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I choose to celebrate my multiple facets through my poem: Malini on her book 'Flotsam of the Mind'

By Rakhi Bakshi | PUBLISHED: 12, Dec 2016, 18:19 pm IST | UPDATED: 15, Dec 2016, 17:25 pm IST

I choose to celebrate my multiple facets through my poem: Malini on her book 'Flotsam of the Mind' 'Flotsam of the Mind' is an anthology of poetry by Singapore-based author, painter and photographer, Malini. She writes about the intermingling of art and life, dealing with depression and illness, and women boldly expressing their desire and sexuality.

Here, Malini is in conversation with Rakhee Bakshi, Director, Women’s Feature Service:

Malini, why did you Choose poetry only as a form of creative expression?

Poetry allows for aesthetics that are incomparable. What words convey in verse a simple sentence perhaps cannot. Besides I have been writing poems since I was 7 years old. It has always been an unconscious mode of expression for me. I guess my first book was meant to be poetry for all these reasons.

The book has many of your poems reflective of your inner emotions. How did the idea of writing a book emerge? When did you start writing it?

It was not as planned as one may think. I sent some of my poems as an entry for The New English Verse-An Anthology of Global poets, a book that will be published in February  2017. And my poem I will rise again- a Ghazal style poem was selected for publishing in this book. The Publisher and I had several exchanges on poetry and styles thereon. One thing led to another and soon publishers Cyberwit offered to publish my own collection of poems titled FLOTSAM OF THE MIND.

You use many techniques, in fact a fusion of different forms of poetry writing. How did that come about?

It is a dynamic world we live in today, where women juggle many roles-as a homemaker, a professional, a mother, a friend, a sister. This dynamic set up makes expression and emotional outlets all the more imperative. It took some time to find my expression and voice but since poetry has always been my way to express I found it to be a natural choice to say what I needed to say. Which is why Flotsam of the mind, is a collection of a woman's myriad thoughts and deals with varied topics from domestic violence, to love, to life and philosophy.

Do you think Indian writers are finding global appeal more and more?

I think Indian writers have a unique sensibility which is appealing to the global audience now. Case in point my second book is getting published out of Europe.

How did you manage the conflict of handling very dark, personal emotions like depression and unemployment and creating a joyful, creative solution of coming out with a book?

That is a beautiful question and yes this conflict of being a modern woman at the same time not forgetting your other roles and responsibilities can be dealt with, in two ways one by constantly letting it affect you negatively by pelting harsh words at the world and dear ones for putting you in moulds and second by choosing to celebrate the multifaceted being that we have become today. I choose to celebrate my multiple faces. This to me is being true to oneself as today's woman who can embrace everything posed to her without compromising in her own individuality.

Which are the authors and poets who inspire you the most?

Whilst I love a lot of poets inspire me Sylvia Plath's works introduced to me by a dear friend are my favorites. In authors my most favorite author is and has always been Ruskin Bond. The way these two writers sketch a picture with words is awe inspiring and I hope I can someday write like them.

We just discovered you are a Painter also that makes you a multi -faceted creative personality you are. Tell us more about your other interests.

Yes I write in many forms and styles as I find these styles make the writing endeavour all the more interesting. I read a lot and these styles have been and are being globally read and appreciated as well which makes access to reading material easy.

What do you feel about women's health & art? Do you think women's bodies, and health plays a significant role in their art / expression?

Honestly art and expression are not directly related to healt, they are related to a personal need to express or say something you want to say. If I can paint and write through my depression I'm sure healthy minds and bodies can do it easily.

What do you feel about women writing sex, desire and sexuality, a theme boldly being explored by many women of late? Since you have touched upon these themes in some of your poems.

I feel it is high time we started sharing what and how we feel about our innermost desires. It will only enable more women to connect with their needs and bodies more openly and unapologetically.