Mangaluru: August 25, 2015: Noted poet Arundhathi Subramaniam read her poetry, and answered questions from the audience, at the Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities (MCPH), a constituent of Manipal University, here on Monday.
The enthralling evening began with an hour-long reading of several lyric poems from her four published books — the themes ranged from wit to Bhakti, from rage to the city of Mumbai.
Ms. Subramaniam read her poetry slowly and mellifluously, and the clarity and crispness of her imagery stood out. After the reading, she answered several questions on the craft and themes of her oeuvre.
Many students asked questions on how and why she began writing and on the challenges and pitfalls of being a modern poet. Others asked questions such as the unexpectedly assured presence of spirituality in a contemporary poet. Ms. Subramaniam said she was charmed by the patterns of words even as a child. It took her many years and mountains of poems in the trash-can, before she finally published her first book at the age of thirty two, she said.
Explaining her values, she said she sees herself as a lyric poet — to see the universe in a grain of sand was still her ideal. The long form narrative poem did not hold her interest yet.
She felt more at home inheriting the rich world of Indian poetry — A.K. Ramanujam and Arun Kolatkar have been particularly strong influences on her, both as poets in English, as well as translators of traditional Indian lyric poetry in Tamil and Marathi, Ms. Subramaniam said.