In September-October, 2017, Coldnoon celebrated six years of publishing, and travelling with you. To mark our anniversary, we got together with writers, intellectuals and stalwarts of the art of thinking (and travelling). Here is an interview with Saleem Peeradina.

 

We believe, in making travel arrangements, we subconsciously tend to eliminate possibilities which we deem unfit to perceived etiquette or norms, or occasions. Our understanding of travel is based on premises that define what traveling is not. Is writing for you a similar activity, where you are conscious of what writing is not? If so, what according to you is not writing?

That is not my idea of travelling whether defined or otherwise. Depending on age, circumstance, purpose, expense, the traveler has an array of choices of locations. A journal would make different choices than what a tourist or an anthropologist would make. And so on.

A question so convoluted would need an essay just to break down the generalities into specifics. The terms ”writing” and “not writing” are so vague as to cover scholarly writing, journalism, creative writing, letter writing, etc. It would be far useful for the writer and reader to speak in terms of language, format, audience and how they determine the quality and intent of writing.

 

Besides writing what would you most like to be known for?

I would like to be known as an artist and singer.

 

In 1794, the French author, Xavier de Maistre, wrote the renowned book, Voyage Around my Room, during a month and a half of solitary confinement, in consequence of a duel. Besides being a satire on the contemporary literary culture of voyages and adventures of colonial sailors to prospective new worlds, the book proved to be a demonstration of how an individual is almost always travelling, but perhaps does not recognize the value of their domestic travels, mobility or even touristic acquisitions. How do you see or understand travelling? Do you think it is a necessary activity for a writer?

I had a similar idea in mind when I decided that travelling was becoming too much of an ordeal for me. In fact, my last book of poems, Final Cut (2016), is partially a reflection on everyday objects around the house, fruits, and birds in the backyard. There is no end to the lure of travel, and I have done a great deal of it over my lifetime. I would say travel is an essential activity for the writer notwithstanding the the Jane Austens and the Emily Dickinsons of this world.

 

Your favorite or most striking lines by another author; or if you will, any composed by yourself?

Taniguchi Buson’s haiku :

The piercing chill I feel —
My dead  wife’s comb, in our bedroom
Under my heel.

 

Do respond to the following words:

“‘Dear God,’ she prayed, ‘let me be something every minute of every hour of my life.'”— Betty Smith

It is a fervent plea from a person whose life is restricted by social evils and who is deprived of the opportunities available to others not living under those limitations.

 

What do you think of Coldnoon?

Coldnoon is a classy magazine with high quality contributions, designed with taste and attractively illustrated.

 

Saleem Peeradina

Saleem Peeradina

Saleem Peeradina is the author of First Offence (Newground, 1980), Group Portrait (OUP, 1992), Meditations on Desire (Ridgeway Press, 2003), and Slow Dance (Ridgeway Press, 2010). He edited Contemporary Indian Poetry in English (Macmillan, 1972), one of the earliest and most widely used texts in courses on South Asian literature. The Ocean in My Yard, a prose memoir of growing up in Bombay, was published by Penguin Books, in 2005.

Meditations on Desire was recently published in Arabic translation by Kalima Publishers in Abu Dhabi, UAE. His poetry is represented in most major anthologies of Indian, South Asian, and Asian American writing including The Oxford India Anthology of Poetry (1994), Living in America: Fiction and Poetry by South Asian-American Writers (1995), Contours of the Heart (1996), Uncommon Wealth (1997), Vespers: Contemporary American Poems of Religion and Spirituality (2003), The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poetry (2008), and 60 Indian Poets, Penguin Books (2008). The Oxford Companion to Twentieth Century Poets (1994) carries an entry on Peeradina. Peeradina has given readings all over the world. In 2003, he served as writer-in-residence at American College, Madurai, India, and at Lenoir-Rhyne College, NC. In 2009-10, he was writer-in-residence at The Chelsea Pubic Library, MI. He is Professor Emeritus at Siena Heights University, Adrian, Michigan.

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