Monday, June 22, 2015

BLOG OF THE WEEK ~ THOTPURGE

This week, my friends, we would like to introduce one of our newer members, Rajani, who writes at Thotpurge. Rajani lives in India, as so many of our lovely members do. I can see a Poets United tea happening there one day! Once again we are boarding a plane for a trans-Atlantic flight, because we cannot get enough of the beauty that is India. It is a country that seems to have a large population of very talented poets.






Sherry: Rajani, it is so nice to be meeting with you. What part of India do you call home? 

Rajani: First of all, thank you for featuring my blog on Poets United. I’ve been visiting the site for a few months now, and it’s been fabulous reading the work of excellent poets from all over the world. I live in Bangalore, in southern India, a city that has developed into a major software hub in recent years.

Sherry: I know there are some other Poets United members in and around Bangalore. It is very beautiful there. I'm intrigued that you named your blog Thotpurge. Are blogging and poetry a release for you?

Rajani: It was name that I picked many years ago when I set up my first poetry blog...a spur-of-the-moment thing, not a lot of “Thot” went into it!  Strangely, though I have gone through different blogging platforms, the name has stuck.  I find writing poetry immensely satisfying, but I don’t think of it as a “release” just as yet. That’s part of the plan though - to delve deeper into myself and be able to articulate more honest feelings...maybe then it would be cathartic in a real sense.

Sherry: Let's take a look at three of your favourite poems. Would you tell us a bit about each one? 

Rajani: It’s hard to pick three favourites, Sherry, or even one for that matter!  I used to write only free verse, (was just general rambling really), but slowly started enjoying the challenge of different forms.  I’ve written quite a few “Poetweets” that are exactly 140 characters in length (derived from the limit on Twitter of course). I like poems that are not just descriptive, but convey a distinct mood, or perhaps have layers that each reader uncovers in a totally different way. Hopefully, I can write at that level some day, but for now, here’s a poetweet that I enjoyed writing:



Kabini Reserve


Sepia Sky

The moon is swirling in my coffee cup tonight,
coming apart at its silver seams,
hands tremble as I watch it drown
in my starless sepia sky.



Sherry: That is truly lovely - especially the "starless sepia sky". 

Rajani: I’ve dabbled in haiku on and off- I appreciate the challenge of its brevity. But very recently, I started writing haibun which incorporates both a travel related narrative and haiku. Travel is one thing I enjoy as much as poetry, so it’s sheer joy to be able to combine the two. Here’s one sample:



( Muscat, Oman )

Original Secret

Inside unblinking eyes, a mocking wave reveals the mantra of creation- sometimes exposing a soft blue shoulder, sometimes flicking a questioning toe, sometimes letting the wind peel her gossamer veil of froth.

Do we rush to the ocean’s edge, so the original mysteries can sing to us like finely tuned conch shells. Do we know that everything, that has any meaning, is tucked inside the damp crease of the horizon where the sky folds into the sea? Do we watch the tide waltz with the moon in a primal circadian rhythm that echoes inside our borrowed souls? If this is where it began, is this where it will end?

looking back at the waves
I see my footsteps
following me



Sherry: I really like haibun, too. This is a lovely one. The idea of the sky folding into the sea is especially beautiful. And the photo is amazing. 

Rajani: The third poem I’d like to share with you, Sherry, is in Ghazal form.  Ghazals are a part of the music we listen to here, but mainly in Hindi or Urdu.  To even think of a ghazal in English was difficult at first. Usually, a poem is almost fully formed in my head before I hit the keyboard, and then the end product is completely different, of course, except for a couple of key lines. So I set out to write something else, but this is what I ended up with.



Pangong Lake

This Hour

watch how the candle burns, from the tallow of this hour
clocks stand with folded arms, how will time follow this hour
clouds and stars shut their eyes, bombs rain down on naked fear
who will count heads and limbs, red rivers overflow this hour
death cries into trembling hands, its lifeline smudged by tears
humanity twists up in smoke, charred souls bellow this hour
shredded screams like fireworks, streak across the swollen sky
one last child, one last wail, who will bear sorrow this hour
somewhere the world sleeps in peace, somewhere the flowers bloom
someone checks one more box, in a screen’s blue glow this hour


Sherry: Ghazals are so lovely. The way this poem opens, and then travels through strife into, at the end, the thought of a world elsewhere sleeping in peace, is such a contrast. I think of that, often, living where I do, knowing how people suffer in other parts of the world.  Your photos are breathtaking - you live amidst such beauty!

Did you write as a child,  or did you come to it as an adult? Were you encouraged towards the arts in childhood?

Rajani: I’ve always loved to read and was encouraged to do so as a child. But I realize I was reading western authors and poets without any context, filling all the gaps in understanding with graphic imagination. Now, with travel and the internet, the pieces are all falling in place.  I did write a little even in school, but I don’t think I shared it with anyone.

Sherry: Do you write more, with a blog,  than you might if you did not have this platform for sharing your work?

Rajani: Being able to share my poetry on social media has helped enormously - in terms of confidence and experimentation with different forms. Interaction, prompts and communities stimulate the creative process. As for quantity, oh yes, I never would have tried to write a poem-a-day in April, if not for the buzz and support online.

Sherry: Me neither! What hopes and dreams do you have for your writing in the years ahead?

Rajani: I barely know a handful of people among friends and family who read poems, most run a mile from poetry of any sort, so I’d love to get more of them to connect in some way.  But mostly I’d like to write more from within myself, and reflective of my own roots and culture.  It’s a lot harder than I imagined!

Sherry: But you do it so well! Thank you for sharing your work and your thoughts with us today, Rajani. We look forward to enjoying much more of your work as time goes on.

Another fellow poet on her poetic pilgrimage, my friends. Wasn't this lovely? Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


44 comments:

  1. Your haibun touched my heart, Rajani, to think of the pieces--shoulder, toe, and others behind the frothy veil. I'd like to be able always to walk toward mystery, but I too back up and turn away. This hour also has body parts--this time disembodied. This poem, after 9 senseless deaths to a terrorist in a US city makes me read this with a kind of horror. Somewhere--I hope with you--is peace. Bless you. And you, too, Sherry!

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    1. Thank you Susan. This is a great forum and it's been amazing getting to know all of you and reading your work.,

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  2. Thank you for another wonderful interview Sherry :D its so nice to meet you Rajani.. your work is absolutely stunning.. I loved Sepia sky.. the images are breath-taking.. and to have composed in lesser words is incredible! You're such an inspiration to me :D

    Wishing you loads of happiness and success in the years to come ahead :D

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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    1. Thank you so much Sanaa. Warmest wishes to you too. Look forward to reading many more of your poems.

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  3. Rajani, I have been a fan of your poetry for as long as you have been around. I like the depth of your poetry. And this interview is good, as I have learned some things about you. I see you as a very serious poet, and I appreciate that. I also see you as a person who is reciprocal to others who comment on your poetry, and I appreciate that as well. Like you, I wrote in school but did not share with anyone. I am so happy to be part of Poets United where we can share with one another in a way I would not have dreamed possible some years ago. Smiles. India has some very good poets here at PU. You are one of them. Thanks, Sherry, for another great interview and glimpse into the life of a poet.

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    1. Thank you Mary for your kind words. Poets United has been a great forum to share and learn poetry and interact with all of you. A lovely community - am glad to be part of it.

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  4. Re-reading your ghazal, Rajani, in light of recent events in the US, your words hit home even more profoundly than before. It is truly a pleasure to learn more about you. Working with you on this feature was a delight.

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    1. Thanks to you Sherry for initiating this. Admire what you do here with the features and interviews. Sadly horror seems to have become a regular and universal feature... one can only hope there is light at the end of what seems to be a very long and dark tunnel.

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    2. I draw great inspiration and comfort for our online poetry community. There is much light to be found and shared in reading and sharing our work. So happy you have joined us, Rajani!

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  5. It is good to meet you Thotpurge. I loved all the examples of your work that are featured here; especially the Haibun. Now I am really tempted to write some as well as it is like telling a story then revealing your heart.

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    1. Thank you so much. I enjoy your poems and now look forward to your haibun!

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  6. What a wonderful glimpse into Rajani's life and surroundings. I just finished reading Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri and enjoyed comparing my impressions of India in this post and that novel. I am grateful that our cyber-community allows us to meet such interesting and creative people from all over the world.

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    1. Thank you Kim. Have read some of your poems and it's great to meet you here!

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  7. Great chat, and wonderful writing, as always - Thotpurge has some classical pieces on her blog not seen here, and it is really worth paying a visit. The last time I was there I forgot to sip my tea and instead let the words pour.
    Somehow quite nice to know your name, Rajani, thus meeting you ''outside'' your blogging platform.

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    1. One of Rajani's poems that knocked my socks off was the one she shared in the Pantry this past Sunday. Shadow Games

      https://thotpurge.wordpress.com/2015/06/10/shadow-games/

      If any of you missed it, I encourage you to read it, it is very wonderful.

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    2. Thank you Forest Tinker for all the encouragement and support. I did have my name up on my About page!!! :) And Sherry am glad you liked "Shadow Games"...thanks again.

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  8. Loved the interview, Sherry Blue Sky :) Nice to meet a poet from my city.

    Rajani, loved the Sepia poem. could imagine it well. Following your blog now. :)

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    1. Thanks Vinay, hello to a fellow Banglorean :)

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  9. As always a great interview, and so nice to learn of Rajani. To learn a little bit more of a poet that came into all the different poetry site I like to frequent. I loved your haibun, with the haiku being a classic crown of poetry. So nice to meet you, and thank your Sherry for the interview.

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    1. Thanks so much... I enjoy reading your poetry and look forward to reading many more!

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  10. your poetry is so musical, Rajani! "Sepia Sky" is stunning! and i know how difficult it is to write within the 140-character limit.

    another wonderful interview, Sherry! thank you for introducing us so well to so many!

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    1. Thank you. Great to meet you here and hope to read more of your work soon. The 140 is a huge challenge but very addictive and much fun!!

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  11. Another great interview! Nice to meet you Rajani your haibun is beautiful. I have seen you around the blogsphere thanks for visiting my blog. Wishing you a joyful week.

    Sherry, you always find interesting poets to interview. Enjoy your day..

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    1. Thank you, lovely to meet you too. I enjoy reading your poems!

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  12. Rajani your poetry is lovely. I like that you explore your yearning for wisdom and self-awareness in your poetry. It's so nice to know more about you after exchanging comments.
    Sherry, thank you for your interview. You always know what to aske in order to expose the heart of a poet.

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    1. Thank you Myrna... yes, this is such a great way to get to know people from all over the world. Huge thanks to Sherry as well!

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  13. Dear Rajani,

    Lovely to see your blog featured on this forum. It has been a fascinating journey over the last decade writing and sharing poetry with you, inspiring and being inspired by your beautiful style of poetry... having seen the various avatars of thot purge, I have to say you have blossomed as a poet. A complex and fascinating person that you are, I look forward for you to plumb deeper into your mind/heart/soul and serve us many more drops of poetic nectar.

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    1. Thank you Hemanth... always grateful for the support.

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  14. What beautiful words and a delight to read.

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    1. Thank you Vandana, great to meet you here.

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  15. Enjoyed the interview! Each one different and interesting! Thank you both!

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  16. What a lovely interview Sherry and I have loved your poems and the name of your blog Rajani....wonderful poems especially the Poetweets. I agree with Sherry...you do it well!

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    1. Hi Donna, thank you so much for reading my poems. I enjoy writing Poetweets, though they can get tricky sometimes!!!

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  17. Thank you, Sherry and Rajani! Lovely to become better acquainted with a poet whose blog I have been enjoying very much, and whose comments on my own are always thoughtful.

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    1. Great to meet you too Rosemary. Thank you. I enjoy your work too, hope to read many more of your poems!

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  18. Thank you, Sherry and Rajani! Lovely to become better acquainted with a poet whose blog I have been enjoying very much, and whose comments on my own are always thoughtful.

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  19. It's always pleasing and inspiring to know a fellow poet's journey in the creative process.. ...thank you for the lovely words and the poems you've shared here Rajani...three gems.. ...so nice to more about you here...thanks Sherry for the lovely interview...

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    1. Thank you Sumana.. it's lovely to read your uplifting poetry! Always click on your link with great anticipation.

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  20. Lovely to find out about you - i have often wondered about your blog name - good to find out!

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    1. Thank you Jae Rose.. love your style of writing!

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