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Interview: Sunaina Patnaik

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Sunaina Patnaik is a twenty-something writer from Hyderabad. Her writing explores the realms of vulnerability, loss, healing,and self-love. Warm Delinquencies is her debut collection of poetry and writing that deals with the matters of the heart.

We decided to talk to this poet about her journey.

 

 

I would come running with
shovels and spades,
torn paperbacks and bottles of ink,
and get my hands dirty all too willingly,
we aren’t meant for calm seas,
blue horizons, and clear skies,
who are we fooling?
we are only destined for
dingy basements, sappy music, and
warm delinquencies.

You have published a poetry book with themes exploring love, separation, and healing. How did you zero in on these themes?

In my experience as a reader, I’ve read a number of books that dealt with subjects like love, separation, and healing individually but not together. When I started writing ‘Warm Delinquencies’, I was certain that I wanted all these subjects together to convey the journey of a lover, the aftermath of a heartbreak and eventually, the healing.

Which poets or writers have influenced you the most?

Growing up, I read Ruskin Bond and Enid Blyton avidly. Inspired by Bond, I started penning personal essays at an early age, sent it to my friends in the form of letters, postcards etc. which made me familiar with tracing inspiration from my life and things happening around me.

The other writers that influence me are Haruki Murakami and Vikram Seth. I keep going back to Seth’s poetry because of its ethereal beauty.

Tell us about how you got started with writing and what motivated you to get published.

I did several pieces and interviews throughout high school and college. I found writing poetry and personal essays quite cathartic and started a blog in 2011, succeeding which I never had to look back. The intent of publishing it originated when I realized I had a readership that resonated with my thoughts.

Do you think that poetry is more popular than people would like to admit?

I like to believe that poetry has always been popular for its power to express a lot in little. Although the rise of poets on Instagram is a new trend, it’s still just an additional medium for writers to share their work. We’ve always sought solace in Plath’s or Bukowski’s poetry; millennials now are drawn towards the poetry of Lang Leav, Michael Faudet etc. because of the writing form which is lucid and deals with modern issues.

But what I think has really changed is the mindset towards poetry. When I was in school, poetry was perceived as something undecipherable; however, the world is now more open to poetry.

Where do you write? Tell us a bit about your writing process.

I can write anywhere. Through chaos and silence. In crowds and isolation. But mostly I tend to write in the comfort of my room, usually late in the night.

Tell us about your latest project.

Right now, I’m working on a collection of short stories. I’ve started this project much before I’ve embarked on writing Warm Delinquencies, but it’s still a work in progress. I’m hoping to finish it towards the end of 2018. Fingers crossed!

What is your favorite pastime besides poetry?

Juggling between reading, writing, and a 9-5 job leaves me with very little time. But when I find time, I binge-watch TV shows, movies, and explore new restaurants in the city.

Thank you, Sunaina!

You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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