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Verse and sensibility

Published : Sep 21, 2016, 1:46 pm IST
Updated : Sep 21, 2016, 1:46 pm IST

We catch up with poet Mihir Chitre, who will conduct a poetry workshop this weekend, for a quick chat on the power of the written word.


We catch up with poet Mihir Chitre, who will conduct a poetry workshop this weekend, for a quick chat on the power of the written word.

Don’t be a poet. Unless you can’t stop being one. If you have a choice, please don’t do poetry. Be anything else, a welder, a carpenter, an engineer, but a poet. These are the words with which Mihir Chitre opens a note that he had shared on a social media platform perhaps reminding many poetry lovers of Charles Bukowski’s So You Want to be a Writer. However, Mihir is a poet and long enough to know the misfortune that’s often attached to poetry and poets. He will be sharing some of his experience in an upcoming workshop simply titled, An Evening of Poetry.

This Mumbai boy, is one of the youngest writers to be published by Sahitya Akademi for his first book of poems called Hyphenated. For a decade, his work has found its place in several literary magazines, journals and even anthologies. A celebrated recent anthology that he was excited to be part of is 40 under 40.

But Mihir’s journey as a poet started without real aspiration to be a poet. “I am an engineering student. I didn’t study literature in college,” he says. “But it was always a hobby, as a child, I would often read and like everybody else, I started writing bad poems,” he adds, half seriously.

Mihir started seriously engaging with poetry in his early twenties. One of his earliest inspirations, he says, was T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, a poem that Eliot had written at the age of 23. “I also loved Rainer Maria Rilke and Pablo Neruda. Who doesn’t love Neruda He’s like the Kurt Cobain of poetry,” Mihir quips.

Closer home, he cites, Arun Kolatkar as a major influence. “I have a immense love and respect for the ‘Golden Generation’, but I do not try to imitate their form of style,” he points out.

Speaking on his own form and style, he says, “Although most often I shy away from a definition, perhaps my poetry would be about the craziness that I find in things common and mundane. If you stare at a cloud for long enough, you will end up imagining it as a familiar object.”

Fantasy, however, is not his cuppa. “Although it might shock many, I don’t like fantasy fiction, be it books or films — Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or even The Dark Knight — at all.”

“Sensibility,” according to the 28-year-old poet, “is the most important thing.” “I try to be honest to myself. When I write, I do not think of an audience. I think that corrupts a writer. But most importantly, I have realised that when an artist accepts that you have some lack of perfection, some uncertainty, it transcends beyond meaning, like any truly great piece of work,” he says.

Although “principally” Mihir believes that “poetry cannot be taught,” he is looking forward to the workshop, which has been organised by Open Bracket. “Considering I have been engaging seriously with poetry for almost a decade, I believe, I can share some experience, forget achievements. I have never attended any poetry workshop in life, but in this workshop, if we end up having a two-way enriching conversation; then this would be the workshop I wish I could attend. But here I am conducting one,” he concludes.

Join Mihir for some fun writing exercises and much more on September 24, 4.30 pm, at Of10, Prudential Ground Floor, Hiranandani Gardens, Powai.