All about the balanceWinner of the first All Nepali Slam, Nawaraj Parajuli, recently launched his first poetry anthology—Sagarmathako Gahirahi.
Winner of the first All Nepali Slam, Nawaraj Parajuli, recently launched his first poetry anthology—Sagarmathako Gahirahi. Also passionate about theatre alongside poetry, Parajuli is a theatre artist at Theatre Village. In this conversation with the Post’s Samikshya Bhattarai, Parajuli talks about what drives him as a poet. Excerpts:
Can you tell us briefly about your book Sagarmathako Gahirahi, and inspiration behind it?
As a poet, I draw inspiration from everything around me. I am an observant person, and my poems draw on my observations and how something affects me.
Sagarmathako Gahirahi is a poetry anthology with 36 poems in it. The poems in the book cover an array of themes ranging from social issues and politics to philosophy and love. The poems have made it to the anthology because I am proud of them. As a poet I am very critical of my own work and hence I read and re-read, write and re-write everything until I know I have written something good. These poems have gone through that process.
Can you put light on your writing process? Do you always plan ahead or is it always spontaneous?
Poetry can come to me anywhere anytime. I don’t usually plan ahead, it is almost always spontaneous. When something inspires or touches me I make notes, and as soon as I get the opportunity I turn the notes into poems. It so often happens that I am riding my bike through the city and words flood to me.
Poetry to me is a medium through which I allow my personal feelings and thoughts to float up to the surface. To me it is a means of addressing my internal energy. However, there are times when I do plan it out and in that case the process in always rigorous. I invest time and energy in researching and understanding the subject that I plan to write about. Some of my poems in the book such as Prahari and Brahmaji ko Rasjoswala are products of the rigorous process. I wrote these poems not only because I feel deeply about the issues but also because it was necessary to communicate the feelings and the truth that inspired them to the readers.
The poems on women in your book have been narrated as a woman. How challenging was it?
Poetry as a process for me is about reciprocating the energy that I feel from the universe. Universe doesn’t have a gender. When I wrote these poems I didn’t struggle much because, I was just acting on, or drawing from what I felt. Poets are more than just players of words. They are also the medium through which the universe communicates to other human beings. To put it simply the poems are not written by me, but through me. It’s only a matter of presentation.
You won the All Nepali Slam in 2014. Does publishing spoken poetry take away the poem’s original charm?
No, not really. It is all about the presentation. Whether it’s written or spoken, the charm of the poem depends upon how you present it. Whether you are reciting, playing, acting or just writing a poem, it’s all a matter of the language you are using and how readers or listeners relate to them. The power or the charm of the poem depends on symbols, metaphors and imageries that you use to communicate an idea in a rich and beautiful manner. My poems don’t necessarily need to be labeled as slam poetry; they are just poems. Sometimes I perform them, sometimes I don’t. Performing a poem is just adding value to poem that would otherwise have been enclosed in papers, but not performing them doesn’t take the charm away.
You are also a theatre artist. Does one form of art bring richness to the other?
Yes. Both these art forms bring richness to the other. Both art forms help me grow in the other. Being a theatre artist has nurtured the poet in me. The skills I acquired as theatre artist has helped me in understanding the importance of everything from character development to attention to details. After starting theatre, I have started specialising in shorter poems because filtering what’s important and what’s not has been much easier. I can easily tell what will grasp a reader and what will not. And as a poet, I have been able to enact my roles with more passion and depth of understanding.