Read below an interview with the author of An Apology for Shakespeare, poet S A Joseph.
IBC: An Apology for Shakespeare has mostly received encouraging feedbacks from critics as well as readers. How much does it encourage you to come up with other books of the same league?
S A Joseph: Well, It is good to see that there are people encouraging creative writers. It gives much moral support for writing.
IBC: Many readers have called your poetry experimental, modern, bold and straightforward. How do you see such responses? And if asked, what you will call your poetry?
S A Joseph: Good, When a person writes for the first time, it will be quite experimental. All other adjectives are words of readers according to their feelings after reading a book. I may say that it is a humble attempt from my part in defence of Poesy.
IBC: Your work An Apology for Shakespeare suggests that poetry is on a constant decline because humanity has indulged in other practices. What are your remarks on the current status of poetry in our society?
S A Joseph: I feel that there is a little degeneration in a sense that poetry is an art of imitation and imagination. It is clearly mentioned in the PREFACE of ”An Apology For Shakespeare.”
The current status of Poetry is vividly shown in different chapters of the book,” An Apology For Shakespeare”.
IBC: Indian English Poetry is very different from the poetry of England. How do you see them both in a side by side comparison, S A Joseph?
S A Joseph: Well, We can never compare the poetry of England with Indian English poetry. Indians are totally different from English people in culture, lifestyle, diction, convictions, ideology, language and point of views. So there will be much difference in the poems of the writers of our country and England. We shall not understand that English Poetry in England only is the best poetry in the world. Poetry is there in every part of the world. We cannot say ‘Paradise Lost’ is better than ‘Ramayana’ and vice versa. A work is to be evaluated for its cause and for its different themes it brings forth.
IBC: The boldness of your poetry is commendable in the book, most of the readers agree. What are your comments on the freedom for creative writers? Do you think that’s absolute of there are certain limits to it as well as any other human things?
S A Joseph: Yes, I stand for the freedom for creative writers, but I am not in favour of hate writing. Everyone is a god of small things.
A creative writer is not to hurt the sentiments/feelings of other fellow men.
IBC: After the success of An Apology for Shakespeare, what are your further plans in writing? And how do you take out time for your creative activities in spite of being on certain posts of importance?
S A Joseph: I am planning to publish my next book, ‘The Sublime Fairy Queen’. It is very difficult to find out time for creative writing as I am a full-time employee (Principal)of an ICSE/ISC school.
I try to find out and get time for reading and writing only on holidays.
IBC: As an active and experienced academician who has worked with various educational institution of repute, what you think about the study of poetry on elementary and advanced academic stages in India?
S A Joseph: Study of poetry is there in the primary, higher primary, high school and higher secondary levels and colleges in our country. It is an examination-oriented study. Once the examination is over, they don’t see the poems again. It is up to the teacher, to create an interest among students towards literature. If the teacher is not at all interested in poetry, poetry class will be of no use.
IBC: You have also received a letter of thanks from the Queen herself. Please tell us about that episode so that our readers can have a better idea of it.
S A Joseph: Well, I sent warm birthday wishes to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, last year, on the occasion of her 90th birthday celebrations. I had included a poem ‘A fairy Queen’ with my greetings. In the reply, I got her good words for the book ‘An Apology For Shakespeare’.
IBC: And at last, you have suggested that poetry is bigger than religion and politics. You match the words of Arnold here. Why do you think so, S A Joseph?
S A Joseph: It is because Poetry is the sum total of all virtues as I feel. No religious theology, No political ideology could establish permanent peace and harmony among the generations. The noble purpose of religion and politics is easily undermined and defeated in today’s world.
IBC: Many thanks from the team of Indian Book Critics for your time and all the best for your future endeavours in the field of poetry!
S A Joseph: THANK YOU.