Physicist as a Poet!

The mental state of the girl who has matured and attained her puberty just then and the mental state of a budding poet will be the same. They will be enthusiastic to show the transformations and the changes within to aesthetic persons and desire to share their rasa sthithi with such proficient and efficient rasajnas for their appreciation and praise. 
Being in such a mental state I have sent my poetry to a university professor who is also an eminent poet for his comment. Had he commented that there is no poetry in my poems or the usage of words is not apt or I did not follow any meter or it is not reflecting any ideology, it would have been appropriate. But he criticized that being a physicist I must have confined to physics and I writing poetry is taking much liberty and that I committed a big mistake in so attempting to compose poetry and I have intruded into a domain which is not mine. He said that I have no respect for Godess Saraswati. He also said that if I print my poems it is a huge waste of paper and it has become a fun and laughing matter nowadays that every one is writing poetry and expressed his disgust and anguish to what state the art of writing poetry has degraded.

I was astonished and his comments have hurt me and caused pain to me. Then I wrote to him that I am printing my poetry despite his discouraging words and also I will publish his comments verbatim in the publication as his opinion. Then he immediately wrote to me saying that his comments are not meant for publication and if I still desire that his comments must be published he will again send his comments afresh and pleaded not to publish his present comments verbatim.

I am much more surprised by his U-turn and the shameless hypocrisy he exhibited. It educated me in what state literary criticism is. Leaving aside the poetry in the poems and the art exhibited in composing the poetry, how some egoists feel that composing poetry is their birth right alone and how arrogant such individuals can become in the name of literary criticism commenting on individuals and not on their literary creations. I painfully realized the level of certain literary critics. Such critics cruelly tear apart the tender hearts of budding poets and poetesses with their heartless, arrogant and personalized criticisms. They feel with ignorance and innocence that Goddess Saraswathi graces them only and such a grace is not available to others. Such narrow-mindedness and lack of manners which does not even know the minimum courtesy of respecting fellow poets informs of their uncultured and uncivilized mental set ups.

I also surprisingly became aware that such individuals consider themselves alone as “poet laureates”. This awareness has opened my eyes. It put me into contemplation. It taught me not to blindly send my poetry to elders for their comment. I stopped from then to send my poetry to “eminent” poets for their comments. I also decided with this bitter experience not to approach any one to write the preface to the collection of my poems when publishing. It is my nature to compose verses. So I did not stop composing poetry.

I will be publishing my compositions shortly. What we need to compose poetry is a heart which can feel and which has compassion. An ability to imagine beautifully and romantically helps. One must have a good observation power, command over language in which the composition is being made, an idea of words and synonyms, an insight of their usage, their aptness and relevance coupled with necessary experience of and by “object” or “subject” of creation. This will make one to be a good poet.

Study of literature and poetry in various languages and an open mind enhance the merits of the verses composed. “Kavayo nirankusaha” is a meaningful and indicating Sanskrit saying. A poet is dictator unto himself. A poet is a flying bird with liberty; joyously jumping and falling water-fall; the wishfully, willfully and eagerly flowing river; the blissfully rising and falling sea-wave; the personification and the part and parcel of nature. The poet or poetess whose nature is their independence and freedom and who are masters of themselves can not be confined and imprisoned in the boundaries of any ideology or philosophy or culture or cult. They are not parrots to be limited to these cages.

All poets need not be followers or propagandists of a particular culture, cult, ideology or philosophy. And many poets are not and will not be confined to a particular school of thought. They compose as they feel and are impressed or influenced or made to melt or made blissful, joyful or sorrowful or hurt or pained. Poetry must share love and affection; must improve understanding and peace; it must make the readers feel aesthetically and make their hearts full of warmth and compassion.

Many feel that poetry need give a message. They dictate that each verse need reflect the situation in the society and the observation and response of the poet about the societal happenings. This need not be the guiding principle for every poem or poet and is not the universal rule of composing poetry and can not bind each poet A poem can be a creation just reflecting the within of a poet and need not contain any message or relation to happenings in the society. The verse can be a mere exposure of the poet’s ecstasy or deep sorrow or hurt or pain or just being. It can be expression of love to one’s beloved or devotion to one’s favorite deity. Match-box, soap-piece, kitten or anything can be the object for creation and the subject of poetry.

It is the prerogative of the poet to decide the object or subject of creation.

The critic has liberty to appreciate or otherwise of the creation and assess its relevance, beauty, meaning, use and aesthetic quality. A critic must not transgress his limits and decide on which the poet must write poetry and for what the poet must feel. The critic can suggest on the style of narration, use of apt words or the imageries. That is all the duty of the critic.

The poet may or may not follow the critic’s suggestions. He will do according to his convenience and wish. The outpour, having its origin in the inner recesses of the poet and is expressed for one’s own contentment and fulfillment, may or may not fit into the confines and boundaries defined by others. Such an outpour can be devoid of any message or reflection of societal happenings and be a mere flow of poet’s inner experiences. Just because no one is aware of such a flow or such a flow is not ‘useful’ does not diminish its importance or essence. There are many mountain-streams whose existence is not known to any and which are not useful to any. Just because they are not seen by any or not used by any they do not cease to be streams. So also the streams of feelings of poet can and will exist. “ramaneeyaartha prapadika sabdaha kavyaha”- even a word which gives an aesthetic meaning and experience is poetic-work by itself.

There are many things existing in the nature whose existence is not known to any. They just exist unknown and unconcerned. They do not require anybody’s permission to exist. They can and will exist despite the ignorance or innocence or non-information to or non-awareness of any others. Absence of knowledge about their presence by others does not prevent them from existing and blooming. The within of poet is composed of waves of poetry. These waves may or may not touch all. They may not even reach any.

No poetry is acclaimed by one and all. Every poet will not be liked by and be a favorite of one and all. All the artistes create according to their nature and for personal satisfaction. Such a creation which is the form of worship of one’s own Self may or may not please and be pleasant to all. Some may be just excited by it. In some it may not create any feeling at all. In reality, the verse is not composed by the individual. The heart which has experienced the feeling composes the verse. During that period the poet’s normal personality will be forgotten or is transcended or his identity is merged and absorbed in the object or subject of composition and his Self becomes one with his creation. And in that state his heart makes him filled and full in such absorption and creation takes place.

All individuals who can compose verses are not recognized and become popular as poets. There are various reasons for this. Even a meritorious composition does not get the appreciation of contemporaries and is not easily recognized and applauded. Under such circumstances it is highly difficult for a normal poet to get recognition and appreciation. This is because like certain poets, certain critics are also the fans of certain ideology or culture or tradition or cult or philosophy. Such critics cannot appreciate any poetry which does not reflect their favorite ideology.

The critics who can transcend their likes or dislikes or affiliations and appreciate a work are becoming a rare species. Their number is dwindling day by day. Some like traditional way of writing; some like socialism; some like communism; some like dalit literature; some like feminism; some like ‘anubhooti vaada” (giving prominence to one’s experience or mood); some like ambiguity (aspashtatha) to adorn the poetry. Thus we have so many tribes of critics. They spend most of their time, energy and scholarship in futile and acrimonious arguments. Such fights do not help in the appreciation of the aesthetic contents of the poetry. These quarrels lead us nowhere and constructive criticism will be missing.

When poets and literary critics are thus divided into various groups, any poetry devoid of any “ism” will not get the attention and recognition of such groups. One also can not expect such a thing to happen. Also there is a mushroom growth of poets and poetesses. In this background, the poetry composed without touching any “isms” but only as the one that touched a single person’s heart and as one felt will remain unnoticed and may not necessarily be recognized or appreciated as desired. Such my heart-beats or disturbances of within or movements of within or songs of heart or murmurs or volcanoes or storms or whirlpools or pleasant sounds or harmonious phases of heart in the form of verses may not be heard and any may not be aware of them.

Still I write and post them in various websites because readers are also as competent as fellow poets or critics and even if just one of them appreciates my composition I feel worthy of composing. Their response, ability to contemplate and decide the merits and demerits of the composition are equal in level to those of professional critics. I wish all the best to all budding poets and poetesses.


More by :  Dr. Varanasi Ramabrahmam

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Views: 3518      Comments: 9

Comment Dear Suryam annaih, Thank you so much for the kind attention and encouraging words. I am son of Venkanna Babai of Bhimavaram. Glad to know that you liked my write-up.
My e-mail id is
Please send s mail to me. Regards.

Varanasi Ramabrahmam
17-Jan-2021 09:31 AM

Comment I came across this writing by you today. I liked it. I am wondering if you are related to me. We are also from Bhimavaram and your name is exactly like my father's name. I lived in Bhimavaram in 1954-56; Andhra University 1956-60. I went to USA in 1960 graduate study in Engineering. I am now an Affiliate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics in the University of Washington, Seattle WA. Please write to me at
I have a brother in Hyderabad and another in Bengaluru.

S. Rao Varanasi
16-Jan-2021 22:20 PM

Comment Thank you Dr. Rao for your kind words and learned observation. I am encouraged and inspired.

Varanasi Ramabrahmam
09-Jul-2012 12:04 PM

Comment U did a good job in dealing with that 'eminent' professor Ramabrahmam garu! After all, what matters in poetry is what we feel. This kind of people are always there to misguide budding writers. Can one ignore John Keats because Keats was a student of medicine? Do write what you feel and leave it for the readers... I wish your mighty pen may produce many more wonderful things that not only simply delight but instruct the readers in their own way. Asthu!

Dr. Rao S Vummethala
28-May-2012 23:23 PM

Comment Thank you Hema for the kind attention and discerning observation.

Varanasi Ramabrahmam
13-Apr-2012 03:03 AM

Poets are born, not made, are sensitive people, often express their inner feelings in verse form. Subramanya Bharati had a small diary and a copying pencil in his coat. He would put down the mellifluous words as soon as they came gushing out from his heart.
Whatever be the theme of form, a poet enjoys his creativity, let the readers decide whether they like it or beg to differ.

Happy Writing.

12-Apr-2012 09:47 AM

Comment Thank you rdashby and Dr. Chandra Mouli garu for the kind attention and discerning observations

09-Apr-2012 10:04 AM

Comment A good write up,sir. Jayanta Mahapatra too taught Physics, but is acknowledged as an eminent Indian English poet.There are many poets who do not teach English.Poetry is not the domain of academics alone.There are officials, medical practitioners, bank officials, IT professionals and others who have contributed commendably with their exquisite poetry.Your contention is sound and excellently presented.Regards.

T.S.Chandra Mouli
06-Apr-2012 13:01 PM

Comment Poetry like music defies analysis, save that a good composition moves one. In the old days this was mistakenly identified as excellence in a particular form whose bible was literary criticism; there was no dimension of the personal, such as could render even something judged bad by formal literary criticism standards an ideal expression of common feeling. I A Richards, the well-known literary critic of yesteryear, revealed in 'Practical Criticism' how one and the same poem could be judged differently based on its empathic quality to the individual reader. It was gradually acknowledged that there are no absolutes in the expression of poetry save that of empathic quality. That is the position today, which explains the great variety and freedom of styles of poetry, each tailored to the needs of the poet to express himself, and which attains to excellence in its empathic quality.

06-Apr-2012 06:59 AM

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