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‘Ideas before words in poetry’

Priyanka Singh, student of Apeejay School, Charkhi Dadri, says writing a poem is simple, one has to just tap into the inspiration

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Indian society has rightfully perhaps forgotten the meaning behind the festivals and traditions surrounding it. Festivals have been reduced to just an Instagram reel, where all looks glamorous and lavish gifts are exchanged and a few religious prayers are uttered in a hurry by priests and devotees, waiting anxiously to move on to the next part of the social galore. Rarely is one interested to take a pause, observe, reflect, care to learn and then practice the real meanings of peace and harmony behind the celebrations.  

Luckily enough for the world, among the gracious few who actively engage in such a mindful reflection is Apeejay School, Charkhi Dadri, class 9 student Priyanka Singh. 

Her poem ‘Ek Nayi Diwali‘ speaks about a society where the inner candle is lit ahead of the ceremonial wax artifact. It speaks for a society where all girls are revered like the Goddess, it speaks of a society where humanitarianism goes beyond selfish acts of charity, it speaks of a society where torn relationships and broken ties are mended first, it speaks for an Inner Diwali. 

In the Apeejay Promising Poet’s series, the young poet says how she wishes to spread seeds of change through her words and help engineer an inner light in all. Read for more:

Since when did you start weaving verses?

I started writing poetry during the 2020 lockdown. I had a lot of free time which I was determined to use productively. 

That’s recent. So, how did the poet within come to existence? 

During one of our online classes in the first lockdown, we had a poem in our Hindi syllabus, (I do not remember the name), but it was very inspirational. That poem helped me find that light within myself as well. I too wanted to write poems like that. 

Your favourite poet and poem?

I do not have a favourite poet or poem. Truth be told. I have taken a break from poetry. It is a hobby for me. I am writing short stories in English at present. You can say, I can effectively express myself in both English and Hindi. Ruskin Bond is my favourite writer. I loved his work ‘The Blue Umbrella‘.  The girl in the book, the central character, was very inspiring and inspirational as she overcame all obstacles in her way.

Do you like poems in Hindi or English?

I like poems in Hindi. The poets are able to express their ideas more clearly in the Hindi language I feel. Also, the words used are very inspirational in a Hindi poem. Ofcourse, it is our mother tongue and so, I am more comfortable in it and hence the poems reach my heart directly.

How does your school help you in writing such promising literary work ?

Poonam ma’am, our former English teacher and Kuldeep Sir, our current English teacher helped me a lot. They inspire me so much. They always support me to read, write and develop myself. 

One piece of advice for a budding poet?

Think about the ideas first, the words will come next. In poetry, it is all about ideas before words. An idea for a poem can strike anywhere at any time. So be alert, inspiration is ever present.

What process do you follow for writing a poem?

It takes me a week to find the idea and then writing the poem takes half an hour. As I said, ideas before words. I do practice this.

The central question now: Rhyme or free verse

Both actually! They are equal for me. Both powerful and equally impressive. 

We loved your poem ‘Ek Nayi Diwali‘ What’s the thought behind that?

The poem indeed has a background. An incident happened in my locality during the 2020 Diwali. There was an incident of misdemeanor with a lady. That episode inspired this poem. I wanted to speak about social issues through this poem and help spark a change in our society, channelise an inner Diwali. 

What are your next poems?

I am taking a break from poetry as I mentioned. Maybe in the future, I’ll write poems again. I am focused on writing short stories at present.

Arijit Roy is a young correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. He has done his masters in English literature from Delhi University and has a book of poems published by Writers Workshop India. He can be reached at [email protected]

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