JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Sohail Akhtar Aadil, author of Irreverent Natter: a collection of poems from my 30s
The human condition forms the determinants of our bonds of relationships with fellow human beings. The price of being human and having feelings of pain and joy, laughter and tears, makes poetry. Poetry is painting pictures with words.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Irreverent Natter?
Sohail Akhtar Aadil: The English Romantic tradition has left an indelible impression on popular psyche. I am especially impressed by poets like Keats, with a bit of the humour of Alexander Pope thrown in. Ok, the lovey dovey side is laughable if only it wasn’t so tragic. So the inspiration veers between the tragic and the comic with a hint of the madness of the great Bard’s sonnets.
The poetry is truthful, but the inspiration for this truth lies in madness – what is more commonly known as the long dark night of the soul. In the poem “What Vain Hopes…” there is a memorable line:
For when a man finds himself alone, and the night black
And he looks into his soul, he sees God staring back
Please don’t confuse the poetry as some God-squadder out on a mission to prove a point. It is just that the inspiration is a long struggle with the truth of the world created by the loneliness of loving and losing. The collection is roughly divided between those poems which were written a long time ago before I had children and those written for and with my children.
When all is said and done, the poetry celebrates life. The pain of being as well as the joy. Poems like “Christmas” were written with my children in mind, whereas poems like “Aah! Sweet Love…” and “Gently, the Winter Moon…” express a heightened state of awareness or unawareness, as the case may be.
JP: What sets Irreverent Natter-a collection of poems from my 30s apart from other books in the same genre?
SAA: As far as I am aware, I am one of the only few Brit-Asians writing poetry on the Kindle in the UK. My book is reasonably priced because poetry is something I want to share. I could have written a murder mystery or a romance because that would have sold better.
However, I chose poetry as my signature publication because deep down I am still a Bollywood-watching kid. I enjoy the spectacle of song and dance, so you’ll find that the poetry, if translated, translates very well into Bollywood-style song lyrics. I write those as well, in their native tongue, sometimes better than the English, but I enjoy poetry in all languages.
You could say my poetry was mystical like that of the Beats, but its rhyme rhythm and syntax is classical Bollywood, if not Keatsian. So you decide for yourself – a Brit-Asian writing Beat poetry with a Bollywood theme heavily influenced by English Classicism. What category is that?
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Irreverent Natter getting out to the public?
SAA: Besides the price of the book, which is peanuts, and the fact that it is available for instant download, the success factor depends whether it manages to create a fan-base which I see emerging for Kindle authors.
For example, I get the feeling that parents of children old enough to appreciate a good rhyme will appreciate my book. Similarly, from the downloads and reviews and calls I’ve had, the rap quality of the poetry could be great for the singers and musicians.
The Bollywood-style fluctuations in mood should make the poetry entertaining and engaging. In short, you could do a lot worse than download this book. You never know, you may be pleasantly surprised.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Irreverent Natter?
SAA: In the dead of night, when everyone, including myself, try to sleep, a question pops up in my mind to the tune of “How did my day go? How did I spend today?” This question invariably and always leads to poetry both in English and Urdu.
The poems in this collection had all been written years earlier, kept in a diary. Some were complete, others were in various stages of completion. All I did was organise the collection and made it readable for others besides myself.
When I published it, I had two thoughts in my mind: either it earns me some money or it is appreciated. Either of the two will do me. I was happy with it being passed around, loaned, etc. However, the response I got with the Kindle free book download promo has made me want to publish again.
I’ve organised other more recent poems for my new publication which should be out in a couple of weeks.
JP: What’s next for Sohail Akhtar Aadil?
SAA: I have compiled, amended and re-written about sixteen or seventeen poems, comprising 22 pages of Microsoft Word and out of those some have been sent to a publisher who contacted me through Google+.
I’ll wait to see what the answer is. If the offer is reasonable, I’ll publish it. Otherwise, I’ll self-publish again. I’m thinking of calling my next collection Poetry E Motion because I like the concept of e-publishing.
Let’s face it, if it hadn’t been for e-publishing, my first collection Irreverent Natter wouldn’t have even seen the light of day. I am grateful for the things that help me improve. I like to think I don’t bite the hand that feeds me.
http://facebook.com/Search Sohail Akhtar
I think the e-publishing revolution is a great thing. Even those voices which had the talent, but no resources or inclination to go to a normal publisher has began to find their own voice. This can only be a harbinger of better things although as in everything, there is a wide variety in the quality and disposition.
I am discovering authors whom otherwise I would never have discovered at a reasonable price. People like Donald Wells, author of Sex Poems for Virgins and Malika Gandhi, author of Freedom of the Monsoon available on the Kindle.
To all these and others about to follow, I say a hearty good luck. May you all prosper.