Famous American Poet Williams Carlos once said, “A poem is a little machine made out of words.” Anupama is a machinist who is packed with powerful, original images which turn into a delightful surprise for the poetry lover by her lush language and vibrant imagination.
Anupama Raju is a poet, translator and a freelance journalist based in Trivandrum who has verbalised the hidden beauty of the photographs captured by French photographer Pacal Bernad as part of a collaborative Indo-French Poetry and Photography Project which was recently exhibited in the city.
“The poetry- photography project is a part of the cultural partnership between Pondicherry and the city of La Rochelle, France. Pascal and I spent almost ten days in Pondicherry to find the heart beat of the city. The project ‘Une Ville, Un Lieu, Une Personne' (‘One City, One Place, One Person') portrays the cross section of the city which has a mix of Indian and French culture, through images and words.”
Anupama will soon fly to France to take part in the Poetry- Photography exhibition which will be held in La Rochelle. She plans to spend time in France to discuss and conceive her next project.
“In our ‘One City, One Place, One Person’ project I wrote the poems after Pascal clicked the photos. In the next project, it will be in reverse. I’ll be writing the poems first and then Pascal would visualise it. This project is named as ‘Depths and Surfaces’. Here we will be exploring the depth of a city - its heritage and culture."
This experimental poet’s work have been published in The Little Magazine, Indian Literature, Mint Lounge and several anthologies, including Harper Collin’s Anthology of Modern Indian Poetry which was published in 2011 and edited by Sudeep Sen.
“I really don't know what triggered me to pen my thoughts. I wrote my first poem, when I was fifteen years old. After coming to Trivandrum I started taking writing seriously. It was Poet Laureate late Ayyappa Paniker who motivated me to write. He introduced me to the poetry group in the city, ‘Kavita’. I was, probably, the youngest among them. I got my first poem- ‘House of Dreams’ published in The Little Magazine. This inspired me and I started writing a lot.”
She has won prizes from the British Council, Unisun and the Prakriti Foundation. Her poems were also published in the Sahitya Akademi journal, edited by K. Satchidanandan among other publications.
“My connection with writing and literature is two-fold, my own poetry and translation. In the past two years I got the opportunity to translate Malayalam fiction writer Paul Zacharia's short stories ‘60 Watts Sun’ and ‘The Death And Funeral Of Alphonsa’ into English. I really enjoy translating wonderful scriptures in my mother tongue.”
Besides being a multi-talented writer, Anupama also works as a corporate trainer in Technopark.
“I love writing and also teaching. So I fulfil my passion for writing through my poetry and my teaching skills are explored at my work place. My biggest challenge is to balance and continue to do both. I am glad that my work place, UST Global, supports my creative pursuits.”
Her first poetry collection ‘Nine’ will be published soon.
“Nine will be out by late 2012 or early 2013. The Harper Collins Book of English Poetry and The Yellow Nib Modern English Poetry by Indians, published by the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, Queen's University, Belfast, Ireland will feature my poems”, says Anupama. K Sachithanandan has written the introduction for Nine.
According to this talented poet whose incisive and meaningful words make a deep impact on its readers, one does not always need to go through intense pain to write well.
“It is just a myth that if you need to write well, you need to go through pain. Poetry is not a pill that you pop when you are in pain. It is an expression of art. It can be about anything which inspires the writer. A ‘good’ poem is that which can directly talk to the reader,” says the versatile lady, with a smile.