with S. Rupsha Mitra:
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Rupsha: I do not exactly remember when I started writing but I used to scribble some thoughts, in my diary as a kid, and the first poem that I wrote was probably when I was in second or third grade. It was a Bengali poem. I used to mostly write poetry in my mother tongue, Bengali but then as an adolescent, I started developing interest in English poetry after having read the works of Shelley , Keats, Pablo Neruda, Wordsworth. My first influence was definitely the simple, beautiful, lucid works of Rabindranath Tagore, that we were taught as part of the school curriculum.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Rupsha: My biggest influences today are Ocean Vuong, Maya. C. Popa, Rita Dove, Arundhati Subramaniam, Tishani Doshi, and so many other great poets, artists, writers.
Q3: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Rupsha: I do not remember any such pivotal moment but as a child I was always fascinated with the idea of being a writer. I thought I would write a book some day. When I grew older I realised how writing is much more than publications, it is the intense passion, the love for words, I knew then I would be a writer because I just cannot live without it.
Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?
Rupsha: Everyone in my family is quite supportive. I had some amazing Bengali teachers in school who always encouraged and appreciated my writing and helped me improve my work. My constant support has always been my grandmother, who herself is an avid reader and loves writing poetry and songs. She is the one who encourages me to continue writing, and guides me unconditionally in my writing.
Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & did any travels away from influence your work?
Rupsha: I am born and raised in Kolkata, the city of joy. My city inspires my work to a great extent.
I am often inspired to write verse about the beauteous emotional bond I share with my otherwise busy city. The lush green maidan, the festive brilliance of my city during Durga Puja are recurrent images in my poems. I travelled to divine destinations like Salim Chisti, Golden Temple in Amritsar and Vaishna Devi Temple that help me to explore the divine, ecumenical and spiritual in my writing.
Q6: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?
Rupsha: I feel my most meaningful work to me is the poetry chapbook ‘Soul God’ that I completed writing recently. It was also the Finalist in Poetry Question’s Chapbook Contest. I look forward to publishing it.
Q7: Favorite activities to relax?
Rupsha: My favourite activities to relax are listening to music, singing and having meaningful conversations with my near and dear ones. I have a keen interest in cultural activities and also regular meditation really helps.
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem/writing of yours or others?
Rupsha: ‘Remembering is an oceanic plunge into the frame of a vast ocean…’ is one of my favourite lines from my work. The painting Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali is a favourite of mine.
Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
I have work forthcoming in North Dakota Quarterly, Science for the People Magazine, Ekstasis Magazine and Mermaids Monthly. Recently my microchapbook Dandelion Skin was published by Origami poems.
The link to my website is www.srupshapoetry.com.