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‘You can have ten failures before one good poem. But it’s fine as long as you keep trying!’

Atharv Patil, the wonder poet from Apeejay Nerul, says that the entire problem of humanity lies in human greed

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Atharv Patil, class 12 student at Apeejay Nerul is perhaps too good a poet for his age. His mature ideas, confident expression and passionate use of words convey that his skill in writing verses is developing powerfully yet delicately like a flower in spring. In the Apeejay Promising Poetinterview series, the young poet discusses his reasons behind finding human nature as a highly interesting theme for his poems. Edited excerpts:

At what age did you start writing poems?

It might be surprising to hear but I started writing poems quite late as a student. I remember writing my first poems on New Year ’s Eve when I was in class 9. It was in 2019. I must have been 13-14 then. I started writing with rhyme and gradually as I got comfortable with English as a language, I started writing in free verse.

What was the inspiration behind writing poetry?

I can’t say there was one particular inspiration. It just came naturally to me. I think poetry is a divine form of art and it strikes you naturally. There are a variety of inspirations. Nowadays, there are various kinds of crises in the world, which evoke certain emotions in one that can lead to writing a poem. This is what happens in my case.

Please tell us about the process behind writing a poem?

I believe myself to be an unconventional poet. 90 % of the times that I have written a poem, I have never sat with a paper and pen in front of me. I was doing some other work, sometimes, I was even preparing to sleep when a poem or an idea struck me. That is what happens with me. Most of the time, I am involved in some other work and the idea suddenly strikes me. That is the process with me. It strikes one naturally, as I said poetry is a divine art form. Whenever an idea strikes me, I take out my pen and paper and start penning down the poem. I carry my I-pad with me, so I jot down the idea there. There are poems which I have written in weeks and there are poems which I have written within half an hour as well.

What are the common themes on which you write poems?

My favourite theme is human nature. Instead of focusing on major problems such as global warming, humans are more focused towards wars and creating artificial crises. That is what angers me a lot. I often write about this.

What was the thought process behind your poem A Wall?

As I just mentioned, certain aspects of human nature anger me and evoke certain emotions within me which I want to express through words. This is what I did in the poem. The poem speaks about a wall which the narrator wants to create between children and the adults. So that the children can be kept away from the artificially created problems of the adults. In the end of the poem, the adults wage a war on the children. Humans are always hungry for more. So they don’t even spare the children and usurp their land. That illustrates human nature. Humans can go to any extent to conquer. The greed for power is the real problem.

How does your school Apeejay Nerul help you to write such beautiful poems?

My school has certainly helped me a lot since the past 14 years. I have had some amazing English teachers who have ensured that my proficiency in English and the control over the language is excellent. With their help, I have gained confidence in English which in turn has helped me write so many poems. I would like to thank my high school teacher Mrs. Swagata Das Ma’am. She has guided me in class 11 and 12, the most important years of my school life.  

What are some of the next works we will see from your pen?

Well, currently. I am occupied with my exams so I haven’t planned any work. But there are a few of my pending works. I have a few poems in which talk about the Maratha empire. There are many stories about the Maratha empire which are not published in the history books and thus not all students are aware about them. I want to share these stories through my poems.

Do you prefer rhyme or free verse?

I started with rhyme and then went to free verse but still I prefer rhyme. It makes the poem more interesting.

What is your favourite poem and who is your favourite poet?

Vikram Seth is my favourite poet. He writes wonderful rhymes and most importantly he maintains the tone of the poem as well. My favourite poem written by him is The Tale of Melon City.

I love the plot which he has so beautifully illustrated in the poem and also the way in which he has maintained the rhyme. He has not just matched the last syllables of each consecutive line but he also has regulated the meter of the poem wonderfully. This is very important in our times.

What advice would you like to give to a young budding poet?

The most important thing is that you should spend time with yourself. You must introspect and try to find yourself in a good environment. This might inspire you.

The second advice is that you must try writing something regularly. Even if it is bad, you should at least try. You can have ten failures before having one good poem. But that’s totally fine. You should just try and go ahead.

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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