Monday, July 1, 2019



JULY 2019

ALICJA KUBERSKA: What does poetry mean to you?

DALIP KHETARPAL: Poetry, which is one of the earliest artistic creations of the human mind, means a lot to me. Poetry is surely an enhanced and emotionally charged form of ordinary speech, though imagination is the main source where from it springs. Governed by imagination, poetry is infused with intense feelings, emotions and ideas that are expressed spontaneously in a distinctive style often characterized by symbols, images, metaphors, similes rhyme, meter and other literary devices. However, doing away with rhyme and metre, blank or free verse has become the choice of many poets these days. Poetry assumes great meaning because it makes an immediate appeal to the emotions or soul of the readers or audience. It also assumes wider meaning in the sense that it is both pleasure-giving and psychologically and morally elevating. It’s meaningful role also lies not only in delight or instruction but also in transporting--its capacity to move the reader to ecstasy, to transport him to the other better world.

ALICJA KUBERSKA: What’s according to you is the meaning of poetry in the contemporary world?

DALIP KHETARPAL: In the contemporary world of science and technology the meaning of poetry, I’m sure, has not changed, but it has definitely lost its sheen and its importance to a certain extent owing to its lack of practical utility. I find that this world craves for money, hankers after it lifelong, but finds that poetry cannot be the means to fulfill this desire. Unless one is an established poet, poetry for most poets can only be a passion, not profession. However, like me, this world also, heart of hearts, recognizes the meaningfulness and benign role poetry plays. Here, my views coincide with those of Aristotle who thinks that poetry acquires great meaning in a sense that the emotions that are aroused by it enable the audience to undergo cathartic experience i.e. purging unpleasant feelings from the soul. In the medical language it signifies the removal of a painful or disturbing element from the organism; elimination of any unwanted alien matter leads to the purification of soul and refining of our passions and emotions. So, the meaning and emotional appeal of poetry is health-giving and also aesthetically and morally satisfying. Through poetry, the poet reveals the truths of a permanent and universal kind. A poet participates in the eternal; the infinite. While history narrates what has happened, poetry, what may happen. Poetry, therefore, is a more philosophical and a higher thing than history for it tends to express the universal, while history, the particular. Its immediate function is to please, delight and transport. To instruct cannot be denied if it is incidental to the pleasure it gives. Further, poetry does not only present life as it is, but by adding something to it, also enriches it. It is ‘the power of forming, sustaining and delighting us as nothing else can.’ Hence, poetry has acquired a concrete and potential meaning, not only in this contemporary age but in all ages.   

ALICJA KUBERSKA:  Can you describe your creative process while writing a new poem?

DALIP KHETARPAL:  An idea to create can occur any time; there is no precise moment for it. A new idea first lands on my mind from some unexpected source which could be a leaf drenched in rains, a quaint or ugly face seen on the road, in the bus, train or plane, some interesting, exciting or mysterious news or any weird incident or experience and the like. This idea then after occupying its space in my mind begins to grow silently, imperceptibly till it develops into such a mass that it begins to exert pressure, clamouring and struggling to be let out and finally, spills out abruptly over a white clean sheet. As I start writing, the idea chosen continues to grow and grow until it reaches its final maturity, so the conclusion was no problem for me. But then before sending the whole stuff to the press for publishing, this spontaneous overflow of powerful, irrepressible psychological ideas and feelings are trimmed, disciplined, shaped, revised and edited at least three or four times with my critical sense so that they finally get crystallized into a definite and exquisite piece of art. This very creative process is felt by me whenever I sit to write a new poem. Writing poetry especially has a therapeutic effect on me as its process helps clear all trash from my mind and eliminate some unhealthy feelings and emotions. With a clear head, wholesome vision and vibrant imagination and emotions, I easily and clearly write whatever comes to my mind in the best possible words so that the ideas, feelings or events described carry weight, meaning and are readable. Good poetry is basically best thought, best word, in the best order.            

ALICJA KUBERSKA:  Did it happen to you that a poem was just your dream?

DALIP KHETARPAL: An idea occurs all of a sudden and later I feel a gush of emotion that demands urgent vent, leading finally to creation. At times, I feel that whatever is created is something beyond my expectation, my capacity to create. So, all this makes me feel that the creation and its entire process is just a dream.   

ALICJA KUBERSKA: Tell us about your inspiration. What’re the most important subjects to you?

DALIP KHETARPAL: Any scene, any object, any dialogue, any poem, any philosophy, principles of psychology including abnormal psychology, historical events or even some trash or something worthless could be the basis of my subject as they engender some novel thought in me and naturally impel me to poeticize it. Everything is a source wherefrom my poems are generated.

MARIA MIRAGLIA:  Which were the emotions that inspired your first verses?

DALIP KHETARPAL: The bleak social scenario accompanied by my own anguish and an air of gloom and despondency that settled over me assumed some form of emotion that initially inspired my first verses.

MARIA MIRAGLIA:  Was your aspiration to become a poet or did all happen by chance?

DALIP KHETARPAL: It all happened by chance.

MARIA MIRAGLIA:  Who is the first person you read your poems to and why?

DALIP KHETARPAL: To my ex-professors of English literature and few litterateurs and poets.

MARIA MIRAGLIA:  Have you published any poetic anthology, if so what did you feel the first time you got it in your hands?

DALIP KHETARPAL: Till now I’ve published only six anthologies (of poems) and the seventh is in the offing. Most of my time is spent on editing, writing criticisms, reviews, appraisals and social service. I was elated when the first published anthology came in my hands.

MARIA MIRAGLIA:  Who are the poets you prefer reading? Do you get inspiration from them?

DALIP KHETARPAL: I prefer reading romantic poets like John Keats, P B Shelley, William Blake, S T Coleridge and modern poets like TS Eliot, WB Yeats, Walt Whitman and Ezra Pound, Dr Yayati Madan Gandhi, Dr Maria Miraglia, Jen Walls, PCK Prem and Dr OP Arora. Though I feel inspired by the romantic and some modern poets, their traits are reflected only peripherally in my poems which scarcely reveal their influence. I’m only inspired by my own original thoughts, philosophy and everything I experience, feel and observe in life. I’ve my own opinion on everything in life.

APRILIA ZANK:  How important is accessibility of meaning to you? Do you challenge the readers to work hard to decipher your poems, or do you prefer transparency of meaning?

DALIP KHETARPAL: Accessibility appears very meaningful to me only initially, for later when I start writing, my thoughts are given the first preference and the word ‘accessibility’ gets lost in oblivion. It would be a gimmick if I challenge my readers to work hard to decipher my poems. So, honestly speaking, without keeping into account the tastes or likes of readers, I go on writing spontaneously. Keeping the interest of readers in mind while writing would make my writing ostensible and unnatural. But then after assessing what I’ve written, I find that it is transparent and though avant-garde in style and content, it approximates to the tastes of serious and meaningful readers’ --- lexically, ideologically, psychologically and even philosophically as the thoughts presented are universal and appeal to all common men and are also very much within their comprehension.

APRILIA ZANK:  What kind of poems do you write mostly? Do you have recurring themes, or are all your poems unique?

DALIP KHETARPAL: I tried to pioneer a new genre in poetry writing and I think I’m one of the first Indian English poets who for the first time successfully synthesized and poeticized almost all branches of sciences including medical sciences, psychiatry, abnormal psychology and parapsychology and integrated them into my poetry. My poetry, thus marks a dramatic change in the literary history being a novel attempt to solve the most central problems of aesthetics comprehensively by examining them carefully and systematically on the basis of science, psychiatry and psychology. Veering away thus, from the type of poetry we witness today, I pioneered my own psychological poetry. My highlights are mainly related to the sub-conscious and unconscious mind. Though I know that laying bare subconscious and unconscious thoughts could be unacceptable, even dangerous, I still go in for it, but in a refined and elegant manner. I know that it is in one’s sub-consciousness that the truth of man lies—my aim being to reveal the ultimate truth hidden in the psyche of man. My themes do not recur. If they recur it is only incidental or inadvertent, but one must agree that every writer has a vision and because of that vision and certain personal beliefs, some key ideas may reflect in different poems in distinct ways. But this should not be interpreted as overlapping of themes. Viewed thus, my poems appear unique. 

APRILIA ZANK:  Do you think your poetry is typically feminine / masculine? If yes, in what way?

DALIP KHETARPAL: I’m yet to appraise whether my poetry is masculine or feminine as I don’t write with preconceived ideas or notions. However, in general, I’ve always considered females superior to males in many ways. On the whole, I can conveniently say that my poetry powerfully resonates with the readers of both sexes.

APRILIA ZANK:  Do you write mostly about yourself, or do you also have an open eye/ear for the issues of the world?

DALIP KHETARPAL: I live in this world and so is an indispensable part of it my eyes and ears are always open to the vital issues of the world. Sometimes, I write about what I observe in this world and sometimes about my personal feelings and experiences—depends on what occurs naturally to me at a specific point of time.

APRILIA ZANK:  In what way is your poetry different from that of other poets?

DALIP KHETARPAL: My poetry is basically psychological in nature. Unlike most contemporary poets, my highlights are mainly themes related to unconscious and sub-conscious thoughts that are often conventionally unacceptable because of their bohemian nature. Still, I go in for them, but in a refined and cultured manner, for I know that it is in one’s sub-consciousness that the truth of man lies—my aim being to reveal the ultimate latent truth of human psyche.

LEYLA IŞIK:  What are the main factors to make poetry real poetry?

DALIP KHETARPAL: True emotion and honest expression without caring for the audience’s likes or dislikes or saleability of the anthology in the market are factors that make real poetry. I feel that the greatest poetry is still out of the view of this world. Great poets writing in obscurity today are still oblivious to the world.

LEYLA IŞIK:  Do you think imagery is important in poetry? Where does the importance of imagery begin in a poem, where does it end?

DALIP KHETARPAL: Though imagery enriches the poem and adds beauty to it, it is not indispensable in poetry as there are poems which are philosophical, psychological, moral, metaphysical and religious that are denuded of images. Earlier, history, religion, magic, law, metaphysical speculations of the Aryan race and even Egyptian astronomy and cosmogony which were rhythmical, metrical and poetic in form, were almost devoid of imagery. A very powerful, strong and expressive language has to be employed for the sustenance of a poem if the imagery is to be put in abeyance. A poet sometimes imagines a suitable word that could convey the essence of his feelings or ideas and when he feels that words chosen or imagined fail to express his idea or feeling effectively and appropriately, he goes in for suitable images for the sustenance of his poem. So, he uses images as mental snapshots that appeal to the readers’ senses to reinforce the power and effect of his feeling, idea and theme till the end of the poem, thereby making it also appear well-knit. It cannot be denied that imagery embellishes and enriches the poem. Its main importance is that it stimulates imagination and creates vivid pictures in the reader’s mind and inspires them to enjoy sensory experience—sight, sound, taste, touch and smell till the poem finishes. Imagery starts playing its role when the poet wants to help his message get across in an expression that is vivid, telling and visual. If it is subtly used, it helps the reader to create a picture of his own in his mind. An image also facilitates the readers’ understanding of the crux or spirit of the poem. One can say that imagery is a sort of compressed language like simile, metaphor, personification, oxymoron, paradox, pun, etc.  A scene tellingly and vividly described with apt images can be unbelievably more lively and thought-provoking than its actual photograph.      

LEYLA IŞIK:  What are the most used types of poetry in your country?

DALIP KHETARPAL: Mostly, poetry in India is written in free verse or blank verse, though few poets write sonnet, limerick, haiku and haibun. Themes are on personal frustrations, fulfilled or unfulfilled love and on moral and socio-political evils.

LEYLA IŞIK:  What’s important to be a good poet? To write good poems!

DALIP KHETARPAL: It’s important to be original, spontaneous, honest, straightforward, gutsy and sensitive. It’s also important to wield some amount of imagination, powerful and intense feelings and emotions with some mastery over the chosen language to be a good poet and write good poems.

LEYLA IŞIK:     Who are the most important poets and their main properties nowadays?

DALIP KHETARPAL: Romantic poets like John Keats, P B Shelley, William Blake, S T Coleridge are still read today with great interest and fervor. We have many modern poets, but according to me some poets like T S Eliot, W B Yeats, Walt Whitman, Ezra Pound, Dr Yayati Madan Gandhi, Dr Maria Miraglia, Jen Walls, PCK Prem and Dr O P Arora and Hulya n. Yilmaz and few more are really important and hold the sway today in the current literary world. As a reaction against Neoclassicism, I feel that Romantic poets are important because of  their fascinating properties and modern appeal. I’m somewhat attracted and inspired by romantic poets because they were known for their strong senses, emotions and feelings, the awe of nature, celebration of the individual, liberal self-expression, love of liberty and freedom, subjectivity, escape to the beauties of middle ages, supernaturalism, capacity for wonder, reverence for the freshness and innocence of childhood, simplicity in style, interest in rural life, presentation of common life and emphasis on importance and truth of imagination, rather than scientific truth. The intellectual urbanites of today have reverted their interest and taste to these romantic traits at least in India Modern poets are also important, but in a different way. These poets inspire me by their stylistic experimentation and disruptive syntax, stream of consciousness technique, theme of alienation, freedom to experiment with new hybrid structures, free verse, ambiguity of ideas, reaction against formalism and established religious and socio-political views, focus on disordered life, symbolism, objectivism, psychological appeal, clarity and economy of language and imagism which combined the creation of an ‘image’ that is defined as ‘an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time’ or an ‘interpretative metaphor’. The mysticism of Blake and Dr Madan Gandhi also makes an interesting read.  A modern poem often ends by asserting that a poem is nothing, but ‘an act of the mind’ is quite true, psychologically.    

DEBORAH  BROOKS  LANGFORD:  Understanding poetry begins with visualizing the central images in the poem. What do you see, taste, smell, hear, and feel? What is the imagery of your poetry?

DALIP KHETARPAL: True that understanding poetry begins with visualizing the central images embedded in the poem. But the way one visualizes images is personal. So, one just cannot generalize what he visualizes. The way, what I see, taste, smell, hear and feel depends on the tangible or tactile quality of poetry. If I find the poetry picturesque and sensuous enough with vivid feelings and emotions of the poet, I do drown myself into it and palpably see, taste, smell, hear and feel it intensely. The imagery of my poetry depends on its theme. If I write about nature, images like sun, moon, stars, seas etc. are used, but if it is about human nature and its concomitant failings, various terms of psychology and even psychiatry are used. These are not actually images, but terms like ego, Id (Psychoan), super-ego, psycho-somatic, aetiology, prognosis, aphasia, autism, pathological fallacy, Pollyanna, dysphoria, sociosis, etc, etc. But when these are used figuratively or metaphorically, they create a particular mental picture which becomes an image itself. It may sound abstract, but a reader with a powerful imagination visualizes such self-made images in his own individual way. Rest, many more things are left to the readers’ imagination.                                                     

DEBORAH  BROOKS  LANGFORD:  What is the mood of your poetry? (Or How does it make you feel?)

DALIP KHETARPAL: The mood of my poetry depends on its theme. If the mood is melancholic or gloomy, it still makes me feel pleasant because I’m content with capturing that mood honestly, truthfully and delineated it with the same fervour, honesty and truthfulness. With an attitude as such, if the mood of a certain poem is cheerful and stimulating, I still have the same pleasant feeling, simply because of realistic presentation though imaginative and emotional colouring cannot be ruled out.

DEBORAH  BROOKS  LANGFORD:  In your poetry who is the speaker of the poem? Are you speaking to yourself or to others?

DALIP KHETARPAL: I speak to others, but first subconsciously, to myself also.

DEBORAH  BROOKS  LANGFORD:  What is the message of your poetry?  What messages do your poetry convey?

DALIP KHETARPAL: As I’m not a preacher, I don’t intend to convey any specific message through my poetry, though readers deduce that I’ve some message to convey and I also often discover this at some later stage. When I criticize social ills, violence, inhuman activities and various deficiencies and aberrations in the history of humanity, some positive and wholesome messages motivating and encouraging our sense of humanity, love, kindness, gratitude, sincerity, justice, truthfulness, sympathy, empathy, compassion, moral values, virtues, etc., automatically flow from my poetry.

DEBORAH  BROOKS  LANGFORD:   Does the internet and social media contribute to the success of your poetry? Is this the reason you write for?

DALIP KHETARPAL: Internet is one of the most effective and powerful tools of communication in the world. Sans internet no writing work of any writer is conceivable as all writers thrive on it to facilitate and accelerate their correspondences. Likewise, social media has a very crucial role to play these days as it assists its users to connect and share information with friends, relatives and writers. It also helps in shaping public opinion on one’s novel ideas or creations. Social media thus helps not only to carry my poetry and criticisms to the doorstep of writers but also builds relationships and establishes communication with potential poets and writers. Doubtless, such factors vitally contribute not only to the success of my poetry but also to the poetry of all poets. However, I still feel that without reading between the lines to decipher the essence of the writers’ thoughts and ideas, social media just go through their creations casually and spread the same among the masses as a matter of routine activity, mechanically. Hence, a greater amount of attention should be paid to the subtler and deeper thoughts and ideas of the writers so that proper message reaches the public at large. Honestly speaking, I write mainly to vent the plethora of my choked and suppressed feelings, but I feel blessed when my creations are widely recognized and valued, though this reason is of subordinate importance.      

NILAVRONILL SHOOVRO:  Thank you so much dear poet for the interview. We would like to know your personal experience with OPA as a literary web journal. Would you like to share anything more with our readers?

DALIP KHETARPAL: My experience with the interview has been wonderful and stimulating as questions asked were valid, relevant, thought-provoking and meaningful. Hearty thanks and best wishes!

DR. DALIP KHETARPAL Author, poet, critic, reviewer, editor, Columnist and short-story-writer. Former educationist and administrator.

No comments :

Post a Comment