Freedom of thought and expression is the essence of writing: An online interview with Sheba Rakesh
Sheeba Rakesh has completed her research from the Department of English and Modern European languages, University of Lucknow. She teaches English Literature and is the coordinator, Centre of Women’s Studies at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Girls’ Degree College. She has published internationally and nationally on Translation Studies and Women’s Studies. She remains highly interested in Cultural Studies besides the two areas mentioned above and in an attempt to foster cross-cultural harmony through literature she translates literary works and is a published poet as well. She is associated with the All India Radio, Doordarshan, IGNoU and the Bhartendu Natya Academy and contributes to the development of the modes of cultural communication thorugh teaching and participation . She is also the Director of Pankh—an NGO working in the area of women’s issues. She has translated Amrit lal Nagar’s work Nachyo Bahut Gopal into English, besides having translated Tabish Khair’s The Bus Stopped into Hindi. She is currently working on Qaisra Shahraz’s work Typhoon as also on Anuj Dhar’s India’s Biggest Cover Up, translating both these works into the Hindi.
Dupur Mitra: Do you get inspiration from your readers?
Sheba Rakesh: In as much as poetry is about observing life, collecting it and creatively spilling it, yes, the readers do form an important zone of inspiration.
Dupur Mitra: What was the first poem you wrote?
Sheba Rakesh: It was in Hindi, my very first…I must have been in the third standard. It was about nature.
Dupur Mitra: What’s your favourite poem that you’ve written? Do you illustrate your own poems?
Sheba Rakesh: No, I do not illustrate my poems or my writings simply because I do not think I am talented enough to do that. Its very difficult to say, which poem is my best. All that comes close from the heart is like your very own child, and as one who creates, one would not really say, which one she/he loves most. And yet, broadly speaking, I would rate the more subjective ones as being closer to my heart.
Dupur Mitra: When did you start writing poems?
Sheba Rakesh: As I said, very young.
Dupur Mitra: Where do your ideas come from?
Sheba Rakesh: That’s a very difficult question I guess . It is mainly for those who read them, to tell me more about it. As a writer, tho, I think its the high and intense emotional appeal bordering close to confessional writing, that sometimes marks the difference. Of course, not to mention is the presentation and language skills- – the garment of sensibilities.
Dupur Mitra: What makes your poems different from other people’s?
Sheba Rakesh: As I said, its mostly more emotionally oriented. So, yes, I do take a lot of my inspiration from the common miseries, failures, happiness, and other things in human life. Nature, also remains a close friend that way!
Dupur Mitra: Why is poetry important?
Sheba Rakesh: Its therapeutic, as any other form of writing or creativity can be.
Dupur Mitra: How does a poem begin for you – with an image an idea or a phrase?
Sheba Rakesh: glasses No, never a phrase. To use the Derridean terminology, ‘its almost always there’, so yes, its more of an image or an idea to me.
Dupur Mitra: How do you edit your poems?
Sheba Rakesh: Read it, re-read it, revision and re-vision, that is how I do it.
Dupur Mitra: What advice was most helpful to you when you first started writing poetry?
Sheba Rakesh: No, I never got any. It came naturally, and that’s how the creative journey began.
Dupur Mitra: What is poetry?
Sheba Rakesh: I would define it as ‘Expressed Emotions’.
Dupur Mitra: what are your observations about trending of world poetry?
Sheba Rakesh: I really, do not follow the world trends in poetry or writing , for that matter. Freedom of thought and expression is the essence of writing. I seriously believe, its for us writers to create and not be bound in by any trend. Yes, a trend could be created and followed because of the popularity it evokes, but certainly, not because, there must be rules in writing. I think, that way, I am a Romantic, rather than a Neo-Classical writer
Dupur Mitra: Is poetry movement can improve the poetry? if yes how, if not why?
Sheba Rakesh: Any movement is a good movement, as long as it welcomes, sustains and encourages creativity. If not, it can be a harmful and negating influence.
Dupur Mitra: What is your opinion about today’s world poetry movement?
Sheba Rakesh: Its good. We need more of writers and poets joining it and enriching it.