Friday, 14 August 2009

letter to a young poet friend

You should keep on reading and writing. There is poetry in your mind.
Somehow the prose influence casts a shadow. By prose, I also mean gross. Once you get to know the idiom of poetry, these five pieces will look altogether different.

Don't say much. Allow the reader to participate. You should give only
the key. Let the reader open the door and enter. Poetry opens the door
to a higher level of understanding of the world around us. I have noticed that poetry blooms in a state of 'let-go,' when one does not exert, but keeps the mind empty of thoughts and listens. Don't make the process laboured. Fly as light as a bird.

Listen to this for simplicity, a poem by Basho, 17th century Japanese poet:

Mad with poetry,
I stride like Chikusai
into the wind...

Chikusai was another poet much admired by Basho.

Stride into the wind, feel it, and write. Walk into the rain and get
drenched when you write of rain. Taste the sweet tang of the plum to
know the poetry of plum. It is an exciting journey when you truly get
into it. All the best.

*****

14 comments:

Imagination said...

Venuji, let me have the pleasure to thank you on behalf of all your young poet friends for writing such a beautiful letter..!

P. Venugopal said...

we learn together. share how it is with each one of us. there are many routes to the summit. aim for the summit.

Balachandran V said...

I would like to add this, Venu. Listen to one's instincts. Be sensitive and passionate. Observe. When words struggle to gurgle out, put it down on paper. Forget about techniques and craftsmanship. If what you write is good, there will be somebody to appreciate it. Since tastes differ, there are bound to be some, who dislike it also. Just write. And ask whether YOU like it or not. Other's appreciation is just a bonus.

I beg to differ with you in one thing, Venu. There are NO summits to reach. Nothing to aim for. Just be where you are - crests and troughs, crests and troughs - thats the way life flows....

P. Venugopal said...

we don't differ on the point, balan. being where we are is the summit, isn't it? being here, now.

but we often keep drifting this way and that, missing the poetry of the moment.

poetry is more of a spiritual quest. i had had many long interactions with Thakazhichettan on the point long time back. i had wanted to know from him the knack of creative writing. i used to approach it mechanically, asking him, Chetta, what is your routine, when do you usually write, at what time of the day, how do you go about selecting a topic, building a plot...etc., etc.

once i even wrote for him a long piece on 'creativity' (taking dictation from him in malayalam and translating it to english) for some big literature seminar in new delhi. but i had never really known what he wanted to say. i remember him saying creativity is a spiritual quest. creativity in whatever we do. he used to speak about creativity in growing rice, creativity in drinking toddy, creativity in the way a stray dog dodges an stone thrown at it. i used to feel he was making fun of me.

only, much later in life, have i started understanding vaguely what he had actually meant.

Balachandran V said...

Thakazhichettan was absolutely right! Creation occurs when there is no duality - mind and body are focussed on a single point - and a masterful creation comes into being. It is true - the moment of sexual orgasm, writing a poem or even the simple act of sweeping up the floor. It is love, you see.

P. Venugopal said...

love, with total austerity... when aggression comes in, duality comes back. the aggressor and the victim. one should get to understand the oneness of the whole thing, beyond concepts, to be free of aggression...

now, i am afraid we are slipping into wrong territory. we should not scare off the beautiful children. i love them coming to this dangerous page once in a while to put in a comment or two. i like to listen to their hearts beating.

Balachandran V said...

wrong? territories? :) I sign off!!

Gymnast said...

Wow...thank you sir. I wish someday poetry makes way into my heart as well.

" Creativity is a spiritual quest"

I am a student of architecture in my final year..and the more i learn about art and architecture..the more convinced i am that creativity is indeed a spritual quest.

Each time i look at a perfectly ordered building , each time i look at a painting , i become more and more convinced...Only a man with a certain clarity of mind can create them.

There is definitely a summit , a summit that you must reach , so that you know..so that you can find that harmony and relate to it. So that you can create keeping in line with the flow of the world.
Then your work will resonate with the world ,will become one with the world..

I've felt it with all the masterpieces...in every field of creativity.

Spiritual quest and creative development are one.

Sorry..i guess i got a little too carried away.

P. Venugopal said...

it is my turn to say wow now. do you know my daughter is an architect? she is now in uk, along with her hustand who too is an architect. what a pleasant coincidence, isn't it? the only thing not a coincidence in the scheme of things is me. i am a journalist. trained to tell the mundane matters of the world to the world. trained to kill, you can even say. all through my life i had wanted to create, but could not, because my training had been in destruction. now an unlearning process is on. slowly slowly.

so, to be creative, go to the masters. i will suggest a few books that have helped me get out of the tangle.

1. 'Letters to a young poet'by a famous german poet (i forget his name, a copy was with me, now with an up and coming poet friend close by, but you can look it up in the net... Rainer something... you see i borrowed the title for my piece up here.)

2. 'Krishnamurti's Notebook' by J. Krishnamurty (you see i borrowed this title for the blog itself, venusnotebook it is.)

3. Anything by Osho (see i borrowed his beard--to the extent possible--for my face also.)

in my case, everything is borrowed. go to the masters. they all speak about coming to the zero position. shedding ego. becoming light as a feather. shedding all conditionings, all gravitational pulls. being at rest so that you can respond with total creative energy and experience the joy of being.

(i felt like writing to lakshmi, my daughter. she writes beautifully too, just like you.)

Gymnast said...

Hello sir ,

Maybe you'd like to know that i have read almost every book of OSho to the point that i can predict his next sentence.

All his books are discourses , and hence lots of things are repeated. My favorite - "Krishna - the man and his philosophy".

I've read few books by J.Krishnamurty as well.

Will try to find the other book.

And great coincidences. Is your daughter working in UK?

P. Venugopal said...

yes, she is working, as a project assistant at the 'urban lab' under the school of architecture, glasgow university. not a full-time job, three-four days a week. my son-in-law is working with an architecture firm there. they have just begun life together. she is afraid of reading the kind of books i have, fearing it will "unsettle." i am myself uncertain about suggesting the possibilities to young people, because, if you interpret wrongly, it can indeed unsettle. most of us are afraid of the unpredictable, aren't we?
'Krishna-the man and his philosphy' is with me too, but i haven't read it through as yet, big book. nowadays i read several books together, picking up one or the other depending on the mood, not turning the process of completing any book a burden. none will say it is a good way to read, though...
so, we have common tastes in reading too. i should have suspected it; your writing reflects it. i hear journalism too runs in your family! i inherited the profession from my father who once worked as the editor of 'prabhatham' daily and later as a correspondent of The Hindu, the paper for which i have been working for the last 31 years.
keep writing,
and keep working hard at your studies.
have you noticed this thing? if you work really hard on a particular day, you are totally relaxed in the evening and sometimes, a three-line haiku may pop out of you. don't get stuck on the blog.
all the best.

Netha Hussain said...

Thank you sir. Posts like this encourage young writers like me to write further.

P. Venugopal said...

dear Netha, you give me a purpose to blog, saying posts like these encourage. am i beginning to become a motivator? thank you. let us see more poems from you.

Vishnu said...

that was beautiful...i liked that part most where you say that we have to experience something to write bout it...so true!!!!!