In an intense book session, the 13-year-old child prodigy poet, Dania Khan, took one on an incredible poetic sojourn. In conversation with Jaipur’s Indo-English poet, Jagdeep Singh, at the Ashok Club in Jaipur, the young poet touched on aspects of Greek Mythology, death, loneliness, fear, guilt, etc.
Meet Dania Khan. She is all of 13 years old and is already a published poet. That surely is no mean feat! Her poetry anthology ‘Labyrinth’, published by Rupa Publications, has as many as 50 poems. And if that’s not intriguing enough, the foreword of her anthology has been written by the renowned author, Ruskin Bond. “With Dania’s collection of poems I was mesmerized by her observation, her lyrical interpretation of things. In some of the poems, the reader might feel himself/herself submerged in the whirlpool of conflicting emotions while in some, the reader will feel emancipated. Such is the young poetess’s construct of words that it leaves you both chained and liberated, all at once”, writes the noted author for the prodigy poet.
The Jaipur poet, who is studying in Mumbai currently, was recently in the Pink City to discuss her debut poetry book. In conversation with Indo-English poet and writer, Jagdeep Singh she threw light on where she derives her inspiration from, her journey as a poet, her future plans and much more. Below are some interesting excerpts from their conversation:
From the lens of an ‘almost teenager’
Even though Dania started writing at the age of 8, her tryst with writing poetry took place at the age of 10. However, most of the poems in her anthology were written during the lockdown when she was between the age of 11 and 12 years. “At the age of 11 and 12, one is at the threshold of teenage. It is an age when you are not a child and have started almost maturing. One starts seeing the world through a different lens – not that of parents or friends but through your own lens. The poetry stems from both my imagination and my observations of the world around”, shares Dania.
The process of getting her poetry anthology was not a cakewalk though. “Many publishers were not keen on a child author and some were even averse to the idea of publishing poetry, in general”, tells Dania while talking about the process of getting her book published.
Poetry based on a multitude of themes
Touching themes like Greek Mythology, love, darkness, grief, death, Dania’s poetry reflects a deep and realistic understanding of the vicissitudes of life. Her poems also give references to nature like leaves, grass, nectar, trees, moon, etc. Like Wordsworth, Dania also feels there is a divine element in nature if only one can perceive it. In fact, the poet also takes inspiration from the great bard, Shakespeare to write her poetry. “Shakespeare’s plays, even the tragedies, are elegant and I have tried to bring that elegance into my poems. Even though his tragedies may have blood and gore but they have a sense of elegance in them as there is an emotion attached in that violence”, tells Dania.
Even a cursory glance through her book, brings out Dania’s fascination with nature. In her 50 odd poems, there are as many as forty references to nature ranging from leaves, trees, nectar, stars, moon, grass etc. Elaborating on her ardent love for nature, Dania says: “In addition to writing, I also love to paint and draw. And when I am drawing nature comes easy to me as compared to human faces or figures. So my captivation for nature stems from there. It feels ethereal and almost divine to me. Moreover, nature can also be perceived and interpreted in many different ways. I try to incorporate that feature of nature in my poetry.”
The Process of Writing Poetry
On being asked about her writing process, Dania said: “A poem comes when it comes. When it comes, it is very natural but if the inspiration does not come I cannot write. I seldom revise my poetry. During the publishing process, I might move some words here and there but that’s about it. ” While answering a question from the audience on what happens if a poem comes to her during an ongoing class, she said that she always keeps a notebook in her bag to scribble her ideas and thoughts and if something strikes during her school hours, she makes it a point to quickly jot it down and hones it later at home.
While talking about her favourite poet, Dania revealed that she loves to read poet Pablo Neruda’s original work in Spanish. A blogger and social media influencer who loves to review books on Instagram, Dania is also passionate about astro physics and quantum physics. Currently, she is writing short stories as well.
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