SONGSOPTOK:: Does poetry move you more than other forms of literature? If so why?

VIJAY VAGHELA: Any form of art has the ability to convey deep inner feelings and emotions, be it drawing, painting, music, prose or poetry. Yet when we talk of literature, poetry has an inherent strength that empowers the writer to express more with less, larger meanings with briefer text content. At a personal level I find both prose as well as poetry possessing creativity, strengths and individuality of expression. To be honest with you, I am less of a writer, and more of a reader. Apart from literature I am very fond of music, and I believe that music and visuals can greatly enhance the power of poetry.

SONGSOPTOK:  Do you think that poetry plays a central role in literature?

 VIJAY VAGHELA:  Not necessarily. Poetry and prose can very stand on their own “feet” without the need for reciprocating or complimenting each other. And if these two are blended together effectively and artistically, the brightness of the light that the final product casts is increased many folds. Thus one cannot say that literature cannot exist without poetry or poetic content.

SONGSOPTOK:: In your opinion, what is the relationship between life and literature? What is your own experience? In other words are you a protagonist of "art for art's sake"? Can you please present us with your point of view?

VIJAY VAGHELA:  Life and literature are definitely related. Literature is born out of life experiences. Literature becomes the medium of expression for narrating of our life experiences, emotions and feelings. Just imagine, if the entire planet was in a state of bliss, happiness everywhere, beauty everywhere, no ugliness, no jealousy, no atrocities, no pain…just one single happy blissful emotion, feeling and experience, there would not be much else to feel or to write about. Thus I would say that literature as we know of it and as we understand it, would just not be, would just not exist.

Art cannot be just for art’s sake. There is a purpose, message and meaning in everything that we see and experience around us. Experiences of our lives ignite the sparks of desire to share them with the world around us. The medium for this sharing, I may say, is art, which could be in various forms.

SONGSOPTOK::  Do you think that society is the key factor in shaping you up as a poet, or is your poetry an internal phenomenon?

VIJAY VAGHELA:  Society is the stage that is our environment, the stage on which the drama of our lives and experiences unfold. This is where we interact with our surroundings, with nature, with people, experience varied feelings and emotions, establish (and break…!) relationships, and so on. As the acts of this life drama are played out, they go on shaping us to be what we are and how we express ourselves and how we relate to things and people around us. Thus I believe, that my writings (I do not write much, I am not much of a writer or a poet, as I mentioned earlier) are essentially based on the experiences that I have had in my life. I strongly believe that poetry (or any other form of art) cannot be an internal phenomenon.  

SONGSOPTOK:   As a poet, writer and a creative thinker; how do you respond to our present society which seems to be in a constant flux?

VIJAY VAGHELA:  Well…there are innumerable areas that deserve to be addressed through any form of art by creative thinkers and writers. A gifted talented writer can visualise art and poetry in anything and everything that surrounds us including our own experiences and experiences of people. Poetry and creative writing is not necessary only about love and romance. As I mentioned somewhere earlier, I am not much of a writer and most of my writings are about love and romance or the lack of these in general. Maybe I am more of a romantic individual. But I must say, that for versatile writers who are well read, it is very natural and an inbuilt gift they possess to be able to move along with the changes and the constant flux that our society is in during present times.

SONGSOPTOK: India has a great history both ancient and modern- of prosperity, turmoil, invasion by foreign imperialist races, struggle, progress,...What is the influence of the history of this country on your own work and your creativity? We would also like to know the key factors and the peoples who have influenced you in your growing phase.

VIJAY VAGHELA:  India does have a great history with many upheavals. But then, one can say the same thing is true for other nations and the entire world. And further yet, I would like to add that there are a few things about India, the way we are, the way our traditions are, the way our traditions have been through history and time, which are different. The clear differences as compared to the rest of the world lie in the fact that we all share as Indians, and possess, are stronger and meaningful family values, bonds of love, a strong belief in the institute of marriage. This matters a lot as to how we look at and interact with the world around us. I am glad and happy this has not yet changed and mostly remains intact, in spite of stormy western influences and modernism. I should say that this is one of the key factors that I truly believe in and thus responsible for shaping me the way I am. My work (whatever little there is – in the world of poetry) is largely influenced by the feelings that are built from the bricks of my experiences of interaction with people in my life, viz, my family, my friends, my close friends and of course, needless to say, my feelings of love, beauty and romance.

SONGSOPTOK::  Do you believe that all writers are by and large the product of their nationality? Is it an incentive or an obstacle for becoming a truly international writer?

VIJAY VAGHELA:   I would say that writers are generally a product of their experiences and interactions with their surroundings, situations, environment, circumstances and people. These are universal for the entire humanity and thus nationality does not come into picture.

Although your question does not specify “published” writers, I would like to add that in the publishing arena, nationality or rather the country where the writer comes from can become an incentive, or an obstacle, and getting published could be easier or become a major hurdle and an issue. For example, if I am not mistaken, getting an ISBN number for a book, or RNI number for a magazine or periodical is a long drawn procedure with numerous formalities, requirement and procedures. This seriously hinders and de-motivates writers. This snowballs into a kind of monopolisation of the publishing houses, who generally leave nothing except meagre handouts in the hands of writers. If these obstacles are removed, more and more writers would find it easier to publish their work and thus gain international recognition. 

SONGSOPTOK:  Now coming back to poetry, if we try to understand tradition and modernism, do you think poetry can play a pivotal role relating the two? If so,how?

VIJAY VAGHELA:   Any creative writing and art can help to blend traditions with modernism. In fact,  poetry can provide a subtle reminder to one and all that the world has evolved and become modern through the foundations laid down by traditional values. I am not saying here that one should have blind faith in traditions, but we are all provided with some reasonable mental faculties by creation so as to be able to attempt to relate tradition and modernism. Modernism has not fallen down from the sky all of a sudden! Human thought processes, emotions and feelings are no different from those that used to exist in history.

SONGSOPTOK:   What are your opinions about the role of the poet in bridging the gap, if any, between tradition and modernism?

VIJAY VAGHELA:   To be able to bridge this gap, as you put it, between tradition and modernism, I  believe that one of the requirements of the writer/ poet is that he/ she should be an avid reader and absorb the intricacies of traditionalism into his cognitive domain. One cannot become a good writer without extensive reading. Then it is up to the style and the skill of the poet as to how he paints the colours of tradition on the canvas of modernism.  

SONGSOPTOK:  Now coming back to our everyday reality, do you think people in general actually bother about poetry? Do you think this consumerist world is turning the average man away from serious literature?

VIJAY VAGHELA:  There is a saying that one man’s food is another man’s poison. Generally speaking, not everyone in this world loves reading, or poetry. Thus I would answer the second part of your question with reference to those who are approximately interested in poetry or at least have some degree of interest and inclination towards poetry.

I have made some very interesting observations since the inception of my website www.poetrybits.com in 2014. From this point onwards I began to interact with people in various groups on facebook, various communities on Google +, and also to a certain extent on Twitter. Some of my interesting observations are as follows.

The number of facebook likes or +1’s on Google+ should not be interpreted as genuine appreciation. One can click on the “like” button or “+1” button even without reading the poem. And this does not take time to do. Even comments like “nice”, “beautiful”, “lovely”, and so on, do not require any thinking and thus cannot be measured as true appreciation. I do not mean to say that this is true for all; and I cannot stop myself from saying that there are very few who actually read and comment with reference to the content of the poem. Now that is a real comment. It indicates that the person has actually read the poem, thought about it, and then commented. So, why is it this way most of the time? The answer to this lies in your second question. It is “this consumerist world” that does not have the time to read, think and then respond! Each one to himself…time is short…time is running…time is flying…so much to do…so much to write…so much to say...so much to publish!!! Everyone wants to promote, and everyone wants to sell. Everyone wants people to purchase their published books. But unfortunately not many wish to buy them; now, that surely is some serious consumerism here that has gone very wrong! And in this chaos, serious literature, serious writing, serious poetry and serious writers, all tend to lose visibility.

SONGSOPTOK:   Do you think in this age of information and technology the dimensions of literature has largely been extended beyond our preconceived ideas about literature in general? Tell us about your own experiences about web mags in general and it’s future.

VIJAY VAGHELA: There are two ways in which one can look at it. Information technology, computers, Internet, networking, social networks and mobile communication have definitely helped to widen and deepen the penetration and reach of literature and art. One serious problem of lost visibility does exist in the virtual flood of exposure, which I have mentioned in the previous answer. Apart from this issue I would say that the horizons of literature have literally expanded exponentially due to this information age and technology. Earlier the reach was narrow, a statement that would fill well in our preconceived notions. Thus one used to be blocked by barriers of not being able to reach out to the world. Today it is not so – all because of technology.

Today the world is moving on to becoming a “paperless” world. Sheer economy, instant delivery and huge benefits for the environment are the factors that will surely drive the world of web magazines to a destination of greater glory and success.

SONGSOPTOK:  Many thanks Vijay for spending such a wonderful time with us, we would like to conclude this interview with a personal note, are you satisfied about your own achievements in your life?  What are your plans for future?

VIJAY VAGHELA:  On the personal front, I find that all my achievements in personal life, my work life and also the world of poetry (into which I ventured recently) have given me immense self satisfaction. I believe that my worth is measured by this. At present I am not able to devote all my time to my website www.poetrybits.com, since I am employed. In spite of this, I try my best to keep on improving the features and performance of the website. The future holds many dreams, not just for me, but for my fellow writers and poets, for whom I have created this website. I have already drawn some exciting plans with a focus on what I will be able to give them, rather than what I can take or make from them.

But more on that some other day dear friend. Thank you for inviting me for this interview laden with some really heavy but “yummy” questions! My best regards and wishes to you, your facebook group and your blog “Songsoptok”.


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