Tell us something about yourself and your formation years.
My answer to your question could be an essay but I will try to make it short. This much I can say that from childhood, written words attracted me. I had a liberal atmosphere at home. My mother taught in a college, my father was the principal of an engineering college, and my uncle Manindra Ray was a poet and a Sahitya Akademi Award Winner. Our house was full of books, and the bookshelves casting sepia shadows together with other furniture created a different space for me. As an only child of my parents I had no siblings to play with. I was left with my own resources. I learned to visualize the world of paper, ink and words. All these created a secondary world, a world that was distant and at the same time inviting. I felt in order to enter this world I had to scribble something personal. Perhaps, that was my entry to poetry. The journey was painfully lonely. In Calcutta writing in English makes you stand at the boundary line. Back then there was no society or club where you could share, critique, or discuss
Does being a woman somehow influenced your poetry?
I think poetry is very personal and individual and the way one feels, reacts and writes depend on this.
Do you think events such as this women’s scream is promoting the essence of poetry writing, listening and sharing well?
Obviously events such as this is elongating the poetry boundary. One has to write. But sharing, listening is also important. Unconsciously one learns, de- learns and moves forward. Future will tell. But these creative events do have impacts and I believe it will snowball.
How do you feel being associated with an event like Womenscream coordinated by poetry group like Rhythm Divine?
I feel grateful and blessed.
Please share a message for our readers.
I am no messiah to give a message. But I want to share a thought with my fellow poets and readers that –read poetry, write poetry if you can. Poetry won’t fix the economy. It won’t give you material comforts. But it’s important. It makes you realize that you and your problems are both infinitesimally small and you are a shard of this vast universe. Isn’t it uplifting?
Please Note: The Interview is Co-ordinated for IWI and WomenScream by Sufia Khatoon
Poems by Sharmila Ray
My world is small
you may call it colourless,
you can add all your comments,
commas and full stops.
But I have no desire to think.
You can feed all the clouds in my
world with crumpled blotting paper,
still it wouldn’t make a difference.
You can dress me with swathes of
cotton and silk, throttle silence
with metal sounds and try to do whatever
In fact, make me a prisoner.
The universe is vast
change is rushing on a bicycle.
…there are in my heart furies and sufferings…
Have I said this before? Possibly not. I don’t even know why I have opened my compose mail. Right click, left click. The sound gives me company. I am tired of your small games as I am tired of my shadow. At night I gaze at you in wonder, asleep, without a care in the world. What do you see when you close your eyes? Do you see the dark dust devouring our bodies? Have you seen my hand sliding down you filled with salt and blood? Have you felt bodies turned to rock, killed by history? Years have passed and all the subtleties have decomposed. The spaces between ourselves rank with the smell of urine. Can you count how many shades of poetry have become useless?
Why ask for more if you can’t give me your hand? Outside the rain is splattering on the window pane. The marigold in my balcony are drooping. There is a great deal of things I wanted to tell you but most have rotted with time. But one still remains even if it is unheard.
Listen, I happened to be with you, even if you never arrived.
Dr. Sharmila Ray is a celebrated poet and educator. She is the HOD of Department of History, City College, Kolkata
For more information on Women Scream please visit the following pages:
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/WomanScreamFest/?fref=ts
Rhythm Divine Poets in association with Art Fair celebrates the strength of woman on the occasion of woman’s month in March by promoting art and poetry festival in the city of Kolkata. To raise voice against violence on woman is the mutual goal. These associations will lead to Rhythm Divine coordinating Kolkata chapter of the global event called Woman Scream International Poetry and Art Festival on 26th March by Women Poets International Movement (Mujeres Poetas Internacional MPI) from the Dominican Republic, and coordinated by Jael Uribe, MPI’s President.
The Kolkata chapter is co-sponsored by Incredible Women of India, Manya Education Pvt Limited and The Princeton Review hosted by the Berlia family in Kolkata.
Print partner SIBCO Overseas Pvt Ltd and Admakers
Gift sponsored by Readomania
Radio Partner Radio One 94.3FM
Online Web media partner Incredible Woman of India and Calcalling
Print Partner News Beat
Online media and literary partner Readomania, Learning and Creativity and Being Bookworms
Partnered by Hamari Sanskriti, Wordsurfacing and Ahava Communications