ABP- Thank you for accepting this feature, Vatsala. Just under a year ago in August 2018, Alien Buddha Press Jr had the privilege of releasing your children’s book ‘Smile Little Butterfly’. Tell us about that book.
VR- Thank you Alien Buddha Press for featuring me as artist of the month of July!
Smile Little Butterfly is a poetry book for children. It consists of 25 poems with black and white illustrations by Ammi Romero, Red Focks and Dustin Pickering. Inspired by the tropical background of my native island Mauritius where the sky is often blue, I wrote the nature poems featured in that book. However, in Smile Little Butterfly nature is seen from the eyes of a child who explores nature through animals and plants.
This book also contains poems about toys and games that children love to play. Inspired by my little niece Abha, I wrote the poems Smile Little Butterfly, Hide and Seek, Our Puzzle, Plasticine Penguin and Little Barbie, Little Barbie.
ABP- This past February we also had the chance to put out another poetry book of yours ‘Unconditional Thread’. What can you tell us about that book?
VR- Unconditional Thread is my shortest poetry book that I have written up till now. It consists of 28 philosophical poems. Human beings, their surroundings, other creatures and the whole universe are interconnected. Therefore, there is an invisible thread. As we look at life itself from a philosophical angle rather than from the mundane eyes we realize that various conditions break one by one and life becomes much simplified gradually. Life has an unconditional element that predominates.
This book is mainly divided into two parts: Love’s Psyche and Breathing Freedom/Birth Rights. True Love is often associated as being unconditional yet a deep connection of souls and hearts. Freedom and birth rights rid human beings of all stressful conditions but they remain part of the globe. This book emphasizes on the basic philosophy that everything changes with time and everything is temporary. Thus humankind must be tolerant, flexible, think out of the box and avoid being entrapped in the engulfing chains of limitations. This book is for everyone who believes in the philosophy of progressiveness.
ABP- You work as a translator. You’ve translated poetry in two ABP books by Stephan Bohdan. How could one go about retaining your services in that field? How many languages are you fluent in?
VR- Being born in Mauritius, I have learnt English and French from Day -1 of my pre-primary school. Then I can speak and write my native language that is Mauritian Kreol. I also learnt my ancestral language Hindi from Grade 1. I’m fluent in 4 languages – English, French, Kreol and Hindi. In Mauritius, translation is part of our studies from Grade 10 -12 at school.
Last year I also completed a short online translation course from Open University, UK.
For the time being, I mostly translate poetry and prose books from English to French and
French to English. Further details about my translation services can be found on my new blog: vatsalaradwritingworld.home.blog
ABP- Can you tell us about these nifty mini chapbooks you put out with poems-for-all?
VR- I learnt about Poems -for-All from my poet friend Mike Griffith’s post on Facebook. Then I contacted the director of Poems- for -All, Robert Hansen and gave it a try with a little chapbook. I decided to select some poems from two of my published books that is,
Smile Little Butterfly and Guitar of Love and my upcoming book of haiku. I think this is a good means to share some of my works with book-lovers.
ABP- Who are some of your biggest influences as a writer?
VR- William Blake and T.S Eliot are my favorite British poets. I have always admired Blake’s simplicity of language and his spiritual/religious side to express depth in poetry. T.S. Eliot’s complex language carries me in a world of mysticism and profound philosophy. I also feel some poetic connections with the classic French poet Victor Hugo and contemporary
American poets, Scott Thomas Outlar , Heath Brougher , Dustin Pickering and Ann Christine Tabaka as they share my philosophy of integrity, truth, and compassion as poets.
ABP- What do you have planned for the rest of 2019, and 2020?
VR– My upcoming book “Tropical Temporariness” will probably be published in August 2019 by Transcendent Zero Press. It will be a book of 42 haiku and some photographs by Mauritian photographers and cover art by a popular Mauritian artist.
I have fallen in love with haiku… I guess and I will probably write some more haiku books for the rest of 2019. I have a short stories book still in need of some editing. So I will come back to that in 2020.
ABP- Once again, thank you for accepting this feature, Vatsala. The floor is all yours. Please take the following space to share anything at all that you would like with our audience.
VR- From the core of my heart, I would like to thank Alien Buddha Press for publishing three of my books. The quality of your books and especially your artworks are wonderful.
Thank you Red Focks! You are all a great team. One artist of Alien Buddha Press who always catches my attention is Ammi Romero. Her artworks/paintings so beautifully express the soul and heart of womanhood and feminism. She has a unique way of blending all those colors.
I would also like to tell all my fellow poet/author/artist friends to stand up for Arts, believe in you and always selflessly support each other. Even if you are the most successful artist always remain humble and humane. Arts survive with those basic qualities.