Sneha Subramanian Kanta
Sneha has impressed us no end at Eye Flash. After accepting her poetry for issue three we are spellbound, her poetry complex and accessible, pulling the reader into the world she has intricately created. Sneha is one to watch for the future, creating one of the most respectable poetry journals around , ‘Parentheses’,
her poem “At Dusk With The Gods” winning the Alfaaz (Kalaage) prize, and being nominated for Bettering American Poetry and the Pushcart Prize (2018). Below is an interview with Sneha where she tells her what’s next on her trailblazing path in poetry.
Can you tell us when you became aware of poetry, and how you started to write?
I have been writing ever since I learned how to hold a pencil. The meaning of poetry has gone through multitudes of changes in my life, in which, the condition of being a poet is not a monolith. Poetry brings a sense of keen bewilderment, where you set out to explore yourself and the universe. I’d say, to me, poetry is both; the looking outside of yourself and within yourself at once.
Are you aware of your work evolving over time? Are there any of your poems you keep coming back to edit/rewrite?
Yes, I would hope so! I have most recently been enamoured by Ghazals, and look forward to incorporate writing more of that poetry form.
Revision is absolutely necessary, I reckon. The beauty, and when I say beauty, I mean the texture of a poem, its intricate collective unconscious, is revealed by close-engagement. There is a phase when the poem writes itself, on multitude levels, and then there is a juncture of re-engaging, like when you sit down with a favourite book and rediscover nuances you hadn’t hitherto.
How would you describe your own style of writing?
I have been told by readers that they find intrigue in the varied forms I use in poetry— I’m always thankful for their kind attention. It is important to me in knowing how the poem looks on the page, not only in terms of its layout, but any changes that could be made in terms of language. I could describe my writing style and approach most closely by quoting the words of Emily Dickinson: “I dwell in possibility…”
What inspires your writing?
I step into a certain space with writing. My last name, Kanta, was the name of my mother, who was, and is a poet, and her words and life have been inspirational.
I cannot pinpoint to a single inspiration with reference to my artistic practice— but I would say that it burgeons from a sense of immediacy. There is, of course, a simulacrum, and its scope extends through the process of writing. There is a specificity to every poem— that isn’t forced, but grows through the muscular empathy of words. I venture out into unknown territories in my poems, and that’s an intriguing and illuminating journey. As Audre Lorde wrote, “… poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.”
Can you tell us a bit about your poem/s appearing in issue three of Eye Flash?
“Midnight Library at Devonshire” is inspired by my time at the twenty-four hour library in Devon. The narrative is an exploration of the distilled atmosphere outside the large window-pane, and the intermediary being within and without at once. Libraries have been an indispensable part of my journey in engaging with the written word, and for life itself. On the night described in this poem, I was reading an ancient book in Latin, a language I have self-learnt throughout the years, and adore. There was a momentary silence in the vast expanse of the library— soon replaced by interludes of humming sounds of bees. There was also an intimacy in the smell of old dust jackets. It was a moment of reckoning, in its curls of plethora.
“Yorkshire” is an ode to Emily Brontë, and, in a sense, all our literary fore mothers. I have read and re-engaged with the poems of Emily Brontë for several years, and turn to Wuthering Heights every now and then. The voice of Brontë has been a significant force for I. The poem is an atmospheric space where I mourn the voices of the women writers that haven’t been celebrated by the canon, with a sense of erasure and silencing. It is also a reclaiming of that space, in a sense, to remember and read their works, an act of resistance. There are many layers to this poem— spatially, it is a journeying between history and the present. Another facet is the presence of autumn, a season I cherish. The poem moves across all these liminal spaces, in transition, and is an amalgamation of a myriad musicality, through epoch and place.