Poetry: A Glimpse at Its Creative Process
by Aju Mukhopadhyay
A Poet is Alone
All poets are alone as poetry is drowned in the din of a large number of rival contenders who usually entertain whereas pure poetry does not wish to entertain in the sense that the other rivals do. Poets are alone in their creative power which requires no other actor. Think of a poet’s vulnerable position against the great politicians, models, and the cricketers, especially in India. The remaining greats are taken care of by the big media. Whoever holds the position in any sort of establishment related to Art and Culture has his/ her say and they shine who gets his /her favor. They pronounce the last word. Finish. We the Indian English poets like many others in this realm remain alone. Publishers usually make a profit at the cost of aspiring poets. We struggle.
I do not think that efforts to write poetry to make propaganda of any sort, to make publicity in favor of religious belief or arguing through gross words make any poetry. Any sentiment may be expressed through poetry but that must be free from the crude utterances. Prose poems are Okay but poetry must have rhythm, even an inner rhythm and there is no wrong in rhyming though it may not be compulsory. Earlier, rhyming poems were the only poems. Poems rhymed are the natural products in their usual form. And poetry must contain pithy sayings. Ideas vague or without carrying any clear meaning are examples of inappropriate poetry but it must be noted that pure creations may not carry meaning for everyone. Good poetry must be a synthetic product of thoughts, ideas, dreams, and visions grasped intuitively. Imagery, symbolism, subtle ornaments make the poetry enjoyable; pleasant to hear, beautiful to see. Whatever the force that dominates a poem a unique creation gives Ananda.
I have reviewed and analyzed large numbers of Indian English poets besides a few on others to find that no poem is an exact repetition of the other in thoughts, ideas or structure, though structures have similarities. Each poet has some distinctive quality or drawback. Some are very eager to rhyme, forcing it thereby spoiling the poem by forced pattern. A magazine of the establishment publishes only unrhymed poems. The idea is undesirable.
Birth of a Poem
Here I relate my experiences of writing poetry. I hope that it has resemblances with other poet’s experiences at least to a good extent. While writing a poem I do not try to remember any poem by any poet though some indirect influence of some poets may remain in the background without my direct knowledge of it. When I write it I find that words sometimes come automatically; suggestively, intuitively; known and sometimes unknown to fill in the space expressing a particular idea or sense, to depict a scene.
When in the process of creation many imaginations and formations, which usually precede any such work, vanish or give birth to alternative links to help me complete the work. Rhyming may come automatically, sometimes I may try but do not exert myself much in the process. A feeling prevails that something is getting done, that I am pushed. Certainly, I remain at the forefront as a social being or a Nature lover or lover of the unknown. After the work is done I may or may not change words or punctuations. Usually, a poem gets changed until it is felt satisfactory. The poem remains in my consciousness for some time or some days. Sri Aurobindo’s utterance that “The poet really creates out of himself” seems to be true.
© Aju Mukhopadhyay, 2019