We are back with another author interview. Today, with us, we have Shashank Sharma – the author of ‘Poetic Howl 2’. Here, he talks about his journey as a poet since young age and his latest collection of poetry. He would also be offering some great insights and tips into writing poetry.
Shashank, what attracted you to poetry? As it's a trend among new young writers to write more about love and college stories? What made you to choose something different?
I have always been attracted to simplicity and poetry, of all, is an art of putting forth the deepest and most complex philosophies in the simplest words. Hence, I have been in love with the idea of writing poetry since childhood.
And I do write love poetry but not often as I feel it’s an over-explored topic by almost every writer out there. I am more into writing about life and it’s thousand other shades.
Do you read poetry? Is there any poet who influenced you heavily?
Yes, I do read poetry mostly to improve myself and to learn how the greats did it in their time. I love reading Gulzar Sahab over and again, for the simplicity with which he portrays the world around him. Nowadays, I am reading a book of Ghalib's poetry and its interpretation to understand the beauty of Urdu language.
Are you planning to write any non-poetry book, like a novel, or short stories in near future?
Yes, my third book will be a novel on which I have already started working and hope to finish the first draft in a couple of months.
It will be based on the life of us millennials and how we forget to live the best of us in chasing something that turns out a sheer wastage of human potential.
Why did you write this collection in two languages? Do you think you can lead the Modern Indian Poetry arena?
I wanted to make sure that anyone who reads my book understands it fully. So the main content is in Hindi poetry and right next to its English translation.
And 'to lead' is a big responsibility, but I would love to make the modern Indian poetry arena a bit better than yesterday and I guess that’s what leaders are supposed to do, they make things better for the people of today and for the generations to come.
How do you think you’ve evolved as a poet over the years?
My both the books, Poetic Howl & Poetic Howl 2, is a work done in a span of three years. I think I have done good but good is not enough. To put it in perspective, I know how to walk now but I still have marathons to run and I jog daily to achieve that in the near future.
How does editing work in poetry? How do you do that?
I start by writing a rough idea to clear my mind as to what it is that I really want to say through my poetry. And then I turn that page into poetry using meter, structure, and rhymes without damaging the ultimate meaning of it.
I do try and get a lot of feedback through my regular readers and also from people who rarely read poetry. This helps me rate my write-ups and improve accordingly. And so, writing modern poetry is not just an art, but a whole process to work on.
Do you think that poetry has a purpose and meaning? How do you see it with reference to your own work?
Poetry has a far greater purpose and meaning than most people understand. It is a mirror that does not lie to its realities. Good poetry makes us more humans and less of the machines that we all are unknowingly turning into.
And my poetry is mostly based on observations around me, observations about people and their life, their emotions, the way they react to situations in their life, their fantasies, their angelic and demonic intentions and etc.
So yes, with my poetry I try to bring the truth to the surface which we all know is suffocating beneath it somewhere.
What’s the best experience you’ve gained through your poetry writing?
The day my first book was published which turned me into a published writer officially was the best experience of all. Something like that gives you immense satisfaction that your work is good and it matters to people.
Is it correct to say that you are a born poet?
Not a born poet but you can say that I am a born observer. I speak less, listen more and that’s one quality you might observe in almost every writer. And because of this, I turned into a poet to express all that I see and analyze.
How do you feel being a poet?
Simply great. It’s a great feeling and a greater responsibility. I have to move people by my words. If I don’t do that, I fail as a writer. It’s as scary as it is exciting.
Would you like to share some of your writing tips with aspiring batch?
To be a writer, one needs to be a thinker first. An observer and an analyst. For that, learn to remain silent often and listen to all that which is going around you (just like the last poem in my book Poetic Howl 2 ('हर शख्स वो जो शांत है’). Trust me, at a given moment, there are a hundred different stories and poetry just passing by you or around you on a busy road. You just need to pick your subjects carefully.
And to put in points, I’d say-
- Write down rough ideas first on a piece of paper, just everything that goes through your mind. Clear it all out there.
- Be clear in your mind of the message that you want to convey to your readers and stick to it.
- Out of all that you have to jot down in the paper, pick up major points and form something meaningful around those.
- Never wander off your topics, to a completely different universe, amidst your write-up. The moment you wander off your own topic is the moment your reader turns to another page.
- Be bold in your writing. Be imaginative, be daring, be considerate. You, as a writer, work as a messenger of all life's philosophy. Make sure it’s beautiful to read.
- Write daily. Writing is an art but done efficiently through proper discipline.
- Read daily. That’s one thing that must not need mentioning. If you want to make writing your field of work, then reading is your education for it.
- Enjoy the art, be a true artist. Don’t write to appear cool in front of people, write for the sake of writing and for the fun in it.
And there you go, you are a writer!
And if anyone, after reading this, would like to share with me his wisdom on some tips to write better, I’d absolutely love to listen to him/her. That’s just how I am. I listen more.
Connect with Shashank Sharma:
Poetic Howl FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/poetichowl/
Blog: Instagram- @poetic_howl