Performance is a great way to take poetry and literature to more people: Ramya PandyanBy - Team PRC
Ramya Pandyan is just not a wordsmith, she knows how to make love to them. An ardent admirer of words that are written, read and spoken, Ramya hopes to make the world a better place, with one last word at a time. When not writing about men, love, life and the Island City, Mumbai, she prefers battling obscurity and trolls.
Team Planet Radio City engages with the Ideasmithy as she is better known as for a quick chat. Read on.
When did you fall in love with the pen?
I enjoyed writing, even as a child. I was first a contributor, then a columnist for and then finally a part of the editorial committee of my college magazine. I was fortunate to find the internet early in my life, especially blogging and I've been blogging for over 12 years now. Words are my playmates and my home. It has been my privilege to also find work doing what I love so I also get paid to write now.
According to you, why is it that the art of expression and literature is not easily received?
Most of us in cities live very grueling, fast-paced lives. It's hard to remember that there's more to life than surviving and making enough money to exist. Especially in Mumbai, there's so little time left after commuting and working, that most people don't have the energy or mindspace to appreciate art. Also, in the past, art and literature in India have been rather elite and limited only to small, exclusive groups that don't welcome newcomers. Books have been expensive, literacy rates are not high, most families have not encouraged the reading habit and literature itself has been very high-brow and difficult to read.
But in the last few years, things have been changing. There has been an explosion of Indian writers in the past 10 years. Mumbai now hosts at least 3 literary/art festivals every year. There are several creative communities to encourage budding writers and poets. There are also events like open mics, stage performances, appreciation workshops etc. to bring the creative arts closer to the public.
More people are also gravitating to reading now. The internet makes it a lot more possible and accessible. New forms of storytelling are also coming into being. Good artists are evolving along with the times so their craft fits into today's times. Ebooks, flash fiction, oral storytelling are all instances of this.
How, do you feel can the masses be encouraged towards poetry?
I think performance is a great way to take poetry and literature to more people. Not everyone is a reader and the language barriers may inhibit a lot of people. But a good performer can make poetry and stories easy to access, for most audiences. It's true that some good poets may not be good performers but performance may be a good gateway for people who are new to poetry.
The internet is also a great way to reach more people and also offer opportunities to newer poets. Blogs, videos, micropoetry (Instagram, Twitter) can make poetry seem less high-brow and more consumable.
Your literary inspirations?
I'm primarily a fiction reader and I love the works of PG Wodehouse, Alexander McCall-Smith, Chuck Palahniuk, Terry Pratchett, Milan Kundera and Kamila Shamsie to name a few. I enjoy graphic novels/comics and I try and read a few every year (these books are really expensive and a little harder to get). I also enjoy long-form content so I follow a wide range of topics online (Brain Pickings, JStor, Berlin Artparasites are some of my favorite sites). I'm a big fan of pop culture so I also follow Cracked and Buzzfeed religiously. And finally, I really like watching spoken word/performance poets from around the world.
A memorable line you’ve read that has stayed with you
"What a caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Maker calls a butterfly." - Illusions by Richard Bach
Catch Ramya Pandhyan performing at the Free Verse Sessions, this Sunday. Click here for event details.