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Saturday Spotlight for February 18th, 2012
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Today's featured deviant is:
1. Tell us a bit about your writing.
It starts with reading - I've always been reading! My first memory of reading is when I started pulling my bedtime storybook away from my mum so I could read it by myself (because I read faster than she spoke). And on the various ships I spent my time on, there wasn't much to do but read. So I don't think anyone was surprised I started writing; if they were, it was probably only because I started so randomly and so late. I began in October '09 (not even two years ago) and I can't seem to stop.
I'm an amateur poet, because poetry comes more natural to me than prose. And I do waffle about my poetry process. I waffle like nobody's business. The gist of it is, though: there's a keyboard, there's a Word document, there's a functioning brain and set of hands, and (usually), there's a deadline. I'm easily inspired, (but also easily frustrated), usually by visual art or real life - I love writing about normal things that I love, because the challenge is to tell why they aren't mundane to me - but the downside of that is that they usually come across as exotic, because I've had a strange life.
Most people here who know me know that I write about mythology and the sea quite a lot – it’s because I enjoy writing about myself and using everything I've lived through for my writing. Sometimes I exaggerate and embellish, sometimes I don't, but I find it fun. I also love fixed and free verse equally and I adore trying out different methods for what is essentially the same idea.
I suppose in some ways you could call me an experimental poet, though I'm not sure a proper definition exists for that!
2. How do you feel about dA as a literature community?
I love it to pieces. I don't even know how to ramble on this any more, because there's not much for me to say. I mean, the Lit Community here is the only place I can talk about, well, literature, and it always has been, and I’m beyond grateful for that. "It" is a bit of a relative thing, I hardly know many people, and it's more of a who-you-interact-with thing, but - still.
I'm not really in a position to say anything definite about the Lit Community, because it's the only community I've known on dA since I got on here (which hasn't been that long). I haven't found a single thing to complain about, or anything that seriously needs changing, but I'm not the brightest crayon in the box, so don't quote me on that. I'm continually amazed by the Lit Community and the things they do. I also dig being able to go into 'chat' and talk in full sentences and all. No one I know in real life my age or thereabouts does that - it's all "lol" starting and ending every sentence. (I don't get that. I don't get why people do that. Are you using "lol" as your security blanket? Are you using it in the "lots of love" sense as a not-so-subtle hint? What are you trying to tell me?)
I may have said this before, but I do harbour a mad passion for my piece of the pizza that is the lit community here. It's been my crutch and my carrot on a stick at the same time, as well as everything else.
3. You say you write more poetry - free verse or fixed verse? Is one easier than the other for you?
Writing fixed verse is like a playground, where someone points me to the jungle bars, and tells me I can climb anywhere as long as I don't break anything. I'm not good at climbing, but fixed verse is my comfort zone. I plan a lot for fixed verse, and I usually love telling stories in fixed verse (especially mythology). In my mind, fixed verse is perfect for storytelling because of the musical qualities. Take villanelles, for example, they’re perfect for stories such as Echo and Narcissus, see? I'm a huge advocate of fixed verse, though more of my poems are in free verse.
Free verse is harder to 'explain' because everyone does it, and there're so many ways to it. I don't plan ahead much, or tell a story, and suchlike, as much in free verse as in fixed verse. There are some similarities, such as when I play around with rhyme, or alliteration, but free verse is usually more spontaneous and more obviously personal. It’s harder in a way, because you don’t have the ‘crutches’ of fixed verse, but it’s wonderful to experiment with.
That's the challenge of free verse - anyone'd tell you writing poetry is hard, but the thing about free verse is that the freedom's the trouble. In a way, it's harder than fixed verse, because in fixed verse, you're given a sort of template and you get to play around with it: that's the fun of it, and there's a sort of freedom in that, but for free verse, the freedom is that there aren’t any rules – and you’ve to be careful of that, because you’ve to make your own rules, which is something much harder, in my opinion. More things can go wrong in free verse, and I find myself usually being harder on my free verse pieces.
4. What would you consider to be your highest literary accomplishment?
I did get published for the first time somewhere about October, in a very-new journal called Oroborus, and I was pleased as punch about that. But I'm proud of that in the sense beyond normal pleasure, because the publisher approached me, and not the other way around, like it should be. So I can't really consider that an "accomplishment", mainly because I didn't do anything.
I think that apart from one or two poems, the most important literary accomplishment of mine is being part of the #theWrittenRevolution team and the #Expose-Lit team. (I pimp those two every chance I can get, don't look so surprised.) tWR is great for learning how to interact - we're a pretty social group, and to someone who's spent half of her life in various ships (I kid you not), social awkwardness is something I've faced. Even more so as an Indian poet who writes in English, studies in an international school, and lives in China. And I think it's pretty neat. #Expose-Lit is a lot the same, we're looking to help out new writers to deviantART, to help out with common frustrations and things like that - especially that 'elitist' idea floating around lately, we're trying to dig into that and figure out what's what. So, yes, I'm pretty proud of those.
And I just think it's cool, you know, that people think I can do those things and help out, and want me to, 'cos this time in 2011, I wouldn't have thunk it.
5. Have there been any authors you feel have been an influence on your work?
Yeats and Cummings are probably my two strongest poetic influences. I remember buying a book of selected poems of Yeats and picking it up at odd times to come across poems such as the one in my signature. Yeats inspired me to consider rhyme - I don't consider Yeats' poems to sound archaic, and that's something I barely manage to do, and he's one of the best poets for that, I think, among other things. I also remember reading anyone lived in a pretty how town for the very first time. Cummings was the only poet – then – who could write the modern romantic poems I was looking for, but now I find inspiration in almost every one of his poems, even the punctuation.
There’ve been other poets, and some of them are here on dA, but I’d take up pages and pages if I mentioned all of them. But notable ones include Billy Collins, Ogden Nash, F. G. Lorca, Pablo Neruda, Rumi, Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg, T. S. Eliot, W. C. Williams, Li Po (or Li Bai) - I don't know what I've got against most female poets, I really don't, and it's definitely not intentional, I swear. Sappho is one of my favourite female poets, and the only one I can think of who has 'influenced' me - I know I enjoy some poems by Plath, Dickinson, etc, but I don't consider them to be an influence on my work.
Lots of prose writers have influenced me indirectly as well – CS Lewis is the only one I can think of who figures into things prominently, with everything from his science fiction trilogy, of which Perelandra (also known as Voyage to Venus) was my favourite, to his retelling of the Eros and Psyche myth, Till We Have Faces, which "got me" into retelling myths (I didn't even know that was a thing before I read his book). Other prose writers would include Oscar Wilde, Alberto Manguel, Terry Pratchett, D. W. Jones, and Edith Hamilton, among others. Lynne Truss, too, influenced me, and my punctuation, what with her quoting chunks of semi-colon littered Virginia Woolfe passages at me every chance she got.
CoppersmithI caught a sun gold.
Trembling old in my cupped palm, quiet copper,
as my rage on our queen, for so crippling me.
And how too did I rail
against you, Cyprian beloved?
Understand: I grow too old
for bows and arrows, Eros.
"Coppersmith" by :devigilo:
"DFC 16: A Ghazal for Morning" by Vigilo
The Old God, Savitrॐ भूर्भुव: स्व: तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं ।
भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि, धीयो यो न: प्रचोदयात् ।।
The wind blew sand into your nonchalant soul,
and your heart coughed. I entered the circle
at night, and I was consumed by fire. I did not
know of you then. I have fractured myself into
a thousand souls: but they are all whole, for I did
see you in my absence. Yet you? - you
were sailing, and your head was
full of water light.
I was significant when your mother poured out water
in a copper pot from a balcony; water, which
caught and held the moon, and then spilled over
with a quiet radiance. You wondered whether
the moon l
"The Old God, Savitr" by Vigilo
The Dream Song of AnonymousThis is based off The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot. It might help to read Eliot's poem first, if you haven't before.
Shall I stay, then, alone,
When the dawn is straying from the sky
Like a child roaming the sea;
Dare I stay – amidst parades of kings,
The rising revolution
Of tranquil days in silk-spread beds
And colours of mayhem in blacks and reds:
Wind chimes that jingle without judgement
Without affront –
And follow the questioning wind, without answers –
Oh, do answer, "Why not?" and
Let me stay, and dream of a candle you lit.
On the beaches the men wander alone
Driven speechless by siren song.
The house fairies lie beneath the windows.
The sunflowers that house imps hang above the windows
Droop their petals precariously earthward at dusk
And hide from the night sky in cement cracks,
Hinder gravity come dayspring and soar sunwards,
Stir from their pot, rise fr
"The Dream Song of Anonymous" by Vigilo
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