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VIHANG A. NAIK | Author Interview

Born in Surat, Gujarat, Vihang has always been an avid reader and writer. He has to his credit four published collections of poems including the Poetry Manifesto: New & Selected Poems (2010), Making a Poem (2004), City Times and Other Poems (1993) and Jeevangeet (2001) which was published in Gujarati. We at landed lucky when we got a chance to interview this versatile poet.

Vihang A Naik | Author Interview

bookGeeks:There is almost always some inspiration behind every poem. What was your inspiration behind the anthology “City Times and other poems”?
Vihang:I don’t know. Yes, there must be some source, perhaps imperceptible. I believe in inspiration but more than that I believe in hard work and labor which in reference to “good poetry writing” is reading more of better poetry. Re-working often till you have sense of that which you want to communicate. It involves craft which is often subtle, only comes out of labor and sixth sense. It is, perhaps, this faculty which separates human from robot.  
bookGeeks:Our readers would certainly be interested in knowing how you go about writing poems? Can you tell us the process you go through while writing them?  
Vihang:It is different almost with most of my creative writings which you can call poems. Like my “Self Portrait” in the anthology defies any categorization or to put it in any genre. As it has almost seven blank pages in all with three words at tail end. However, any process you deliver involves pain. At times it is sudden or flash. But you then work it out if you are not satisfied or want to communicate subtle meanings through language or symbols or images that which you have experienced intuitively only in fraction of seconds which had been in flash or a spark of poetic experience or just a dim light glowing far away in darkness.  At times it may go beyond language. 
bookGeeks:When you begin writing a poem, do you ever have the fear that it may not come out well or that you won’t do justice to what you actually see in your mind’s eye?
Vihang:To be honest mind’s eyes is always reliable. It is often notorious. Though I have yet to name that source which I called in the beginning imperceptible i.e whatever you may call it, by any term or assign meaning to it. But the fear may be there when you have someone to judge. The judge may be yourself. One should guard against Judges. Judges are good to some extent only. When you want to reveal that imperceptible, one should never fear. 
bookGeeks:When did you first start writing poetry, and what made you take up poetry as an art form?
Vihang:This is a good question and the most difficult one. Cause every time I face this question I come out with different outlook, and when I now consider what all my insights, all are correct to an extent. But my first encounter with creative writing or poetic lines was when I was having a morning walk at Sri Maharishi Arvind Garden at Fatehgunj , Baroda where I used to stay at that time.  I then changed many places. During my walk I realized some source. It was just a flash. A spark. I then took up the pen and began to write. I collected it in some manuscript. Later, I burnt one collection which was then reviewed after the publication of my first collection which happens to be City Times and Other Poems.  It is rather the poetic form that selects you. 
bookGeeks:Do you think there is a good market for poets in the Indian market? Do you expect there to be any change in the near future?
Vihang:I never wrote for market . But as you have rightly put it markets play an important role in deciding the genre in which you place yourself. Poetry market is low as compared to fiction. Poetry is minority as compared with other genre. May be, with the promotion of good poetry there may be change in attitude in market. Moreover, you see, good poetry is complex as compared to popular fiction. I think, for good poetry market will always be slow. Poets are those who take the roads not travelled.   
bookGeeks:With Social Media being such an important part of everyone’s lives, do you think it helps or hurts poets?
Vihang:My personal advice to young generation of poets or creative writers is never shy away from Social Media which has almost become part of ones being. In fact, Social Media is powerful tool for anyone who wants to connect but one should be not be carried away. I know many who connect and many who do not. But those that do not connect with Social Media cannot stay away. Social Media is our age currency. One cannot ignore it. But one should keep in mind that Social Media is not substitute for good books. Physical books will always be there. There will be library always for good books. Library will never fade away. It will become stronger than before. Good writers and good books will always be there.
bookGeeks:In your opinion, should a poem’s message be easy for the reader to grasp or should they “work” on understanding it?
Vihang:There are many different kinds of poems. There are softer versions of poetry such as greetings cards, greetings and wishes. There is space for everyone in society. I usually write complex kind of poems which requires some reading and requires some prior work on understanding the poem. 
bookGeeks:What are the common mistakes you see budding poets making?
Vihang:Those who have just started practice writing poetry should first read , then read , then read more of good contemporary poetry as well. Language is wonderful phenomenon and clichés could be avoided. Rest is individual style. Usually poets without vision, as it seems, cannot carry farther. If possible, try translations as well as writings in English as India is a multi – cultural and multi – lingual country. 
bookGeeks:What would your advice be for those who want to be successful poets?
Vihang:There is no advice as such as every poets have their own individual writing styles and are with their own mission and vision. However, literary market is such a devious place that one may feel that it is not a place for poetry. But you see one has to keep on going in spite of unusual encouragement. Tomorrow will be yours
bookGeeks:Do you have any message for bookGeeks?
Vihang:bookGeeks acts as a bridge between us all. 





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