Of a Poet, Poetry and Writing Poetry by Rama Rao Vadapalli V.B. SignUp
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Of a Poet, Poetry and Writing Poetry
by Dr.Rama Rao Vadapalli V.B. Bookmark and Share

A poet is one with a distinctive mind, - in other words - a poetic mind. Mind can think, vacillate, determine or decide. A poet’s mind gives an airy nothing a local habitation and name, said the great poet. The quality of a poets mind is one of delving deep into things, incidents, characters, appearances and as reality conceived or absolute. A living, thinking, feeling person, this individual, is made a poet by the quality of his or her mind. (I have in mind my teacher RAS of whom I wrote a poem quite some time ago and it is appended here. In our class he would go roaming freely through the greats of poets he read – no studied - not just in English, the language he was teaching but also in almost all European languages, French, German and Spanish to cite only a few. He would go on roaming freely singing and explaining poems, not in our text books.)

Now, to poetry. Poetry is not something to be munched fast or gulped fast. A person with a flair for appreciation of the sweet, beautiful and good would be enjoy the taste, going through the poem bit by bit, phrase by phrase and line by line enjoying visions in polychromatic phantasmagoria. It is churlish to read a poem like reading a thriller. And the, a good poem must lend itself to interpretation or take the reader to rumination. It is not a shot on the film screen which shifts fast from one visual to another. On an earlier occasion I went on record saying “In the very conception, a poem creates itself its own context, space and structure.” I also said “A writer cannot be also a poet too though he may be a biographer, hagiographer, fiction writer or playwright. Poetry may also be considered loosely to be writing but the art requires an altogether different sensibility. The word manas needs to go farther from italicization. It is an Indian word which cannot be rendered into a single English word conveying several shades of meaning – mind – intellect – discretion – desire – attitude to name a few. It needs a very special kind of manas, a mind if you will, with warmth and delicate feelings akin to deep understanding. Joy and Sorrow, Riches and Poverty, Hot and Cold and myriad dualities with miniscule variations in existence ignite thought processes under various aspects, ocular, sensitive, mystic and so on.

Thoughts may be waterfalls, cauldrons, free-flowing or languid rivers where undulations present kaleidoscopic changes and vistas pushing ideas forward or dragging them backwards. While writing a poem (may be while reading too) feelings and ideas come gushing forth making the imaginative one find or appreciate the right word.

A good poem must lend itself to interpretation or take the reader to rumination. The poet suggests variation galore. It is not a shot on the film screen which shifts fast from one visual to another. On an earlier occasion I went on record saying “In the very conception, a poem creates itself its own context, space and structure.” I also said “A writer cannot be also a poet too though he may be a biographer, hagiographer, fiction writer or playwright. Poetry may also be considered loosely to be writing but the art requires an altogether different sensibility. It needs a very special kind of manas, a mind if you will, with warmth and delicate feelings akin to deep understanding. Joy and Sorrow, Riches and Poverty, Hot and Cold and myriad dualities with miniscule variations in existence ignite thought processes under various aspects, ocular, sensitive, mystic and so on.

Thoughts may be waterfalls, cauldrons, free-flowing or languid rivers where undulations present kaleidoscopic changes and vistas pushing ideas forward or dragging them backwards. While writing a poem (may be while reading too) feelings and ideas come gushing forth making the imaginative one find or appreciate the right word. And then, a poem lends itself to interpretation.

Now, to writing poetry. This is not everyone’s cup of tea. The eminence of a poem lies in the way it is conceived and put across. Poetry writing is for revelation – not very easy to envision and express. This is related to manas: both of the giver and the taker, or the server and the taster of the dish, if you will.

I present the poem written by me about my teacher on the occasion of Teachers’ Day, quite sometime ago:

To My Teacher RAS A

“… there was light! Not His alone!
It’s more of his revelations – apocalypses
His exegeses and exhortations caused
It’s not mere charisma either – it was effulgence
A polychromatic phantasmagoria
All his erudition, charm and commitment
-Cheeks bedewed with tears of gratitude thoughtful
I remember, pay him homage
His Latin, Greek, French, Spanish and Sanskrit
Held us captive, enthralled, roaming in regions ethereal
A veritable heaven it was, listening to his renditions
Of Homer, Virgil, Baudelaire, and Valery,
Cerevantes, Milton, Kalidasa and Bhavabhuti
His puny figure in starched suit
–Sitting in his chair, not standing before the lectern,
His calves twisted round one another
His sola topee drew smiles - never was it risible
Whoever laughed at the matted hair on the pate of a rishi!
The impeccable tie knot never displayed conceit.
He was our RAS but we gave him another A
For He was Rasa, the elixir of life
Our text had always been an excuse
It was always a springboard to the Divine.

(To our Professor R. Appalaswamy at Maharajah’s College, Vizianagaram.)

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13-Sep-2015
More by :  Dr. Rama Rao Vadapalli V.B.
 
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