Goddess of things small and beautiful

Dr. Sukrita Paul Kumar in New Delhi. Photo: V.V. Krishnan   | Photo Credit: V_V_Krishnan

In her latest collection “Dream Catcher”, poet Sukrita paints word pictures, and her poems take the reader on snapshot like journeys, giving the poet’s own experience a new perspective and a fresh meaning. A miniature version of the book titled “Behind the Poems” accompanies the collection, exploring in a few succinct essays Sukrita’s journey as a poet.

Excerpts from an interview:

Tell us about this collection, and its conception.

Many people have said that it’s come too soon after the last one. But the idea behind these particular poems was the sense of understanding that there was some sifting going on. I wouldn’t say good from bad, but sifting like in case of dreams. I was sifting through memories, immediate and long term, exploring the subterranean self.

And the idea of the companion book, “Behind the Poems”? Is it a way of introducing the readers to your personal way of writing poetry?

I am very fond of little books, I collect them. When Vani Prakashan came to me, they brought a small book to show as sample, to show me the colour etc, and I said that I like the small book and would want that format. They said that while they’d like the poems to be in the bigger book, I could use the small one to do something else. That became a trigger for the idea of the small accompanying book.

It isn’t really a direct link to the poems in the book but more to do with my way of writing. For instance, the poem on my grandmother, I write about how I see that as something that’s been on my mind forever. She passed away long long ago, but it was so intense an experience that having been brought up by her, it was a haunt on my mind. The intense experiences leave their throb, and the poems are a way of exorcising yourself of that memory. The prose becomes an extension of that. More than for the readers, if you notice there is a preface to the little book, you’ll see that it’s an act of self-reflexivity. Like many other poets, I have a tendency for self reflexivity, and I examine where a poem came from, what was the process. It’s a way of examining this self, and its many versions. The book isn’t a critical account, it’s a personal one, but in its idea to understand poetry and its process, it also becomes cerebral.

Reading through the poems in the collection, it’s easy to see that your style is fluid. Some poems are only four or five lines and the others much longer.

I don’t follow a set pattern, but I do look at intrinsic rhythm. I find that many times when I go back to a poem and I edit, the idea behind the editing is that the poem has to become as small as possible, and as intense as possible. I don’t want to dilute the intensity. Extra words dilute the poem. When I go back to the poem I become more of a reader, and see it from that perspective.

Over the years, revisiting your own collections and writing, do you see your style and approach to poetry changing?

I think that earlier I was more fond of words, now I’m more fond of experience. Now while it’s very important for me to get right words, I’m also very concerned with getting the right beginning. When I now go back to poems I have written, the order sometimes changes. It takes a different form altogether. Before, I thought of my written word as sacred. I am now more open to changing it. I can now even discard it. It’s a very important thing to be thinking about, that the poem seems to be growing the whole time, words remain the same, the input of the mind constantly feeding into it, becomes more complex.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 6:17:26 PM |

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