Must art seduce? No, says award winning author and poet Jerry Pinto

Updated: Jul 22, 2013, 16:42 PM IST

A poet — this is what he loves to call himself. And it is an apt word to describe him because his speech has a poetic flow that only real weavers of poetry possess. By virtue of being a journalist of repute, Jerry Pinto has been conferred with awards for the passion that he has put into his works till date. And yet, there are territories that remain unexplored for this great achiever. Resham Sengar of spoke to the author, poet and journalist to know what is the formula of writing good poetry, his aspirations, his favourite poets and much more.

What are the elements of weaving a gripping and impactful poetry?

I think we can safely assume that since money doesn`t come into poetry much, most poetry is produced because of an urgent need, an earnest intention to produce something of beauty, something that can express what the poet wants to express, an urge to make language do things that language doesn`t otherwise do. But what makes a poem hold, is craft.

Should art preach or should it be purely for the sake of pleasing?

I don`t think art should ever preach. A poet may intend a message to be read in a poem but whether that message succeeds or fails will depend on whether one is down in the dust with the people he`s addressing, levelling with them, speaking as one of them or expressing the same struggles. If the words come from a high, it will fail.

Must art please? Well, it must touch someone. If it touches no one, it fails. If it is so completely solipsistic that no one else can enter it, it fails. It may not even be art. But must it seek to offer blandishments? Must it seduce? No, that`s the realm of popular culture which often attains the status of art but most often fails even to try.

Do you have any dream project?

I think I have been fortunate. I have worked on almost every one of the dream projects I have had. I wanted to write poetry; I`ve done that. I have wanted to anthologise and I have done that. And of course, there are many dreams left. And yes, when I start out on them I will find that there are submerged egos and worms in the rose and tin drums beating. But that`s life.

Your official webpage describes you as a poet. Among your contemporaries, whose poetry do you like reading the most?

I think we sometimes find our contemporaries in those we read a lot of and that has nothing to do with age. But if you`re going to be strict and hold me to some kind of time band, not in any particular order then: Arundhathi Subramaniam, Ranjit Hoskote, Mustansir Dalvi, Deepankar Khiwani, Anand Thakore, Vijay Nambisan and many others. Guys, if I left you out, it was a mistake and because this interview happened in the middle of the night.