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Author Highlight: Tasnima Yasmin Discusses her New Book ‘Silhouette and Other Poems’ and Stories from her Life

We are back with another author interview. Today, with us, we have Tasnima– the author of ‘Silhouette and Other Poems’. Here, she talks about her journey as a writer from a young age and her latest collection of poetry.  She also offers some great insights and tips into writing poetry.

Yasmin, 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 enjoyed reading and writing poetry. I was introduced to poetry at a very young age by my mother who would read children’s rhymes and poems to me. I took more interest writing it down at the age of about 6 or so. I used to maintain a notebook and that practice remained with me till school ended. Much of this book is a result of many such notebook entries. More recently I’ve moved to writing on my laptop.

Do you read poetry? Is there any poet who influenced you heavily?

I read a lot of poetry. I am particularly fond of W. B. Yeats and his style of putting his ideas across. His poems are very layered and complex. I found a lot of inspiration in his work. For this book I read a lot of Modern English poets like T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Rupert Brooke and W. H. Auden while taking some inspiration from American modernist poets like Allen Ginsberg. I also like how the contemporary poetry scene is being shaped by talented poets like Lang Leav. I am a Lang Leav fan.

Are you planning to write any non-poetry book, like novel, or short stories in near future?

For my next book I will be working on a plot based on a true story. It will be a novel but I don’t know yet if I should write down the story as it is or fictionalise it. I also have plans for a novella that is based on a court case but let’s see how things turn out.

Do you think you can lead the Modern Indian Poetry arena?

That’s too early to say. It’s just my first book. My intention behind writing this is to give more time and room for my creativity. It is more of a passion and I do not have any commercial stakes in this endeavour so far. It is more important to me that my work is in the public domain and people get to read it. I will be very glad to hear what readers and reviewers have to say about it.

How do you think you’ve evolved as a poet over the years?

I have stopped romanticising poetry and turned to newer dimensions of it. I have also started to understand how much of complexity lies beneath each word and how careful one has to be in choosing them in a piece of literature.

How does editing work in poetry? How do you do that?

There are poems I have written in a couple of minutes, others over a few weeks or months. There are several I have written in bursts over years and gone back and made changes to them. So, I think there’s no hard and fast rule. You just have to keep experimenting and trying to polish your work.

Do you think that poetry has a purpose and meaning? How do you see it with reference to your own work?

I think any piece of art can be made meaningful. My work touches upon several themes of hardcore theories like feminist ecocriticism, psychoanalysis to simple romantic ideas, whims, fancies and dreams. The biggest challenge I faced while writing this book was to provide a point of closure to the reader. As much as I wish to rattle and suggest meanings to the reader, I also wish to provide a silver lining amidst all the darkness.  

What’s the best experience you’ve gained through your poetry writing?

It is a way for me to channelize my creative energies into something productive. I feel satisfied after having expressed myself in writing. I also feel happy if I am able to contribute something unique and interesting.

Is it correct to say that you are a born poet? 

I don’t think so. I have learnt over the years and I am still learning and I hope to continue doing so.

How do you feel being about a poet?

I feel happy to have expressed myself in the best manner that I can.

Would you like to share some of your writing tips with aspiring poets?

I am a beginner and I have little to share on this matter but all I can say is that one must continue to persist in their art, keep experimenting, take time and read more. Reading is the key to writing.

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