Shah Fazli : Ramesh Anand, Welcome to Spotlight live event, we are so pleased to have you with us today, Ramesh, and can you introduce yourself to everyone please, at the start of this event? — With Ramesh Anand.
Ramesh Anand : Good Morning Shah Fazli. First of all, it's great to get associated with Spotlight thought this interview.
I have authored Newborn Smiles, a book of haiku poetry published by Cyberwit.Net Press. My haiku has appeared in many publications, across 11 countries, including Bottle Rockets Press, ACORN, Magnapoets, The Heron's Nest, Simply Haiku and Frogpond. My Haiku has been translated in German, Serbian, Japanese, Croatian, Romanian and Tamil. My short verses have been honored by Muse India, Voicesnet and Boloji. I had been nominated and shortlisted for Muse India's young writer award 2012. I work for Philips, Bangalore as the test strategist.
Shah Fazli : Thanks Ramesh, what kind of poetry Haiku is for those who might not know much about it, can you please explain it a little more?
Ramesh Anand : Haiku is a Japanese short verse written in three lines with S/L/S format. Hai means Humor and Ku means Poetry. Haiku consists of fragment and phrase. They have to resonate well to get the AHA effect. This poetry is based upon Zen Philosophy. i.e. to live in present moment. Poetry basically captures that extraordinary moment of now, that is always overlooked in day to day life.
Shalini Samuel : Why did you choose haiku? Is there any special reason?
Ramesh Anand : Shalini, I always wanted to write something that would improve my senses and get me live in present moment. Haiku is the only poetry that does that. Creating haiku, haijin aligns himself to nature and to this universe. Poet writing haiku is called haijin.
Shalini Samuel : Good. Say about your book "Newborn Smiles" your experience in bringing out the book.
Ramesh Anand : Newborn Smiles is named after my daughter's first smile which itself is the haiku moment. Newborn Smiles have 100 internationally published haiku and 30 regionally published free verses. This book has been prefaced by this century's leading haijin, Kala. Cyberwit, India has published this book. This book was nominated and shortlisted for India's Young writer award for 2012. I always wanted to publish a book under my name since college days. The subject and content has materialized only now. While bringing out this book, I had to work with publisher and fellow poets to put everything together. I was very fortunate to get everyone's support at the right time. My family support is invaluable as I used to spend my weekends only for Newborn Smiles.
Shah Fazli : Why Haiku, why not an Indian name?
Ramesh Anand : Haiku is the name gifted to this world by Japanese. So, it is respect we pay to them by keeping the same name.
Shalini Samuel : When can we expect your next poetry collection? We are eagerly waiting for your book. Will Cyberwit publish your haiku again? There is a word among some poets they ask you to pay for publishing? Is it true? If so do you think it’s good/bad?
Ramesh Anand : Shalini, my next collection would contain at least 500 internationally published haiku. I want it to be more intense and more classical that could be referred for ever.
I must say CyberWit plays a key role in bringing out the books of aspiring poets. Probably, they are the only one in India. I take this opportunity to say big thanks to CyberWit Publications for accepting my first work right away. For my second book, I keep the publication option wide open as my focus is more on publishing haiku at world's top quarterly journals.
See, in today's world, we are mostly reading poetry through online publications. What guaranty, a publisher has on his returns after publishing a new author’s book? So, I think it is fair that a writer provides some financial support to the publisher at least for the first book. I don't see anything wrong in paying to get the book published. It's just a gateway to next opportunity.
Persian Khushi : Smiley. This is excellent sir. Would you say that you are a sentimental poet?
Ramesh Anand : No Khushi, I am a nature's poet who observes natural events, sleep with it and reproduce what I have seen into words for my writers to have Wow effect, when they see the same event next time. As a haijin, it is my duty to awake the readers to pure world.
Shah Fazli : Why do you think your book was translated in many other languages so soon, who translated it?
Ramesh Anand : Fazli, my selected haiku have been translated in many languages but not the entire book. Translations have been done by the journals, in fact.
Tricia Drammeh : Have you experimented with other types of poetry or tried writing short stories?
Ramesh Anand : Tricia, I started by translating my favorite Tamil author, Rama Krishnan's work like short stories into English. However, it didn't come good. During this time, I started to read free verse poetry and tried my hands on few of them. Butterfly poem won Honorable mention in Muse India Journal during my first month into the poetry. Then, I realized I was not getting to where I wanted to be. During this time, I also tried Nonet, Limerick, haiku, Senryu etc. Out of all these, haiku touched my heart deep as I started to feel that there is some positive change happening within me in writing about nature and its truth. My first submissions to Journals like Simply Haiku, Notes from The Jean and Shamrock got appreciations. That is where my haiku journey typically started from first quarter of 2011. Today, I write haiku and sometimes Senryu [cousin of Haiku].
Persian Khushi : Sir, what is your advice for young writers?
Ramesh Anand : Khushi, I myself is young and lot of journey to make. I think key to success in writing is to learn the nuances of each poetry form. Being original and respecting the inner voice is very crucial to success.
Tricia Drammeh : Are there any great poets who have inspired you?
Ramesh Anand : Yes Tricia Drammeh, a bunch of them. Kala, Pamela, K. Ramesh, Robert Wilson, Padhy, Gautam are some comes to mind immediately. Mrs. Angelee Deodhar and Mr. R.K Singh and Mr. Johannes Manjrekar were torchbearers of last century for haiku poetry. K.Ramesh and Kala Ramesh are my senior poets who started to write haiku since this century. It's a great feeling for me vibe shoulders with these poets now.
Persian Khushi : Sir, what do you wish to achieve with your poetry?
Ramesh Anand : Khushi, I want to awaken India and the rest of the world to align with nature and super consciousness for the betterment of the individual and the world.
Tricia Drammeh : How long does it take you to write a haiku? Do you spend a great deal of time tweaking it to make it perfect, or do the words flow perfect the first time?
Ramesh Anand : Tricia, first I have to experience something special. For example, other day, I saw an autumn leaf tumbling with patches of holes that showed twilight. This event registered in my mind strongly. Later, When I sat to put this into words, I brought out the appropriate fragment “Autumn Sky" and Phrase” Patches of twilight in the falling leaf" very quickly. But not all haiku will fall into its place that easily. Some may require re-experiencing the events, researching the event in detail etc.
Haiku, I worked a lot after experiencing it is,
the bipinnate leaves
fold into shyness
Persian Khushi : Sir, do you write with a certain audience in mind?
Ramesh Anand : Khushi, no, I keep only the event I experienced in mind while writing. I don’t even decide the journals and write accordingly. Actually, All are my audience because is there anybody who doesn't love nature and consciousness?
Shalini Samuel : We would love to know how your family supports your haiku journey.
Ramesh Anand : Shalini, I always share my fresh haiku with my wife, Divya and see her response through her eyes. She is my first critic. My parents also read my work but only after it gets published. My wife, Divya helped me a lot to get the first book published and also to distribute the book to the elite authors for their reviews. Many times, I got my haiku from my daughter's activities. They are priceless to me.
All, Thanks for your wonderful questions. I enjoyed answering them with great pleasure and straight from the heart. Believe, I have done justice to all the writers who took time to interview me. They were very warming and so focused on the subject. This is really good for the start. But, I expect more challenging and self-awakening questions in the future that shall drive my journey faster and more intense.
Special thanks to Spotlight's Fazli and Shalini for giving this opportunity. Great to be part of spotlight through this interview. All the best.