Richa Gupta, the founder/editor-in-chief, recently had the opportunity to interview Harnidh Kaur, who was a contributor to the third issue of Moledro! Read the interview below!
R: Your wonderful book, ‘The Inability of Words’, has been called a ‘must-have for all poetry lovers’. What are the prime themes you explore through your poems?
H: I think the overarching theme is growth. It’s a lot to do with how I worked through anger, sadness, pain, and confusion, and the themes touch upon the idea of home, the idea of contexts. It’s a very long exercise in me trying to fit into my own skin.
R: What do you think are the main emotions that will be evoked among your readers, when they dive into your words?
H: Aching familiarity. I like the idea of writing things that make people feel almost uncomfortable because of how strangely invasive, yet comforting they are. It’s what I aim for. When someone reads my book, I want them to feel like they’re staring a fogged up mirror – their reflection shows, but it feels just a little out of reach.
R: What were you trying to achieve through your book?
H: Brutal honesty. Catharsis. I wanted to create something beautiful out of a lot of nauseating turbulence. It’s not the fanciest of poetry books. But it’s honest, and true to what it intended to do, and that’s what matters.
R: Young poets in India often don’t get the support they deserve. Do you agree with this common perception?
H: The idea of mentorship is lost in India, which is a tragedy, because we have so much talent. Thankfully, we’re branching out. Social media is impacting the game in amazing, substantive ways. We’re the outliers, the misfits, the weirdos, and we’re finally proud of it. We don’t kowtow to ‘seniors’ anymore. We’re arriving at our own pace, and our own terms. This generation of poets is going to be trailblazing. We’re making poetry sexy, accessible, and relevant again.
R: What are some mistakes young writers usually make? Are there any mistakes you have made throughout your writing career?
H: Pandering. It’s so easy to write what people want to read. To write about universal themes like love, loss, and longing. It’s also so easy to hate what you write. I personally didn’t value my own work till it was almost too late. Don’t do that. Love yourself, love your work. I recently gave a speech on the 10 lessons my book taught me. Those are all the lessons, and mistakes, I made.
R: Do you have any unique/quirky writing habits that have helped you in your writing process?
H: I wrote my entire book on my phone! All of it. I don’t write on paper. I like technology. It’s amazing, especially for poets.
R: That’s amazing! What do you think is the difference between a good poem and a stunning poem?
H: Simplicity, for me. If a poem can distill emotions into a few words, without being overtly pedantic or pretentious, it’s stunning to me. Some of the best poetry I’ve read has been simple, and nearly obvious in nature. It makes me feel like I should’ve grasped its crux myself, without needing the poem. It’s the poetry that you can’t shake off because of how it seeps into your bones.
R: When it comes to poetry, what scares you the most?
H: That I’ll stop having anything to write about. It’s terrifying. Poetry is such an integral part of me, I don’t know how to function without it.
R: Do you plan to become a fulltime writer later on? Or will writing remain a hobby?
H: Ah, I’m an aspiring civil servant! Writing isn’t just a hobby, though. It’s my calling. So is helping people. I don’t know why we assume people have only one overarching passion. I have two – policy and poetry – and I’m going to chase them both.
R: Lastly, do you have any words of wisdom for the youngsters reading your interview?
H: Write. Creativity isn’t magic. It’s brute hard work, practice, and consistency. Write every day. Creativity is a muscle. Build it up and hone it into a fine weapon. Stop depending on inspiration to strike you. Actively search for inspiration. Strike out for it, and you’ll find gold.
Harnidh is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Policy. Her first collection, The Inability of Words (Writer's Workshop 2016), is now available. Her work is published in journals like EPW, Brown Girl Magazine, The Bombay Review, Cafe Dissensus Daily, The Sunflower Collective, amongst others. She was chosen as a winner of 25 Under 25 by Campus Diaries under the 'writing' category. She's currently working on her second book under Thought Catalog Press, New York.