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Interview from South Africa - poet Amitabh Mitra

by Patrick Sammut

1. How does Amitabh Mitra reconcile medicine, poetry and printing? Is there a balance between the three activities or does one or more of them rule over the others?

Medicine is Science and therefore it has certain laid down rules which one has to follow, it could be an art if one is allowed to play with it which only a few in developed countries do in terms of research. As a trauma surgeon, I deal with violence and aftermath of extreme violence in my daily work. Medicine becomes a chain of events that follow. Poetry and Publishing on the other hand are creative involvements which need words, color and images in a vivid realm. There are no balances, just changing of hats and clicking the mind to different superhighways.

2. Both medicine and poetry are a vocation. How do you react to such a statement?

Medicine is a vocation, it chose me. Poetry can be a vocation only up to a certain limit as words cannot fulfill the desires till the end, it is then the poet goes on to the next step of indulging in visual arts and the cinema.
A short poetry film-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ujbrnXdXHM

3. Can you describe Gwalior, and the place where you live in the present?

Gwalior is my home town, a small town in Central India, littered with palaces, forts and royal intrigues. I remain a part of that landscape.
One of my art and poem on Gwalior

http://poetsprintery.book.co.za/blog/2009/01/10/gwalior/

I stay in East London which is in South Africa
A poem on South Africa

http://www.boloji.com/poetry/3001-3100/3037.htm

4. Amitabh Mitra, South Africa and sources of inspiration?

South Africa is a young democracy, multicolored in a variety of hues. The contemporary literature movement here has the varied ethnicity one expects, very similar to the literature movement in India with its variety of languages, colors and traditions.

5. You are also editor of New York based Poetry magazine “A Hudson View” which specializes in free verse and abstraction. What is the genesis of this publication, its objectives and its contributors?

‘A Hudson View’ is an international print poetry journal being published by Victoria Valentine in New York, USA. Victoria herself a well known writer and poet also publishes Skyline Review and the Literary House which she edits too. ‘A Hudson View’ is printed simultaneously in USA and South Africa. As its editor, I have encouraged the free verse form and abstraction, ‘landscape poetry’ becomes limited for any poet to a certain stage. We are proud to publish relatively unknown poets from the US, UK, Europe, Southern Africa, Middle East and SAARC countries. We actively participate in poetry festivals worldwide.

6. Amitabh also seems to have found a twin artistic expression together with poetry, painting. How do poetry and painting complement each other for Amitabh?

I illustrate my poems which gives the much needed visual effect a poem needs. It allows you to read the poem again and again.
An Example
http://poetsprintery.book.co.za/blog/2009/01/25/waiting/

7. Internet: a blessing or an obstacle for poets and literature lovers?

I believe Internet is more than a blessing. We could publish poets who could never have been published before the internet revolution. Yes, we still need the print but cyber literature is here to stay.

8. How is Amitabh Mitra as a person, and how does he occupy a normal day?

Poetry, Poetry, Poetry………

9. Last question: love is one of the themes you write about in your poetry. Another theme is the past and memories. Can you elaborate some more about your themes?

I write only Love Poetry because it is the poetry of the man on the street, it is the poetry of strangers and it is the poetry crossing global barriers of caste creed and religion. Love poetry is bliss, for the poet who creates and for the reader who reads it.

Dear poet Amitah Mitra, many thanks for your sincere answers.
See also: http://poetsprintery.book.co.za/blog/2009/02/06/an-interview-with-patrick-sammut/

 
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