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poems. So it’s not an accident that in my poems, quite often there are epigraphs - some word, some idea that I am responding to. And it’s not always the case that a poem was written because of an epigraph. Sometimes you connect it with something and that might actually alter the poem. That was the third thing I was talking about - looking at poems about children and students and both of them responding to other poems. Poetry often responds to other poetry, consciously or unconsciously. That is another thing that I find happening a lot. LK: You spoke about the writers and poets who have influenced you, but which books would you recommend for a beginner? SM: Actually, a few students have asked me similar questions about suggesting something to read. I can only speak from the stuff I’ve read and that’s obviously somewhat personal. I may respond to a poem by someone like Mary Oliver but everyone may not. Seamus Heaney was very important to me at one time and he still is. Because when I was living in Uttarkashi I didn’t have access to many books but among the few that I had with me were some of his books, both poetry and prose. He has written some very interesting essays about some other poets, very insightful and empathetic. I think I learnt a lot about the aspects of craft and what a poet does through some of his writings on other poets and of course his poems as well. So I would recommend his essays, his poetry, definitely. But you said beginner, otherwise I would’ve talked about some of the poets I’m reading now. Kolhatkar, I think, is very accessible. Sujata Bhatt, Neruda; a lot of Neruda’s poetry is really sort of passionate, direct, which is why he became such a popular poet. I think there are some good books which unfold poetry. For instance, this book How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love with Poetry by Edward Hirsch - is a very good book to read because Hirsch looks appreciatively at poetry and all the poems that have meant a lot to him. It also includes a range of poetry, English, Non-English, etcetera from various regions, exploring what poetry does while looking at these sometimes very different poems. So it’s a book through which you learn about poets, about poetry, and I’m sure there are other books that can be read too. Mary Oliver is also a poet who is very accessible, direct and responds deeply, especially to nature. LK: Have you ever tried any other form of writing and why did you choose to write in English? 57 Chaicopy | Vol. III | Issue I

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Chaicopy Yours Truly Issue Vol. 3 March 2019  

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