EXPLORING THE SENSES: From: MAJESTIC, The Official Newsletter of Litdotorg
Sunday, May 30, 2010
By Sandra Yuen MacKay
(Editor’s Note: We welcome R.K. Singh as our guest blogger of the month. Here he shares his views and philosophy about his poetry.)
At times it is refreshing to reflect on one’s own creativity and answer questions like what motivates you to write, what type of writing you have been doing, what has helped your writing, and how satisfied you feel with all that you have achieved so far.
Let me begin by sketching a typical day in my life. A deadly monotony of existence in the maze of routine is what characterizes a typical day in my life: while mentally it is a journey from loneliness to frustration to depression; physically it crisscrosses the routine of living in the same house; working in the same place; meeting the same people; teaching batch after batch the same unwilling-to-learn students; the same time of getting up, eating and sleeping; the same worries and complaints; the same diseases; the same unfulfilled desires; the same uninspiring atmosphere; the same prayers; the same narrowing dimensions and captivation; the same insecurity and marginalization; and the same search for freedom; the same sense perception probing sex, city or people; and yet, I’m unable to know myself or forget the growing depression.
Living life in a boring environment, it is a challenge to sustain poetic creativity. Yet I have survived the inner and outer sterility. It has been great fun to use some small, negligible aspect of one’s behavior, or some insignificant event, or something read or heard in the past that stays unconsciously in the memory and gets connected some other time while something incites me into a poem, or I get my own thoughts as I read somebody else’s poem, or I recollect some complex dream experiences into the garb of a poem. I see to it that the emotion thus expressed makes sense to me as an ordinary reader, and is not mere claptrap in the form of a poem. I also check there is some sort of rhythm or pattern in the expression and no waste of words. Since the poetic mood is short-lived, my poems are almost always short, and there is hardly a poem composed with a title integral to it. I prefer not to give titles to my poems.
What is my poetry about? Much depends on the insight into how one responds to my poetry or how delightful to the senses or challenging to the mind one finds it, or how one wants to interpret my creative perception of meaning in the world. There are many themes, individual passion, historic-mythical awareness, human relationship, social consciousness. I am my own veil and revelation; I am both the subject and the object and reveal others as much as I reveal myself.
I utilize the world in which I live in order to create an authentic voice, which begets empathy and brings the reader in close contact with the poem. In addition, it demonstrates my choice of the subject matter I am exploring. In the subjective process of creation, it is normal for a poet to create out of himself whatever outside he sees excites the inner vision. If he feels sex as truth and, as Sri Aurobindo says, renders the experience with beauty or power, there is nothing objectionable.
The fact is my social vision intersects the private and sexual. There is some sense in a poet’s frenetic eroticism or sexuality—love of the self through exploration of the body, or naked physicality, leading to love of the divine, or man and woman as one.
I believe the effect of poetry lies in the thrill, the almost physical emotion that comes with its reading. The appeal of erotic poetry lies in the activation of the sense, mind and the emotions that appear in some way interpretative of life, or subject experiences that have depth. It is perhaps in the area of sex—a fact of life—that one must search for the most secret and profound truths about the individual or his/her social consciousness. The problem is not sex/sexuality but social attitude, morality, hypocrisy, the socio-sexual standards that determine moral or civilized norms, which discriminate, enchain, and debase honest aspiration as lust or vulgarity.
To me, sex is a metaphor: the encounter man and woman, woman and woman, man and man to express relationships, concerns, roles, to react against false ethical and cultural values, against stereotypes and prejudices, against hypocrisy. (But beware of gimmicks, imitations, romantic overtures, and even plain silliness that I have often noticed in a number of Indian English poets). It is through the inner mindscape that the outer awareness is interpreted.
Further, I think expression of passionate love and sex in my poetry is the internalized substitute, nay antidote, to the fast dehumanizing existence without, and ever in conflict with my search for life, search for meaning in a boring existence.
“Woman” in my poetry is a universal woman, the invisible part of the primordial pairs we know as Purush-Prakriti, or Yin-Yang, unchanging over time and culture: “The best poetry/ is a woman/concrete, personal, delightful/ greater than all” (22 October 1972). I see woman and her nudity as the mainspring of our being (and art), as “the major incident in man’s life,” shaping the psyche and constituting the sensory experience. She is eternal and there is no poetry possible without her. I sing of woman who is both my passion and interest, who is the balance point of various beings, the very cause and end of life, perhaps the means to rediscover the original magic of life.
To me, the human body is a picture of the human soul I celebrate to understand the world and the self. I glorify nudity to explore the consciousness, the inner landscape, lost in muddle of the external chaos.
By writing brief, personal lyrics, or confining myself to the privacy of love-making, I enlarge myself to the universal sameness of human feelings. We are flesh in sensuality and there is divinity in it. The fleshly unity is the reality, the passage to experience divinity. As a poet I try to transmute and transmit memories of experience, possibly more with a sense of irony than eroticism:
“While I was petting and necking/lying over her body/she was calculating whether/she could afford a new saree/from what I would pay her/tonight” (14 April, 1973); and
She remains indifferent to my fingers
moving to stir her cool nakedness
my hungry touch causes eructation
at intervals I caress her back
wobble about the torso or rest on
the thighs hoping she will be turned on
but warily I persist in half-sleep
she lets me enter for convenience
let it end the sooner the better
Before I end, a line or two about my haiku, too. It suits my temperament. In fact in most of my regular poems, the haiku rhythm should be easily discernible. It seems to have become the basic unit of my poetical expression. I developed serious interest in its art and craft from about early 1990s and now, whatever I feel or observe, or whatever my inner experiences at a given moment of time, I try to image them in my poetry.
Lit.org has been a great forum for me to reach out to a larger audience. It is here that I discovered a number of non-academic but very good poets who are neither trite nor dull but refreshing and delightful.
This entry was posted on Sunday, May 30th, 2010 at 10:42 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.