Posts Tagged ‘rewriting poetry is hard work!’

More Good News From Dr. RK Singh….

June 9, 2009

Another letter from Dr. Singh this morning and this is not unusual between us.  When we write, we are like birds swooping in the air!  Then long stretches when we don’t write, but we get on with life.  But we think of the others poetry.  Most poets do.

I have more to think  of his than he has of mine.  Dr. Singh has many, many books published and many critical reviews.  The man is a powerhouse of poetry, and I stand in awe of his outlay.  He is a scientist, and his literature must mean his brain is fully functioning.

This morning he gave me permission to use his letters on my blog, which is of the most illuminating and gracious of permissions.  Every letter from Dr. Singh is an education in not only poetry, but humanism.  And of course, encouraging words to  a struggling poet.

Dr. Singh:

What you say about poetry, and especially tanka, is correct. What we read is generally depressing. As far as rhythm is concerned, I have been practicing free verse poetry and therefore free verse rhythm, which is  not free, as most people might think.
I had poet professor friend, LYLE GLAZIER, in Bennington, Vermont. I learnt from him how to edit a poem. Before I published my first collection, MY SILENCE, he edited almost every poem and showed me how he had done it, without damaging my own poetry in the poems. I also understood that if someone cared to count syllables of each line and maintained some kind of uniformity or pattern, he/she can ensure musicality in the structure. Later, it becomes ones habit, as it is in your or my case. You and i can write our haiku or tanka poems without  wasting time in thinking about words with certain number of syllables. These come to us naturally. Sometimes we may need to rewrite the poems for getting the (syllabic) balance (or musicality, as inherent in expression). The form takes care of itself when we are sure about our content. In haiku and tanka, it is what we call the perfect or haiku moment; the haiku or tanka poem happens naturally. By rewriting, however, sometimes we do improve the quality of what we compose. I maintain a variety with free form haiku/tanka and 3-5-3-5-5, 4-6-4-6-6, and 5-7-5-7-7 pattern–whatever naturally happens. Yet, one can make the poem better by editing, revising, rewriting, as and when feasible.
All those bred on English literature, including American lit., have metaphors appearing to them naturally. But the skill lies in creating images, the haiku or tanka becoming an image as a whole. Your poetry appeals to me because you are sensuous; the lines in each poem create a sensuous feeling and image when you are brief and effective. I am yet to achieve that level which happens effortlessly.
I will definitely write on the entries on your blog. You may also use the contents of my emails the way you like. Who knows whatever we do today becomes significant tomorrow?

Oh dear RK!  Although he refuses to allow me to think him a mentor in poetry, but says we are ‘colleagues’,  each email from him is a deeper education into poetry of all forms.  I especially want him to expound on this issue of “not free in freeverse”.  There is something very important in there.

His main blog:

I am so delighted that Dr. Singh will be contributing to the Lady Nyo blog.  This can only improve the issue of poetry and poetry discussion.

Lady Nyo.

A poem of Dr. Singh.

From ” Sexless Solitude and Other Poems”


It’s  all linked but I don’t understand
or don’t want to understand because

I am too much with me and worry
about her dying libido and my

own shrinking sex amidst salsa chill
Bihu fever, Vishu rituals

ringing emptiness day and night shake
the age-wrapped youth for single-edge play

in forked flame carve image of heaven
to challenge the jealous God undo

sins of races flowing in my blood:
I love Him through the bodies He made

but they don’t understand redemption
in churning and parting of the sea

they don’t rejoice in the flames of henna
on her palms nor let the lily bloom

in the valleys use the clefts and cliffs
To deface beauty and spike voices

don’t condemn me if I am not white
The water still flows in my river

RK Singh
Copyrighted, 2009

%d bloggers like this: