Meena Kandasamy

Meena Kandasamy

“There are themes which are very close to me: women, violence, caste annihilation, Tamil language and identity,” announces Meena Kandasamy, writer, translator and poet, who is widely celebrated her for her fierce writing and poetic prowess. However, she doesn’t like thematic or otherwise, boundaries to cage her creativity. “I’m also afraid that if we don’t do enough stuff outside our own comfort zones, we will become automatons and robots. I try to find new interests, learn and write about subjects which I’ve not done before. Anything that doesn’t evolve, perishes and it applies to all of us,” she reveals. Earlier this year, she produced the first feminist interventionist translation of the remarkable piece of Tamil literature, Kamattu-p-pal, the third part of poet Thiruvalluvar’s Tirukkural, into English. Now, she is set to release her own, new poetry collection, Tomorrow Someone Will Arrest You, a dozen years after her previous one. Needless to say, the book is highly anticipated and equally enthralling. We connected with Meena to know more about her current relationship with poetry, the pandemic, the new book and more.

I think it’s one thing to write a poem individually but another skill altogether to make them work alongside each other in an anthology. They have to hold their own, they have to speak to each other, they cannot just be self-contained, they must be an inviolable part of the whole. I have not had a poetry collection since Ms Militancy came out in 2010, so I had to cull from twelve years of poems. The poems were not composed for this collection, except for a small handful that I wrote while I was in the middle of work on this collection. I had turned my back on poetry for a host of reasons, and the poems in this collection hap- pened not because of me but despite me.

Where to even begin? As a reader of poetry, what it does to you, how it affects you, it’s on so many layers. Sometimes it can be cerebral, sometimes visceral. Sometimes it makes you think, sometimes it makes you weep. Sometimes it reminds you of a heartbreak and sometimes it puts a warm gauze around your broken bleeding heart. I wish my poetry books do what all good poetry does.

This is an all exclusive excerpt from our summer EZ. To read the entire article, follow the link here.

Words Nidhi Verma
Date 03-06-2023