An Interview With Richa Gupta
RICHA GUPTA is a senior at The International School Bangalore, India. An avid poet and writer, Richa has been published in several literary journals, such as New Plains Review, Yellow Chair Review, The Daphne Review, Poetry Quarterly, Literary Orphans, The Missing Slate, and The Tower Journal. She is also forthcoming in Alexandria Quarterly. Richa enjoys being on the editorial teams for Glass Kite Anthology, Siblini, and Venus Magazine. She is also a blog contributor with The Huffington Post. In her free time, Richa can be seen playing the piano or teaching herself Hindustani Vocal.
Today, resident interviewer Olivia Hu is joined by the lovely Richa Gupta, who is a seventeen-year-old poet and blogger from Bangalore, India. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Moledro Magazine, has been published in several literary magazines, and blogs for The Huffington Post and Voices of Youth.
OLIVIA HU: Hi Richa! Thank you so much for joining me today here with L’Éphémère Review!
RICHA GUPTA: Not a problem! It’s so lovely to talk to you.
We heard about your own literary journal, Moledro Magazine. Would you like to tell us more about it?
Absolutely! Moledro Magazine is an online literary magazine dedicated to sharing the words and images of writers from across the globe. Moledro has a team of dedicated youngsters, and released Issue 4 in mid-December. We also recently started a Teen Poet Series, wherein we feature 2-3 young, talented teenage writers (you would know, since you were a November Teen Poet, haha!). We’ve also decided to make Issue 5 themed, with the theme being ‘It’s not in my head’. You can read more about the theme here. The deadline to submit to Issue 5 is March 1, 2017, and we hope to release it by mid-March.
Lovely! Why do you write? What are some recurring topics in your poetry?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember: I wrote (awful) nature poems when I was six, and scribbled verse in schoolbook margins and journals I’d religiously keep in middle school. However, I was thirteen when I met an entirely different side of writing; its cathartic powers. My little sister got into a freak accident in 2013 (she’s alright now), and I found it hard to deal with its repercussions on my life and family. Hence, I turned to writing—since it helped me stay in-sync with my emotions. So, one reason I write is to keep in touch with my thought processes, and see where they take me.
Sometimes, I feel like I can chart the path my poetry has been taking. Four to five years ago, I’d mostly write about the universe, our insignificance, and the concept of infinity, which would be sprinkled with ruminations about nature and evolution. Since the beginning of 2013, however, I’ve also been writing on topics more pertinent to my own life, such as my family. Recently, I’ve been writing on some of the issues stalking society; such as rape culture, the objectification of women, discrimination, and the stigma surrounding mental disorders. Most of these poems haven’t left my laptop, but I hope they will soon!
Are there any projects that you are currently working on?
I spend a large amount of time on Moledro, and also read for other magazines in my free time (such as Polyphony H.S. and Glass Kite Anthology). I’m currently working on a collection of personal essays (you can read one here), and am developing the structure of my first novella.
How often do you find yourself writing? What does the process look like—is it spontaneous, do you take time out of a day, etc?
Regardless of how busy my schedule becomes, I make it a point to write for at least an hour everyday—whether it’s fiction, poetry, or personal essays. My writing process can’t exactly be called spontaneous; even though it doesn’t take me long to write an essay or poem, it takes a very long time for that hit of inspiration to arrive. But once I catch it, I don’t let it escape—I sit on it for a few hours, roll it over on my tongue multiple times, and then start writing.
I try to find inspiration from the most mundane observations around me—such as the texture of my floor tiles, the raw warmth of my old jacket, the shrill of a microwave once it’s finished heating my food, and the sundry occurrences I can see from my balcony (I live on the ninth floor of my apartment). Most of these observations are sensory; I then try to weave these images into my writing. I often picture a needle lacing its way across a garment it’s trying to fix. Similarly, I think of these sensory images as closing the gaps in my poetry or prose, and giving them more meaning and beauty.
What is your advice to aspiring poets or to other writers in general?
Although you may face criticism and rejection at numerous points in your writing journey, don’t let that prevent you from sharing your poetry with the world! Remember, your thoughts and words are powerful in their own way; and even though you may not realize it at first, just remember that there is always someone who will benefit from imbibing your verse.
Moreover, don’t shy away from the concept of literary rejection. It’s an inevitable side-effect of furthering a writing career (I’ve lost track of the number of rejections I’ve received, to be honest!). However, I would recommend that you submit more to magazines that provide feedback along with a publication decision. Off the top of my head, I can think of Ember and Inklette [who provide feedback].
And lastly, never forget about the role poetry plays in your life. It can be so easy to get sidetracked by the glamor of literary publications and writing competitions (don’t get me wrong; these are wonderful aspects of the literary world, and should definitely be pursued!). That said, don’t lose sight of the impetus that led you to poetry—and continue to cherish that reason, regardless of how irrelevant or insignificant it may seem. It is what will sustain your creativity in your most lonely or blank times, and will ensure that you never truly lose your love for poetry.
Thank you so much for chatting with me, Richa! It was a pleasure to have you.
Thank you so much Olivia, it was a pleasure to answer your questions!