Q. What do you think your poetry says about you?
I think my poetry says, broadly speaking, two things about me: a) on the wider canvas, I am an angry introvert who desires the world to be just and fair but not a crusader.
b) On an individual human level my poems echo the cries and laughter of the past – the daily diet. To summarise, my poems say to the world, ‘I am a dreamer, a narrator but above all a lost soul still waiting to write the last best poem.’
Q. I was interested in your title, Two Wings – what is its significance?
Two Wings. As in Poetry and Prose. Each wing (poetry or prose) can empower a flight on its own. But the complete writer aspires to reach a higher goal so he or she uses two wings’ to reach as near to the destination as possible but not get burnt like Icarus.’
An example is Tagore, the Nobel prize winning Bengali poet, who wrote plays, stories and prose. I should add I am just a speck of dust compared to someone like Tagore.
Q. You’ve moved into the short story form in this new collection. How has writing short stories been different for you, from writing poetry?
Poetry is usually a condensed form of a thought or a narrative where plots, characters, dialogue, suspense etc (the bullet points of a story) do not play a significant part.
So I had to organise, setting out the basic plot, outline the characters, pace the narrative etc. It was hard work, but a good training for a poet who learns how to wait and see a story unfolds and writes itself.
Q. Do you think as a writer, you can ever be satisfied with life’s experiences?
A writer is never satisfied. Once he or she is satisfied with life’s experiences or anything else the hunger, the fire is extinguished – the the curry dish is well and truly cooked and entombed. So writers please stay hungry, keep the flame burning.
Q. Finally what advice would you give to anyone hoping to have their poetry published in a collection?
1st step: a) Write from the heart b) Write on any subject that stirs you c) Write in any place or any time. This would help you to create a large number of poems you need for a collection
2nd step: a) Ensure your poems are good. One way (which I followed) is to enlist in a course which would oblige you to do files of poetry that would be marked and commented on. A sure way to improve your work.
3rd step: a) Send poems to magazines and competitions. Expect disappointment. b) Search and find Small Poetry Presses from Internet. C) Pester them with manuscripts.
Expect rejections. Don’t give up. d) Go to Lit fests and poetry reading – buy poetry books, a publisher may just like your poems. Good luck.
Asit Maitra, FRCS, Emeritus A&E consultant (Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust), MA (Creative Writing, Newcastle University), came to Britain from India in 1961 and has lived in Newcastle since 1977. Having published chapbooks: Zig-Zags (with Pat Borthwick), Pharos Press, 1998 and Chapati-moon, ID on Tyne Press, 2007 he had now published four books, three of them poetry collections – Sun Dips at Juhu Beach (2009), Knife on the edge (2010), Under the street lamp (2011) and now TWO WINGS (2012 ), a collection of poems and short stories, all by Biscuit Publishing.
His poems have been published in Acumen, Other poetry, Dream Catcher, Norwich OPC Anthologies, Blinking Eye OPC Anthologies, Redbeck Anthology of South Asian Poetry, 2000 and Masala – Poetry from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan & Sri Lanka, Macmillan’s Children Book, 2005, Both sides of the Hadrian’s Wall, 2006, Book of Ten, Zebra Publishing, 2009.