Back to his first love

Jul 20, 2012, 09:10 IST | Deepali Dhingra

Pritish Nandy wears many hats. He's a poet, photographer, journalist, editor, publisher, columnist, film producer and parliamentarian. Ask him what best describes him and he says, "The Nowhere Man.

I rediscover myself every morning. That’s the magic of my life.” Pritish stopped writing poetry for almost 29 years and returned last year with a book of poems. This year again, he’s back with his latest offering on poetry. “This time, it is poems to be seen, to be shared, to begin a conversation across different spaces... The world has changed. It’s time poetry did too,” he told CS in a freewheeling chat:

First love
I stopped writing poetry when I came to Mumbai and became a full time editor and journalist. The way a journalist uses language is very different from the tentativeness of a poet who grapples with words. So I chose journalism over poetry then. Now that I don’t do full on journalism and can write when I want to, I have returned to poetry, my first love.

A rich tradition
My tastes are rather eclectic but I am a great fan of Latin American poetry as well as Indian poetry in many languages. I think India has the richest tradition in poetry and music but we do not do enough with it. I have translated books and poems from Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Sanskrit. Absolutely outstanding stuff.

Poetry’s purposeless!
Like the best things in life, poetry is purposeless. It is written because we want to write it and people want to read it. It is, for me, the first draft of a memoir. So many publishers ask me to write an autobiography. I always tell them: Go read my poems. Follow my books. That is where my autobiography lies.

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