Heya guys . We’ve got Anurag , a poet who made his come out recently with his debut book Love in the time of Pokemon . Fancy name , I know .
So , Anurag , can you tell us about yourself ?
I grew up in the middle-class family. My father is a government employee which meant frequent transfers to different cities. I changed around 12 schools during my childhood which made me sort of an introvert person as I couldn’t make any friends because as soon as I started making connections we got an order to pack bags and move to the new city. This whole idea of being misfit somehow stayed in the subconscious of my mind till now.
After schooling, I went to pursue engineering which, I thought, will provide me a life like Rang De Basanti(Movie) youngsters but it turned out to be the second half of Tere Naam. Strict rules with so much of dullness in the air that one might die with sheer banality of things. Later on, I joined JNU, Delhi which was closer to the idea of life which I had in my mind. A liberal space where priorities are given to ideas rather than the mad rush of getting placements in companies. I have learned there various aspects of life more than just art/cinema theory. Later on, I have joined FTII, Pune. Now I am living in Mumbai where I am working on scripts of the film as well as my new book.
Why is poetry important?
Poetry is one of the rawest form art where a fleeting emotion can be instantly converted into something beautiful . If an emotion is expressed with certain life energy then that energy will be transferred to the readers who reads it. Unlike other arts which go through several stages and outside interference, Poetry is personal as well as universal if it is done in the correct way. Here the idea of unfiltered emotion is more important than the artificial idea of logic which makes it more humane. We need poetry to cool down from abstract nature of life.
What prompted you to begin writing poetry?
It was 6 years ago when I wrote a poem called ‘Walk of a loser’ when I was sitting with a homeless person in a new city observing passersby. I wrote down all my observations on the paper and made a poem out of it. I connected the imagery which I was seeing on the road and connected it with some of my past events. The poem just turned out to be a poem of a new writer; self-indulgent, messy, bad one. But somehow I loved the whole process of writing the poem without having to worry about results or about anxiety as to where I will show these poems. I also wrote screenplays and short stories but poems are something which remains deeply personal and honest self-expression for me.
How does a poem begin for you, with an idea, a form or an image?
It depends. Sometimes I have a line which gets stuck in my head for days and then the whole poem comes out of that line. For instance, the poem Love and Mosquitoes comes out of a line – Whenever you are with me I feel like I am high on coffee or some substance which even kings crave for. This line becomes the seed and now anything can complete this poem such as any past event, an image which I have seen years ago, sounds which I heard while smoking on street, the building which I am looking at from the balcony or the film which I might have seen. It all comes organically and I don’t want to know much about where it comes from. A good poem is the juice of your whole life till you hold the pen to write on paper.
What conditions help you with your writing process?
Earlier I use to think a particular type of atmosphere is necessary to write. The room should in decked up in a certain way, lights should be dim, outside noise should be a minimum. Then I read the poem by Charles Bukowski – Air and light and time and space. In this poem, he is making fun an author searching for ideal light and space for writing. I now completely believe in this thought and no longer aspire for the perfectness of space. I just need my laptop and internet connection so that I can listen to music on loop while writing.
Where do you write?
There isn’t any particular place. Mostly inside the room but it can be airports or even a coffee shop. Nowadays, I even go watch a boring film with the intention of not watching the film and somehow in that state of boredom new ideas start to flow into my head. Great arts do come out of boredom.
What is the relationship between your speaking voice and your written voice?
Well, speaking voice is a form of lie which comes from the idea of impressing and maintaining the certain personality of us. The inner voice also has such traits but still, it is connected to the deeper level of unconsciousness, which makes it unique. Art is about finding a right balance between impressing others and connecting to a deeper consciousness of oneself. I am trying to find such a balance.
What do you see as the role of humor in poetry?
Humour for me is an important aspect in any of creative work. It’s a the way of looking at the things. Charles Bukowski, Ron Padgett, Charles Simic are a few poets who say things with humor. Even filmmakers like Aki Kaurasmaki who present a lonely world in their films have a humorous something all over them. According to the existential and post-modern philosophy , life is meaningless. Some people think of it as depressing . Nothing can give you more reason to celebrate life than the idea that all of it is meaningless. It tears down all the stress, pretension and gives us reason to laugh at things. Great poets andwriters have always followed such philosophy which is why poetry and writing with a touch of humor stays with us more than the brooding one.
What does “being creative” mean to you?
‘Being creative ‘ means only one thing for me which is: enjoying . You have to enjoy the whole process of creating.
Can you describe the time when you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do?
Being an introvert from my early years , I realized young that it’s absolutely important for me to create to survive in this world
What is a measure of success as a poet?
Only a poet can feel it. If he is able to express his deep most sensations on a paper with honesty , then that’s a form of success. If those poems make an impact on a reader sitting on his/her balcony on a lonely night then it’s another level of success. If it becomes bestseller then it’s the sweetest success. Too much sweetness can sometimes be harmful though.
Who are some of your favorite poets?
Charles Bukowski, Ron Padgett, William Carlos Williams, Basant Tripathi, E. E. Cummings to name some.
What makes a poem “good”?
If a poem which is takes in every little detail of our life and is still able to send a soft shiver in us with its sheer rhythm then it’s a good poem. A good poem must unfold slowly like a petal of rose which you once gifted to your first teenage love.