The language of poems

In The Who-Am-I-Bird by Anuradha Vijayakrishnan, a complex world comes alive, where words ebb and flow
Anuradha Vijayakrishnan
Anuradha Vijayakrishnan

A multi-faceted person but a poet at heart is how Anuradha Vijayakrishnan likes to define herself. Though she writes everything, poetry is her first love. As she puts it, the major attraction of poems is their abstractness. Poets pen their thoughts, however, a reader might infer different meanings from them. That’s what made Anuradha passionately fall in love with poetry. Now, her collection of poems The Who-Am-I Bird has been translated into Arabic.   

“It is a tough job to translate an English poem into Arabic,” said Anuradha while praising the job well done by Sabah Deeb. “Seeing my poems come alive in a language I cannot read — and whose nuances and lyricism are foreign to me — was enormously moving,” said the poet, who works and lives in Dubai. According to her, not many Indian works have been translated into Arabic. “It is tougher to translate poems than writing them,” she added. 

A chemical engineering graduate who later did a master’s in management and found her calling in the banking industry, Anuradha used to pen poetry during her college days. “It was then I came into contact with Kamala Das. I had the opportunity to interact with her and she encouraged me a lot,” she said.
“When she was editing Femina magazine, I sent some of my poems to her. All I wanted was some suggestions and her opinion. But I was surprised to see them published in the magazine. That boosted my confidence,” said Anuradha, whose novel Seeing the Girl bagged the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2007. 

“Well, there is a story behind it,” she says. “This is my first novel. I used to write short stories and had never thought of writing a novel. Many people suggested developing my short stories into novels. And that was how Seeing The Girl, which began as a short story, took the shape of a novel,” said Anuradha.
For Anuradha writing comes naturally and especially at night. “I don’t plan or do research. Writing just happens. The stories develop in my mind and then onto the paper they flow,” she said. 

The author has a habit of ending her stories abruptly. “Yes, many have said that the short stories could have gone forward. Like the characters deserved to live longer. But, I don’t believe that. Life is not like that. It is like the scenery a person sees through the train window. You can see it only for a few moments. What happens outside is something you don’t know,” said Anuradha.

As to the long intervals between the publication of her books, Anuradha said, “I am not interested in the commercial side. I write because it gives me satisfaction.” “I know a writer is incomplete without a reader. However, for me, the satisfaction lies in writing and not in being read,” she explains. The author has recently finished writing a novella and is in the process of refining it.

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