When you are New to Haiku, you may not know anyone who shares your interest in this little poetry form. We asked established haiku poets to share a little about themselves so that you can meet them and learn more about their writing journeys. We, too, wanted to learn what advice they would give to beginning haiku poets.
This week, we continue our interview with Kala Ramesh, the notable Indian haiku poet. You can meet Kala and learn more about her in the first part of our interview here. Join us next week for the conclusion, in which Kala gives specific advice for those just beginning their haiku journeys.
This week’s question for Kala is: Where do you most often write? Do you have a writing process?
My morning hours are best for creative work and it was so even when I was into music practice. To me each morning is an unwritten slate, and the impressions I make come from a depth of truth, which is what I would like to believe! In Sanskrit, swa means self and ra means light or to bring forth, meaning when the artist touches her ‘soul’, we say her art (be it music, painting or writing) is ‘felt’ and when that happens, like a pendulum which swings from left to right – the work swings out to touch the reader. Without doubt, a long journey…
Mine has always been a labour of love. I do go over a poem several times or at times I just leave it aside and allow it to gestate! I don’t have any fixed writing process as such. I have a group of poets with whom I share my work and we critique each others’ poems in a healthy way.
We all have an urge to create – haikai is my way of giving expression to this urge. Whether in haiku, tanka or haibun, when we are able to introduce dynamism into an image with concise language – the poem, we say, becomes alive. In Indian thought, this is called ‘prana pratistha’. This transformation fascinates me.
When being in nature and when observing people, my eyes become the camera and my mind becomes the paper. The poem then happens in the isolation of my room – all creation happens in and from silence, doesn’t it?
Poet, editor, anthologist, and festival director Kala Ramesh has been the foremost advocate and practitioner of haiku and allied Japanese poetry forms in India, including tanka, haibun, and renku. Kala, who is also an Indian classical singer, has created magic in the world of Japanese poetry by not only authoring critically acclaimed books and poems but also cultivating hundreds of Indians to immortalize the spirit of Japanese short forms of poetry.
Kala has organized six haiku festivals and conducted countless workshops in haikai literature all over her country. Kala’s initiatives culminated in founding “INhaiku” in 2013, the umbrella organization of Indian haiku poets. As an external faculty member, Kala has been teaching haikai poetry to undergraduates at the Symbiosis International University Pune and to school children at the Katha Creative Writers’ Workshop since 2012.