Trivarna Hariharan: National Poetry Month
Author: Trivarna Hariharan
First can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What do you do for fun? How do you typically like to spend your weekends? What are your likes and dislikes?
Hello! My name’s Trivarna Hariharan. I’m an author, musician, and humanitarian. I spend most of my time reading, writing, clicking pictures, bird-watching, doodling and watching films.
Way to sound repetitive, but my idea of a good weekend is spending time writing poetry, reading a book and watching good films.
Also, I like everything – there’s nothing like the word “dislike” in my dictionary. Everything has a distinctness about it that must be acknowledged.
Where is the place you feel most content in the world?
In places that allow me my space. For instance, when I’m sitting on a bench in the park, just watching people.
Do you feel any ethical responsibility as a poet?
Yes, I do. Writers, poets, and all creative artists for that matter – have ethical and social responsibilities. It is extremely important to stay honest to yourself and to the people who read your work, address issues lucidly and with sensitivity.
What was your revision process like for Yours, Faithfully.: A Collection of Poetry?
I proofread and edited the book, besides omitting unnecessary verbosity. I also deleted choppy phrases and portions that thwarted the flow of the poems. The first drafts of Yours, Faithfully never underwent a drastic transformation, actually. The edits were primarily technical, and involved making formatting-related changes.
Do you have a favorite poem from the book?
This one poem about the need to scratch across layers of superficiality. There’s a line in the poem that reads, “The house hides behind an assemblage of well-arranged porticoes.”
Hypocrisy needs to be done away with. It doesn’t serve any purpose in the long run, or even the short one, for that matter.
Do you have a favorite, among your books?
Out of the books that I’ve written, the closest to my heart is “Home and Other Places”, which is forthcoming from the Nivasini Publishers. The poems in the collection helped me say things which I couldn’t have vocalised, which is why its very dear to me.
What have you learned most from your experience with publishing several books?
That one shouldn’t publish so many books in such a short span of time. I was one of those restless writers who was under the delusion that the sooner one writes one’s first book, the better it is. The misconception inevitably led me to give myself pointless deadlines.
I published my first book at 13, and was very happy to have done it. But in retrospect, I really wish I had taken my time to write it. The quality of all the books that I wrote suffered because I was in a hurry to get them published.
I’ve realised over the years that age has nothing to do with anything. Books should take their own time to grow. Each book has its own journey, and one must always allow room for it, always.
Do you consciously plan to write one kind of poem or another? Or is each one intuitive?
I try to capture what arrests my attention at various points. My style and narrative are fairly consistent throughout, but the subject matter changes as per what I’m intrigued by the most at different times.
What things do you think have changed in your writing process over the years?
The way I look at the world has changed. I have become more realistic. Also, I give more time to each piece, as opposed to a hurried approach to the process.
Share with us one of your recent poems and tell us a little bit about its context?
I recently wrote a prose poem titled “What Does A Broken Town Look Like?”, which was published in the Random Sample Review. It captures the woes of a person grappling with his inner demons, from the perspective of an outsider. It intends to weave a fabric of human emotions that is difficult to escape, and even more difficult to reconcile with. It speaks about the aftermath of the failure to bring oneself to understand the significance of embracing situations as they are, when they can’t be changed.
Here’s the poem:
“What Does A Broken Town Look Like?
Birds flew like a blur on the wind, a false note in an accarezzevole. Time waltzed to unmatched staccatos. Streets called your name out in resistance. Leaves drew themselves away from the winter heat, made themselves homes in the crevices of spindly roofs. Spring approached with vermillion trees in an unpainted sky. Your eyes—the shade of a half-moon, heaved through an orbit of broken stars. The snow on your back singed like a forgotten lullaby as your fingertips scratched across shadowy lanes in an attempt to find home.
I reminded you then that it was a long time ago I had watched you dance like a road hanging in mid-air, grass learning how to keep its green.
But I forgave you for not knowing what it meant to stop.
The way rain pours in autumn now reminds me of you – metronomes in a songless night, footsteps on an empty horizon, a silent knock on the doors of houses no one lives in anymore.”
What are you working on now?
I am trying to write short stories (fiction), as that’s one sphere of writing that I’ve always wanted to dabble in, alongside poetry.
Trivarna Hariharan is an author whose work appears or is forthcoming in various literary magazines such as Random Sample Review, On The Rusk, Textploit, Writers Asylum, Literature Studio, Allegro Poetry, TheOriginalVanGoghsEarAnthology, A Penny for a Thought, Orange Almonds, The Criterion, The Bougainvillea Lit Road Magazine, Mad Swirl, Tuck Magazine, Life In 10 Minutes, Quail Bell, Germ Magazine, Paper Lens Zine, and elsewhere. She serves as the editor in chief at Inklette, the poetry reader for Sprout, and the poetry editor for Corner Club Press. Her first poetry collection “Home and Other Places”, is being published by Nivasini Publishers, and is slated for a 2016 release. She believes strongly in the power of art to bring about a change in the world.