with form and content along with vision of metaphysics ( seeing beyond the physical ) . I tried to compose Making A Poem on the art of making a poem. My personal poetic response to the act of making a poem

Interview: Do you think that your book can be of help for poets? Or it’s just for a pleasant read.

Vihang A Naik: I have not written to help poets neither it , as I consider , a pleasant read. But I cannot help it if turns out to be both.

Interview: What is the difference between poem and novel? Both come from inside; both are the translation of imagination; both are creative!

Vihang A Naik: A good novel can be considered a poem and a bad novel can be considered just a common prose thought both are creative.

Interview: As we all know, you are a well-known poet, but why do you write poetry? For people to read them or for some kind of solace, or poetic relief ? Please tell us about it.

Vihang A Naik: I do not know why do I write and poetry in particular. It is some kind of creative urge or poetic relief or solace. One thing is that I like what I do and more than that I do not force myself to be poet.

Interview: I ask this question to most of the poets, do you think poetry has lost the readership and is now limited to a certain group of readers who are all in fact poets themselves? Are you agreeing with this point?

Vihang A Naik: I would like to see it the other way. In our age of internet and electronic devices available world wide and locally there seems to gaining more awareness of literary pursuits. Never was poets did enjoy this freedom where one thinks poem or even one can compose directly on net. Thanks to internet and advance technology that we can access to all most every literary work on net available at our time and most of it is digitalized day by day. Be it poets poetry or literary work .  

Interview: What message do you want to give to the poets who have recently taken up their pens to render their feelings into words?

Vihang A Naik: I usually do not give out messages to young poets who may have recently taken up their pens to go their feelings into works to create their literary oeuvre. Only one thing I would like to stress, as I do not consider myself not other then them, that literary work comes with hard work. I myself have worked and reworked on a single poem. I should of course , thank my editors as well. At times a good editor can turn a scrap into master work or oeuvre . It is good to readout our work in private or public literary workshops where one gets constructive feedback. Rest keep on writing on and on.

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