For over a century, our region has been home to extraordinary artists. Local Arts Index highlights the work of individuals who continue our community’s rich creative legacy.
Meet poet A. Anupama.
How Did You Become An Artist?
I began to write poems as an experiment. (I was a science editor in my pre-motherhood life.) I wrote one poem every day of National Poetry Month, April 2009, just to see what, if anything, would happen. A few months later, I started my poetry blog, and six months after that I was accepted and enrolled in a Masters program for writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Since graduating, I’ve filled notebooks with many, many poems. My father tells me that I started writing poems as soon as I learned to write, but I don’t remember that.
What Kind Of Art Do You Make?
I write short, free verse poems mostly, but poetic forms from world-poetry traditions are interesting and useful. And translating classical Indian poetry often introduces poetic devices and images into my own poetry. I enjoy making juxtapositions, and that happens easily when playing with the cultural artifacts one finds in traditional poems.
On my blog, Seranam.com, I illustrate the act of poetic inquiry by using photos that create metaphors in juxtaposition to the images evoked by my texts. My photographs, taken mostly around Nyack, also reveal another layer of images in my poetry chapbook, Savasana Dreams.
What’s Your Muse?
I’d have to say that everything and everyone is my muse—and it’s dependent on a combination of being ready to write down what’s given at any moment, and of then accepting the material, no matter how simple or strange or headache-inducing. Or maybe it’s the notebooks and pens (I’m particular about those) that inspire me consistently.
Reading poetry is also a major source of inspiration. I like to explore, reading many different contemporary voices. Next in my pile is a collection by Evie Shockley. I write poetry reviews for Numéro Cinq Magazine, and I find that testing out my critical skills yields material for my own art.
Since this is an ongoing experiment, with no hypothesis to prove or disprove, I am always surprised by what comes next. I started the Seranam Literary Salon a few months ago, as an opportunity for local writers to read works-in-progress. The evenings are workshop experiences, along with collaborative poetry exercises and informal literary conversation. I’m starting a weekly afternoon workshop next month, and after that, more poetry-related events.
This summer I’m coordinating Vermont College’s overseas writing residency in Slovenia, which I’m very excited about. Poetry translation will be a focus there, so I’ll come home with new projects and ideas.
To follow A Anupama visit seranam.com.
Portrait photo by Photo Dorothea Erichsen.
Local Arts Index is sponsored by Maria Luisa, 77 South Broadway and ML by Maria Luisa, 75 South Broadway, Nyack, NY