The Lounge Chair Interview: 10 Questions with Sonnet Mondal
By Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé
I have been a witness of sharp and frequent vicissitudes of life. Whenever the road of life seemed downy to me – some deadly obstacle made me comprehend that I am in a capricious voyage through unknown waters beneath stranger skies. From day one of my scribbling and entry into the self-revealing world of poetry to my present, poetry has been an accompaniment for me and I am less concerned about what others feel about this sublime supplement of my life. The best part is we have frequent quarrels and sometimes we stay apart but at the end of the day, it is me opening a bottle of wine without using a corkscrew for my accompaniment, Poetry.
Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?
Among my most recent projects there is a book titled Karmic Chanting – Poetry in Folds. It can be considered a collection of large mystical poems containing smaller poems folded inside one theme. Some of the poems in this project will also be performed on stage in conjugation with the Kathak dance form later this year in another of my upcoming projects titled “Echoing Shadows”.
I am literally trying to achieve nothing through this but at the same time my inner self longs to pen down my major self-realizations thus far and impart whatever good in them among the compact and strong poetry-reading masses.
Describe your writing aesthetic.
My writing aesthetic is: Write for yourself without thinking of presenting it to anyone. It is the most personal of life’s stuff that becomes most viral nowadays. So just be yourself while you write. When they say you do not fall under contemporary poetics or you need to concentrate on other areas of interest, just feel good about being special and a step apart from the critically hypnotized literary crowd.
Who are your favorite authors?
T. S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath and Tagore, to name the first three.
What’s the most challenging piece of writing you’ve attempted? Tell us why.
It is when I tried to transform Shakespeare’s plays into simple rhymes for children. I felt it challenging primarily because it is the only project in which I have failed to keep up till the end. Firstly, the amount of patience it requires. Secondly, the repeated understanding of various lines and the tenacity to transform them. And finally, adjusting my complicated intellect with the innocent minds of children made it impossible for me to pen it down.
What’s your idea of bliss?
Taking into account my journey thus far, bliss is a rare ideology in which we can be happy and contented for at least fifty percent of our sojourn.
What makes you angry, and I mean all-out-smash-the-china raving mad?
The only instance I would be angry is when someone crashes in my car bumpers. Apart from this, irritation does arise in me towards people having a singular and inflexible outlook towards other people, activities, innovation and happenings around them.
What books would you take with you on a three-month retreat in the boondocks?
Honestly, Bhagwat Gita, T. S. Eliot’s Waste Land and Other Poems, Pablo Neruda’s Residence on Earth, Sylvia Plath’s Winter Trees, and A Garden Beyond Paradise by Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi.
Your house is burning down. What’s the most important thing you’d want to take with you?
My family members.
Describe your life philosophy. In a sentence.
We are eternal beings trying to be illusively eternal through some way, and death, about which most people are concerned, deserves the least consideration for it is just a change of phase, exactly like a baby coming out of the womb of his mother into a new world.
Sonnet Mondal is a young Indian poet and the founder of The Enchanting Verses Literary Review. He has authored eight books of poetry and is currently one of the featured writers at the International Writing Program of The University of Iowa. His latest books include Ink and Line and Prismatic Celluloid. Sonnet was featured as one of the Famous Five of Bengali Youths in India Today magazine in 2010 and was long-listed in Forbes Magazine’s Top 100 Celebrities 2014 edition. Later in March 2015, The Culture Trip in London listed him among the Top Five Literary Entrepreneurs of Indian English Poetry. Sonnet has been translated into Italian, Arabic, Macedonian, Turkish, Hindi, Bengali and Telugu.