Conversation 9: THE DAILY HAIKU INTERVIEWS: Amita Paul

Q1. Introduce yourself (include any previous writing experience if any).

I am a retired civil servant and poet from Punjab in India, currently living in Bihar where I have worked for 40 years. I have been a student and teacher of literature as well, like both my parents before me . 

I have had the opportunity to travel, study and live in countries other than my own which has shaped my worldview and literary sensibilities.

I began writing poetry at school when I was thirteen in the 4 languages I was familiar with : English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu. I have written poetry, prose and fiction all my life but never published anything except on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, which I joined in 2016. I superannuated from Govt service in November 2016. 

I became part of quite a few writers groups on FB and created several pages of my writings on FB . More than 1000 people follow my pages. 

I got a lot of encouragement and even two prestigious international awards from one of the groups for poetry and non fiction prose in 2019 and 2020. 

This recognition and appreciation has been very heartening and rewarding for me. 

Q2. How do you approach writing haiku? (chance to offer some insights into your writing process, whether you include visual and other material) 

I came across the Haiku form of poetry over 45 years ago as a poet and student of literature. 

It appealed to me due to its brevity and focused nature. 

I found that it helped in centering my thoughts which helped me to move into meditation or work or writing with greater ease. 

I often turn to reading or writing Haiku when I wish to relax or to prepare myself for writing a longer poem. I also turn to Haiku to record something that strikes me in a given moment that I feel I must record for myself more than for others. It’s an impulse similar to taking a snapshot of a sight or incident or thought or mental image idea or emotion to be turned to later. It may be for significance or for future enjoyment or for sharing. 

Q3. What do you enjoy about being a member of THE DAILY HAIKU group? 

I enjoy everything it involves from being given themes or prompts for haiku writing, to reading other people’s haikus to reading their responses on my haiku; from the weekly renga and haiga experiences to the sharing of insights on famous haiku of the past. I love the glimpses people share of their lives, their several worlds, and their myriad personalities through their posts and their comments. I love the sense of camaraderie and feeling of caring and sharing in the group. It’s a warm fuzzy feeling. I also love learning about new forms and techniques. Most of all I value the new insights I get from others’ writing and comments.

Q4. Do you have any comments on the wellbeing aspect of being part of a creative writing group? 

Yes. Sometimes people get competitive. Sometimes people feel inadequate or their work makes others feel inadequate. A good set of administrators helps iron out problems. 

It’s never a good idea to invest too much time or emotion in any one group. One should keep exploring options. That’s not to say one shouldn’t stay as long as one likes in one group; rather , it’s best to simultaneously try out others too .

And do try different types of writing.

Q5. Do pick out two of your favourite haiku that you have written.

My dream of you

And your dream of me

Could never meet 

 

Whispers

In the trees’ dreams

Migrant birds 

 

Q6. Do also please add any other comments/images etc about contributing haiku to the group and anything else you want to highlight.

Writing Haiku without getting too worried about their profundity is a great beginning to creative expression of all sorts 

I advise everyone to try it and to keep going back to it. 

You keep getting better and better at it with time often without even realising it.

8 Comments on “Conversation 9: THE DAILY HAIKU INTERVIEWS: Amita Paul”

  1. Thanks Amita, some great insights and very sound advice, especially about trying different kinds of writing. Experimenting with Haiku has certainly given me confidence to try writing different poetic forms including a rudimentary villanelle which I would never have dreamed of attempting before. Beautiful Haiku too x.

  2. Your ‘My dream of you…’ haiku was one of the most memorable haiku from the group in 2020. Your writing always touches me and is refreshing, often philosophical but also whimsical. I love the way you have the ability to write so freely and that haiku can facilitate this instinct easily due to its brevity. The comaraderie is something I have really enjoyed in the group and does give me too a warm, fuzzy feeling. I am especially excited that the group began with myself in Cornwall and has spread around the world – this diversity brings exciting new voices and ideas which is deeply inspiring.

  3. Thank you, Amita, for letting us get to know you better. I particularly like the ‘whispers…’ haiku and your ability to say so much in so few words. Wonderful.

  4. Thank you Amita for this great interview. I love reading your haiku and your thoughts about writing. It is wonderful to be in touch with you through this group.

  5. Thank you Amita for sharing your creativity with THE DAILY HAIKU. It has given me and many others the opportunity to learn from you and enjoy your poetry. You are truly gifted.

    You were the first person that I timidly reached out to within the group because you seemed approachable. Weeks later I went back to my notes and saved your haiku that you shared with me:

    Lost within
    Those ineffable thoughts
    Become Haiku

    Poet, Amita Paul,
    Patna, India, 2020

    Thank you for your good words.

  6. Hi Amita
    Ive always been struck by your haiku.
    Have the four languages you speak given you an angle of approach to haiku, and how you see the world?
    Whispers says so much in less than a haiku.
    Are there short poetry forms in India?
    I was there in the late 70s. Heard a lot of song but never looked into the poetry.
    Here’s to more of your work. Tom

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