Sagacity of Poetic Resilience

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By 2017-07-19

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Upekala Athukorala

Her poetry is refined with an exquisite touch of elegance and charm. Her thoughts are splendid and euphonious and drive the reader into a serendipitous encounter. Her words are not magniloquent yet are enriched with deep sense of realism. Her soul cannot be caged, nor does her poetry. It wanders around spreading seeds of poetry in the hearts of readers. Amid all the chaos of life, she stands on her own with a great level of dignity and pride, resiliently transcending unique rays of serene to quench the burning desires. Moreover, her poetic sagacity envisages the truth hidden in bluish reality of life leading the readership to seek an utmost and more long-lasting happiness with a deeper sense of humanity.

By Shenal Rajakarunanayake

Q: In your prologue, you have mentioned that a poem shouldn't be a mere statement of emotions and there's no essential need in being a measurement of societal change. As a poetess who engages in her poetic journey, what have been the reasons to practice such policies?

A. As far as I believe, if we are writing everything which come across our minds, it becomes a report or a statement rather being a poem. A poem is a different form of literature which needs to addressed distinctively. It is a responsibility of a poet to alleviate the reader to a higher state of mind through hisher creativity or experience, hence poetry can never be a mere statement of emotions in every aspect. On the other hand, a statement of one's emotions is person-centric and there's no significant relevance to the society. It is a poet's duty to make it applicable to many as possible to transcend the truest essence of a poem, otherwise it will indeed be a statement or rather a report which contains the facts but not poems. Creativity, language, expressions, technicalities, constant practice are essential to ensure its reinstatement and as far as I believe that's where poetry generates.

Q: With the invasion of technology and cyber space, poetry has been freely available for anyone who are interested. In a context where poetry is gaining a huge popularity among cyber users, yet you clearly states that your thoughts are only penned when it truly demands and where you cannot deny its emotional request. What are the reasons?

A. In today's society we get exposed to many incidents, yet only few can steer me to write poems. Or in other words, if somebody is capable of expressing, he or she could write anything and call it as poems, though it is highly doubtful whether those indeed can be distilled into the field of poetry. As per my belief, I do not take poetry as a mere way of revelation. Hence it is very true that I pen when it truly demands me to do so. Further, it is also much evident that many have expressed straightforward statements of incidents with a slight poetic touch. Yet I do question "Can it be a poem?". Though this depends on the poet's state of mind and level of emotional upheaval occurred or rather the poet's sensitivity to the incident, if a poet reveals his anger, depression, happiness etc. as it is, it becomes a mere personal statement and the essence of such poem hardly could be absorbed by the reader. Yet when a poet reveals an emotion which heshe has been experiencing for longer period of time or a sudden powerful emotional thought which demands a complete shift of hisher state of mind: there is a huge possibility for it to be more relevant to many readers.

This deep and complete shift of mind is essential to give birth to a poem and so does its time. Time becomes essential because with time anybody change and time heals and teaches known yet unknown facts of life. It lets the mind to articulate the truest and fullest meaning of a particular incident and its worth cannot be measured. Further, it also directs the poet to surpass the emotion with rational. This helps to shift the general through process to a philosophical arena. That is the place where poem should be rooted.

Hence, I do stand by this thought and pen only when it truly demands.

Q: By going with the above statement, don't you think it transpires the responsibility of gratification which is expected from poetry to the readers. As a poetess, what do you expect from the readers?

A. If we take all forms of media today, it is clearly evident that we all are in congruence with the ideology of "People demand light entertainment" which is incorrect, I would say. If we aren't providing necessary input to shift the minds and hearts of people for betterment, we aren't ethically in a position to have pre-judgments as such because we really don't know because there's a huge need for better inputs. In other words, if we take an example, the people who seek light entertainment as minority given that there's no such pre-notion discrimination in a broader sense, I believe the rest or the majority suffers due to lack of supply. This excess demand and excess supply issues questions the equilibrium of one's taste and their cognition which eventually brings more repercussions. Hence I believe a change is needed in a broader sense covering almost every micro aspect of this society. If I to answer the gratification; Yes, it demands readers to be more responsible about their intake. Responsibility of gratification lies on the hands of readers and for that it needs a well-trained thought process. Poetry Indulgence deserves a huge homework from readers' end because poetry cannot be spoon-fed. It needs a decent level of input from readers to shift themselves from bliss to contentment.

Dahadiya Kandulu Diwa Maliga Thanana Heta
Langa Langa Ethai Kee Hada Hara Duraka Giya
Thaman Athera Hinahunu Loe Suwa Pinisa
Dangala Nuba Pasekin Thabanemi Mama......................(Yasodaawakmee – Pg 14)

(I keep you aside, the man who sheds his sweat and tears to build up mansions, to make the entire world happier than himself and who betrayed the feelings of my heart by moving away with false promises.)

Gahaniyak Mama
Hakitharam Dura Balana
LangaBalana Piriminta
Muhula Athuraa Madehi
Buduwanta Maawath Thanana
Kanduluth Salana.....................(Vivarana – Pg28)

(I am a woman, who looks beyond as far as I could...who spreads her hair on mud to pave ways for men who don't look further to enter into supreme state of mind without a slightest change while shedding tears)

Q: As a poetess, you have felicitated the womanhood in an inspirational manner rather sticking only on the vistas of feminism. How do you relate your poetry with womanhood?

A. Since I belong to the category of Asian women, I would like to bring them into the discussion. As we all know, we as Asian women are born with pre-defined, framed destinies. This even happens before our birth. Though we proudly proclaim the fact of higher level of literacy or advance technology persisting in Sri Lanka, still we lack something which hinder the women representation in everything. Perhaps, this may be due to our old school mentality yet it is hardly seen we have moved forth compared to other countries.

Undeniably, women are supposed to play variety of roles in this society and their contribution is irreplaceable, hence there's a huge possibility to hinder her way. Yet I believe there is a way if there's a will. Women must be given the freedom to make independent choices and it is very crucial for the generations to come as well. Society should be made aware about the socio-political role of a woman and thought processes should be rationalised. As a person who strongly believe in this, I think it is quite evident through my poetry as well.

Polowak Ahimi Nowedena Nowatina Shaka
Lowa Garahumen Mudawa Nothekum Maana
Ahasak Thana Lowa Simbinata Mudu Neela
Mul Addawa Kada Atharinemi Dhaetha........(Dulaba Sulaba – Pg 45)

(leaving aside the stem, the groundless plants are secured to root in and climb higher to kiss the sky of world)

Hada Atha da Natha da Kothanaka Kaata Pipuna da
Mawai Eyatama Ayithi Suwandak Hema Malama
Denuna da Natha da Kaahata....................(Pipeema – Pg 47)

(Regardless of its beauty and fragrance, every flower has its own fragrance irrespective its ownership.)

Q: In your book "Sankranthiyaka Senakeli" (The Festivities of Transition) you have been able to capture the beauty of reality in relation to naturalism.

A. Reality is inevitable and cannot be denied. Irrespective of its nature or the forms, we are compelled to live accordingly. In other words, life is a mixture of happiness and sorrow. It is our attitude which makes our lives a better place and nobody could deny this fact of reality. There are instances where poets come across poetic thoughts of reality as they gain maturity over time and they capture the minds of readers making an everlasting impact. Most of my poems included in this anthology fall under this category which have been rooted deep inside my heart and manured by intellectuality gained over the years for a longer period of time and eventually distilled into poems with an essence of realism.

Dushkarayi Kiya
Hera Noyayuthu Yeyi
Kaudo Kiwooyen,
Katuma Sipa Gaththath
Pathok Gaalaka Thawama Mal Pathannemi
Kawadaakaho Malsamaya
Noedeyi Nodannan..............(Katu – Pg 29)

(Since somebody said not to leave away the difficulty, I kissed the Cactus in anticipation of flowers, unknowing when would be the spring)

Yali Yalith Dewemin
Kapuru Peththak
Digu Kalak
Seeruwen Dewemin
Handun Koorak
Sanhindak Paamula
Dewiyan Wadinathuru Seeruwen.......(Yaadini – Pg 41)

(A slice of camphor re flames and a joss stick slowly spreads its fragrance vigilantly expecting God's arrival)

Q: Your poetry creatively addresses the irony of love as well as it splendidly facilitates imagination which collaboratively creates beauty of your poetic soul. What are your thoughts?

A. Love is person-centric phenomenon which is subjectively defined. In love, we hardly see congruence and even though it creates vividness. The mismatch in what we desire and what we get in love leads the path into a separation. This is a quite often fact which cannot be denied.

As poets we recreate an experience using imagination and creativity. It is an essential ingredient which cannot be missed in writing poems. Yet there's no point in re-using the same old metaphors to add glamour to the incident. Instead we must use novel yet subtle ways to improvise the beauty of our craft and to enrich its essence. On the other hand, language must be used to eliminate the "I" factor from the poem to ensure its belongingness to reader, because there's no point in surpassing myself as a poet in a poem. It is the content and its feeling must be captured nothing else. This can be improved through reading, practise and exposure.

Q: Finally, how do you want to be remembered?

A. As I have said before, once a poem is offered, it no longer belongs to me. So does my name. I do not want to be remembered. As far as my craft can make a positive change in one's mind, it is irrelevant. Remembrance is a myth which facilitates egoism and it is against my policy. Since I write for my self-fulfilment, I don't find any justifiable reason to promote this concept. It is true that genuine appreciation and accreditation make one's content, yet it cannot be the sole reason for one to engage in hisher poetic journey.




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