Give us three reasons why readers should pick this book.
There are more than three reasons to pick up this book. But the three that strike me right now are (1) This is the kind of poetry you read to enjoy, not pass academic tests (2) The book is a quick, short, hopefully fun read that will test your emotions, not your intelligence and (3) Why not poetry? It’s the sexiest read of our times. If you can wade through yards of newsprint, if you can read long, boring novels that put most self respecting people to sleep, why not try poetry? You may enjoy it. People have enjoyed it down the centuries, long before the novel or newsprint were discovered.
Some time a book of poetry by Kamala Das and you was reissued; tell us about your love affair with poetry...
This was actually a thirty-year-old book featuring poems by Kamala Das and me that was originally published by Arnold Heinemann. It was reissued in a new edition and did shockingly well. I was pleasantly surprised. People still read my stuff and that’s not a bad thing given that I started writing poetry when I was barely 16.
Why did you decide to write this book?
Why does anyone write poetry? Why does anyone fall in love? Why does anyone climb Mount Everest? Why does anyone learn a new language? There are no answers to questions like these. It’s another means of self-expression and community building. You write. People read you. A community starts building around a book, a poem, a shared experience. That’s what brings people together, creates a bond. It’s an experience that assembles people, touches their lives. And voila, you are a writer!
What was going through your mind as you wrote your last lines of this literary piece?
...the same questions that were running through my mind when I wrote the first few lines. Are the poems working? Are they reaching out? Are they just notes to one or will they make sense to those who read them? Will they be able to share the experience? No one knows till the book comes out and reaches the hands of readers. By then, it’s too late. Every Friday makes or breaks a movie. Every book release makes or breaks a writer. You cannot predict the outcome. You can only do your best. I try.
Stuck on 1/Forty, Pritish Nandy, Amaryllis Publishing, ` 350. The book releases on July 21.