Dr Tapan Kumar Pradhan (October 22,1972 / Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India)
Autobiography Of An Award Winning Poet
I wanted a medal, and so I went
to the awarding committee vice president
and showed him all my poems and asked:
'Would you consider me for an award? '
'Your poems are all so simple and straight -
with no sign of style or high intellect;
even a school boy can plain understand them -
how can we award you for your poem? '
So I returned next day with a bunch of new
poems steeped in philosophy of high brow:
'Ah! the poems now look much better', he said,
'But which Party do you follow - Right or Left? '
I frankly said I belonged to neither,
whereupon he said, ''Your poems, my sir,
should follow some firebrand doctrine, or else
how can they the Jury's mind impress? '
'Casteism and Secularism are leading issues,
but you can write on Feminism, if you choose! '
So the next day I wrote a few poems based
on sheer madness: 'I am an Anarchist', I said.
'Ah! the poems are terrific! Now you get
a foreword written by an eminent poet,
and launch your book at a public gathering
by a celebrity of some social standing.'
'If my poems are good, then why this pain? '
I asked him, and he answered with disdain:
'Without propaganda, sir, your poetry's as good
as a chair with three legs that ever stood! '
So I went to a dying old poet of repute
and made him sign below a foreword I wrote,
and having had my book launched by a rising
young politician, I wondered: 'When the award's coming? '
'You will get the award', the vice president said,
'But you've still one thing to do, I'm afraid -
to ensure the book is well received by public,
please get it reviewed by a well-known critic.'
'What's an award got to do with a darned critic? '
I asked in rage, but his answer was as chic:
'Your poems are sophisticated, not easy to chew -
only a critic can lucidate your point of view! '
So I did as directed, and at the end
of a year, in Autumn, a letter was sent
to me, declaring they were only too glad
to confer upon me their top poetry award.
At a glittering function I did receive my medal,
but I swear, dear reader, before one and all
that as long as I remain in this world,
no more poetry for me - no more award!
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