The Fiji Times » ‘Poetry Chose Me’


For Professor Sudesh Mishra, a Fijian poet and scholar, poetry came to him as a form of visitation.

“Poetry chose me,” he says. “If someone is chosen, they have to work on the language, the music and the craft and that, for me, is a lifelong devotion.

“All I can do is wait for my muse to come visit and when she does there is a loss of self.

“Poetry is my ladder to all that I am not.”

Professor Mishra started the art of writing at Shri Vivekananda High School in Nadi.

“The muse of poetry visited me when I was a teenager and she has never left me since.

“It’s been quite a race and you have to be me to understand what that means. To rephrase Leonard Cohen, “if I knew where the good poems come from, I would go there more often”.

Professor Mishra’s poems have appeared in anthologies titled Contemporary Australian Poetry, British Black and Asian Poets, Concert of Voices: An Anthology of World Writing in English and Nuanua: Pacific Writing in English.

“It delights me that my work transcends national borders and you could say the same of the language in which I write, English,” he says.

He says his latest writings were included in The Penguin Book of Indian Poets, an ultimate anthology of Indian poetry in English, edited by critically acclaimed writer and poet Jeet Thayil.

“I have 10 poems included in this anthology which have received rave reviews from Salman Rushdie and Michael Ondaatje, both Booker Prize winners. “The editor, Jeet Thayil, asked me for the poems.

“He edited two earlier anthologies, which contained a series of my poems, Sixty Indian Poets and The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets.

“Jeet’s notion of India includes writers from the Indian diaspora and he echoes Amitav Ghosh’s remark that India is a portable concept in that we take it with us everywhere.

“He included Caribbean poets of Indian descent in the book, which might explain the inclusion of a Suva-born poet who traces his roots to indentured laborers in northern India.

“It seems I can’t get rid of my story.” Professor Mishra says his poems cover a range of themes in publication.

“We contemplate the absence of face of the sea, therefore the sea which fades away.

“Another argues that a rose cannot be a rose by any other name and therefore disagrees with Shakespeare, who claims otherwise in Romeo and Juliet.

“There is a poem that lists human brutality, terrorism, murder, disfigurement, and rape, but ends in hope with dusk dreaming of dawn.

“Another questions the voluminous and inclusive nature of poetry. A prose poem pays tribute to the work of VS Naipaul.

“One verse even makes the blatant assertion that the greatest gift is not to write at all. The paradox, of course, is that it has to be written.

Professor Mishra says he enjoys confronting Shakespeare and likes the following poem written by Mishra himself, titled “A rose is a rose”:

In the simple, simply composed poem The sun has never been compared to a brass gong.

Vanities fail to dive from the sky. A song Is sung for the joy of singing freely. No name gets lost in the painted alleys.

A gun Kills, yes, but kills neither badly nor goodly. The dead are not brought back to life by a spell.

All are murdered in the murder of one. Ice is cold, fire is hot: these are simple facts. The simple poem loves a window that lets in The sky just because the sky lets in. The life of an insect is not repeated in five acts.

Mirror and meaning are one. A rose is a rose without another name.

Professor Mishra says his family, friends and colleagues form a captivated audience and he keeps them in suspense with his passion for poetry.

“Poetry is a specialized art form and I only pay attention to critics who understand the workings of art.

“Do I completely understand the job? Not at all, but I’m working very hard on it.

Professor Mishra has also published five books and recently completed another book describing childhood games played like spinning tops, kites, marbles and hoops.

Source link


Comments are closed.