Monday, February 08, 2016

KRISHNA SRINIVAS: QUEST FOR REALITY

KRISHNA SRINIVAS : QUEST FOR REALITY

--Ram Krishna Singh

Among the post-Savitri Indian English poets,
Krishna Srinivas (b. 26 July 1913, d. 14 December
2007) stands as a learned poet, writing with the
intuitive intellect. He as a seer of poetic truth
composes with the soul-force, expressing the variety
of spiritual experiences and knowledge to emphasize
the essential inward existence vis-à-vis the outward
existence as the basis of true life and living. He
explores the intricacies of nature, its secrets and
surprises, with a penetrating vision and comprehends
the totality of life in a soul-realizing language.
Inwardness is his strong sign: His message has
the all-embracing and all-transcending texture of
the Indian soul and inner contemplation of Eternity
which has been the Indian path throughout the
centuries. His ideal is not to withdraw from life but
to live life by the light and power of the spirit. He
shows preference, not for the fleeting or momentary,
but for the everlasting, eternal, and wants to utilize
human life for realizing the immortal spirit, the
infinite consciousness in him. The world is the
individual writ large, the Platonic magnified man.
He searches it through and within him, and thus
tries to symphonize the natural and divine, the outer
and the inner, the limited and the absolute, the
mental desires and the fullness of peace and eternity.
Peace and harmony are his passion and synthesis out
of chaos his forte.

As a poet of inner aspiration--the aspiration to
know, to feel, to communicate the Reality that
pervades the universe--he explores the unity in
diversity which is, to quote Rabindranath Tagore,
the“inmost creed of India.”Like Sri Autobindo
or Tagore, he attempts at creating a spiritual basis
of our life and being with the awareness of unity
with all beings. He wants us to change the outer
existence by the inner influence so that universal
love, friendship and peace could reign the earth.
It is his quality of the mind and attitude towards
the problems of life, as expressed in his twenty or so
volumes of poetry that render him a distinctly Indian
English poet, remarkable for vision and creative
power. His poems of medium length such as River,
Wind, Ageless Fire, Earth, and Void which later
appeared in an abridged form as Five Elements
(1981) drew world attention for their epic and cosmic
dimension. Though these may defy understanding
“except in primordial terms,”as K.R.S. Iyengar
points out, what is attempted is strictly beyond
attainment. In fact, he creates mantra of words with
total consciousness and maintains poetry as a“state
of being,”a whole distinct way of life, of living,
of approach to life. What he writes is also spiritual
philosophy, assimilating subtle psychological, social
and intellectual truths.

The poet tries to weave webs of relationship
between the cosmic, the historical, the scriptural,
the mythical, and the personal, and the reader is
often thrilled and baffled, edified and exasperated.
Moses and Buddha, Valmiki and Neruda, the Waste
Land and the Solitary Reaper, Zen and dhyan,
East and West—all tumble together, and one feels
exposed to a variety of echoes and intimations from
the poets, prophets, and philosophers of all time. He
appears to be involved in a mystic venture to unite
all differences into one illimitable permanence.
His art consists in his departure from the general
vein of writing in the 1970s and 1980s. The
significance of Krishna’s poetry lies in the greatness
and worth of its substance, the value of its thought.
It is forceful in its substance, art and structure.
Krishna’s poetic perception is characteristically
the interplay of Indian mind and spirit, rich in
symbolized experience and creative capacity,
including the history of man’s past, present and
future.

Like any ancient Indian thinker, Krishna points to
the unchanging inner, spiritual aspect of man. His
spiritual imagination discovers that one is more than
mere human body, and human body is the abode
on non-material essence, the Soul, which is beyond
the physical laws of the world. The soul is truth
consciousness and bliss, which is all pervading, and
is the cause and sustaining force of this universe.
He perceives that the power which created the
external world is just a manifestation of that power,
Brahman. This spiritual motive dominates his poetic
creation throughout. He strives for a socio-spiritual
reformation, when he writes about the ultimate truth
of the spirit, and wants people to refine their actual
life in the light of the truth of the spirit.

One cannot appreciate his creative genius without a
sense of sympathy, spiritual feeling and sensibility,
for he is intensely committed, dynamic, profound,
symbolic, philosophical, prophetic and above all,
spiritual. Constantly in‘sweated quest’for Reality,
he operates at a high level without attempting at
deliberate mystifying: Science, metaphysics and
history in his poetry coalesce to form a refreshing
imagistic pattern; he makes philosophy take into
its fold several sciences. Couched in a natural
intonation, the structure of his pivot ideas provides a
sharp ethical and psychological insight into a fabric
of the present-day moral culture. The despicable,
miserable world conditions act as a catalyst for
spiritual awakening and even revolt. He combines in
him the man, the poet and the prophet.

Poetry for him is a means to realize the truths of
life and philosophy, to experience the transcendent
spirit, understanding the mind-body-self complex.
Through poetry he tries to evaluate and present
the various philosophic systems and religions of
the world. The ultimate realization is: oneness of
mankind, oneness of spiritual values, oneness of the
reality of man and the world:“Vedas, Upanishads/
Bible, Koran/ Sutras, Desert Prophets/Sacred Arts/
Sacred Sciences/Teach all worlds/Teach all spheres/
Teach all beings / in high and low / and Far Afars”
(Void, p. 30). Krishna the poet feels and suffers as
a citizen of the universe and speaks for the whole
mankind, recovering the faith of centuries which had
dissolved like a dream.

One can discern the stamp of Indian culture in
Krishna’s philosophical musing--no idiosyncrasy,
but a genuine human interest--which springs from
spiritual disquiet at the existing order of things:
His system of thought arises out of a restlessness
at the sight of evils that cast a gloom over life in
this world. He tries to understand the source of
these evils and incidentally, too, the nature of the
universe and the meaning of human life, in order to
find out some means for overcoming life’s miseries.
The darker side of things are only initial because of
the awareness of life thoughtlessly led by impulses
and desires. The final brighter side of things appear
with the affirmation of hope, generated by faith
in the eternal spiritual order that poets like Dante,
Wordsworth or Sri Aurobindo present.

Krishna writes with God’s voice. The whole range
of Upanishadic understanding bears upon his
thought-structure: His consciousness is suffused
with the splendor of divinity in which all that is
mean, vile or divisive shrivels and dies. He perceives
the essential unity of all and loves the whole
world as one. He thinks with the whole becoming
the whole: His poetry flows from the spring in
God, the realization of the highest at the heart of
the universe. Sound and silence wend his poetic
progression. He creates a vision of the spirit with
the consciousness of life: Consciousness rules the
material elements and all that emanate from them.
His poetry is spiritual prayer, the Upanishadic tapas.
He has faith in life which enfolds and unfolds the
whole world. He knows the life that is spirit: Spirit in
river, fire, wind, earth and void; spirit that holds the
breath, voice and eye, the ear and mind; spirit that
rests in silence; spirit that is beyond the lands of
good and evil. His intuitive poetic spirituality grows
into true insight, via experiments with expression
that he makes to articulate his own mystic gyration.
As a poet of contemplation and inner reality,
he demonstrates a unique structure-texture
management which has been both praised and
denounced. Yet his verbal and syntactic creativity,
phrasal constructions and coinages, style and theme
are all communicative and interpretative. He acts a
synthesis of various ancient and modern cultures,
religious ideas, philosophical notions, myths ,
symbols and allusions from diverse countries and
scriptures, besides using words, phrases and imagery
that echo Aurobindonian sensibility:‘Illumined
peaks’,‘sun of inconscience’,‘seven centres
heavened and mind illumined’,‘rhythmic tune of
Time’,‘Overmental awareness’,‘Primal purity’,
‘Integral flight’,‘matter mad for life’,‘cosmic
revelry’etc.

Krishna frequently deviates from the so-called
‘standard’English language patterns at all
levels without being unintelligible:‘BE MANYed’,
‘Divinitied’,‘halcyoned’,‘Onned’,‘THAT
THOUed’,‘Void vortexed’,‘Past debrissed’,
‘Birthed and deathed’,‘oceaned floor’,‘aeonic
hunger’,‘The High Edened’,‘Earth genesised’,
‘As urchin unteened’,‘Lord tortoise in base’,
‘Vasty wombs of space’,‘Cradled in Peruvian
roofs/Sported in Canyon depths/Lived in Iceland
towns/Rolled in Yangtste deeps’etc. As he nativizes
the English language thus, he reflects his Indian
sensibility, though his commitments and attitudes
are international. He sees the same river of life
flowing everywhere whether it is the Ganga,
Kaveri, Brahmaputra, or Yangtse, Congo, Colorado,
Mississippi, Hudson, Thames, Nile, or Amazon.
His pursuit of philosophies – of Christ, Muhammad,
Mahavir, Sankar, Ramanujan, Madhva, Vallalar
and others—is no“spiritual propaganda,”rather
it is a leader to different kind of poetry. Krishna
turns a seer poet in the tradition of Sri Aurobindo
just as in his interpretative vision he includes man’s
rationalism, aestheticism, vitalism, and the essential
spirituality with a sense of art and history, and leads
us towards fullness of life and being.

Good art never bores, as Ezra Pound said over a
century ago. Krishna’s language and style derive
from the contemporary age: There is clarity of
thought structure, intensity of feeling, seriousness
of intention, and intrinsic vitality matching his sobre
and gentle tone that provides, among other things,
insight into the country’s cultural ethos vis-à-vis
the cultures of the world. His cosmogonic thinking
has a rare combination of vision, beauty and social
awareness, just as his poems of epical dimension—
Dance of Dust (1947), Everest (1960), Maya (1975),
Five Elements (1981), Beyond (1985) -- inhere the
cultural mind of humankind as a whole.

Krishna is a genius, condensing and recreating in
his poems the profound knowledge and wisdom of all
people and all ages for the people everywhere today.
It is not through the big canvas of classical epic
structure but through the poems of short length-
-readable in one sitting--that he creates subtle
epic effects. It is the greatness and amplitude of
spirit, speech and movement--not length--that
characterize the epic. Krishna creates his epical
thought effects through a tense texture of verbal
harmony, exuberant vitality, celebrating the Ultimate
Reality, the search for the Unknown Truth, the
truly spiritual in man. His verses pulsate with pure
ecstasies, revelations and incantation.

His long poems such as the Dance of Dust,
Everest, and Five Elements--all composed with
a sense of history-- are inner whisperings of the
soul. Krishna’s passionate wanderings of discovery
through histories, philosophies or poetries to find the
one spirit in us are, in truth, everests of the Soul. His
visionary flashes reveal to us the infinite greatness
of our inner world and confirm to us the unity of
all spiritual vision and life. His own translations of
the Tamil Vedas (1984-91)—four thousand lyrics of
the twelve Vaishnavite apostles sung by over sixty
million Tamils all over the world—add to his ageless
effort to blend all worlds, all thoughts ,all times. Not
surprising, therefore, the President of India honoured
this world poet and celebrated editor and publisher
of the Poet monthly (published singlehanded and
without break from Chennai for over 48 years) with
the coveted Padmabhushan award in 2004.

Works of Krishna Srinivas

1. Krishna Srinivas. 1947. Dance of Dust. Madras:
Poets Press India
2. _______. 1960. Everest. Madras: Poets Press India
3. _______. 1975. Maya. Madras: Poets Press India
4. _______. 1981. Five Elements. Madras:
The Christian Literature Society
5. _______. 1983. Sankara. Madras: Bhavani Book
Centre.
6. _______. 1983. Ramanujan. Madras: Poets Press
India
7. _______. 1983. Madhva. Madras: Poets Press
India
8. _______. 1983. Muhammad. Madras: Poets Press
India
9. _______. 1983. Christ. Madras: Poets Press India
10. _______. 1983. Worlds. Poet, Vol. 24, No.11
11. _______. 1984. Vallalar. Poet, Vo. 25, No.3
12. _______. 1985. Beyond. Madras: Poets Press
India
13. _______. 1986. Mahavira. Madras: Poets Press
India
14. _______. 1987. Poetical Works. Madras: Poets
Press India
15. _______. 1984-91. Tamil Vedas. Madras: World
Poetry Society Intercontinental

Published in The Moon Light of Corea (Seoul), pp. 35-37. 대용량 첨부파일 (다운로드기간: 2016.2.9 ~ 2016.2.16)

POEMS: RAM KRISHNA SINGH, India 

NO, I WON’T

Depressed mount of sun
and feeble supporting lines
will I die unknown?
left rotting in the sand
and the wind oozing foul smell?


I don’t want the sun
to miss my light and blame
the night for writing
the fate with wintry fingers
licking the legs of scarecrow


they can’t close their eyes
to the images I brew
for burying secrets
against a dusty mirror
against God’s hidden errors


WHO CARES?


It’s too much to pass
time in a military station
no company and


no one to talk to
amid noises in the sky
day in and day out


remind my status:
an outsider in son’s home
drinking beer or wine


for a change when free
he would unburden the load
share retirement plans


forgetting I’ve grown
older each passing year
need care, but who cares?


GOD TOO DOZES

It was too late
I realized
long after his passing
I still prayed for my father


God didn’t answer


my prayers had become mechanical
like sex
ejaculation without orgasm
and pilled sleep


The itch prevails.
The tags in the mind
don’t respond:


absent memories
confused faith
forgetting
faster than remembering


in moments of lapses
God too dozes


SURVIVAL

The trees are taller than my height
the lips osculate in their shade
I enjoy the wind that shakes them


or undresses my sleepless nights
wrapped in shawl without mirrors of stars:
I survive the missing moon’s light


고려달빛·78호 41
 

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

R K Singh PRESENTATION

Monday, January 25, 2016

INTERVIEW TATJANA DEBELJACKI VS RAM KRISHNA SINGH


DIOGEN pro culture magazine & DIOGEN pro art magazine


 
Januar / Siječanj 2016 – January 2016 Tatjana Debeljački vs. Ram Krishna Singh 
 


1.      Can you tell us something about your hometown and growing up?

Thanks for getting in touch with me, Tatjana. I come from a humble family of Banares, now Varanasi in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. (Recently, it has been in the news for being the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visit of dignitaries from various countries, including the Prime Minister of Japan.) For generations my forefathers had lived in the narrow lanes and alleys  of the ancient city, and I, too, was born, brought up and educated there, partaking of a culture which flourished on the bank of the Ganges that  still attracts everyone, though the uniqueness is gone, values, norms, beliefs and body politic have changed so much that whenever I go home I find myself  out of place.

As my grandfather was a freedom fighter, frequently imprisoned along with other Congress Party leaders in Banares, my father could not have formal education. He learnt to survive by himself, learnt to read and write and did many petty jobs before he could settle down in life as an accountant.  He recognized the value of education. I was the eldest of his eight children who are all postgraduates and/or doctorates  and fiercely independent in their views and thinking.  When I was hardly ten or so, my father ensured that during the summer vacation I should learn some skills and earn too.  I learnt typewriting and worked part-time as a typist during the 1960s. The skill later helped me type my postgraduate and doctoral dissertations, and manuscripts of several of my books and academic articles for publication.

Though I started my career as a journalist, I switched over to teaching, finding it more congenial, and now, away from my roots in the interiors of Varanasi, I have been living in Dhanbad since February 1976.  It is here, after joining Indian School of Mines as  a faculty, that I was married in 1978, blessed with two children (who are now well settled, my son is Colonel in the Army, and my daughter is Manager in a pharmaceutical company), and I have been able to establish myself as an academic, and perhaps, poet too.

2.      When did you start to write and what inspires you?

In the early 1960s, I think. I remember writing my first poem at the age of 12 in 1962. The poem appeared in a Hindi daily, Aj, of Varanasi. My interest and enthusiasm never waned since then: I dabbled in several poems and published in newspapers and magazines. From 1965 to 1972, I even participated in a few ‘Kavi Sammelans’ (Poets’ meet) also.  I had adopted ‘Tahira” as my  pen name in Hindi. I remember I used to do a column ‘Tahira ki Kalam Se’ (From the Pen of Tahira) in a Hindi weekly. I also published over 150 journalistic articles as well as about ten short stories in Hindi till about 1971-72.  As I became aware that my articles were more popular than my poems, from 1968-69, I started writing in English as well, and produced a large number of third-rate verses. Probably the first poem in English composed in 1968 appeared in the Deutsche Welle radio magazine.  A couple of my early poems also appeared in Adam & Eve (Madras). It was a great feeling to have been paid for those poems.
My teachers in Banaras Hindu University, where I was a student of M.A. (English Literature) from 1970-72, dissuaded me from writing poems in English but I persisted in my efforts at developing the art and craft in keeping with my sensibility, and I am happy to discover that what I could not do in Hindi (which is indeed now very advanced and comparable with literature in any other language) I have been successful in doing in English. 

Before I try to answer the other part of your question, what inspires me to write, let me look back to my writing in the late 1960s and early 1970s. As the influence of the Romantic, Victorian and Modern poets in English waned, this phase of preparation was completed with my attempt at writing my ‘diary’ in verses from October 1972 to December 1973.  My encounter in 1971-72 with the poetry of an American poet-professor, Lyle Glazier, had a shaping influence on my poetic sensibility. There was a lot to say after leaving the monotonous life at Varanasi and moving to Pulgaon (Wardha, Maharastra), returning again and visiting several places in search of a job(1972-73), moving to Lucknow (1973), New Delhi (1973-74), and finally to  Bhutan, where from March 1974 to November 1975, I lived in the lap of  Nature and composed almost a poem a day. I experienced not only peace in the beautiful Himalayan kingdom but also found the required dimension to my poetry and personality.  I had plenty of free time and I could dream, feel and think.

But soon loneliness began to haunt me and I started hunting for a change. I came to Dhanbad in February 1976 and lost my peace in the whirlwind to teacher activism, academic research, and uncertainties of all sorts.  My psyche was disturbed, but it was in the mounting tensions that I could perform my best: I wrote my PhD thesis, and later published it as Savitri: A Spiritual Epic (1984). Intermittently poetry and sex came as a relief.

For many years, my dreamt dreams, personal experiences with people, reading good writing, or seeing good painting (or work of art), have inspired my creativity.  Some part is also played by the completely demotivating environment of campus life in Dhanbad.  Now any small, negligible aspect of one’s behavior or attitude, any insignificant event, anything, including sexual experience, can inspire me if it expresses ‘momentness of a moment’ or become an imagery.  Even something read or heard in the past may get connected with something Now and incite me into a poem.

I am also inspired by human body which is the best picture of the human soul: I glorify it.  We are flesh in sensuality and there is divinity in it.  It is ever refreshing to me to express love and sex, the internalized substitute, or antidote to the fast dehumanizing existence without and ever in conflict with my search for life.  It helps me enlarge my self to the universal sameness of human feeling.

3.      When did you publish your first book and how did the success follow later?

As I said, Savitri: A Spiritual Epic, an exploration of Sri Aurobindo’s massive epic in English, Savitri (1950) for PhD, was my first book published by Prakash Book Depot, Bareilly (U.P.), India in 1984. Krishna Srinivas (1913-2007), editor and publisher of the Poet, an international monthly and recipient of Padmabhushan award (2004), was so impressed by it that he requested me to do a critical essay on his poetry and  sent me all his books. I ended up doing a monograph Krishna Srinivas: The Poet of Inner Aspiration, which he published from his Poets Press India, Madras in 1984. He also gave me the much needed break by publishing free of cost my first collection of poems, My Silence,  in 1985.  I also edited with an introduction a collection of articles on his poetry, Sound and Silence, published in 1986. There has been no looking back since then.  I have published almost a book a year. These include 16 poetry collections, 13 English language related books, and 11 Indian English literature related books.  In addition, I have published over 160 academic articles and over 170 book reviews. My poems and articles have also been anthologized in over 180 publications. (For details, pl. visit http://profrksinghlistofpublications.blogspot.in)


4.      Poems Have Been Translated Into National And International Languages?

Yes, some of my poems have been translated into Indian languages such as Hindi, Tamil, Bangla, Kannada and Punjabi, and foreign languages such as French, Spanish, Romanian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Serbian, Croatian, Slovene, Bulgarian, Italian, German, Portuguese, Greek, Farsi, Arabic, Albanian, Crimean Tatar, and Esperanto.

5.      A reviewer, critic and contemporary poet who writes in Indian English, university professor with active interest in poetry and English language interview?

Perhaps, you mean to say English language teaching? Yes, professionally I have been concerned with English for Specific Purposes (ESP), especially for science and technology for about three decades. Working at Indian School of Mines, a technical university, I initiated ‘need-based’ English language teaching to the undergraduate and post graduate students of earth and mineral sciences and engineering, even as personally I have been practicing poetry, besides reviewing and/or critiquing new voices, ignored by the media and academia alike.

6.      Haiku followers, one important reason may lie in the power of kigo?

That’s why Gabi Greve devoted several years preparing a list of ‘kigo’ words from different countries, cultures and societies, including India. 

Haiku is a difficult genre to practice. To me, it’s a spiritual exercise, helping one to pursue what is true, fulfilling and joyous. It took me several years to compose publishable haiku with native experiences. Though brevity has been a prominent feature of my regular poems from My Silence onwards, and I attempted many poems with ‘haiku’ stanzas, but genuine haiku with Indian kigo started happening much later.

7.      With the reader who is also a poet, especially a haiku poet, such effects can generate and offer fresh experiences of the?
Sameness in differences? The snapshots of our living experiences provide a sort of balance by other aspects – nature, time, seasons, trees, birds, flowers, festivals, urban chaos, new technological developments, in short, all that we see, feel or know.  We look outside to communicate the inside, the perception response, the vision, you know. It’s a sort of continual dialogue within vis-à-vis the life and world we experience without; it’s an inner communication, a process of self-discovery, a spiritual experience, as I said. After this, there is only silence, the briefest haiku.

“in silence/one with the divine will/growing within”
“on the river’s bank/his soul is lighted for peace--/lantern in the sky”
“squatting/in the middle of the field/a woman with child”
“awake/alone on the house top/a sparrow”
“hitching up the skirt/she fills her pockets with unripe mangoes”
“pigeons fly/for shelter through smoke--/blazing windows”
“wiping his face/under the umbrella/an old man with books”

8.      What can you tell us about your work, prizes, journeys and friendships?

With the arrival of Internet, it became easier to reach out to audiences in different countries. Otherwise it was only through the snail mail I could contact editors and haiku practitioners. The editors and publishers of Azami (Osaka), SGL (USA), The Tanka Journal (Japan), Ko (Japan), Prophetic Voices (USA), Micropress Yates (Australia), Micropress NZ (New Zealand), Noreal (France), Kanora (Columbia), Manxa (Spain), Vrabac/Sparrow (Croatia), HQ Poetry Magazine (UK), La Pierna Tierna (USA), Forum (New Zealand), Poet (Madras/Chennai), Creative Forum (New Delhi), Poetcrit (Himachal Pradesh), Asahi Shimbun (Japan), Paper Wasp (Australia), Simply Words (USA), Haiku Novine (Yugoslavia/Croatia), At Last (Scotland), Mirrors (Canada), The Haiku Quarterly (UK), Lynx (USA) and scores of other poetry journals supported my creative efforts in the beginning.  Friends such as H.F. Noyes (Greece), Mohammed H. Siddiqui (USA), Patricia Prime (New Zealand), Angelee Deodhar (Chandigarh), Dejan Bogojevic, Marijan Cekolj, Zoran Doderovic, Ruth Wildes Schuler (USA) and others actively helped me understand the warp and woof of haiku and helped me reach out.  My academic commitments won’t let me travel to attend haiku poets meet in India or outside, but friends and well-wishers have been helpful.

Though my collections, My Silence (1985), Memories Unmemoried (1988), Music Must Sound (1990), Flight of Phoenix (1990), and Above the Earth’s Green (1997) contain many ‘micropoems’, including haiku and tanka , Every Stone Drop Pebble (New Delhi: Bahri Publications, 1999, jointly with Catherine Mair and Patricia Prime) is my first haiku collection. Pacem in Terris (Trento: Edizioni Universum, 2003, a trilogy collection of poems in English and Italian) includes my second haiku collection, Peddling Dream, translated into Italian by Giovanni Campisi. The River Returns (Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 2006) is my next collection including both haiku and tanka.  I collected all the previously published books and new poems, along with haiku, tanka and sequences in Sense and Silence: Collected Poems (2010). The volumes that followed it include New and Selected Poems Tanka and Haiku (2012), I am No Jesus and Other Selected Poems, Tanka and Haiku, with translation into Crimean Tatar by Taner Murat (2014) published by Editura StudIS (Romania), and most recently You Can’t Scent Me and Other Selected Poems (New Delhi: AuthorsPress, 2016), which includes most of my new poems and some haiku and tanka sequences.

I must admit haiku and tanka practice helped me register my international presence just as awards and honors such as Ritsumeikan University Peace Museum Award, Kyoto 1999, Certificate of Honor and Nyuusen Prize in Kumamoto International Kusamamoto Haiku Competition, Japan, 2000 and 2008, Special Award Diogen, 2013, Nazar Look Prize for Poetry, Romania, 2013, Nomination for Pushcart Prize 2013, 2014, Naji Naaman’s Literary Prize, Lebanon, 2015, Honorable Mention in 68th Basho Festival, 2014 and Grand Prize in 69th Basho Festival, 2015 have been gratifying.

9.      Do you think you have outwitted the expectations?

Hopefully, I have communicated well enough to last for a longer time, at least in India, as an Indian English poet. I do expect an academic exploration of my poetry for higher degrees (like MA/MPhil/PhD) with learned articles in journals at home and abroad. I’m afraid the media and academia in the country have ignored me despite my four decades of writing and publishing.

10.  How do you manage all that with so much work that you do? Do you have time for yourself?

Simply, I didn’t waste my time, doing nothing. I used every minute of my free time.  My wife managed the home front, leaving me free to do the academic and other work in the institution. My children didn’t bother me for tuition etc. Poetry happened anywhere anytime. Publishers too showed interest in my writing for it’s novelty. Things were smooth that way.

Now that I am retired, I would like to do certain things I could not, for want of professional commitments, like research and teaching. Now I would like to live for myself for a change. Let’s see how things shape up.

11.  Is there anything that you could pinpoint and tell us about yourself between the dream and reality?

First, I never wanted to be a teacher and I became one. Second, I didn’t want to work or stay in Dhanbad and I had not only my career in Dhanbad for over four decades but I also had to settle down here post-retirement. And, finally, the way my father and sisters treated me, my wife and children, we could not forget, though we have forgiven them all.  We all seek familial affection among strangers!

12.  What are your plans for the future creative work?

To publish a volume of letters received as editor, reviewer, poet, writer, or academic from persons I never met but who reflected on my work, relationship, decisions etc whereby some aspects of my mind, creativity or personality can be gleaned.  It is intended as a memoir and tentatively, I’ve called it ‘Through Their Eyes: A Memoir’.

13.  Have you achieved everything you have ever wanted to and if you could live your life again would you be an artist again?

I have been a restless soul, very impatient, and hardly contented. Though I notice a decline in my mental faculty—my forgetting is faster than remembering, as I said once earlier, I think poetry, especially haiku and tanka, will continue to happen, and one day I will be recognized for what I have done as a poet. I already achieved the highest for my work as a practitioner of ELT/EST. No doubt, I would love to be born again as an artist.

14.  Is  there  anything  you  would  like  to  say  that  you  think  is  important  and  that  I haven’t asked you ?

Can’t say at the moment. I have already spoken too much in response to what you asked.

15.  It was a great pleasure talking to you and you are always welcome to our houses "Diogen" and "Maxminus”.

Many thanks for your probing questions. It’s been a great pleasure talking to you. I value your support. 


 BIO:

 Ram Krishna Singh, born, brought up and educated in Varanasi (U.P., India), has been writing poetry in English for about four decades. He has published over 160 academic articles, 175 book reviews, and 17 collections of poems, including the latest I Am No Jesus And Other Selected Poems, Tanka And Haiku (English/Crimean Tatar, 2014), New And Selected Poems Tanka And Haiku(2012), Sense And Silence: Collected Poems (2010), and You Can’t Scent Me and Other Poems (2016). Appreciated for his tanka and haiku, Dr. Singh's poems have been anthologized in over a hundred books. His poems have been translated into Japanese, Greek, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Hungarian, Albanian, Crimean Tatar, Bulgarian, Slovene, Irish, Croatian, Farsi, Arabic, Serbian, Bosnian, Esperanto, Hindi, Punjabi, Kannada, Tamil, and Bangla. A member of several literary bodies and editorial boards, nominated for Pushcart Prize 2013 and 2014, and winner of Ritsumeikan University Peace Museum Award, Kyoto, 1999, Certificate of Honour and Nyuusen Prize in Kumamoto International Kusamamoto Haiku Competition, Japan, 2000 and 2008, Nazar Look Prize for Poetry, Romania, 2013, Prize of Corea Literature, Seoul, 2013, and Naji Naaman‘s Literary Prize, Lebanon, 2015, Dr. Singh recently retired as Professor (HAG) at Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad 826004 (India). More at: www.rksinghpoet.blogspot.in 

PR DIOGEN pro kultura http://www.diogenpro.com 


TANKA

1

A tidal wave
touches the shore to wipe
my naked footprints
and leaves behind some shells
pebbles and memories


2
Love's spirit descends
and melds into her body
lending it new life:
I'm amazed how the unknown
becomes one with her beauty


3
Raising
her hard drink
heavenward:
to my man, lover of
animals, soft in sex


4
Tears dry up
leaving no marks where her pain
ends and mine begins
on the face make up damps
with aching sweat and cold sighs


5
Estranged everyone
at home homeless wanderers
no nostalgia
effaced in empty space
all grope lonely pursuits


6
A professor
not worried so much--
shrinking genius
at his table views nudes
reviews failed erections


7
The chains multiply
wrap life in the skin of water
crying quits to an acomous sky:
the mute soul suffers
the oozing filth


8
A happier image
with salubrious top
turns rupturous
as she tamps her love
with watery lipstick


9
Her smile
with the whiff of sandal
makes love livelier:
I search Tao
in the wind's flavour


10
A serpent twists
it's head to face a dragon
on her shoulder:
their tails on breast in water
swirl to cleanse my kiss on skin

HAIKU
moving shadows
on the door curtain--
sinking sun

in silence
one with the divine will
growing within

foam-maned waves
rise in the mind's hush:
sinking dome

living again
fountain on the hill top--
divine light

clouded  super moon
and unseen shooting stars--
how to make a wish?

rises drowsily
after a sleepless night
a sick sun

warming together
on a ceiling fan's arm
two pigeons

drying on clothesline
teachers' bras and panties:
classroom windows

watching
the darkness between the stars
enlightenment

in the diary
searching phone numbers of
friends now alive


SPIRITUAL  FLICKERS: A Tanka Sequence

Plodding  away at
season’s conspiracies
life has proved untrue
with God an empty word
and prayers helpless cries


I wish I could live
nature’s  rhythm free from
bondage of clock-time
rituals of work and sleep
expanding haiku present


on the prayer mat
the hands raised in vajrasan
couldn’t contact God—
the prayer was too long and
the winter night still longer


the mind creates
withdrawn to its own pleasures
a green thought
behind the banyan tree
behind the flickering lust



I can’t know her
from the body, skin or curve:
the perfume cheats
like the sacred hymns chanted
in hope, and there’s no answer


unknowable
the soul’s pursuit hidden
by its own works:
the spirit’s thirst, the strife
the restless silence, too much


unable to see
beyond the nose he says
he meditates
and sees visions of Buddha
weeping for us


the mirror swallowed
my footprints on the shore
I couldn’t blame the waves
the geese kept flying over head
the shadows kept moving afar


the lane to temple
through foul drain, dust, and mud:
black back of Saturn
in a locked enclosure
a harassed devotee


seeking shelter
under the golden wings
of Angel Michael
a prayer away now
whispers the moon in cloud


not much fun—
cold night, asthmatic cough
and lonely Christmas:
no quiet place within
no fresh start for the New Year


--Ram Krishna Singh



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