Currently residing in Delhi, but born and brought up in Bombay, Ajinkya is co-founder of Wildfire, a tech/digital startup that creates core technologies for original content creators. He is a student and practitioner of dhrupad music, and is deeply interested in arts education. As an independent researcher (and IFA Grantee), he wrote a book (in publishing) on Learning with the Dagars. He finds solace in poetry; and is figuring out a way to balance his writing, music, and his work as an entrepreneur, and consultant. His work has been published in Gallerie. He is currently compiling his poems to publish his first anthology.
1.Can you say something about what made you write your first poem??
I think I wrote the first poem I wrote (that I can remember and still exists somewhere) for a girl. In school. Possibly, the most filmy, and unintuitive thing to do at the time .
2.What does poetry mean to you? What do you feel when writing poetry?
For me writing is speaking. There is no real, true communication. I see our multiplicitous, diverse life journeys as an attempt to fill the hole of the absurd and the incomprehensible with narrative and meaning. We strive to make others see as we see, feel as we feel, know as we know.
Only in the arts – in poetry, music, performance arts among others – do I feel that without explanation, without acknowledgement, without trying even, sometimes, an impulsive, almost natural connection is established. For me, poetry is a winding bridge that connects people. I like to learn people, learn spaces, learn what it means to feel and say the same things as those who walked this world thousands of years ago. I’m interested in our sameness and in our difference. Those who didn’t suffer the scourge of memory. Poetry and music – the arts and crafts – become the classroom, where we can all sit together – as naked as the first light of dawn
3.Do you think poetry speaks to all kinds of people in all walks of life? How do you think we can take poetry out its confined literary circle?
Goethe said that one should “hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”
This is, of course, spoken with the assumption of privilege of many kinds. As artists and enthusiasts, we have to question this privilege, and resist it’s oppressive and elitist gaze. This year Prakriti had a lovely selection of artists – an Ishvar Krishnan whose voice resonates with the labourer on the street to other well established poets whose truths are universal, poetry sublime.
The endeavour is always to find alternative spaces, create, as Hakim Bey would call it “art sabotage” or “poetic terrorism”. The purpose of poetry is to speak truth. Limiting it to elite spaces would only be counter productive. This becomes especially significant in the current political climate, where voices of dissent and resistance are being violently silenced. In such a situation then, poetry should become prophecy.
In street corners, public squares, classrooms, train stations, bus stops, the voices of artists must echo.
4.When do you write poetry? Is there a specific time in a day? What makes you write a poem?
I write when something builds up inside and overwhelms me in a deeply visceral way. So much so that I have to put pen to paper, or fingertip to smartscreen, or keyboard, otherwise it will kill me! The incompleteness, almost as if a peg is not fitting into a hole hurts – sometimes a word is meant to be in that exact place in the scheme of things, a note is destined to curve in a certain way. The urge of the artist becomes an obsessive one – to set things right almost
5.What do you think of this new wave of insta poetry of today? Would you treat it as poetry too?
Haha, I know where you’re going with this question. It’s a trap!
Yaar, each to her own. The frames of reference are changing. Popular opinion decides the fate of art. Social media has changed the meaning of popular opinion to loudest rant or most simplistic accusation. This is easy, but it’s not always wrong. But who are we to decide, what is and what isn’t poetry. Today even machines are writing poetry (😂) There are all kinds of art, but I relate to the kind that touches me. that takes the craft forward. I cannot expect everyone to relate in the same way.
In the end the time will decide, of course what remains, and what survives
6.Where do you want to take your work in d future in terms of poetry?
I want to explore the forms more. Create more equitable spaces where my work takes on a life of its own. I want to collaborate with other artists across the spectrum and create narratives that mean different things to different communities in society. Poetry spreads in tandem with music, visual art and theatre. I see these as different threads that form a beautiful pattern in the same patchwork tapestry. I want to stitch my work to this endeavour.
Thanks Prakriti Foundation for the wonderful event.
Thanks Smita Anand for the wonderful pictures!
All images are copy right protected to Madras Photo Bloggers and Prakriti foundation