Interviewer: First of all, congratulations on the publication of your book “Scents and Shadows”. How has the reception of the book been so far?
Ranjana Sharan Sinha: Thank you! The reception of my book has been great and quite boosting. Two of the poems from the volume titled ‘The Silent Shore’ and ‘She’s Gone Forever’ have been included in the CBCS syllabus prescribed for M.A.(English) 4 sem. Certain poems have been translated into German, Spanish, Albanian, Russian, Persian, and Greek languages. I have also self-translated many poems of this volume into Hindi. My colleagues and friends have liked the book immensely. Some of them have published their reviews and some have written research papers on the poems contained in the collection. So by the grace of God, my poetry book ‘Scents and Shadows’ has paved way for an amalgamation of creativity and academics.

You have written poems on both personal levels and as an observer. How difficult was it for you to assume different roles while writing?
Ranjana Sharan Sinha: Yes, I have penned down both subjective and objective poems according to my moods. Subjective ones are the outcome of my thoughts, feelings, and assumptions and carry my own emotions, imaginations, and experiences. But sometimes the subject matter is supplied by the events and the things around me.such poems are purely objective in nature. Well, for me assuming different roles in writing poetry are two sides of the same coin. Philosophic objectivism assumes that subjective knowledge needs continually to be connected by objective realities. Similarly, the objectivist poets assume that the subjective elements of a poem achieve excellence or perfection to the extent that they are created by natural realities.

You explore the subject of a common man in some of your poems which has a Wordsworthian influence. Which kind of people inspires your words mostly?
Ranjana Sharan Sinha: The world of the underprivileged people inspires my words in many of my poems. In my poems like ‘The Black-Eyed Susan’, ‘M.G. Road’, ‘Roots and Rains’, ‘Platform No-03’ and ‘Lantana’, I have depicted the world of the poor and downtrodden– their hopes, dreams, and yearnings– most of the time shattered and dead, but sometimes resurrected like embers and sparks amidst ashes.

Since you belong to literature by field and profession, which are the authors that have appealed to you till date? And what is about their writing that you enjoy?
Ranjana Sharan Sinha: The list of the poets and authors who have appealed to me is quite varied and extensive. Some of my favorite poets are Rumi, Kabir, Khalil Gibran, William Blake, Tagore, Sri Aurobindo, Octavio Paz, Pablo Naruda, Seamus Heaney, W.B. Yeats, and Jayant Mahapatra among others. I hugely enjoy the writings of the poets of Romantic Revival. Free from the bondage of Neo-Classicism, the poetry of Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats is marked by the intensity of emotion coupled with an intense display of imagery. I’d like to make reference to Sri Aurobindo, a multifaceted genius and one of the greatest personalities of modern India. He created a deep impact on my mind with his new poetic consciousness and his supreme vision– the evolution of human into a life divine. I did my PhD thesis on Sri Aurobindo’s magnum opus ‘Savitri’– ‘Sri Aurobindo and the Epic Tradition’.

Do you think poetry writing as an art can be developed with time or is a person born with that talent?
Ranjana Sharan Sinha: Robert Graves said poets are born, not made. Many people believe that the ability to write poetry is an inborn gift, not something you can learn. But others have a different point of view and they are all correct from that person’s perspective. But one thing goes without saying that for writing poetry a person must have a sensitive soul that cannot be acquired even after obtaining a high academic degree. Poetry, l feel, is visceral and relates to deep inward feelings. I believe that you cannot become a real poet if you do not have an inborn gift. A poem is not just rhymed verses connected by some idea. It is a piece of art that is born from the bottom of your heart. Yes, somehow I agree that the inborn gift– the inclination to write poetry– can be stimulated, developed, and brought to fruition by practice and labor over time and experience.

You have a lot of work under your name. Can you share a little about it with the readers?
Ranjana Sharan Sinha: I have authored and published 07 books in different genres. My maiden poetry book titled ‘Spring Zone’ is a collection of 35 poems and haiku with various subjects and settings. One of the poems ‘Mother Nature’ received a commendation from the former President of India, A.P.J.Abdul Kalam. The next publication ‘Midnight Sun’ is a collection of short stories dealing with different themes– childhood under modern compelling circumstances, love, power, and corruption, hypocrisy, and prejudice. My third book ‘Nature in the poetry of Wordsworth and Pant’ is a comparative exploration of the attitudes of Wordsworth– a great Romantic poet and those of Pant– a great Chhatavadi poet, towards Nature. My fourth book ‘Feminism: Times and Tides’ is a historiographical and theoretical commentary on feminism. The next publication ‘Different Dimensions’ is a compilation of research papers presented by me in various national and international conferences and seminars. The sixth book ‘Scents and Shadows’, a collection of 70 poems, is before you. I have also written a book of nursery rhymes for children. Now I am waiting for my eight books ‘The Purple Jacaranda'(a collection of 52 poems) which is slated to be published soon.

Do you read any Indian writers of the present time? Is there any you like?
Ranjana Sharan Sinha: Among contemporary Indian writers, I’ve read the novels of Anita Desai, Kiran Desai, Vikram Seth, Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh, and others. I loved Robin Sharma’s wonderfully crafted fable fiction ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’. It is the story of a highly sought litigator, Julian Mantle, who turned Monk.
As far as poetry is concerned my latest liking is for the poems and ghazals of Agha Shahid Ali with themes of exile and nostalgia.

You have a lot of potential in writing. Please tell the readers about your future plans.
Ranjana Sharan Sinha: I want to write, write, and write till my last breath expressing and sharing my views and feelings. I’m writing ghazals in English these days and wish to bring out an impressive collection of the same. I’m also planning to publish a collection of my Hindi poems shortly.

How easy or difficult was it for you to choose subjects for your poetry writing?
Ranjana Sharan Sinha: Subjects for my poetry writing are, sometimes, the outcome of real, everyday happenings or experiences– be they my own or someone else’s. Sometimes some nostalgic memories completely take me over and I become emotionally involved and feel like picking up my pen to write– an intense urge to write! It won’t be an exaggeration if I say that the inner world, dreams, and even subconscious play a dominant role in choosing subjects for poetry writing. Writing poetry gives me pleasure and hence, the difficulties if at all, do not matter.

You are no less than a veteran in literary writing. Would you like to give any advice to aspiring writers?
Ranjana Sharan Sinha: Every writer’s process and goals are indeed different, but there are certain things that are likely to help aspiring writers. First of all, you must choose a subject that you love and enjoy. You shouldn’t bother much about the current trends and happenings in the publishing world. I am reminded of T.S. Eliot’s words on writing, “Don’t write first for anyone but for yourself,” Secondly, you must read. It is important for writers to read. Reading gives you both inspiration and drives to move forward in your own work. You get ideas!

Poetry is generally presumed to be a form of writing based on rhymes. Do you agree with it?
Ranjana Sharan Sinha: A rhyme is employed in poems for the purpose of rendering musicality and a pleasing effect to the composition. But poetry is written in different styles. In the modern age poetry, tremendous changes have taken place in the concept of poetic forms. Now poetry no longer is limited to rhyming pattern– it has become more creative and innovative.

What was the reason behind naming the poetry volume “Scents and Shadows”?
Ranjana Sharan Sinha: Scents and Shadows– well, scents of nostalgic moments; shadows of the massive feet of Time amid a sea of emotions! 


Paperback: 122 pages
Publisher: Authorspress (2019)
ISBN-13: 978-9388332699
Amazon Link: Buy On Amazon

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