Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Anita Lock is talking with Aruna Gurumurthy, author of A Beginning to the End: A Poetic Journey.
FQ: You are a pre-med student turned poet. A few of your poems give a glimpse to this sudden change you made, particularly in “Wow-Wow World.” Would you mind sharing with your audience details into your powerful transformation?
GURUMURTHY: Well, I was a pre-med but my transition into writing was not sudden. I have worked in several medical labs and volunteered with the underprivileged world. These experiences served as the “meat and potatoes” of my writing. Over the course of time, I wrote short essays on social media, that were basically observations and reflections of my work and the world around us and how it must change for the better. The jump to poetry was certainly sudden, as one morning I woke up from a dream and started penning poems. It was a moment of epiphany. In 21 days I had the manuscript for my first book of poems, Spark.
FQ: How does A Beginning to the End differ from your previous books, DIYA and Spark? How are they similar?
GURUMURTHY: Well they are all books about change. Peaceful change. They are all written in an intense, albeit humorous and expressive fashion.
DIYA is my first publication. It is the light, a dream about bringing change, first to our minds and then in the world. It is prose articulated with bits and pieces of poetry.
Spark is my first poetry book about dreaming to dare and daring to dream and how we can transform the world with our “dreams” and “dares.”
A Beginning to the End, also a full-length poetry collection, some of the poems being autobiographical. It is a derivative of my inspirations and/or personal struggles, “how I view the world” and victories towards social justice and peace.
FQ: Please tell our readers the inspiration behind “To Sir, with Love” from section one, New Day, New Hope.
GURUMURTHY: Well, this is a poem that reflects the need for us as individuals and nations to grow, mature and move on. I am reaching out to all of us to give clarity and grace to our actions, to love and let live/ love, to undo discord and embrace unity within diversity.
FQ: In Love and Whatnots you created a bittersweet poem titled “It’s a Girl.” Explain what inspired you to write this.
GURUMURTHY: “It’s A Girl” is the ironical journey of a woman. What starts as a precious, beautiful birth sometimes progresses into the arms of discrimination and cruelty. I got inspired to write this poem because I want to see such huge waves, dunes and ripples gone from women’s lives. I have worked with women from impoverished backgrounds and the kind of life they succumb to is sad. Furthermore, there are consequences to physical aspects like women wearing short skirts, or long scarfs or whatnots. I want women to come out of their “covers” and men, some men to change their perceptions. Every child is born the same way, through the fusion of an egg and a sperm, then WHY this disparity, why this dysfunction?
FQ: I love your alliterated title, Discrimination, Dogma, Dirt. Which one of these poems in section three stands out the most in your mind? Explain why.
GURUMURTHY: I value all my poems. They are all my babies! In Discrimination, Dogma and Dirt, they vary in severity ranging from political upheavals, to moments and people in life that have made me cringe and cry. The maljudgments, the jealousy, the injustice, the you-know-whats. Here, I muse over some tough struggles and how I have been tenacious in making instrumental transformations, including the influence on people’s minds.
FQ: In My Inspiration, My Love you include a poem titled “Monday Morning” based on an encounter you had with your young daughter. Please tell your readers the significance of that encounter.
GURUMURTHY: It was just another Monday morning and I was driving my daughter through the back roads. I was not particularly in a great mood and the poem talks about how my little, shiny girl elevated my mood, my spirits. It’s simple.
FQ: Here’s a unique title: “Solving the World’s Problems with My Hair Conditioner.” Explain the significance behind this poem.
GURUMURTHY: Ha-ha! I swim quite a bit, and while swimming I weave my mind through people’s minds and think about bigger issues such as discrimination, dogma, and world peace. Transforming individuals can change the world. After years of the best concoction of hair conditioner, I am finally nailing down the best product for my hair (and you may say, for the world)!!
FQ: What poem would you like to discuss from Abstractions, Precisions, and Solutions — one that would round out your themes and bring a perfect close to your work?
A New Day
In this day of darkness and world of demagoguery
Where wolves bark and demons lurk
Anxious minds feed negative human tendencies...
When ribbons of wind twirl and turn and
Calm minds to Whip...
The mindless despair
Today becomes forgiven and
Tomorrow becomes doable
FQ: If there is one message from A Beginning to the End that you hope to convey to your readers, what would that be?
GURUMURTHY: Everything is a message! Put some thought into the way you treat people. Stigma happens because an ill child, or an elderly individual, or a shy woman, or even someone from another part of the globe are viewed that way. Everyone one needs care, empathy and an equal status. This is a beginning to the end. Let us make this a better place.
FQ: Do you have a new project in the works, and if so what do you think the thematic overtones will be?
GURUMURTHY: Yes! I am always thinking about something. ‘What’ that something will become, is a surprise to you and to me!
FQ: I noticed that you self-published A Beginning to the End. What made you choose the self-publishing route rather than go the more traditional route of finding a publisher?
GURUMURTHY: I chose a self-publishing platform that aided me in making my manuscript into a book. Self-publishing is fast and easy. I get it my way 100%. The book turns out professional because I have control over the interior, cover and everything in-between. The editors are great. I don’t want to be slowed down by traditional publishing if they take a couple of years to get my book out. Prestige is my work and my work is prestige. There is no shame in self-publishing. It is a matter of pride to create and publish your own book.