It gives you unmistakably another level of experience. I do not want to belittle anyone, but the gravity of the matter is as such that I cannot help without taking it. The Hindu notion of existence as suffering is central to the vision. It leads to a sort of vanity in the poet, an arrogance. Whether such poetry fails or succeeds is a different matter. I suppose not many people believe in this kind of poetry, although, judging from the traditionally built-in sense of mysticism an Indian has, such poetry should have had a wide readership.
And about corruption, injustice, and maladministration. Which astrologer can predict the poor lot of the poor girl-child of India? Oxford University Press, 1983 Dispossessed Nests, 1986 Selected Poems, New Delhi. My grandfather became a Christian. Poems Literary Works of Jayanta Mahapatra List of Poetry in English Close the sky, Ten by Ten, Culcutta. And maybe those other factors which are necessary to the makings of a good poet will come only later. I realise it is fairly easy to leave it that way in the poems I write.
As a poet, he is mythical, imagistic, symbolical, mystical, artistic and bodily too when he talks of the twitches of the intriguing body and man-woman relationship envisaged on the walls of the Konark sun-temple and the carvings on it, the erotic sculptures in sex, love, romance and relationship, rounding about the Indian philosophy of dharma, artha, kama and moksha. She continues living in her dreams about past and future. The pain of your age comes through your poetry so sharply. There is not one single aspect of his poetry. Poetry has an obligation to respond to the wider world, to seek context across the ages.
The spiritual in Mahapatra is equivalent to nature itself, and his appreciation of it is not ritualistic or prone to one-sidedness. I have done a lot of translation from the Oriya, both old and modern. Sahitya Akademi, 1994 Verticals of Life: Poems, New Delhi. Certainly one cannot place the poet in the role of a social reformer; but there can be no denying the fact that he would like to see a just and fair society come into existence, to see the smile appear on the face of every destitute child on the street, on every man, woman, and animal on this earth he inhabits. A Rain of Rites was one of the two books the University of Georgia Press published out of a fairly large number of submissions that year.
Above all, it is a poetry of inner spaces; where the often tortured landscape of Orrissa mirrors psychological states. The poem itself, the process which goes to make it, will ever remain a mystery. There is a constant experimentation with language, it's plasticity. The overtones and undertones of the Vedic hermitage full of Vedism, Upanishadism and Puranism continue to hold their sway over Mahapatra and we overhear them in the incantatory voice, the chorus coming down from the temples and this contributes to the mythic base of his poetry. What it is today will not be tomorrow. And now beware, the words of this poem say, of going with it into dream or of making it seem like the last words of a prayer? The shaping device very often is imagery.
Since you were teaching physics, not English or creative writing, who were your early influences? Q: How far back can you remember? I said no, I must be failing in my endeavour. Something of the man and his mind seen in the makers and workers too is evident on these. The space in his blank mind was filled with soot from the lamp. And when one's hand, suddenly lightened from the weight of elusive beauty, is almost ready to touch another's. Swain, New Delhi, Prestige, 1999.
Chaos is at the centre of all existence, of matter, both organic and inorganic. Though the human constructions of language may miscarry, nature does not. I should call this stirring in the mind a madness, which might border on irrationality; but it is exactly this quality of the unknown and ununderstandable which go to make the beauty of a poem. Do poets have a responsibility to engage the world around them? If we talk about the first book of poems, it is a slim volume which follows the course of its own. Who knows what it is in whose lot? Geography, region, and the locale are characteristics of place that are important to Mahapatra as a poet. With the austere eyes, they looking like the fish caught in the net at dawn break like the shining strands of faith. So Orissa is the world that holds me; it also strips me naked.
A woman is in a room and a mirror is also there. But physics taught me a certain discipline. We find this same technique in Mahapatra. Nevertheless the years felt like cold rubber owing to impoverished malnutrition. Do younger poets seek you out for advice? What perhaps is somewhat unexpected is that a physicist-turned-poet should not paint the world as modernly mechanistic, but rather come nearer to approach older forms of Romanticism. He dreams of, when will Kalinga rise again? Friends Publishers, 2009 Translations of Poetry Countermeasures: Poems, Calcutta. For this I know: like the mango ripening on the bough, I too am ripening for death.