The Vintage Poet – An Interview with young, talented poet & author Piyumi Bhagya

Hola Beautiful People!!!

An Unseen Melody

An Unseen Melody

Ensconced beside the lamp post

He sits in solitude, so quiet

An inextricable bond 

With his sole companion

Rested tenderly under his chin

Unruffled by the strident pavement

He gropes for the bow with trembling fingers

The strings tugging deep into his heart’s core

An euphonious melody unfelt by the passing crowd

His shrunken eyes forever lost in darknessvintage-violin-portrait-in-black-and-white-emily-enz

Enclosed only within his world of music

The mellifluous notes – so pure, so soft

As of a virtuoso violinist

He quivers now and then in the perishing darkness

When the yuletide breeze wraps around his skeletal body

But drawn on his withered face 

A smile so innocent – and all sweet

As if fallen into a nostalgic reverie

Of the past, the love, the music of his life

Now engraved in the fiddle and pegs of tears

Amidst the congested traffic din

And the muffled voices of the street horde

Receding into the eventide

Is a plaintive cry of a soul,

Scratched upon a forlorn tune  

When I first read this poem, I tried to imagine an old man seated on the side of the street, playing a violin. It was such an amazing poem, beautifully written with the perfect use of language. I felt that the poet carries true talent and I reached her via Instagram. We had a few chats and I felt that the world should know about the talents that she posses within her. I decided to do an interview with her, which she happily agreed. She is Piyumi Bhagya from Kuliyapitya, Sri Lanka. So, here we are and let’s dive in;

IMG_20200428_111316_824
Young and talented poet/ author – Piyumi Bhagya

Q : How would you describe yourself? And tell us about your family?

A : I’m Piyumi Bhagya Nawarathna and I’m 21, currently studying as an undergraduate at the University of Kelaniya. My hometown is Kuliyapitiya and at present I live with my parents as my brother recently migrated for studies. Well, if I talked about myself a bit, I consider myself to be a quiet, simple person. I’m not much of a socialized person and I spend most of the time living in an imaginary world of mine. Apart from writing and reading, I’m a passionate music lover and also a lover of nature. I do drawing and capture the beauty of nature when I’m bored and love the art of gastronomy as well. I guess I was born with art.

Q : How and When did you start writing? What Inspired you?

A : I guess writing has been coming down through all the generations of my family. I was inspired a lot by my maternal grandmother, who was an unpublished hidden writer, who had even translated the whole book of Jane Eyre into Sinhala. With every moment of her life, poetry unleased. Unfortunately she passed away nearly two years back and I still have those papers where she’d scribbled verses of poetry.

IMG_20200428_111350_206
Her work, as a little girl

Then I should thank my dear mother, for if it wasn’t for her inspiration, I’d never be here today. She is an amazing poet and a wonderful story teller herself. I remember my school days when she used to feed me while narrating a story. I’d never open my mouth unless she starts narrating a story. I remember the times she used to narrate all sorts of magical stories at night when I slept beside her. Somedays when she was too tired to finish the story, she would stop right at the climax and ask me to imagine what would happen next. So I spent the whole night dreaming of all sorts of endings and I hope that imagination and curiosity laid the first foundation of my creative writing.

Then I began to write down the stories my mother told me and later began to fabricate my own tales. I remember I compiled my first book of stories using A4 papers when I was in Grade 2 and then wrote several stories, drawing my own pictures. I was too small then and my grammar was not too good. I started to read and fell in love with all the books that my father bought. It all began with the Famous Five series and now I have my own mini library at home.

I started doing poetry as well, when I was in my secondary classes. I should also remind one special person of my life, Mrs. Mangalika Fernando, my English teacher since Grade 2 and my biggest inspiration. If she wasn’t there, I know I can never come up to this standard. She laid the foundation for my English knowledge. By Grade 4, I was capable of knowing all the English grammar tenses. She was the person who taught us to refer a dictionary since Grade 3. We had to carry that heavy dictionary to school almost everyday. She brought out my true self and praised me among every one else. She loved my creative essays the most and motivated me. I’ll never forget how she guided me as a light to this path.

Q : What does poetry mean to you?

A : Poetry for me is like unleashing out the emotions and feelings out of one’s soul. The things people cannot say directly comes in the form of poetry and enraptures the heart of the readers. The ecstasy I feel after composing one proper poem, cannot be turned into words. Poetry gives flight to your imagination and wings to your mind. It can carry you anywhere even above the clouds and make your heart lighter.  A lover of poetry becomes a lover of nature as well. Every moment, every movement is an inexpressible joy for a nature poet. It’s only a poet who sees the beauty of the things around you in an extra special way.

Q : Tell me about the Children’s Novel you wrote few years back?

IMG_20200428_111324_310
Piyumi’s first book – Blossom in Summer

A : My very first book ‘Blossom in Summer’ came out in 2015 as a children’s novel. It was the time I was so much in love with Enid Blyton’s books and I wanted to write my story in the Blyton style. Hence, the setting is an English background. The story revolves around the summer vacation of the five sisters – Berta, Belinda, the twins Bessy and Becky, and Briada the youngest. This marked a turning point in my writing career along with both the positive and negative remarks that I received, which inspired me immensely to develop myself further.

Q : What does it mean for you, to become a successful writer?

A : Being a well known writer, loved by everybody is my dream. Since my childhood days when somebody asked me what would I like to become, I would say ‘I want to be a writer’, without a second thought. I hope to improve my creative writing abilities further and reach my goal. I dream about the feeling of seeing my own books on shelves of bookstores one day. It’s not to be the best writer, but to be the most loved writer of all.

Q : What are your plans for the future? Do you have any idea of doing a poetry collection?

A : I’m working on a novel these days, completely different from my first novel, as I’ve detached from the English background and added Sri Lankan flavour to my story. I guess it will be a different one, one which will get familiar to your life and one that you will all love. I do hope of doing a poetry collection in future including about thirty poems. I’m working hard on them and once they are done, I’ll do a compilation of my poetry works. Further, I hope to write more stories for children in future, which will help them to delve into the magical beauty and buoyancy of childhood.

Q : How can we read and access your work?

A : It was recently I opened up my first and newest Facebook page ‘A Vintage Poet’ where all my creative works are uploaded, including poetry, free verses and inspirational quotes. I hope to start out a website as well and will soon inform once its done. You can find me on;
Facebook  & Instagram

Q : Before we wrap up the interview, anything that you have to say?

A : Special thanks goes to Hasanthi, of Hasanthi’s Book Blog –  one of the coolest, most motivating people I’ve met, for sparing her time in conducting my first blog interview. Also, to my beloved parents, for being my forever shadow, my inspiration and the foundation behind my success.

 

It was really a wonderful experience in having this little chat with the beautiful and talented, young author, Piyumi Bhagya. She is such a humble soul that has a big heart. I am very sure that she would definitely become a leading poet and an author in Sri Lanka. Wishing her all the success in all her future endeavors.

Do not forget to follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

That’s all for today folks. I hope you enjoyed this post. You are most welcome to leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.  Until the next post stay safe!!

XOXOX

20190421_130301_0000

 

 

 

Author Interview – with Sri Lankan author, Ruvindra Sathsarani.

Hello All,

You might remember I was talking about a book written by a Lankan author! Well, I got the opportunity of having an interview with her. So I thought the whole blogosphere should know about this young, talented author from my country, Sri Lanka.

Her book Sorrow that You keep, actually became one of my favorites. I simply loved her writing style. You can check out my review for the book by clicking here

So let us head into the interview.

Line-Separator

 

30412189_2234427426784487_234262401921991057_n.jpg
Young, talented Sri Lankan author, Ruvindra Sathsarani

If you could tell us about yourself?

I’m a writer from Sri Lanka and I’m still studying in University. I’m in my final year at University of Sri Jayewardenepura where I’m reading for a BA special degree in English. My hometown is Kalutara.

Did you enjoy reading as a child? Any childhood favorites?

Yes, I did quite a lot of reading when I was a child. My childhood favorite book is The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham. I loved the talking-animal characters in the novel and I think it woke my imagination to form up stories in my mind. I also read the Harry Potter series, Famous Five, Nancy Drew and of course as many children I enjoyed reading books by Roald Dhal.

 Have you always wanted to be an author? How did you start?

I have always wanted to write when I was a child. But to publish my own book one day was just a dream. When I was a kid, I used to write small poems, usually with rhyming words on funny incidents: most of the poems were about talking animals or talking fruits. It would be hilarious to read one write now.
I continued writing after finishing school. I wrote book reviews to some local newspapers and later I started to send my poetry to local and international journals. As a result, several poems were published in Eastlit magazine, which is a journal of South East Asian literature.

Do you enjoy reading now? Who are your current favorite authors?

Yes, my degree compels me to read quite a lot of books, and I also read books in my free time apart from the prescribed readings that are to be done at the university.
I’m a huge admirer of James Joyce and his fiction. Ulysses is novel that I have read and re read and enjoyed it very much each time I read it. Also, I enjoy reading Marcel Proust, Stendhal and Somerset Maugham. Other writers whom I have recently figured out to be amazing are; Marilynn Robinson, Deborah Levy, Elizabeth Strout, Richard Flanagan, Anthony Doerr, Jennifer Egan and Emily St. John Mandel. I have found their books to be unique and extraordinary.

What do you love most about writing?

Writing is the only way I could tell the world my inner ideas, about what I see and think. It is a way of communicating with the world. I write only when I feel comfortable and at peace. The place, the time and the mood I’m in matter a lot in my writing process. When I finish each section in my writing, I feel a contentment and happiness that cannot be derived from any other activity; it is a mixture of joy and satisfaction.

 

What is the hardest part in writing?

While I was working on Sorrow that You Keep, the hardest part was to limit the content. I did not want to write too many details so that the readers would not be bored. Many readers have told me that the events in the novel are gruesome and very dark. I wanted to limit this trait. So I was constantly writing, editing and deleting chunks of paragraphs. I found this difficult. But in the meantime there was a strong urge inside me to retain the coherence of the work.

What are the books you have written so far? Anything you like to share about it?

 

39314246
Her first novel, Sorrow that you keep

 

Sorrow that You Keep is my first novel. This was a whole new experience to me because previously I have only tackled poetry. This was a great experience also. I accepted the first publishing offer I received because I have known before how hard it is to get published even in this century. But surprisingly two other Indian publishers sent me letters saying that they are willing to publish the book. I found a remarkable enthusiasm in these Indian publishers than the Lankan ones. They worked diligently. I’m happy to have chosen an Indian publisher over a Lankan one.

Are you currently working on anything?

I started writing a new manuscript sometime back. I’m slowly working on it because unlike Sorrow, in this story there are many characters and complex incidents. But I can guarantee the fact that in this work also I would be doing my best to portray the human condition as it is; in the most possible realistic manner.

Well I am looking forward to reading that!!!
What is your idea about eBooks?

I love eBooks. With eBooks you don’t have to go through the trouble of shelf space. Another problem is dusty books. I can’t tolerate the sight of books that are covered in dust. And also, eBooks are cheaper and you can carry as many books you want in your device.

Do you read book reviews? How do you deal with them?

Book reviews are fun to read. It’s a way of knowing what my readers actually thought of the book. I think reviews are also a way that would tempt other readers to read the book because most of the time opinion matters in making decisions.

Where can readers find you? 

I don’t use social media most of the time. But readers could send me messages on FB through- https://www.facebook.com/winkydedalus1

 

That is it folks. I hope you enjoyed the interview and you got to know more about this young, talented Sri Lankan author.

Thanking Ruvindra for accepting my request for an interview. Wishing her best in all her future endeavors.

Until next post,

XOXOX

Hasanthi