Saturday, November 18, 2017

 bill berry, jr.

Publisher and CEO, aaduna &
Member, Rockford Kingsley's Advisory Board
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sonnet Mondal
 

"Honours and recognitions are modes of encouragement but they cannot be the source of inspirations. So I prefer to keep honours and awards only in showcases. They will remind me of people‚Äôs expectations from me but at the same time the glass of the showcase in between will prevent me from being in daily contact with them. If we base poetry upon awards, the very essence of it is lost into materialism. Poetry is eternal."

 
 

 

Visit aaduna's
Web Site and Read
Sonnet Mondal's Poems 
Which Appeared In
aaduna's Fall 2011 Issue

 

 

 
 

 

E-ViewPoints

 
Interview With Sonnet Mondal 
 
bill berry, jr.
 
 
 
Sonnet Mondal currently resides in the City of Durgapur at West Bengal in India. He has authored six books of poetry including translations of his work into Macedonian, Italian, Chinese, Hindi, Arabic and Telugu. His latest book, Diorama of Three Diaries contains about 150 poems, and was published by Authorspress, New Delhi in late 2011. His first book, A Poetic Peep into the Post Modern World was published in 2007 by the Underground Literature Kolkata Publications. Recognized and honored globally for his work, in March 2011 he became the first Indian to bag the Azsacra International Poetry award.  In September 2011, Magic Cat Press, U.S.A. featured Sonnet in the Author's spotlight. Also last year, he was honored with the Significant Achievements Plaque at the 154 year old museum ofBengal Engineering and Science University in Shibpur. He received an invitation, and appeared at the prestigious Struga Poetry Evenings, Macedoniato represent India in 2011. The United Magazine featured him at thetop of its Achievers’ Listin January 2011.  The India Today magazine featured him among thefamous five of Bengali youths in July 2010 and The Herald of India featured him as an Achiever2010. His works have been widely featured all over the world in popular literary magazines and journals, which are too numerous to mention here. However, you are encouraged to check out www.sonnetmondal.com for further information. 
 
Sonnet is the founder and managing editor of “The Enchanting Verses International Journal” (ISSN-0974-3057), poetry editor of The Abandoned Towers Magazineand the sub-secretary general of Poetas Del Mundo (International Poet’s of the World Movement-Headquarters, Chile)In August 2010, he joined Best Poems Encyclopedia, New York as the section editor. 
 
Mr. Mondal is an early twenty-something, single, with an undergraduate degree in Mining Engineering. He continues to enjoy writing poetry and short stories, as well as playing Tabla and listening to Indian Sufi and light classical music. He has previously owned a Dachshund but is currently without a pet.      
 
 
 
bill:
Thank you for taking the time to chat with me.  You are a very accomplished young man and I will discuss your accomplishments with you later on.  To start, tell us about your childhood; where you grew up, memories, and why your parents named you Sonnet.   
 
Sonnet:
My childhood has passed in several places of which the first phase was in the Coal belt area of Sripur where our old house is still standing high. Though I stayed at Sripur, I used to pass much of my time during school holidays at my maternal home located in a village named Jahidpur in the state of West Bengal. This place with its own charm is one of my favorite places till date and I feel a tremendous peace running through my veins whenever I go there. The walks with my grandfather to the rice fields, hearing ghost stories from him at night, the cows in the cow shed with each cow having a different name and the farmyard still resides in the throne of my heart. One incident that I often remember is catching fish in one of the ponds at Jahidpur along with my grandpa. In the same manner my early days in Sripur too occupy a large part of my nostalgia. One memory about Sripur is going to the Sripur Colliery with my grandfather and cousin brother. A strange turn of life was after almost 15 years I am now a mining engineer and had my previous training in the same mines.
 
About my name- my parents tell me that they just wanted to keep an uncommon name. The matching of my activities with my name is purely coincidental and is an act of God.
 
bill:
You enjoyed a childhood surrounded by nature and your ability to interact with all phases of it in a very literal sense. And one can see the influence as you now are still connected to the earth as a mining engineer. Was there a particular incident that sparked your need to write poetry and do you feel that this connectivity to the earth has shaped your written words?
 
Sonnet:
I have been trying to write poetry since I was in class three but it happened after six year in class nine when I penned my first poem “My Western Friend”. The theme came automatically to my mind and I can’t recall any specific incident that gave a thrust to my wits to pen poetry. But as far as I think, that desire to write poetry since class three was itself a need for me to write poetry. Until I joined the engineering courses, I never knew I was going to be a mining engineer. This particular connectivity to earth may not be a determining factor for my write ups but yes, many times I have found good social themes to pen upon, in and around Indian mines. Most people question me that why mining? They feel mining engineering and poetry are gulfs apart in their specialties but I have found a good deal of social literature to be associated with these jobs. It is always about how you see the world around you and I find mining to be compatible with poetry.
 
bill:
You have seen the world through eloquent eyes, which you express sublimely in your poetry. But, I want to focus some more on your early need to write. Were you writing consistently after class nine and during university years? How old were you when you were initially published and describe what that felt like.  
 
Sonnet:
Yes after class nine I kept on penning. At first I penned rhyming one and slowly moved on into free verse though still I do pen rhyming poems at times. I was seventeen when I first published my poem. Actually, I had never dreamed of being called as a poet by people. It was the beginning of me being called as a poet and of course it was wonderful.
 
bill: 
Interestingly, as a young poet, you were bestowed with a few honors. Now, in your very early twenties, you are facing the possibility of a significant international award. While it may be rumor and clearly unofficial, I understand you’ve been nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Are you free to comment?   
 
Sonnet:
Honours and recognitions are modes of encouragement but they cannot be the source of inspirations. So I prefer to keep honours and awards only in showcases. They will remind me of people’s expectations from me but at the same time the glass of the showcase in between will prevent me from being in daily contact with them. If we base poetry upon awards, the very essence of it is lost into materialism. Poetry is eternal. The satisfaction each poem gives to a poet is much more than international awards. One should heap them beside rather than heaping them over oneself. All these are also true even for a prize like the Nobel Prize. My knowledge about my nomination for the Nobel is also limited to the media features.
 
bill:
You have a keen sense of what is truly important and I hope you do not lose that feature. Moving on….Please describe what is your approach to writing sonnets and why your approach has created such a “buzz’ among poetry aficionados and intellectuals?
 
Sonnet:
I was never a lover of Sonnets till October 2009, when I suddenly started writing Sonnets out of nowhere. It’s worth mentioning here, that I had spent quite a few months before thinking of inventing this form. Inventions hardly come into the limelight and those who have the urge of inventing can understand how difficult it is to frame a new form and face the Himalayan challenges after his invention. Fusion sonnets, as the name suggests is a fusion between traditional and contemporary styles of writing poetry.
 
Inventions are always frowned upon in initial stages but till now the fusion sonnet form has received positive reviews with occasional criticisms. The reason it has flared up among poetry lovers may be the name ‘Sonnet’ associated with it. Sonnet irrespective of many poetic forms has survived several centuries and has been experimented by many famous poets. Almost all poets at some point of time in their career have invariably touched upon the notes of Sonnet. Down the ages it has been a poetic form of tremendous interest and any variation in this form will automatically punch in reactions. I think this is the cause of the ‘Buzz’.
 
bill:
While I suspect the positive reactions outweigh the negative [your fusion sonnet form was the basis for the Nobel prize nomination, and you were also nominated for the 2012 Pushcart Prize], how do you deal with criticisms of your work and does bad reviews have an affect on your writing?   
 
Sonnet:
As I always say, it is not bad when critiques are writing badly about you but it is really bad when they stop writing about you. Perfection has no limit and criticism always leave a space from further improvement. I take criticism as a medium to improve upon those points which may not provide full satisfaction to a reader.
 
bill:
You are a very prolific writer and I wonder if you have spare time to do anything else besides engineering work and writing? What do you do for fun…to just kick back and relax?   
 
Sonnet:
Of course time often gets restricted, but I enjoy listening to music, playing chess, playing Tabla and watching movies to relax.
 
bill:
When I lived in Queens, NY, I was near a movie theatre that showed Indian films especially so-called Bollywood features. Is that a style you enjoy and what are the latest movies you’ve seen? Are you a good chess player? 
 
Sonnet:
I enjoy any type of movie that contains a good story inside it. Some of the Bollywood films are my all time favorites like “Sholey” (among old Bollywood films), “Black,” “Devdas” etc to name a few. I haven’t gone for chess competitions but yes, in this regard I believe I am a descent chess player.
 
bill:
Before we end this chat, I would be remiss if I did not ask you about India. While I have not traveled there, I hear it is a fascinating country with vast diversity of thought, cultural leanings, and lifestyles. How would you describe your country to a prospective visitor? And how does the City of Durgapur differ from other steel or mining areas?  
 
Sonnet:
India is a panorama of a variety cultures, climates, water bodies, landforms, beliefs and languages. For a person in whom the spirit of travelling and learning is imbibed with a sense of connecting history and postmodernism, perhaps India is like an eternal paradise of wonders.
 
Durgapur differs with other steel or mining areas mainly in respect of town planning. Most of the other cities connected with such activities are ill planned but Durgapur is wonderful in terms of town planning and pollution free living colonies.
 
bill:
Thank you for taking the time to chat with me. It has been quite enjoyable. In closing, what advice or wisdom can you share with the Rockford Kingsley readership?
 
Sonnet:
I wish to end up with a muse:
 
Life is special in each of its phases- Childhood, youth, middle age and senescence. So, also, Poetry written by an individual during each of these phases, however simple or complex it might be, must be special. Hence, poetry is ageless.
Copyright 2015 by Rockford Kingsley Ltd.