HI: What inspired you to become a writer?
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RKS: I am not a full-time writer, or do I earn my living by writing. I have now been a full-time professor for more than twenty five years and have been writing in response to my academic and creative urges from time to time. In fact, teaching and writing have been going on for nearly four decades. While academic writing has been a sort of professional compulsion—there is nothing inspiring about it--, creative writing , especially poetry, keeps happening from personal experiences with people I observe or interact.
Right from the beginning I have been aware of the emptiness within and my spiritual inclinations. There has been an attempt to understand myself and the world around me vis-à-vis the rising social injustice and disintegration, human suffering, degradation of relationship, sexual hypocrisy, political corruption, fundamentalism, intolerance, hollowness of academics, their values and prejudices, my loneliness, frustration, depression, and boring existence, etc.
A huge part has also been played by the completely demotivating environment of the campus life in Dhanbad. Now any small negligible aspect of one’s behavior or attitude, any insignificant event, any thing can inspire me to compose a poem, if it can become an imagery. Even something read or heard in the past may get connected with something NOW and incite me into a poem.
I am also inspired by human body which is the best picture of human soul: I glorify it. We are flesh in sensuality and there is divinity in it. It is ever refreshing to me to express love and sex, the internalized substitute, or antidote to the fast dehumanizing existence without and ever in conflict with my search for life. It helps me enlarge my self to the universal sameness of human feelings.
HI: What genre of writing are your books and why?
RKS: A large part of my academic writing – research articles, book reviews, and boos—relates to English Language Teaching, especially for science and technology (EST) and Indian English Writing, especially poetry.
I have been teaching English language skills, particularly writing, to students of earth and mineral sciences and technology at tertiary level for about four decades now. My focus has been on need-based, skills oriented applied language teaching with ‘English for Specific Purposes’ (ESP) approach. As far as Indian English writing is concerned, I have contributed to the study of several less known/upcoming/new poets and writers who have been neglected by both the media and academia . Apart from regular poems in free verse form, I have also been writing haiku and tanka in English. The choice of the Japanese form matches with my preference for brevity, lyricism, visual quality, spirituality, and lack of didacticism in poetry.
HI: What are the titles of your books and please provide a brief description of each one?
RKS: I have published forty books: Ten books relate to English language teaching practices, including Using English in Science and Technology, Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 1988, 2000, and 2010 editions, pages 336 (a text-cum-practice book); General English Practice. Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 1995, pages 192. ( A textbook on Comprehension, Precis, Summary, Letter, Sentence, and paragraph writing); Communication in English: Grammar and Composition, Bareilly : Prakash Book Depot, 2003, pages 148. ( A textbook on grammar and composition ); Teaching English for Specific Purposes : An Evolving Experience, Jaipur: Book Enclave, 2005, pages 289 (a collection of my earlier published research articles and review essays); English as a Second Language: Experience into Essays, Jaipur: Book Enclave, 2007, pages 308 (An edited collection of research articles);and English Language Teaching: Some Aspects Recollected, Jaipur: Book Enclave, 2008, pages 238 (An edited collection of research articles);
Eleven books relate to criticism/literary appreciation, including Savitri: A Spiritual Epic, Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 1984, pages 164 (A critical study of Sri Aurobindo's epic Savitri); Indian English Writing: 1981-1985: Experiments with Expression, New Delhi:Bahri Publications Pvt Ltd., 1987, rept. 1991, pages 168 (A collection of critical articles, edited with an introduction); Recent Indian English Poets: Expressions and Beliefs, New Delhi: Bahri Publications, 1992, pages 192 (A collection of critical articles, edited with Introduction); . Anger in Action: Explorations of Anger in In Writing in English, New Delhi: Bahri Publications, 1997, pages 238 (A collection of critical articles – edited with an Introduction); Psychic Knot : Search for Tolerance in Indian English Fiction, New Delhi : Bahri Publications, 1998, pages 211 ( A collection of critical articles – edited with an Introduction ); New Zealand Literature : Some Recent Trends, New Delhi : Bahri Publications, 1998, pages 138 ( A collection of critical articles- edited with an Introduction); Sri Aurobindo's Savitri : Essays on Love, Life and Death. Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 2005, pages 176 (a collection of my earlier published critical articles); Voices of the Present: Critical Essays on Some Indian English Poets. Jaipur: Book Enclave, 2006, pages 267 (A collection of earlier published critical articles); and Indian Poetry in English: In Search of Identity. New Delhi: Authors Press, 2012, pages 303 ( a volume of critical essays, jointly edited with an Introduction with Rajni Singh);
Seventeen books are poetry collections including My Silence, Madras: Poets Press India, 1985, pages 44 (my first collection of poems); My Silence and 0ther Selected Poems: 1974-1994, Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 1996, pages 185 (A collection of poems, including earlier out-of-print volumes); Above the Earth's Green, Calcutta: Writers Workshop, 1997, pages 126 (A collection of poems); Every Stone Drop Pebble, New Delhi : Bahri Publications, 1999, pages 70 ( A collection of Haiku, jointly with Catherine Mair and Patricia Prime); Cover to Cover: A collection of Poems (R K Singh : The Face in All Seasons , pp 43),New Delhi : Bahri Publications, 2002. ( A Collection of Poems jointly with Ujjal Singh Bahri); Pacem in Terris, Trento, Italy: Edizioni Universum, 2003 (A trilogy collection of poems in English and Italian, jointly with Myriam Pierri and Giovanni Campisi, including my haiku collection,Peddling Dream, pages 63-88); The River Returns, Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 2006, pages 86 (A collection of tanka and haiku); Sexless Solitude and Other Poems, Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 2009, pages 86 ( a collection of poems); Sense and Silence: Collected Poems, Jaipur: Yking Books. 2010, Pages 338. (The volume includes all previously published collections of poems with some new poems, haiku, and tanka); New and Selected Poems Tanka and Haiku, New Delhi: Authors Press, 2012, pages 96 (a collection of poems); and I Am No Jesus and Other Selected Poems, Tanka and Haiku. Iasa: Editura StudIS, 2014, pages 54, (my latest collection of poems with translation into Crimean Tatar by Taner Murat and Illustrations by Alsou Shikhova Ildarovna).
HI: Where are your books available?
RKS: Most of my books are available directly from the publishers. Their names, addresses, and websites/email are as under:
1. Prakash Book Depot, Bara Bazar, Bareilly 243003, India. Web: prakashbookdepot.blogspot.in ; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Authors Press, E-35/103, Jawahar Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi 110092, India. Web: www.authorspressbooks.com ; email: email@example.com
3. Bahri Publications, 1749A/5, First Floor, Gobindpuri Extension, Kalkaji, New Delhi 110019, INDIA. Web: www.bahripublications.in ; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Book Enclave, F-11, S.S. Tower, Dhamani Street, Chaura Rasta, Jaipur 302003, India. Web: www.bookenclave.com ; email: email@example.com
5. Yking Books, G-13, S.S.Tower, Dhamnai Street, Chaura Rasta, Jaipur 302003. Web: www.ykingbooks.com , email: firstname.lastname@example.org
6. www.nazar-look.com ; email: email@example.com
Some of my books are also available from amazon.com and createspace.com
Almost all of my poems, both new and old, or published individually and in book form, are also available on the following sites:
HI: What are you currently working on?
RKS: Nothing very specific, except reading some new collections received from poet friends, and guiding a couple of MPhil/PhD dissertations.
In fact I badly need a change from the present deadly monotony of existence in the maze of routine: it has been a long journey from loneliness to frustration to depression, on the one hand, and search for purpose and meaning in life, on the other. So, I am now eagerly looking forward to a relaxed, retired life, with freedom to do or pursue what I couldn’t, and to enjoy and discover myself. I have been toying with the idea of writing my autobiography, but let’s see…
HI: What writers inspire you?
RKS: Since I have been mostly reading new and less known poets writing in English, I can’t mention any big creative influences as such. Yet, I must acknowledge the impact of my American poet-professor friend, late Lyle Glazier (of Bennington, Vermont) whom I met in 1971-72 as a student and with whom I stayed in touch for about 25 years till his death. He was my best poet-critic friend. In fact I not only learnt from him how to edit a poem but, reading his poetry, I was also able to discover my own poetic sensibility. Then, the Psalms of the Bible have been my another inspiration and influence.
HI: What is the biggest thing you have learnt while self-publishing?
RKS: While one hardly finds a publisher for poetry, most of the established or well-known poets care tuppenny for the new or aspiring poets: they will neither read them nor mention them to people who matter. And, it hurts most when the academia dump them without even reading their work that always reaches them gratis; they don’t even acknowledge receiving a new poet’s book, published with so much expectation and enthusiasm.
Even if the internet has made one easily accessible, it is disappointing to find most poets/writers interested only in their own works rather than in others’ works. There may be some ‘viewing’ here and there but there is hardly any serious ‘reading’ which makes self-publishing a self-defeating exercise.
Yet, this (self-publishing) is the only alternative available to most of us aspiring to become published authors.
HI: What advice would you give to other writers.
RKS: Read and help each other, recognizing the merits, rather than rejecting and dumping one without caring to read him/her even once. The more you shed your biases, the more will be your pleasure.
HI: Where can people follow you on the internet?
RKS: On my blogs, twitter, facebook, LinkedIN, and various other sites. Some of these I have already mentioned. Some others could be: https://twitter.com/profrksingh ; https://www.facebook.com/rksingh311250 ; www.rksingh.wordpress.com ; http://www.lit.org/author/R.K.Singh ; http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Ram-Krishna-Singh ; www.poemhunter.com/poet/r-k-singh ; www.poemsabout.com/poet/r-k-singh ; http://micropoetry.com/author/profrksingh ; www.facebook.com/profrksingh ; www.marsocial.com/rksingh ; http://www.tumblr.com/blog/rksingh1950 ; http://www.syndicjournal.us/ ; in.linkedin.com/pub/ram-krishna-singh/17/195/890/
R K Singh