On Beginnings: Person and Poem

Jayant Kashyap

The question: Where does the person end and the poem begin? The answer: It’s elementary, really! In the simplest terms, a poem lives long, longer than a person does. Longer than any person who reads or writes a poem does. When it comes to it, a poem begins with the person that first writes it, but as soon as the writing is done, or the poem has begun taking a certain shape and structure, or course, let’s say – and with someone else reading the poem – the person ends or, simply, leaves. The poem has now attained a freedom for itself, one unlike anything. It can now identify itself as an individual entity, one that – although will often be attributed to the person that wrote it – doesn’t need a “creator”/“mother”/“god” to exist and to be understood anymore, the latter being the sole purpose of existence for most of us.

So, in essence, a poem begins long before itself and not with the inevitable tercets, quatrains, and whatnots. Its inception comes with the occurrence of an event – or a series of events, fortunate or otherwise – in someone’s life, after which the said “someone”, or, if not themselves, an acquaintance of theirs, becomes merely a medium between the poem and the world that is to perceive it –and, sometimes, even before all of that, before the little moments of the perceived event. That is when a poem begins, and all else happens thereafter. A poem, however, never obliviates, and is never forgotten.

Most of this essay is the idea that comes at the beginning of writing (in this case, the idea that poetry is forever in motion and never transient, that it isn’t limited to the boundaries that a poet creates but jumps those quite often) and the rest is presentation – to choose what to put, and where, while maintaining the integrity of the thought

Jayant Kashyap, a poet, essayist, translator and artist, has published two pamphlets and a zine. His work appears in POETRYMagmaPoetry Wales and elsewhere.