Tikuli is a blogger and author from Delhi. Her short stories and poems have appeared in print and in online literary magazines including Le Zaparougue, MiCROW 8, The Smoking Book (Poets Wear Prada Press, US), The Bombay Review, Levure Littéraire 10, The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, Open Road Review, Cafe Dissensus. Tikuli’s print publications include poems and stories in Guntur National Poetry Festival Anthology, Silence is White and the much-acclaimed Chicken Soup For the Indian Romantic Soul (Westland). Her debut poetry book, Collection of Chaos, was published in 2014 by Leaky Boot Press. Her second book Wayfaring releases on 20th November 2017. She blogs here.

Kulpreet Yadav: Congratulations on your new collection. Can you share the theme of this collection, the core around which these works have been created?

Tikuli: Thank You, Kulpreet. ‘Wayfaring’ is about movement. It is about journeys, both physical and metaphysical. There is an intermingling of past and present. The book explores byways of society, family, love & loss while questioning the role memory plays in our rapport with the many things that bind us to the reality. You will feel a renewed nostalgia for things that are lost and the excitement for the new beginnings. The poems have history and landscape running through their veins. There is also a good measure of anger too, a form of protest.

Kulpreet Yadav: Who do you consider your strongest influences & why?

Tikuli: Writing is an individual craft. I have never been influenced by any particular author or their style but yes, it helps in opening up windows within. Manto, Kamla Das, Jayant Mahapatra, Keki Daruwala, Ismat Chugtai, Arun Kolatkar, Amrita Pritam, Keki Daruwala, Nissim Ezekiel, Neruda, Octavio Paz, Longfellow, Emily Dickenson, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, Charles Bukowski, Jorge Luis Borges are some of the authors I love either for their wit and humour or technique, the others for their plot and characterization or strong narrative or a particular political/social stance. Since last 8-9 years, I began interacting with the poets who’re currently active. It’s tough to list all of them, for there are many. It helped me to explore new dimensions of writing and break my inner barriers.

Kulpreet Yadav: As a poet do you have a long-term goal? Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

Tikuli: For a writer, it is very important to develop their sense of their literary journey. To evolve and grow as a human being and as a writer is the only goal I have. I don’t think about future. Let’s see what the universe unfolds as we go along. As a writer, I just want to enjoy the process.

Kulpreet Yadav: Do you have any plans to experiment with the form in future? Say, try prose-poetry or any other hybrid form?

Tikuli: I have done a few experiments with form in this collection too. There are some prose-poems, haikus, acrostics etc. I prefer free verse but at the same time, I love to challenge myself to explore other forms too.

Kulpreet Yadav: Usually, most people who want to make poetry as a career end up writing songs for Bollywood, the quality of which, to my understanding, has improved during the last few years. Have you ever considered writing lyrics for film songs? If not, do you have any comments to offer?

Tikuli: Writing, for me, is a lifelong process of growing into myself. I don’t think I will ever make poetry a career. There is a crucial difference between poetry and songwriting. You might be surprised how many poets and prose writers think it would be easy to write lyrics for songs. Poetry is a solitary craft whereas songwriting is for the masses. A completely different form of communication. Lyrics are meant to be heard not read. The craft of lyric writing is more confining than prose, or poetry, even in its more constricted forms. I cannot imagine myself doing that. Also, I don’t think the quality of film song lyrics has improved during the last few years. I find the subtle elements of sensibility completely missing most of the time.

Kulpreet Yadav: Would you like to share any interesting anecdote from your life as a poet for our readers?

Tikuli: It amuses me to see how my poetry or prose has always been a matter of scrutiny. I know a few people who feel uncomfortable every time I write something maybe because they are unable to predict when and what I will reveal next. I think the confidence and power poetry rattles them. It’s amazing how poetry can shake an established order. A man once said, it scares him to have fallen in love with an unapologetic poet like me. He always thought I was looking beyond what is visible and that made him suspicious and nervous about my writing. On the other hand, It made me feel really good.

Tikuli’s latest book of poetry Wayfaring can be ordered from here.