Poet Vihang A Naik whose collection of poems “City Times and Other Poems” is about everyday life of a common man.
Vihang A. Naik (b. 2nd September, 1969), the author of City Times and Other Poems is not the one who has an impeccable resume of the typical gifted and talked-about writers but he is the one who gives courage to the world to attain success and not to give up hope and have patience “When you do not find the key to the door you want to enter in, wait patiently till the doorman comes and unlocks.”(The Path of Wisdom) He has not attended any ‘writers’ classes’ or moved around in the circle of aristocratic families with celebrated personalities yet he is on the verge of literary success with his collection of poems. Words would be inadequate to express the strength of his poems. They give invaluable lessons to be courageous and retain dignity in all circumstances “Look ahead the journey is short.”(Love Song of a Journeyman) He shows a clear mirror to the world “Time preaches mortality, the day should give up to the night as the dead retires bodiless.” (Love Song of a Journeyman) His poems reflects the flaws, shortcomings of the society for, the people are becoming self-centered and selfish “The world shrinks within the boundaries of flesh.” (Love Song of a Journeyman) It becomes really very difficult to distinguish between the angel and the devil, the true friend and the artificial one, deceitful “Even crocodiles and vultures in the mist are taken real in the least, who knows what is deceit?” (Mirrored Man) and “you find yourself strange in the fog of knowledge.” (After Innocence) Thus, his poems touch our heart and express the daily lives of people who are “lost in the circle of pleasure” (At the Shore) and “truth” the essence of life man “has lost in the dark beyond the edge.” (Mirrored Man) Finally he preaches not to be devoid of the milk of mankind, help everyone, never to give hope, enjoy life, achieve success and “look ahead” for “the journey” of life “is short.” (Love Song of a Journeyman)
He writes in English and is published in literary journals. His poems have appeared in The Indian P.E.N., Indian Literature, Kavya Bharati, POESIS: A Journal of Poetry Circle, Mumbai, The Journal of The Poetry Society (India), The Journal of Indian Writing In English, The Journal of Literature and Aesthetics, The Brown Critique, and poetry anthologies. His poetry is also included in some significant e-publications. He is educated from The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda with English Literature, Indian Literature in English Translation and Philosophy.
He had his primary schooling from Navrachna School (Baroda). His significant collection of poetry includes Poetry Manifesto (New & Selected Poems), 2010 from New Delhi, India. His Making A Poem was published by Allied Publishers’ (Mumbai) in 2004. His Gujarati language collection of poems includes Jeevangeet published by Navbharat Sahitya Mandir (Ahmedabad) in 2001 dedicated to the cause of victims of Gujarat Earthquake 26th January, 2001. He also translates poetry from Gujarati language into English. He has taught English for more than a decade at Shree Ambaji Arts College affiliated to Hemchandracharya North Gujarat, India. He can be reached at http://www.vihang.org. (City Times and Other Poems, pp.vii-viii)
Conversation with Poet Vihang A. Naik by Dr Sanjay Prasad Pandey in an email interview.
( SPP ) When did you start writing? Does it make you happy?
( VaN ) It was during my teens that Muse caught me. Though it is difficult to locate the origin or time. If I recollect… it was somewhere around my ninth grade that I wrote my first lines, to my utter surprise it was my first verse. I don’t know what it was that made me write then but I found it poured something out of me. Made me relive myself info some something new. Some urge made me create.
( SPP )Why did you start writing?
( VaN ) To me poetry is more of a craft. Initially the concerns of my poetry was city life in contemporary times. It kept changing. Then it was poetry. Poetry, on the art of writing poetry. That is on poetry on writing process with my personal aesthetics.
( SPP ) Do you write for a select reader?
( VaN ) I don’t think myself writing for select reader or some circle of readers. But after you are writing for some time, as it is now almost since 1990 when I burnt my first collection of poems than started writing in a new mode. It so happens that whatever you write there are some definite reader who breathes life into my poems. Then later there are some reader who have particular likes and choices and they decide what better writings is.
( SPP ) Is there a message in your works?
( VaN ) Writing has a context. Writing does not exist in vacuum. It takes birth in a particular context / out of conflict at times. My initial style does not endorse any particular message but, as I believe, good wirings can have multiple layers of meanings. Messages, if you like to term it. Of course, I do not begin it with message.
( SPP ) What role have your parents played in your being a writer?
( VaN ) I should be thankful to my parents, always. I am thankful, that they allowed me to write. First they did not saw me as a writer as I used to scribble every now and then. But there was something within me and my society which surrounded me as my family that made me writer. But writers usually have odd personal circumstances which give birth to a writer. I believe, every writer is a product of society, of course parents being primary factors.
( SPP ) What do you feel is the most important thing in City Times and Other Poems?
( VaN ) Writing in itself is important. Text itself is important. Philosophy. A work which has no vision ultimately ends up into nothingness.
( SPP ) Who are the writers inspired you in your formative days?
( VaN ) As I recollect during my school days where I stumbled on many different texts from various writings from English writers and Gujarati writings which happen to be my mother tongue. Most of the writers that carried philosophy of life, the writings that contained philosophy and vision did inspire, perhaps made me.
( SPP ) What typographical experimentation did you do while composing ‘City Times and other poems‘? What about its versification?
( VaN ) You caught a right word. “Typographical Experimentation” and the other term “Versification”. A poem to express its content needs experimentation and innovation without which there would never be newness and addition to culture and tradition. Versification that is meter or the rhythmic structure may not be apparently present or visible but it has internal structure. Versification often is artificial or ornamental with forced rhyming which a free verse shuns. And experimental poetry avoids.
( SPP ) What is the main theme(s) in your writing City Times and Other Poems ?
( VaN ) I was attracted towards cities and where ever I went I pondered about the man in a city. I pondered about life and living, initially. Perhaps, that is why City Times has more of philosophical over tones. I did not have any pre-defined themes, it just so happens that I collected them into a book form and it come out with the title which contains some philosophy. My Self Portrait has some few words with three words “discovered beyond thought” at the tail end of poem with in-between blank pages (space).
( SPP ) When did you plan to publish your works?
VaN :Initially I used to read out my poems to my friends and I am fortunate to have many friends . Then as I shifted from schools to University, things changed. I had burnt one collected poems by this time. I then started to write in a new mode focusing more on internal structure. Previous, I thought, was heavily influenced by English writing poets, perhaps. Some new friends suggested to it would be better to get the works published from then onwards there was no turning back.
( SPP ) What do you intend to work on next?
VaN :Even my past creations were never intended. How can I predict future creations ? But one thing is certain, I don’t believe in command poetry. Though there are many schools who believe that one can make a poem just by joining pieces of words scattered here and there.I do not believe poetry is handmaid of any ideology.
( SPP ) Any advice for aspiring writers?
( VaN ) Be true to yourself while writing and vision. Your individual style of writing will follow.
( SPP ) Any immediate wish?
( VaN ) Coffee .