Sonnet Mondal is an Indian poet, editor and the author of Karmic Chanting, Ink and Line, and five other books of poetry. Mondal has been one of the authors of the “Silk Routes” project of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, from 2014 to 2016. Editor in Chief of The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, Mondal is an international coordinator for Lyrikline Poetry Network (HausfürPoesie, Berlin) and is the founder director of Chair Poetry Evenings International festival. He has been a guest editor for Words Without Borders, New York and Poetry at Sangam, India. Sonnet has read at literary festivals in Macedonia; Cork, Ireland; Istanbul, Turkey; Granada, Nicaragua; Galle, Sri Lanka; Berlin, Italy: Ukraine; Germany; Hungary; and Slovakia. Winner of the 2016 GayatriGamarsh Memorial award for literary excellence, his recent works have appeared in the publications of Kyoto Journal, Irish Examiner, World Literature Today, Rockford Street Review, Mcneese State University, SahityaAkademi, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, Western New England University, University of Saskatchewan, Youngstown State University, Stockholm University, University of South Alabama, University of Wisconsin, La Crosse and University of North Carolina among others.
Tina Sequeira: Your poems are philosophically rich, profoundly spiritual, and astonishingly cerebral for a 29-year old. What’s the secret of Sonnet’s ingenuity?
Sonnet Mondal: Some of the masterpieces penned by some of the most prominent poets in history were during their 20s. I think good poetry is ageless and has nothing to do with age. I see myself as a person who writes, writes out of curiosity, writes out of hunger, writes out of love, and for whom poetry is the best medium of writing when it comes to expressing those thoughts which cannot be depicted through direct and exact sentences. There is an imperfect fit between language, perception, and articulation. Poetry fills up that gap for me. All these aspects shape up my writing.
Tina Sequeira: Why poetry? Is it because of your birth name, or there’s more to it? Please tell us the whole story from the start to the present.
Sonnet Mondal: The relation of my name with a poetic form has nothing to contribute to my making as a poet. The match is coincidental. I started writing from 2005, and I don’t remember any exact point when poetry pulled me into itself. Poetry itself has been the inspiration for me to pen more. My journey is a daily revelation that arises from the profoundness of my past and what I see today.
Tina Sequeira: What have been the highs and lows of your journey as a poet to date?
Sonnet Mondal: I think every human life is filled up with highs and lows striking the shores of our realization like the tireless waves from the sea. I have had my share, too, but it will be too long to document it here.
Tina Sequeira: It will be interesting to read your challenges in your journey someday. Anyway, what are the makings of a true poet, in your opinion?
Sonnet Mondal: One who can deliver the something through which readers can enjoy – the inconclusive. Saying this, I consider poets to be the flag bearers of human consciousness, and they should always maintain a balance between truth and imagination. From ancient times, poetry and poets have played a momentous role in giving rise to debates and discourses that have shaped the literary history of a nation. Upholding the truth, balancing it with imagination is the literary duty of a poet toward society, and I think this type of writing has a much more futuristic role to play than the flimsy news items we encounter every day. That which lies on paper as poetry shapes our cultural theory.
So we should always be careful to sustain the ideologies of humanity while writing poems.
Tina Sequeira: What is your advice to aspiring poets?
Sonnet Mondal: Read. Write. Read more. Write more.
Tina Sequeira is a marketer, mentor and moonlighting writer. Tina writes on a range of topics from literary fiction, poetry, lifestyle, parenting, women, pop culture, social, workplace, and political issues on ‘The Tina Edit. She is among Hyderabad’s top influencers and bloggers.