As the Global National Poetry Writing Month comes to a close, Indian poets talk about keeping up with writing a poem every day through April
The poet-artist, for whom this is the second Glo/NaPoWriMo attempt, says, “Platforms like these are precious to a poet, because of the sense of community and writing in unison that they offer. Writing to new prompts every day is a challenge in itself, and an exciting one; I say this because I have seen unexpected beautiful verses emerge out of my pen [or mouse].” For Bhoumik, it’s tough to pinpoint where her tryst with poetry began, “I have grown up with poetry as a background motif in an environment of science and engineering that dominated my Bengali household. So, its aesthetics have been with me all along. Though I took up writing much later, it was as if I had written it all my life. It just flowed,” she says.
Moonlit haibun writes itself,
silver crescents that speak to silence
On the walls trellises of poetry,
On the night:
A NaPoWriMo novice, Poddar says for her, the takeaways are many. “This has been the most productive and creative month of my life so far. I learnt that passion alone cannot take you anywhere but, passion combined with discipline can,” she shares. Speaking of the challenges she faced, Poddar says, “There were days when I would easily find inspiration or an idea to write about. But on others, even the prompts could not help. I have stayed up all night to ensure I don’t break the chain of writing continuously.”
Collecting from every corner of my body
Debris of past heartbreaks,
Stench of hoarded guilt,
Leftovers of repeated mistakes,
Scraps of untreated anguish
Digging hard to pull out weeds of hurt
Rooted deep into the memory bed.
Cutting cobwebs of relations I weaved,
Which had turned into fetters.
When Washington-based poet and publisher, Maureen Thorson began the National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) in 2003, little did she realise that it was going to turn April into the busiest month for poets across the world? The objective is to pen down 30 poems in 30 days — spurred on by prompts (available on the official NaPoWriMo blog) and a general camaraderie that allows you to find the much sought-after inspiration writers are constantly pining for. Today, this has become a global community, with most preferring to call it Glo/NaPoWriMo. It has found its way into the lives of many Indian poets. We speak to four of them as the month comes to an end.
Panth quit her job as a school teacher to pursue writing full time. This was her first NaPoWriMo attempt and she says the experience was exhilarating. She began writing when she was 11 and published her first short story at 14 in Children’s World Magazine. “Writing is a lonely profession. This forum encourages writers across the world to stay inspired and motivated as a community [albeit virtual]. It is believed that creativity often follows its own graph but NaPoWriMo pushes you to harness your creative energy every day and expand your horizon in a guided manner — something that many writers are hungry for in our country. It helps inculcate discipline and is a creative and fun alternative to structure your writing process,” she says.
When rain finally falls
And takes with it
The earth’s sorrow,
Winnows its way
Into her heart
I will call to you then
When eternity stops
And time stands still
I shall have dissolved you in me
The blog, which is maintained by Thorson features a participant every day. Aashish Vaidya was one of the few Indians to be named. Originally from Vadodara, Gujarat, Vaidya says that his foray into poetry was encouraged by his grandfather, and began with their affinity for Hindi ghazals. “Ghazal singing is that beautiful confluence of good poetry, good singing and good music. I wrote poems and articles sporadically in high school, and in college, for newsletters and community magazines. But, I can relate to Picasso’s quote ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.’ So for many years, the desire to write lay dormant, as the proverbial life happened,” he says. Vaidya, who is participating in the challenge for the fourth time, believes its significance is manifold. “It provides this huge nudge to write. And if you tap into the NaPoWriMo blog community, you can also find other individuals around the globe, who are writing. And in many cases, they are struggling to write, like you, at this maddening pace.” he says.
But, talking anything rational with them is more
Like ‘burning daylight,’ or ‘whistling up the wind.’
I mean it takes a special someone with,
‘Too many cobwebs in the attic,’ to believe someone who is
‘Slicker than a slop jar or a boiled onion.’
I mean, come on y’all, howdayya believe someone who,
‘Knows more ways to take your money than a roomful of lawyers.’