Dr Niamh On The Plum Tree

Childhood Imagination Sows Seeds of Future Brilliance

In The Sandbox With Ampat Koshy: The Indian Connection!

Delighted to welcome Ampat Koshy onto the Plum Tree. He will be bringing Indian poets and their poetry to our attention. Thank you, Ampat for your great article!

Rabindranath Thakur (anglicised as "Tagore")1915, the year he was knighted by George V. Tagore repudiated his knighthood, in protest against the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919

Rabindranath Thakur
(anglicised as “Tagore”)1915, the year he was knighted by George V. Tagore repudiated his knighthood, in protest against the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919

With Koshy in the Sandbox

To talk of poetry in 2013, divorced from knowledge of movements in literary criticism and theory that were important in the 20th century like Russian formalism, structuralism, reader response and reception theory or modernist approaches like close reading, seems silly to me. (They were all analytically poetry centred.) This is because poetry seems to have peaked as a dominant discourse around then, still having the power to sway the mind of millions unified, unified by print, tape, record, TV and radio; not to mention movies.

Poetry has waned in importance since the second ‘world’ war in the West, though there continues to be significant poets, poems, and even a few famous schools or movements. The arrival of globalism and glocalisms, with the thousand and one subtopias of cyberculture, has not exactly helped in making things any better. The truth is today’s poetry is made up of a billion or more voices, with good poets and good poems being a dime a dozen. An Eliot like figure to pontificate on seems a necessary evil, whether anyone listens or not.

I would suggest; therefore, some simple guidelines: seven-fold tasks for the reader in today’s troubled or untroubled – left to you to decide –technological, ideological times. What are they, if readers still exist, that is? The reader’s tasks have not changed. S/he should appreciate, interpret, participate, co-create, criticize, critique; but most of all enjoy. What kind of poetry do you think s/he would enjoy the most?

1. Poetry that is visual, mostly and sometimes, less often, auditory. “The medium is the massage.”

2. Short. “The medium is the message.”

3. Content can be subversive, tame, challenging, radical,free, dark, morbid etc., but not ever extreme. The majority rules. It’s a very populist world, right now and no one cares for fringe causes.

4. Form must be, similarly, not too complex, no one except those in academia has the time to bother about whether what you just wrote is a sestina or not or whether you ever heard of Arnaut Daniel.

This doesn’t mean that the poet compromises, but in a world that is finally waking up to the fact that not only the poor have to get richer but the rich have to get poorer, where in other words, everything is averaging out due to places like Facebook, great poetry too has to be fine, and more than a cut above the rest. The great poets still have to ‘slog,’ but the poem has to make instant contact or it will not be read again and again in today’s world where things move at the speed of light and attention spans are only for a second.

Coming as I do from India, or South India to be more precise, I was surprised to find FB a veritable ‘nest of singing birds’ from all over India. Many of them are fine poets, and many of them have written fine poems, many are being published, and some have come out, like I have, or are coming out with poetry collections or anthologies. Some receive awards or prizes. But the interesting thing is that their real success is, as far as I am concerned, not just decided- by- the- few- or- an- individual wins. Some of them are able to post a poem on FB without solicitation to methods like tagging posting it within the toughest, virtual marketplace or street on earth at present, and catch the eye of not only a fanatic poetry lover like me, but of readers at every level giving them something to take home, share, or remember them by.

I look here for the quality of a Dickens in the novel or a Shakespeare in drama or a Rumi or a Ghalib or a Wilde in poems or quotes, examples of the living power of literature as their works still circulate endlessly on these ‘walls’ in one form or the other. It was in searching for such voices that I came across new ones, totally different from one another and, yes, to a large extent unknown, like that of Prathap Kamath, Ravi Shankar, K V K Murthy, Reena Prasad, A.V Varghese, Vasudev Murthy, Bharat Ravikumar, Zeenath Ibrahim, Rukhaya MK, Maqsood Qureshi, Mary Annie and many, many others to be definitely named later, a veritable unconnected South Indian brigade of sorts and from the North Bina Biswas foremost, Atindriyo Chakraborty, Madhumita Ghosh, Yagni Payal, Prodipta Banerjee, Radha Debroy Raai, Archna Pant (Hindi), Naseer Ahmed Nasir (Urdu), Hisham Nazer, Minakshi Watts, Taseer Gujral, Sudarshana Ghosh, Minakshi Watts, Gopali Chakraborty Ghosh, Poulome Mitra Shaw, Gorakhnath Gangane, Payal Pasha and many, many others, again to be named later, perhaps.

Some of these poets are mature voices and some growing, but two have made even a hardened critic/cynic like me sit up and take notice, to start with. They are Atindriyo and Reena. Out of my longing that they find more recognition than they have I post here an excerpt from both of their FB work as examples of – (and this is today’s lesson for today’s wannabes who may be tomorrow’s greats, as I believe no one is a bad writer and it’s all about good or great writing and editing) – imagery and verbal pyrotechnics. They catch me where I live and will you too, if you are really impartial, unbiased lovers of poetry because of the first one’s passionate anguished brilliance and the second one’s consummate artistry.

Atindriyo Chakraborty: From “Of Leopards and Dementia” (in FB Notes) posted on Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 9:56am.

“I have seen mammoths drowning in twilight. I have seen phantoms of the moon gliding through neon-vacancy of midnight. I have seen faceless heads stuck on window-frames of buses that drag their own heavy corpses through the city that bleeds in soft concert-caked dreams of living and not-living. I have seen living and being alive in strong, throbbing coitus till they become one and push me beyond love and hate and beyond loving and hating. Sunsets behind the fort and bats come out of demon-trees. Sun rises from behind the fort and bats go back to demon trees. I have seen the withering away of souls. I have been to Babylon of dreams and seen woman riding seven-headed beast. Do I need to see more?” ( © to author.)

Now for Reena Prasad a.k.a Butterflies Oftime on FB:

“guilt over undone things
hangs by a thread
swaying in the fan’s summery breath
threatening to fall on, to crush, to maim
floating joys of idle dreams
lolling on a straw mat beneath” ( © to author.)

I could explicate as a critic why these voices matter but space forbids. These two examples show us what is undying about poetry, its depths, whether it is still a major discourse or not, whether published or not, whether it brings in money or not, whether read and enjoyed or not. It remains a captivating art in itself as long as in such short bursts of powerful imagery or passionate love of words it can hold our attention, the attention of the open and sensitive reader. One has to try to write like this, intensely or with consummate artistry, as if poetry is a matter of life and death, and it is, if at all one wants to be effective and remembered.

By Dr A.V.Koshy

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About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books. www.drniamhchildrensbooks.com

30 comments on “In The Sandbox With Ampat Koshy: The Indian Connection!

  1. Thanks Niamh 🙂

    Like

  2. BUTTERFLIES OF TIME
    May 2, 2013

    Reblogged this on BUTTERFLIES OF TIME and commented:
    Dr. A.V. Koshy is a poet , author, educationist, short story writer and critic gives his views on poetry, its essentials, what the readers look out for in modern day poems and the poetic voices on Facebook. It is an honour of the highest degree for me that Dr. Koshy has mentioned and posted an excerpt from one of my Fb poems as an example to illustrate his points. As an encouragement to keep writing better and to try to express in the best possible way, all that comes as poetry to me, there can be nothing more kind than this gesture which comes as no surprise considering his ability to inspire and his enthusiasm to encourage and promote what he considers as good and meaningful poetry. My humble thanks to Dr. Koshy and to Niamh Clume of Plum Tree Books for their constant support and efforts to keep great poetry alive and kicking.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      May 2, 2013

      It is great to meet you Reena, through your participation and your poetry. Many thanks for the visit. I feel I am getting to know you now.

      Like

    • ontheplumtree
      May 2, 2013

      many thanks for the reblog, Reena

      Like

  3. Shawn MacKENZIE
    May 2, 2013

    Must share…

    Like

  4. Shawn MacKENZIE
    May 2, 2013

    Reblogged this on MacKENZIE's Dragonsnest and commented:
    Fine words and a favor of two exquisite poets. I, for one, look forward to reading more of their work.

    Like

  5. ty michele D’acosta for reblogging 🙂

    Like

  6. Bina Biswas
    May 2, 2013

    Excellent write up. Thanks

    Like

  7. ty shawn 🙂

    Like

  8. ty butterflies 🙂

    Like

  9. ty chaitanya 🙂

    Like

  10. ty leo rex 🙂

    Like

  11. ty bina biswas 🙂

    Like

  12. Poulome Mitra Shaw
    May 2, 2013

    Thanks

    Like

  13. yw poulome 🙂

    Like

  14. Archna Pant
    May 2, 2013

    The one thing I find fascinating about Ampat koshy’s writing is that every word comes from the depth of his soul … every word reflects his belief, his conviction, his passion and intensity. His words sing of his pain and joy …. his agony and ecstasy. And when he speaks about poems … poetry comes to life !

    Like

  15. Thank you for your superb comment archu -can’t thank you enough for your support and love and encouragement

    Like

  16. ty jennifer kiley 🙂

    Like

  17. ty lord david prosser

    Like

  18. ty no one but me 🙂

    Like

  19. Atindriyo Chakraborty
    May 2, 2013

    but for my terrestrian ‘almost-Comrade’ i would have stopped posting poetry on Facebook i guess. I liked this write-up and I feel honoured at being cited. Poetry has indeed ceased to be a dominant discourse, especially since the onslaught of the asphyxiating superfluity or our times, as this article asserts. I completely agree with the “enjoyment” discourse. Fun is essential. For me, writing has always been like a free-fall. And I have associated poets with the mystic Indian bird “homa”, which Godard alludes to in the closing sequence of his ‘Band of Outsiders’. The only part which i would most respectfully like to differ from is point 3, because personally i believe all authors, artists and scientists are free from the responsibility of serving any cause. Of course many of them, like the Mayakovskys and Dziga-Vertovs of the world take causes up and champion them with great style, but it’s totally up to them to choose their paths. Poetry and poplulism have mostly been ‘uncomfortable’ bedfellows.

    And yes, as a reader, the ‘taking home’ deal is the only thing that matters to me. I like reading stuff that reads me. That can be anything.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      May 2, 2013

      Thank you for your great, beautifully written comments Atindriyo. I agree entirely that a poet or writer should not be hampered by adhering to causes. fashions or concerns about popularity. Personally, I find causes the excitement and passion that fuels my inspiration. And political struggle is never far from the mind of an Irish woman. I have also come so close to never posting another thing on Facebook. Great to see you here.

      Like

  20. I see nothing to disagree with in bot the comments, but i guess i spoke in a very social forum context where neither too much politics nor no cause is appreciated. personally I think no cause and extremely personal political views are both fine. but an audience matters as does the reader. in this sense i am advocating a poetry that appeals or speaks to many and not just a few.

    Like

  21. ty john coyote, maxima, shan, secret keeper and uncle tree a lot for reblogging

    Like

  22. *shawn

    Like

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