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EroText

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Sudeep Sen, author: 

Sudeep Sen finds poetic stimulus in everything that surrounds him. His journey into the world of poetry began at the age of seventeen, when his grandfather printed, photocopied and bound his first manuscript of poems as a graduation gift, titled Leaning Against the Lamppost. Following over a dozen collections of poetry, EroText is Sen's first book of fiction. A reflection of contemporary prose fiction, this book strings together short, tight, gripping pieces of micro-fiction. Sen captures love, pain, longing, desire and darkness in short tales spread across five heads—desire, disease, delusion, dream and downpour. We got in touch with the award-winning poet, and he took us through the story behind EroText.

Before EroText, we’ve read most of your writing as poetry. What inspired you to write prose? How did the process feel different this time?
Indeed, up until now, most readers have experienced my creative writing as poetry—i.e. poetry that looks ‘conventional’ with line breaks and other poetic devices. The prose pieces in EroText could fall into a genre called ‘prose-poetry’ or ‘micro-fiction’—both recognised as specialised literary sub-genres. The lines between the genres are blurred at the edges and it is this open space that EroText occupies. At the launch of EroText in Delhi, someone described the book as 'prose written with poetic intent'. For me, the process took place with ease, flowing quite organically and naturally. These highly wrought, tight literary prose pieces have been written alongside the poetry I was writing all along. It did not feel very different, in the sense, that the particular form chose itself for this book.

To an untrained eye, the pieces can seem to flow as unstructured thoughts, some as small as a line and some going into pages. What helped you find common ground to compile these scattered writings?
In my view the pieces have organically arranged themselves in groups without me asserting too much force from the outside. If you analyse the sounds and metaphors closely, they have been dutifully orchestrated with an overall architectural and sonic structure in mind. Of course, I also wrote new pieces that found their place in a particular section of the book depending on the subject matter, mood and intent.

Across the five sub-categories—desire, disease, delusion, dream, downpour—you take us through your many journeys in place and time. How difficult was it to decide what belonged to which?
It wasn’t difficult to decide what belonged where. As an example, let me talk about ‘Disease’, ‘Downpour’ and ‘Desire’ sections. The ‘Disease’ or ‘BodyText’ section of this book contends with private and uncomfortable areas of pain, illness and disease—an example of how a prolonged anesthetic medical experience can give rise to lyrical writing, inspired by and in spite of its sterile surroundings. 

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