Recently Sandeep Kumar Mishra's Amazon Bestseller poetry collection “One Heart- Many Breaks” won “Reders Favorite International Book Award-2021” It is also shortlisted for “International Poetry Book Award-2021 by American Book Fest. In another achievement this book was selected to be featured in Newyork Book Festival-2021.
In this collection he explores all his different selves — the little boy who recites poetry to himself every night, the brother and son who fears his family's reproach, the seasoned lecturer who prides himself on helping his students — and how he uncovered them with writing.
Why do you write poems?
Whenever I feel to touch bottom in myself, I come to poetry. It feels like poetry is where I am meeting up against that silence. I try to understand it,give words to feelings that are yet to be brought into language. I wish to feel those moments where there's a little awareness or enlightenment. It is not about something big or important, but those little secrets or things you keep to yourself and give language to understand them.
Did you find satisfaction or freedom in writing those poems?
Dylan Thomas wrote: "I sang in my chains like the sea." There is power in poetry or music that, even if you're feeling chained and oppressed, they give you a free space. They in themselves are a state of liberation. And because there is community, there is a listener and there's a satisfaction that you are in the company of a reader at those deepest levels of the self. I think when we give word to these secret selves,outlier and outlaw selves, that is a kind of liberate. We pass on the courage to someone else.
Where did you find that reason to write about yourself defying all expectations ?
Writing poetry for me is a way of finding truth and self creation. It came out of stark reality of my situation and necessity. Many of these poems are about those moments where I realize that things are not making sense to me. I doesn't fit in in this world. So out of adverse situation, I needed to make myself up, because the self that's getting put on me doesn't fit.I feel I will start to wither and die if I cramp up myself into that definition.
Growing up for me was very patriarchal, there was a lot of repression. So I was unable to go out to community, I was forced into creating an interior self. I lived a life in there. It started to feed and nurture me. That's where I became a writer. I did it for myself out of a kind of necessity. I found that in doing that I was really alive there in my confined space.
How is poetry different as opposed to fiction?
Writing poetry and writing in English was a kind of protection, because, as they say, nobody reads poetry now,none when it is not in mother tongue. It's that phenomenon where we open the cage of the bird still it won't come out. We ask- Will the bird continue singing his song? Will the bird be silenced, either by the outer world, or by the world that it has absorbed. Now it is afraid of it? Poetry has become such thing because so called big poetry publications have made poetry an amalgamation of some freakish phrases,totally irrelevant imagery and odd googled word to make it distinctive.
How did you fly out of the cage, and not be afraid anymore?
I am still scared! When this book came out, I wish no one from my family or friends read it. But I feel like I believe in what I'm written. I meet readers and they connect with what I've worked on and that connection gives me bravery.
When we talk about freedom or self exprssion, something that is really important, too, — it's never a done deal. It's a continuing process, and we constantly have to be alert and keep challenging. Sometimes we want to reach for the stars, but never get past the front door. This is reality, a human condition.
We want this libration or release, and yet our little lives in our little houses of what we're prescribed don't let us achieve that. But it's important to keep keep trying. When the house gets bigger, and the front door wider, one day, we'll be able to fly long and high.