An Echo of Womanhood
By Shenal Rajakarunanayake
Vipuli Niroshini Hettiarachchi questions the purpose of womanhood through her delicate pieces of art which are poems with a profound rational context. Her words are sharp and toned. Her writing is smooth and polished. Yet neither the message nor the objective gets compromised. She spreads her wings of poetic imagination around the reader with hardly any opportunity for escape; the reality is the only thing which remains to be accepted. Basically, she is a poet who is artful and knows the fact that being a poet is one of the unhealthier jobs where there are no regular hours but more temptations. Nevertheless, poetry is an unending fountain which overflows when it is required.
Let's talk about your journey as a poetess. How and when?
Poetry is something which I couldn't get off myself. It was within me, around me and literally my soul was overtaken by this charming sense of poetry where it was inevitable for me to refrain from. When I turn back and see, I can recall the small days where I used to experiment poetry. Words were the only thing I had and especially, when you were constantly enforced to read at a very early stage of life, it is inevitable for anyone to become a poet. Poetry is such a powerful thing which can do wonders.
I can remember how much I was addicted to the "KaviPitu" – the pages which were allotted for poetry in newspapers. I think it moulded my ideology and trained my skills as a growing seed. "Tharuni" was one of the newspapers where I used to send my poems and get them published. As a young school girl, it was truly a big achievement because, unlike today, most of the poems were carefully selected by a bunch of veterans of the field of poetry. Hence, it can be considered as a great encouragement that I received to keep writing.
When I was in my eighth grade or ninth, I can remember my father used to challenge my poetry by requesting to create stories with poems. I was never a person who gave up easily and knowing my own talents I kept breaking all the challenges which were thrown at me and when I look back I could say that those were training I had to undergo to polish up my skills. In a way, I was so blessed to have such parents who helped to understand my calling than bombarding their own wishes on me. As far as I believe, that space of freedom and encouragement brought me a long way.
During my later years of school, I was confirmed with my calling. I was at a point where I knew whom I was. This helped my personality to be more in line with my soul where I could experience the power of authenticity. Even before I was entering to University of Colombo to read my Bachelors, I was privileged to have an identity through my poetic skills where most of them used to know me through the poems published in leading newspapers.
You have been on this journey for many years. As far as you believe, where does the truest essence of poetry remain?
As far as I believe, a poet is person who senses and feels about something more than an ordinary person. It is always a bit more, when it comes to poetry and poetic feelings. Unlike others, their souls involuntarily dip into the sea of emotions and that is where they find the truest essence. It can be anywhere, anybody or anything, yet poets are blessed with a deeper sense of humanity and love unending from the mother nature. Poetry is like a layer on a pearl, where none could specifically identify the irritant or the moment of the irritant, yet at the end of the day, pearl is all what you get. Or in other words, though the feelings are common to anybody, none could define how and when a poem could be written. This world is full of incidents and only few would grab the minds of poets and once a poet is conceived with a poetic idea, there's no end. He/she has to undergo a huge internal struggle to deliver its result and finding where does the truest essence of poetry remain is still unimaginable.
It is said that poetry is a language of emotion. Yet Language itself is a huge critical success factor to deliver an everlasting poem.
What are your thoughts?
Language is the mode through which a poet could express his/her poetic feelings. It is truly a blessing if a poet is well-equipped with language to combat with the feelings and create wonderful pieces of art. Yet language itself can never define poetry because poetry requires some more. Basically, in other words, a poet is not a person who showcases his/her talents only through the power of language. As far as I believe, language should surrender to the roots of poetry to encounter the reader into a serendipity. Simply, there's no requirement for a wordsmith to become a poet. A poet is a unique creation with an extraordinary sense and its truest essence lies in many places. Language is a bridge on which poets walk through their emotions in search of self-contentment. In poetry, language is used to transcend the luminance of reality to seek the truth of life. A poet is duly responsible to use a most suited language structure to deliver the glamour of his/her poetic idea. Hence, indeed language plays a crucial role in moulding poetic thoughts.
What do you expect from the poetic effervescence which creates as an aftermath of this journey?
Well, none of us is aware when, where, why and by whom poetry is created. Nobody knows and nobody could simply predict. As far as I believe, any poet's behaviour is governed by his/her subconscious mind and what gets penned is simply the feelings they get exposed into and deal with in different ways and forms. Further, it is not the duty of a poet to advise or rather predict the behaviour of anything or anybody. Hence, poetry can only be read and felt by the reader while making the poetic idea in par with hisher soul. Poetry is a timeless classic, hence its meaning is subject to differ from one to one. Depending on the poet's capability to be authentic and honest to his/her craft, the truest essence of a poem could be experienced. This experiences creates the poetic effervescence and it is highly subjective.
Poetry is a delicate piece of art and it creates its own space by linking with readers' minds and hearts. Depending on the quality of universality embedded in poetry, a poet's idea can be transcended from one to another without any barrier. It is a multi-faceted product which requires to get soaked into the prevailing socio-political structure to reap its best. A poet's duty is to make this process smoother and easier where the reader could gain the expected level of elevation from its current state of mind to feel the beauty of reality. Simply, this is what we as poets expect from our process.
Though poetry covers a vast spectrum of society, can we actually be happy about its current condition?
As far as I believe, people should actively participate in this discussion in order to make a change. Random gatherings and rendezvouses aren't merely sufficient unless it is catering the truest demand. Poetry isn't a something which purely lies within the poet, it needs to get intersect with reality and the reader to make its worth and expected level of effect. Though it isn't a mandatory requirement, as far as I have experienced, it happens naturally without any hesitation. What we as poetry lovers should do is to pave the way to link these aspects together. The space which is unfilled by the poet is supposed to be filled by the reader and through this process it naturally transcends breaking all the barriers. In this process, critics are needed to make aware the both parties to see the unseen and touch the untouched. This process of reunion is much vital to make the change we as poets hoping for. Hence, still there are more opportunities to venture.
On the other hand, poetry is act of solitaire where it deserves a bit more spiritual attachment with one's own self. Though poetry is penned as a result of external factor, it is more of an internal game where the poet him/herself has to undergo. The effectiveness of one's poetry relies on the level of poet's sensitivity to outer occurrences. Hence, it is much important to make the surrounding better. Publishers, Award ceremony organizers should work harder to sustain the value of poetry and none should be facilitated to degrade the status quo of poetry. This is a social responsibility where all of us are accountable.
Most of your poems are based on womanhood and as a poetess who has been on this journey for many years, what are your thoughts about the contributions made by contemporary poetesses?
Perhaps, it could be a result of my being as a woman, hence it becomes an obvious fact that I would opt to write more on that area. Plus, it is much easier for a woman to write about womanhood compared to men. Further, it would be much precise to recognise it as one of the major factors driving my poetry which sharpens my skills regularly.
When it comes to poetry, I have no any discriminations. Irrespective of any barriers whether they are senior or junior to me, I read almost every book which gets into my hand. Yes, I do have some arguments and doubts, yet that would never degrade the efforts those new upcoming poets are taking. According to my observations, it is quite evident that some poets haven't let their poetic feelings to get more fermented to add more glamour to its craft. Perhaps, the rawness it showcases through its poetic expression would be a result of sudden requirement to adhere trend and other temporary demands. Even though these hinder the value of our poetry, none can truly deny the fact that our people are talent and it is a blessing to see most of them are writing so well, where we don't need to be fear of our future.
Though it is fascinating to see many young writers and poets come in, it is hard to believe that most of them gets dropped by due to many social restrictions. This is much common phenomenon within poetesses where their poetic potentially finally gets controlled by her partner. This is truly a pathetic condition which needs to be stopped through education. I have personally seen many young poetesses who showcased vivid talents in the sphere of poetry get stuck with their marriages and life decisions. Or sometimes it gets controlled and misguided by their partners. This process needs a full stop and we are responsible to make such change.
My advice to all contemporary poets is to be more focussed and try your level best to enhance the truest and fullest poetic potentiality hidden within your soul and make it worth sharing. This world needs more poems and so do the poets.
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