Do You See?

“Copyleft” Interview; Poetry Finds Me: “Too much longing”; Goa Memories

Young people these days are real smart. Most young people I know. Dupur Mitra from Bangladesh runs a webzine called COPYLEFT. He shot a few questions at me recently, picking my brains about poetry. As a much older person, a little more out into the world, I should’ve had very smart things to say, but I got away spinning my well-scratched two cents. Dupur, young and generous that he is, approved of my cynical old woman responses.

The headline that Dupur has chosen makes me sound smug. Although I am so at times, I’d perhaps ask for a regular header. Well! Also, the photograph that he has chosen for the interview is a product of terrible boredom on one of these evenings. Right. I’m feathered and striped for some weird occasion. Very pink. Not tickled.

Read the interview HERE.

And, if you are lazy, read at least an excerpt below:


Dupur Mitra: What are your observations about trending of world poetry?

Nabina Das: None really. Is there a trend(ing)? Apparently Ron Silliman is supposed to embody one trend. Critics ascribe another trend to Billy Collins. Or to Robert Hass. We have learnt about Language poetry as well. I think poetry always evolves, without which it cannot be poetry. You can twirl its tail a bit, powder its nose. All for effects. It can’t be a banker’s excel sheet or a haberdasher’s bauble list. Not poetry. I’m not being elitist here at all. I simply think poetry grows as we do with time and situation. Anyone who thinks they are writing poetry in the manner of Shakespeare and thinking s/he is cracking it well, is stopping poetry from growing. So one may say, here the trending of poetry has flagged. All ‘trending’ leads to one goal – poetry.

Dupur Mitra: Can poetry movement improve poetry? If yes how, if not why?

Nabina Das: Why would poetry require improvement, for god’s sake? It’s not the banker’s new-fangled calculator or Blackberry, or the haberdasher’s newly varnished showcase. It’s not a tech thing that it must improve. Poetry just evolves and comes to be. It’s only about possibilities, not improvements.


Isn’t it said all poetry is found? Sometimes I beg to differ. More often than not, it seems most poetry actually find me. The poems come tumbling down on me, cornering me, making me breathless. My state of current listlessness is torn asunder by them. So what poem has found me tonight? What sentence am I to suffer or enjoy?



A thing too perfect to be remembered:
stone beautiful only when wet.
*     *     *
Blinded by light or black cloth—
so many ways
not to see others suffer.
*     *     *
Too much longing:
it separates us
like scent from bread,
rust from iron.
*     *     *
From very far or very close—
the most resolute folds of the mountain are gentle.
*     *     *
As if putting arms into woolen coat sleeves,
we listen to the murmuring dead.
*     *     *
Any point of a circle is its start:
desire forgoing fulfillment to go on desiring.
*     *     *
In a room in which nothing
has happened,
sweet-scented tobacco.
*     *     *
The very old, hands curling into themselves, remember their parents.
*     *     *
Think assailable thoughts, or be lonely.

Source: Poetry (December 2010).


Last year, around this time, I was holidaying in Goa. Misty rains, soft wet sands, grey lolling sea. Good food, wine and long walks. Also, afternoon siesta followed by evening plum cakes. Here’s a photo from that relaxing time, fishing myself out of all normative pulls. Oh, do not despair, it is only a temporary tattoo, fashioned of black henna:


3 comments on ““Copyleft” Interview; Poetry Finds Me: “Too much longing”; Goa Memories

  1. Mihir Vatsa
    September 23, 2012

    Some hard-hitting interview, that.

    Young people are smart. Yay! 😀

  2. Do You See
    September 24, 2012

    Really? Hard-hitting? Vatsa, I’m happy you think so, but poetry is such a tough subject to be interviewed on. Half the time I feel I should throw a chair at someone for not getting me right. Dupur is a smart kid that way. Very discerning. He let me flow with my rants!

  3. Do You See
    September 24, 2012

    And oh, “young people are smart” … was I thinking of you too? Kidding, boy! I stick by what I said.

    By the way, what about the Hirshfield poem. Like it?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on September 23, 2012 by in Bangladesh, Copyleft, Goa, Jane Hirshfield, Nabina Das, poetry.
%d bloggers like this: