Interview with Rupali Gore – Calms and Balms

“Calms and Balms – poetry collection” is a journey of poems with 12 destinations. Some poems are open-ended, while some poems are reactions and reflections, opinions and observations of the poetess. Some delve into fantasy and mystique, while some poems will add a smile to your face. “Calms and Balms” is a blend of soothing and motivating thoughts. They will gently nudge the reader to read, feel and think. The book is devoted to topics like sports, nature, love and relationships, mystique of the sea and space, animals and birds, mental health, spirituality, city and rural landscape, India and the world and much more. Rupali writes in both – free verse as well as in different poetic forms. This book has poems written in different poetic forms like the Ghazal, Haiku, Haibun, Gwawdodyn as well free verse poems. The poetess loves sketching and often posts her poems along with sketches drawn by her on social media. She has drawn sketches and included them in the book. So, dear reader, be ready to read, feel and think about these writings of the poet, who makes a debut in the world of Poetry books.

Lets Start Interview :

The Rise Insight: What inspired you to create “Calms and Balms” and how did you come up with the title for your collection?

Author Rupali: I had a childhood dream of writing books, irrespective of my profession. I used to write whenever I would be inspired to write. Since 2016, I have been sharing my work on social media channels and blog.

The title of the poem “Calms And Balms” is inspired by one of my quotes, “Poetry is the calm and balm of my life”. Secondly, when I had made a list of probable titles, this title stood out because in its numerological value, my parents’ birthdays are there. So, my selection was easier as I could feel their blessings once again in the title.

The Rise Insight: Can you describe the journey of writing this poetry collection? Were there any particular challenges or surprises you encountered along the way?

Author Rupali: The journey has been a long one but an enjoyable one. Most of the poems written by me are between the period 2016 to 2024. All the poems of this collection were not shared by me in social media with the exception of one poem, which is dedicated to my father.

In 2023, I began the process of compiling my unpublished poems into one file. I revisited the words written by me and enjoyed the journey.

The Rise Insight: Your poems cover a wide range of topics from nature and love to mental health and spirituality. How do you choose the subjects for your poems?

Author Rupali: In our daily lives, I find inspiration to write. For example, I enjoy 2 sports the most- Badminton and Cricket. Badminton, I love to play and Cricket, I love to watch. In the “sports and games” section, you can read 2 poems dedicated to these 2 sports.

The forest fires of California inspired me to write the first poem of the book titled, “It is all just smoke and mirror”.

The Rise Insight: You write in various poetic forms like the ghazal, Haiku, Haibun, Gwawdodyn. What draws you to these different forms and how do you decide which form to use for a particular poem?

Author Rupali: Poetic forms offer a structured framework to the poem. As a poet, we have to follow the relevant rules of the poetic form like the number of words, number of lines, stanzas, syllables per line, rhyme scheme etc.

Writing in free verse is like walking in the woods, feeling the grounds, smelling the wildflowers, touching the waters of a brook. Writing in poetic forms is like walking on a road or driving a car on a highway where traffic rules are to be followed.

I decide a poetic form first, then write in that poetic form.

The Rise Insight: Some of your poems are open-ended, while others are more reflective or opinionated. How do you balance these different styles in your collection?

Author Rupali: It is not intentional. Some poems take the course of being open-ended, while some sound reflective and opinionated. I don’t try to change the shape, the poem is taking while I am writing the first draft of the poem.

The Rise Insight: You have included sketches along with your poems. How do your illustrations complement your poetry and what role does visual art play in your creative process?

Author Rupali: Sometimes, my sketches inspire poetry, sometimes poetry inspires sketches. At times, I have written poems separately, independent of sketches and sketches were drawn by me independently, but they complemented well. So, in the beginning of every section, I have selected a sketch, which would suit the theme of the section.

The visual arts like photos, sketches, paintings – all of them have inspired me to write poems. I enjoy writing poems by observing the artwork, various elements and the symbolism.

The Rise Insight: “Calms and balms” covers themes related to both urban and rural landscapes. How do your own experiences and observations influence your writing on these subjects?

Author Rupali: Yes, greatly. My childhood years, around 4 years were spent in a village, Nala Sopara, in Thane, in early 80s. Now, Nala Sopara is a city. The natural scenic beauty, the picturesque fields, crops like rice, beans, brinjals, the wells, the tiled roofs of homes, clean, unpolluted air, free spaces, these elements of yesteryears’ Nala Sopara were soothing and refreshing.

After few years, we moved to Borivali, a beautiful suburb of Mumbai. There are many varieties of trees and flowers in Borivali. The surroundings have an effect on what we write.

After marriage, I lived for few years in Dombivali, Thane. The peaceful city also has inspired me to write.

For around 7 years, after marriage, I lived in San Jose, California, U.S.A. One of the Ghazals of the book is influenced by the natural beauty of California.

My habit of writing has led me to contentment, appreciation and gratitude towards nature, environment and the places I have lived in. Maybe, that is reflected in my writing.

The Rise Insight: Mental health is one of the topics you explore in your poetry. Can you talk about the importance of this subject in your work and how poetry can contribute to mental well-being?

Author Rupali: Our feelings, thoughts and emotions are reflected in everything we do, we live, we write. Imagination, observation and knowledge are there in writing. But our moods, dreams and feelings – conscious and subconscious also appear in the written word.

This craze to be positive and optimistic, round – the – clock puts tremendous pressure on us. It is important to listen to what our feelings are telling us. That voice is often ignored in the routine. Writing and art are therapeutic and cathartic.

Poetry is a powerful tool to highlight depression, anxiety, autism, self-image, self-love, self-worth, self-esteem, self-confidence, relationships, rationality, community spirit, abuse and much more. Many such critical issues can be addressed through poetry.

The Rise Insight: As a debut poet, what has the process of publishing your first poetry collection taught you and what advice would you give to aspiring poets?

Author Rupali: My debut book will have fond memories for me. Compiling the poems, deciding the title and the length of the book have been thrilling. Once the manuscript is ready, finding the right publisher is an important decision. Thanks to Evincepub publishing; their team took over and facilitated the publishing process. I am grateful to the entire team- Mr. Vikas Singh Thakur, the founder of Evincepub publishing, Ms. Gauri, the project manager, Ms.Shivangi, the Cover designer Mr. Nitesh Sondre for your efforts. I thank my husband Siddharth Lale for creating splendid cover art for the book. I am also thankful to my daughter Ira for motivating me to realize my dream.

One important lesson is that the specialized skills of many persons lead to publishing a book. Patience is needed.

A piece of advice to aspiring poets would be to write poetry regularly, to read poetry books and blogs, and enjoy the journey of writing.

The Rise Insight: Any poem you would like to recite from the collection?

Author Rupali: A poem titled, “The unpredictable rains” from section 8 – Motivational and spiritual

Sometimes, rains are so unpredictable, they drench us, when we do not expect them.

We feel that we were dumb to be not prepared to face the rains,

how cheekily rains clasped us and soaked us in ice cold waters,

leaving us chilled, quivering and shivering profusely.

Very often in life, we are victims of unprecedented rains of troubles.

The picture looks hazy and our mind feels dizzy.

At times, our mind is too lazy to move.

We try to grasp the situation, but we end up gasping for breath.

We face grave dangers and daggers of risk,

at times cutting our morale into pieces…

Out of the blue, a parcel of hope and clear skies dawn in the lawns of our world,

they sprawl our reach to vast levels,

they encourage us to try and be successful,

a brawl of heart and head ends without any casualty.

We break the box of set rules, devise new rules,

which are more conducive to get the best of ourselves.

The rains were never so good!

Thank you

  • Rupali D Gore

Author: Rupali D Gore
Book: Calms and Balms
ISBN: 9789356735774
Publisher : Evincepub Publishing

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