"Simultaneously": Prerna Gill's debut novel meets the criteria of "good poetry." (2023)

In a social media world full of poetic clichés, Prerna Gill is a refreshing voice that isn't easy to rhetoric or understand. If good poetry is the silence between words, the gap between lines,at the same timeis a tried and tested collection.my kolkataShe talks to poets about her first collection of poems. Edited excerpt of conversation...

My Calcutta: Your author's note begins almost defensively with "publish a book". It also gives you insight into what poetry means to you: "...when the guests leave...the room is so quiet." Why do you call it narcissism and why do you call it poetry? ...does it help you with what you're looking for?


Prerna Gill: Writing is how I explore how it is still possible to compromise—to be feared, immobilized by what some call adultery, bored by others, and even lazy. I think this form of introspection also helps me understand how and where I heal from issues I struggle with, such as anxiety. It was almost therapeutic and pointed out how I could show mercy and where I needed to work. When poetry does me so much, I almost feel selfish—like I put the reader second—and that's clearly not on purpose. I write what I know, but even leaving the vocabulary to explore my own psyche seems very narcissistic, as if I can't stop staring at my own shadow. Not all of my songs are about this, but there are enough of them that it makes me a little uncomfortable when I think about it.

When did you first realize the need to write...be it poetry or dark mythology, I know it's another passion. Do you remember your first attempt at songwriting?

The first song I wrote was in high school and it was about a bat. Animals are so fascinating, but there's always something about bats. I think they are very cute and in no way deserve their terrible reputation. As for the darker stuff that crept in later, starting with gothic fiction, I love the atmosphere and the fact that it's never too funny - it makes me feel comfortable because by the time I get into it, I'm not in My best case scenario, depending on the conditions of my head room, is a sunny spot. Even now, when I feel better and more balanced, it's my favorite genre along with horror and dark fantasy. This obsession led to a line of supernatural-themed dolls and a series of critically acclaimed horror computer games. At work, this manifests as a list of publishers with many horror novels. I want to publish all the ghost stories, dark folklore and mythological books I can get away with. all the best.

Do you read a lot of poetry? Do you have any favorite things that inspire or influence your poetry?

I read a lot, but probably still not as much as I should. I love Anna Carson's work and I love Ella Frears. i am readingOrexia: poetryBy Lisa Russ Spaar. Of the older poets, my favorite is Sylvia Plath, for her eloquent capture of fleeting moments of violence. And her slow rhyming - I like it because I think she puts the words first and then everything follows - like a red chasing scalpel.

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Can you talk about the process—the birth of a song? Whether you rewrite/rewrite or come across a line in a single sketch, you're done. You can talk, say, (and) "Come for tea, she'll inherit the ice" (about not drowning). How did this line come about? where it begins and (ii) "We will unravel our consonants" (no strings attached). Where did this phrase come from, and where did it become part of the poem?

A song can start with a name, a random word, or an idea. I can think about a song for months and then delete it entirely. Sometimes I can go back to a fragment of a poem and give it new shape. The rule I set for myself is to put all my finished songs in one folder and then look back at them at different times of the year and in different moods to see if they said something else - even if they didn't what i want. A lot got deleted, but the ones I liked I saved in a new folder, ready to be uploaded wherever I thought I'd get the chance.

About the Ice Legacy verse: Here’s an excerpt from the song “Persona” from my own experience of dissociation in hard times — if you avoid confronting it, it ends up hurting. Meanwhile, the best way to see in the dark might be to look past -- noalreadythis. I'm not a psychiatrist, but this is a poem about a coping mechanism I once knew all too well. Also, I want to look at the genetic nature of things like anxiety. In my late teens, I struggled with moments when I couldn't move or feel. It was like I was numb with ice. I don't know where it came from, but the characters in the song do. The poem ends with references to her mother and sister, pulling her out of the underwater world she created when she drowned. Or rather not. "Tea Time" was chosen to anchor the moment in a very comfortable space with a certain social and civility pressure - it's a moment where it's hard to find yourself frozen, like people are all around you Sip as the cup conveys. I could only imagine what it was like, and it became this song.

The other poem you mentioned comes from a song that goes in the opposite direction, exploring fleeting moments of intimacy. The line is where the discreet disappears, and the sewing, rope and thread create many images...images that allow language to enter the moment. We have more consonants than vowels. They do a lot of what we're talking about, and many of them could be sharper and faster, rather than being gently rounded by an "an" like the apples that preceded it. These are the sharp, taut strings that are played more often. To me, they represent the common things we talk about. dialogue. Look at this moment in the poem, a one-night stand, where relaxation is represented as a purposeful deliberate act. It's a feeling achieved with steely determination.

You have six songs about color - the author's note also says "you can't see beyond gray...". What color is your song?

The gray in the intro is mostly to emphasize the everyday moments associated with the more dramatic milestones. Thanks to these songs, I discover colors in a slightly different way.

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Red: "And it's common on every face... some of us have been for twenty-five years." Red was the first color to disappear underwater, and I find it poetic in its own right . When it comes to time and age, the more some of us sink into our lives, or the deeper we sink into our difficulties, the more likely we are to lose what red is meant to be. As for my own sanity, I see red as the flip side of the abnormal form of silence that looms over me: the silence of normal, reasonable thought, otherwise counteracted by exaggerated fear. There was also a stillness of movement and movement, and sometimes a very odd inability to get up from where I sat during difficult stages. Then I thought the red one had left me. When I feel better, I am able to turn these images into words.

"The darker the red, the more lost

There are seagrass and bright coral

silence here

Zelena(I'm stunned by the contrast...mother's rage, green, closing day green): "The color of the last day... the color of mother's rage." I saw a connection to nature. I also see the indivisibility of nature and some strong protectiveness, especially the kind that manifests itself in a state of postpartum paranoia. Motherhood is natural and it is dangerous. The image of the snake in its lair and the way "its heart unfurls its hood" comes from a very personal encounter with this rage - which can't be helped as it's locked and loaded in case your own children was in danger. This is the most primitive thing. I was well prepared for postpartum depression, so the constant, protective state of anger surprised me. However, it never quite slipped away. Or rather, not yet.

blue: "The sea no longer stirs like wine... Spring has passed March... Most importantly, the memory of the mother's womb." As far as "blue" is concerned, I cannot ignore its role in culture, especially is in terms of gender. And how its symbolism has changed. Some cultures may never classify it as a color, and this is a fascinating example of how words can be so powerful, even beyond what we often see. When Homer described the sea as "black wine", it was taken to mean blue. This description has misled people for a long time. It's certainly a theory, but it's stuck with me: blue didn't become part of some languages ​​much later. The song then explores the relationship between blue and childhood. Once upon a time, pink was a man's color. I guess people thought the shade of pink was too instinctive for the little boy, maybe too close to the violence that preceded the guest's onslaught of cooing on the newborn. When you think of the sky and the open sea, it may be easier to forget the nature of birth and descent. So living is the exact opposite of giving life. For feminism.

yellow: "We live in the forest...with little birds in our mouths..." The song "Zuta" begins with another alias: the canary. So birds are mentioned for safety as we dig deep into rocks in search of what our predecessors embedded in the stone. The past is associated with dangerous issues awaiting inheritance. The image of the canary in the mouth is meant to emphasize that our words, our voices, can be all that signals danger when we are mired in problems created by past sins.

Black: "...the world is so green in summer, the fireflies are floating white... nothing is calmer than you..." On the other hand, the song "Black" is more related to current topics, such as psychological , and other aspects - I'd like to leave that part for explanation. What defines it, however, is the combat. The way blood collects from the skin of the attacker you are fighting is reflected in the first line: "You, there are nights under your nails." The rest of the poem begins with the shower, where "you" the person is Drawn to a strange and unknown place. It is haunted by a strange light that casts you beneath everything you know and remember: like a silent spectator. I can't move. It ends in the shower:

"In the stillness of the foggy mirror

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He's as calm as you"

This silence, this silence. This poem lets me face it like a glove that protects me as I learn things that I know are difficult. Sometimes scary.

white: "Mogra...we smell their sorrow and long for us to wear white...so we are heaven." In the case of "white", on the other hand, the meaning is very clear. We wear white to mourn. Or "crave", as I see it. Given the theme here - death, I wanted to keep a softer feel to it. I'm an atheist, but I believe nothingness can bring peace. That's why I never write about spirituality - I don't know what to say. For me, beauty lies in the difference between nothingness and emptiness. After death, you see the world no differently than the Mogra people see the world. Or smoke. or air.

Are you following the contemporary poetry scene in India? How hard was it to get this book published? Does being part of the hashtag help? Do you think social media and self-publishing platforms have a lot of childish vocabulary masquerading as poetry...or do you think it's a boon?

I like most of the contemporary poetry published in India. Many poems of Indian poets read like magic in India. However, I will say that social media poetry is not for me. But it works for many people. These days, most of us don't have the time to sit down and talk about how we feel, and on social media, all you get is quick and easy content. I've seen on some platforms that queues can help slow people down while scrolling. I can't say what is art and what isn't, but I do know that these works are often presented in a way that is easy to read and understand, and to serve people. Otherwise it wouldn't be so popular. That said, I'm still waiting for other forms of poetry to become mainstream.

On the release of this book: I have a big edge. As a writer and editor, I have to present to my publisher all the work I intend to publish. I'm glad Udayan Mitra likes these songs. I don't want to publish anywhere else in India because I know that at HarperCollins India we put authors first. Why go elsewhere?

Not many people know about your relationship with Dharmendraremember.Since many of us are aware of his skills as an Urdu poet, have you read his work and more importantly, what does he think about your poetry? Can we expect granddaughters to translate grandfather poetry?

I think my Instagram account clearly connects anyone who might be looking me up on the internet. He was also very kind in endorsing the book and supporting it on social media, for which I am very grateful. I don't have his talent, but I believe I will always have his blessing. So did my uncles. Many of their admirers and supporters bought the books, or at least wrote that they would—one of the best ways to support poetry, which is always a hard sell. As for my grandfather's poetry, I have to admit with great regret that my knowledge of Urdu is poor. I can't read the script at all. I'd love to translate his work if I could, because I know he puts his heart and soul into every stanza, just as he puts his soul into every character he plays on screen. I want to publish his poems - if only he would let me!

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