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Poet and Poetry Composition
by Dr. Varanasi Ramabrahmam Bookmark and Share

Gist:

A poet, his mission, his making and evolution and various definitions of purposes of composition of poetry will be delineated. The spiritual, philosophical and social conditions and their influence in the making and evolution of poet and writer and their craft will be dealt with. The duty of poets, critics and readers in the celebration of composition of poetry and literature as part of culture and civilization will be presented. The committed and free-lance poets will be compared and contrasted.

The poet and his relation to composition of poetry in view of the poet's social, emotional and intellectual makeup will be elaborated. Also the writers and poets all over the world are suffering from unwritten censorship implemented by governments, terrorists, zealots of - religion, region, caste, community, gender- like historical and natural divisions. The Travails of literary creation and creators will be discussed. A critical observation on this will be presented together with experiences of the author - physicist - as a poet.

Introduction:

Poet and Poetry-Composition

Composing poetry is
Playing violin; composing ballad;
Compering dance; tuning a lyric;

Composing poetry is
Singing a song; fulfilling a longing;
Realizing the truth; serializing the moods;

Writing a book is
Producing a son; bringing up a daughter;
Spending time with the beloved.

Composing poetry is
Going on an expedition to scale Himalayas;
Flowing with the Ganges in to the sublimity;
Planting a fruit-yielding tree;

Writing a book is
Living with a Realized Self;
Moving in a boat around the globe;
Exploring the vast universe in a space-ship.

Composing poetry is
Reading and revealing human emotions and moods;
Sculpting a rock into lovely Lord;
Painting on a large canvas;
Probing and enjoying the nature;

Writing a book is
Composing a century in a cricket-match;
Setting up a goal to be scored in a football game.

Composing poetry is
Conducting a scientific experiment
Formulating an equation to a natural phenomenon
Roaming in the wild forest;
In the company of flora and fauna.

Composing poetry is
Meditating voyage for Nirvana;
Editing the footage of the grand show;

Writing a book is Violent inner struggle;
Benevolent work;
Contented content-creation;
Silent prayer.

Composing poetry is
Eating a sumptuous tasty meal;
Sharing bed with beautiful youthful beloved;

Writing a book
Makes one sage, and go through life as a saint,
Enliven life in all its shades and lights,
Ups and downs, happiness and unhappiness
Like a seer experiencing peace and bliss,
Together with pleasure and pain
In a serene way.

Composing poetry is
In fine, is Living forever;
Conquering the death.

The spectrum of poetry composition and poets

Poetry is the sublime experience of the poet’s experience. “naa rushihi kurute kaavyam” is an ancient Sanskrit Saying. It means: Only a well-versed and meditative person with aesthetic heart can compose poetry. Poetry writing itself is a kind of Upaasana (Meditation). Through poetry writing the poet evolves into a mature human being ably seeing and gauzing people, things, events, philosophies, religions, spirituality and ideologies around and in him both passionately and dispassionately depending on the subject of creation. Thus he is both subjective and objective in composing verses.

Aesthetic and romantic heart, commonsense and all round knowledge in literature together with proficiency in the language of verse-composition and an idea about the world and worldly things and happenings around make a charming poet. The poems shine with all kinds of feelings, thoughts, experiences, moods, senses, intuitions silently, through words and illuminate the reader’s mind and touch the heart.

All the poets possess pleasant traits to be an enchanting composer of verses. We enjoy, relish, feel with, concur, fall into contemplation and many amicable moods are created in us while going through poets’ compositions. The slender work of verses of any poet is a treasure house of tender feelings expressed with grace, sensitivity and insight. The personality of the poet peeps through his every verse. The distillation of observations and feelings will be done so gracefully and enchantingly that we feel pleasant by going through the poems in the compilations.

A poet is both an entertainer and enlightener. Though most poets write under the compulsion of their nature for self-satisfaction, their out-pours and compositions will be interesting to many a discerning reader. Readers get both charmed and their intellect gets sharpened when they go through the verses.

A poet is also a human being. He possesses thirst and hunger. He will have family responsibilities. He/she will have his or her social obligations. One has to take care of all these and then in the midst of these has to fine tune time to compose poetry. Money is essential to quench his thirst and hunger and discharge family responsibilities. These are not the times when one can make poetry-writing a livelihood. One has to do some other job and then write poetry. Living and being engaged in literary creation are different. Ninety nine percent of poets do not have the luxury of earning money by taking poetry-writing as a profession. And thus they cannot meet the obligations of taking care of themselves, their family and also discharge other social responsibilities.

A poet can spare and spend time in poetry-writing only after providing a comfortable life to his near and dear. Under present circumstances it is not possible to have a full-fledged life of poetry writing. One has to write poetry and take care of his family simultaneously. Many famous and popular poets of today do other jobs for their livelihood and then also write poetry. Now-a-days there are no poets who continue writing great poetry despite they and their family members suffering from poverty and hunger. There are almost no people who made poetry-writing their livelihood.

There have been many poets from all societies and civilizations who wrote poetry despite being poor and suffered from lack of minimum amenities. The great Tamil poet, Subrahmanya Bharati is a shining example, wrote poetry as an Upasana, and was many times not able to make his family members free from hunger and deprivation. But Rabindranath Tagore is a rich person and never knew the pangs of hunger. Sri Gurajada Apparao, the famous Telugu dramatist and poet though was serving a royal family, created literary master-pieces.

What all needed to be a poet is to have a touchy, responsive and compassionate heart. And one must be able to feel for the happenings around and become one with them and express. Poverty or richness or serving others for livelihood will not come in the way of composing everlasting poetry. Many famous Telugu poets have written cine songs for their livelihood. Even Sri Sri, Arudra, Acharya Atreya the champions of Marxist ideology have to resort to this anti-proletariat professions. Cine producers have provided the necessary money for their livelihood, though cinema is not in tune with socialist ideology. So, “dhanamoolam idam jagat” - Without money one cannot survive in this world and has to compromise his ideology for earning money to take care of body and family. In the absence of money one cannot even survive let alone writing poetry. Thus how far the poets who do other jobs for livelihood and are part-time poets can commit themselves to their ideologies and influence society with their poetry is a big question mark.

We have many poets who lead cozy lives but still “feel” and write about dalits, women’s liberation, socialism, communism (though these two are now not so popular isms) and proclaim to belong to a narrow section rather than to belong to all humanity. “Viswasreyah kaavyaparamaartham - the poetic work must profess the welfare of all humanity and creation”. Such works are becoming rare. “ramaneeya Artha pratipikah sabdah kavyah - Even a single word pregnant with aesthetic and bliss-giving meanings is also defined as poetry and poetic work.

A poet has to present both aspects in one’s own poetry for the welfare and joy of all and also for self-satisfaction. The poet par excellence pervades and dwells in his creation of magic. Alive or not and eternally there he lives. Though his body like a log becomes inert, the body of his poetry has no death to meet. In his body of ephemeral existence originate intuitions that forever last. It is his leather case which stops breathing; and not his eminence which breathes ever in silence. The passions and emotions trickle from his words to fill a stream of harmony. Though retires for eternal sleep he lives eternally reclining on the couch of his poetry. Nature is his beloved and friend; frolicking he plays with words; the flowing Godavari and the stormy sea obey him and set ripples in his alphabet. He is the worthy successor of literary tradition and excels his predecessors Cultured and aesthetic lovers of poetry remember and chant his sublime lines and heart-fully celebrate his melodies, brilliant and divine.

[Subrahmanya Bharati, Rabindranath Tagore, Sri Sri, Arudra, Acharaya Atreya and Sri Gurajada Appa Rao are famous Indian poets and dramatists.]

Poets, writers and authors

In these days of plenty, it becomes not easy to define or point out who the author is. Normally an author is the one who writes creatively. He naturally must be proficient in the language in which he desires to write. He must also been well-read. He must be both an intellectual and scholar. In addition, if he wants to be a poet, one must be rich in imagination. He is also expected to be an aesthetic person and a person of warmth. He must be compassionate and be objective if he wants to be an essayist. And must be able to grasp between the lines if he wants to be a journalist.

The 'creator of literature' should be spiritual and need not be a theological person and believe in religion and rituals. It would be great if he can respect fellow human beings and observe and deal with them transcending his and their religious, ideological, regional, sub-cultural affiliations.

But the above definition and description of the author seems to be ideal.

In India many presently are wedded to an ism and are lacking objectivism and are becoming more and more parrots in the cage of their chosen ism. And are becoming bitter critics of any written thing other than their favourite ism. They are also unnecessarily vehemently down grading ancient Indian thought and culture. And even though many are writing they are not having avenues to present their work. The obsession with printed work is playing a major role in calling one an author or poet.sny avenues are available on the internet to post one's creation. But all award presentations are confined only to printed works. And one is not an author unless he published printed work.

Authors are made or unmade by their acquaintances with professional critics - who are biased to the ism of their affiliation. It has become very difficult to be called an author or is recognised as one. Domination of isms and critics' obsession with them and prominence given to printed works only are limiting the nomenclature of author to a select few. Mere ability to create literary works is not making one an author. And conversely, affiliation to isms and friendships with committed critics and printing one's work are determining who is to be conferred the "title" of the author. And the old definition of "naanrushihi kurute kavyam - only seers and sages can compose quality literature - dictum is completely given a go by both by current "recognised" authors and critics. Thus it has become privilege of limited writers to be recognised and called an author. And most writers are creating sans being called an author.

The 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 Goddess 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 everyone 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 poetry, how some egoists feel that composing poetry is their birthright 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 to 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 an 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 the 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.

There are many things existing in 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 a 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 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.

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02-Nov-2019
More by :  Dr. Varanasi Ramabrahmam
 
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