A Chat with Poet Raminder Bajwa

-By: Romuald Dzemo

Enlightenment 2

This week I am featuring Author and poet, Raminder Bajwa on this blog. Bajwa is the author of Enlightenment  and Of Angels and Few Lies, of Everything under Blue Skies, two poetry collections covering an array of themes, including love, religion, secrets, and everything in-between. Bajwa’s poetry has been described as “a rare gift of beauty” by San Francisco Book Review, and it has several positive reviews from Amazon customers.

Bajwa draws on the language of love and the soul to explore the human experience. In the heart of his poetry is a throbbing heart, attentive to the variations of life that surrounds it…. You will experience the quietude of the still hours and the restlessness of a smitten heart, the prayer of a silent heart, and the heightened consciousness of an enlightened mind.

Author Raminder Bajwa is a US citizen, originally from New Delhi. Growing up in his village back in India and in other cities, the author had deep spiritual experiences which, he says, became the immediate source of his poetic inspiration and his faith in God. He loves to sit on the balcony of his apartment in the mornings and evenings with his puppy, allowing his gaze to linger on the skies in contemplation.

Enlightenment features a wide selection of soul-searching, thoughtful, and inspiring poems grouped by category (love, truth, secrets, prayers, and enlightenment). Some lines of his poetry are strikingly powerful, quotable, and memorably so. Listen to this:

“I’m not asking that you feel my pain; / Love—it’s a business of loss, not gain.” (p.5). Then writing about his lover in “Gorgeous Chaos” he says, “We all need light; and this life’s a dark race. / (….) Me, I’m my own boss, but she’s my only vice.  / She’s a mess of gorgeous chaos, and you can see it in her eyes.”Enlightenment

YDA: You write very beautiful love poems and they are surely inspiring. What or who inspires you?

Bajwa: Everyone falls in love —as a child, as a teenager, as young adult, or an adult! My love poems are based on these universal emotions. And, yes, I’ve grown through them, lived them intimately and often, they overflow into my poetic utterances.

YDA: Is there someone who gets to read them before your editor does?

Bajwa: I usually write them and immediately put them on my Facebook wall for all my friends and family members to read.

YDA: Poems can be considered to be like little children, the offspring of the poet’s beating heart. Which of these poems speak to you in a special way? Any poetic line you’d like the world to remember you by?

Bajwa: As you said that Poems are the offspring of the poet’s beating heart, all my poems are dear to me. All of them are special! All my poems are from very close experiences —of love, loss, failure and growth. There is a very strong spiritual side of me which comes across in most of my poems. Almost all my poems are quotable and there is a good punch line in each of them.

YDA: How do you write your poems? What works best for you and what is most frustrating in the process?

Bajwa: I don’t know how other poets do it but poems come easy to me. When I feel inspired I just sit down and write it, naturally. It feels like surrendering to a spell — no calculations, no hard drudgery!

YDA: I’ve thought of you as a champion of simple yet profound verses. What appeals to you most about this style?

Bajwa: I certainly don’t want my audience to open dictionaries to check the meaning of words I use in my poems [laughs]. Writing simply is hard, but it’s what works most for my audience! I learned from one of my best teachers that it takes a lot of skill to communicate with simplicity and I have been working at it my whole life.

YDA: It seems like most of your books are poetic and you love rhyming your poems, what do you like most in rhymed verses? How do you feel when you read one?

Bajwa: Rhymes are like a painting, a caricature or scenery of what the artist sees or feels. They give me a sublime feeling when I read them or write them. It’s a more difficult process to write them than free verses and it requires an artistic mindset and discipline. I love the music in rhymed verses and they only get better when come across as expressive and meaningful.

YDA: Who is your favorite poet and how has he influenced your writing?

Bajwa: William Blake, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost [Smiles]. I remember reading them during teenage years. I’ve never had any formal training in writing poems, so there’s nobody who really influenced me.

YDA: Any line you’d like to share from any of these poets?

Bajwa: Oh! Yes, but yes. There are the inspiring, philosophical lines from the famous poem, The Road Not Taken that are always close to my heart:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

YDA: A well-known and oft quoted stanza.If you were to speak to aspiring poets, what would be the one top piece of advice you’d give them?

Bajwa: I’d quote myself: “Break yourself open; experience the world. / Set your soul on fire; Fall in love! / Love makes everyone a poet”/ (Gentle laughter). / “… Your demeanor be harsh, hard, smiling or stoic; / At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet.”

YDA: Beautiful! A powerful current of energy permeates your writing. How do you explain this spiritual side?

Bajwa: This originates from my spiritual experiences, which I like to keep to myself.

[Smiles and winks]

YDA: Thank you for joining us today, Author Raminder Bajwa and wishes you great success in your writing career.

Bajwa: Thank you, too, for spending this special moment with me.

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