Anisha Kaul is a poet and a PhD Scholar at Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi, India. She treasures literary as well as creative writing experiences and most often pens down free verses with abstract themes, alternate realities or longing for home. Anisha’s poems are widely published in magazines and anthologies based in India, USA, Canada and elsewhere. She has also been featured in multiple interviews, open mics and has considerable experience in writing, editorial and publishing fields. She dreams of returning home someday to pen down a few words under the shade, in their ancestral backyard.
with Anisha Kaul:
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
As I enrolled in my Bachelor’s in English Literature at the University of Delhi, I chanced upon an open call for the college magazine Pramila and submitted my words. To my surprise, the poem got featured in print and the publication made me confident with my art. I kept nurturing this new found love and was honored with the opportunity of editing the same magazine, in the following year.
Interestingly, my first influences came from prose fiction and not poetry. I admired the Indian English authors like R. K. Narayan and Ruskin Bond, their language and writing style felt inviting and I spent most of my time reading them.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Anisha: This question becomes all the more difficult to answer, after a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in English Literature! There have been so many brilliant poets and authors who have not left my mind ever since I first encountered them. My writing has been very much influenced by experimental writers, of them all, I find Laurence Sterne and James Joyce absolutely brilliant. From them, I learned to work on the form of my poems, breakthrough all possible structural restrictions and wrote visual poems like ‘Revisiting a Site of Loss’ featured in the debut issue of the Splintered Disorder Press. Also available at Amazon https://www.amazon.com/RedSkiesRachelSmall/dp/B08VXC22JV/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=red+skies+rachel+small&qid=1612918565&sr=8-4
Another visual poem of mine ‘Virginia Never Learns to Tell Time’ was featured in Issue 6 of the 3 Moon Magazine. https://c5009f5c2be6487cbab36bd93fbc4ab7.filesusr.com/ugd/5bcec5_3e04504e2d734d0db2930dc6be9e0ef9.pdf
- Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art?
Anisha: I was born and brought up in New Delhi away from Kashmir, which was home to my family and community. They had to flee in order to safeguard themselves in the 1990s and began life from scratch. As I grew to comprehend the gravity of it all, their exile became mine and identity as a genocide survivor.
Most naturally, the imagery of home (or rather its absence), exile and identity are prevalent in my writings. It is through my words that I attempt to revisit home that no longer is present in its tangible sense. It is an act of reclaiming my roots and ancestry. I hope of returning home someday and writing in the yard, under the shade of our trees with the river flowing by.
Q4: Have any travels away from home influence your work?
Anisha: This one is tricky to answer.
I will say that all my writing is essentially away from home and it has immensely shaped both my work as well as my identity. The association and love for my native place has only increased these passing years. I have come to cherish everything about it. I hope to witness our final return in my lifetime and of writing a memoire, someday about home, exile and identity.
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Anisha: I was an avid reader since childhood, making my way through words and phrases and I really enjoyed it. But writing was solace to me. I remember being awe struck at the poetic sensibilities and the mere fact that words could perform such magic. I wanted to be that magician and perform through my poetry. I feel so content, when fellow poets and readers respond to my work, replicating the wonder which I once had for other poets. Looking back today, I can surely say that this has been a blissful journey of self-discovery.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Anisha: When not writing (or thinking about it), I’m found relaxing near my book shelves, arranging and rearranging their order! Their sight and texture is absolutely comforting.
Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
Anisha: One of my most awaited publication is with Cardigan Press in their upcoming debut anthology Byline Legacies. It was lovely working with their editorial team, as we went along they made the process enjoyable and together we arrived at the best possible version of my words.
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?
“At the crossroads of a linguistic turn, I had met her/ Where she in her imperfect Hindi, narrated home to me and/ I in my broken Koshur asked for more” from my poem “In Search of a Lost Home” published with WriteNowLit.
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
Anisha: Family and friends for certain. From the initial encouragement, to witness me write my nights away, to even sometimes reviewing my words and celebrating publications. Their support and kind words allow me to return to writing and keep at it. I take this moment to thank them for they have been through this journey with me and done it all. The writing community which I met on Twitter too has been very supportive and appreciative. It has been a wonderful year of knowing and interacting with Jason De Koff, Elizabeth Bates, Lisa Mary Armstrong, Shiksha Dheda, Zahirra Dayal, Ankita Sharma, Amy Barnes, Shubham Sharma, Melissa Ostrom, Rebecca Ruvinsky and all the other talented people.
Bio: Anisha Kaul (she/ her) is a poet with a Master’s in English Literature, presently living in New Delhi, India. As of now 40 of her poems have been accepted or are housed in various national and international print and online anthologies. She served in the capacity of the editor for DRC, College Magazine Pramila, University of Delhi, 2016-17 issue. Anisha has also qualified the National Eligibility Test (NET) for Assistant Professorship conducted in India. She loves to write about herself in the third person. Find her on twitter: @anishakaul9.
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Lisa: I’ve always been an avid reader. My mum would take us to the local library every week which I loved. I read a lot of Roald Dahl and Enid Blayton when I was younger and then moved on to the “Sweet Valley High” series by Frances Pascal and “The Vampire Diaries” when it wasn’t as well known. I was bit of a romantic soul and starting writing teenage love stories in my first year of high school which probably weren’t very good.
Q2: Who is your biggest influence today?
Lisa: I am an eclectic reader and it needs to move me. Right now, I am a huge fan of Louise Peterkin whose debut collection “The Night Jar” is simply stunning. I love Mary Oliver, Dorothy Molloy, Tishani Doshi is a tremendous talent and my good friend Elizabeth M. Castillo writes so beautifully. Being the romantic that I am and having an appreciation for the Spanish and Greek language I just melt when I read the likes of Neruda and Cavafy.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing?
Lisa: I grew up in a small town called Johnstone which is in Scotland. I do tend to write about my childhood as we lived near the countryside, and I have very fond memories of Lochwinnoch where I spent a lot of time with my nana.
Q4: Have any travels away from home influenced your work/describe?
Lisa: I have traveled all over Greece and it’s a country that I love to visit. I’ve always been interested in Greek mythology and how women are represented in Greek myth so it does feature a lot in my writing.
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer/poet?
Lisa: I suppose I’ve always wanted to be a writer because I don’t believe there is anything better out there than seeing something you’ve created come to life on a page. I didn’t get into poetry until I was much older. I’ve only been writing poems since December 2020 when lockdown happened.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Lisa: I grow roses and enjoy getting out into the garden. I play the piano and music has always been such a big part of my life. I’m also a mother of five so that keeps me on my toes and relaxing isn’t something that I’m able to do often.
Q7: Any recent or upcoming promotional work?
Lisa: I’m working on my first collection and have a few poems that are due to be published in The View Magazine which provides a platform for criminalised women and campaigns for social justice https://linktr.ee/The_View_Magazine
Q8: Favorite lines from your poems/songs, or favorite piece from another?
Lisa: My favorite line is taken from a Mary Oliver poem “Tell me what is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” She had such a wonderful way of looking at the world and her poetry helped me through some really difficult times during the pandemic. I emerged with a greater appreciation of nature and felt more connected to the world.
Q9: Who has helped you the most with writing?
Lisa: I think just having the support of the poetry community and having my work published has really spurred me on and great journals like “Fevers of the Mind” provide a wonderful platform for poets of all ages and abilities like me. I love my Twitter friends in the poetry community. Elizabeth M. Castillo is just a phenomenal writer and genuinely one of the most beautiful and supportive people I’ve ever met. Elizabeth Bates who runs Dwelling Lit is another kind and gorgeous person, Anisha Kaul, Annick Yerem and Zahirra Dayal. There are just too many to mention.
Bio: A writer/poet/mother living in Scotland. A big fan of Greek Mythology and feminist reimaginings, old Hollywood Actresses/films, the theatre, ballet and music. I’ve always written creatively for the catharsis and only started tinkering with poetry in the pandemic. My inspiration comes from poets such as Mary Oliver, Carol Ann Duffy, Emily Dickinson, Sappho, Anne Stevenson, Sylvia Plath, Dorothy Molloy, Derek Mahon, Dylan Thomas – the list is endless. To read more about Lisa go to her website at https://lisaarmstrong2179.wixsite.com/website
AT THE DEAD OF NIGHT She walks on the parapet, eyes shut Her floral robes light as the wind Paces for what seems an eternity The empty bed and spouse miss her alike Half asleep, he murmurs her name She pulls at the misty curtains of slumber The venture ceases at once, swiftly descending Passes me, a regular witness to her wanderings At my concealed post, taps the floor mockingly Beaming, then glides to her chamber Embraces the dreamer, caresses his nape Removes the covers and joins him to sleep FLIGHT OF TRAGIC WINGS Under great threat, Daedalus, a craftsman father, Laboriously fashioned two pairs of mighty wings A word of caution for his son timely passes “Neither close to the sun nor abreast the sea!” Evading much harm, the duo mount the open sky Its infinite domain overwhelmed the unfortunate Icarus Soaring across readily, he imitates a fowl on the maiden voyage Against all attempts of recklessness, the seasoned voice sounds Sensing cold flutter passing his novel feathers, youth easily ignored Both speech and sight, and darted towards the doomed proximity, the Rival sun- his tragic wings undone at once, by degrees drop into the sea A COMMOTION OF THE HOLY ONES Siren Grecian creatures of faraway oceans Singing songs of collective shipwrecks Lyre laden charms; of them beware! Ambulance White creatures of nearby land Singing songs of collective mourning Laden with warning lights; of them beware! Lighthouse Solitary creatures of sandy shores Singing songs of collective caution Twilight laden walls; of them too, beware! Wolfpack Contributor: Anisha Kaul A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Anisha Kaul Bio: Anisha Kaul (she/ her) is a poet with a Master's in English Literature, presently living in New Delhi, India. As of now 40 of her poems have been accepted or are housed in various national and international print and online anthologies. She served in the capacity of the editor for DRC, College Magazine Pramila, University of Delhi, 2016-17 issue. Anisha has also qualified the National Eligibility Test (NET) for Assistant Professorship conducted in India. She loves to write about herself in the third person. Find her on twitter: @anishakaul9.
Joyce Strolls Around the Labyrinth
He holds the pages closer and looks through them Nothing. His words have turned their back on him They seem to form a pattern, constantly pushing around He tries to bring order and worse they grow Anxious, leaves them to struggle and perish His translations of William Oscar Yeats Wilde simply gap at him If only someone would direct him a Grant or even a Pound! He always senses an oddity with language Letterx, wordx, phrasex, sentencex and paragraphs of utter nonsensex At times, he escapes into the stream of his consciousness Wherein cacophony he upholds and abhors chronology Presently, recalling Odysseus his mind Blooms To a similar journey he embarks, but only Around the labyrinth of his mind Wolfpack Contributor: Anisha Kaul A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Anisha Kaul Bio: Anisha Kaul (she/ her) is a poet with a Master's in English Literature, presently living in New Delhi, India. As of now 40 of her poems have been accepted or are housed in various national and international print and online anthologies. She served in the capacity of the editor for DRC, College Magazine Pramila, University of Delhi, 2016-17 issue. Anisha has also qualified the National Eligibility Test (NET) for Assistant Professorship conducted in India. She loves to write about herself in the third person. Find her on twitter: @anishakaul9.