Ariel Chart Interviews Poet, Diya Shilpa

Ariel Chart Interview


Mark Antony Rossi interviews poet, Diya Shilpa


I have been advocating for years that writers start using a notepad to jot down thoughts, snippets of dreams, words or phrases that strike their fancy as a method to later launch their imagination. I see you are an adherent to this philosophy. Tell us about your “scribblings” as you call them.

Yes! I believe in that principle. We often scribble in our head…Think of the moment we network the various thoughts one by one, chained and adjoined like a spider web…deep in thoughts by looking on the walls or curtain folding for minutes. Just think how it would be when I copy it to a piece of paper...And I start writing there. It’s almost like a paperback brain of my poetic soul. I called it my scribbling, because of course those are my initial stage of inking.


I’m not proficient enough to convince you by giving scientific explanations of the thinking benefits of scribbling. According to child psychology, scribbling is an important phase for small children. It’s their first step in learning how to communicate with their thoughts. I think these are my scribbling days as an amateur writer and I’m passing through the early days of my passion. So I want to show it to my inner self before presenting to the world. Because the true inspiration comes from that unknown you is fabulous and it helps you to break your shell.

Creativity can strike at any time. But I often remind writers not to rely on the mysteries of the universe. You need to invoke inspiration if you want to compose on a regular basis. What do you do to bring out your creativity?

 I stick on to the contemporary and always try to convey my perceptions through my words. I want to romanticize things but I can’t…because the bitter reality pulls me back. I can’t hide from my thoughts and so I write in order to satisfy my soul. As a writer, I put forth the idea of social responsibility to bring a politics in front of your people.


Some writers are comfortable with writing within their cultural parameters. Others feel less restrained by becoming citizens of the world. How do you approach writing as a bilingual writer from India?

 Indianness made my style of writing and English literature gave me the wings to dream and write. Western literary theories taught me to perceive the essence of an art. Actually, I can’t constrain my thoughts to my cultural parameters because I want to be the explorer of the unknown and an ardent seeker in various histories and myths. And at the same time, I have to write about the Indian suburbs and the life of our common insignificant people. I want to picturize all my mental images through my letters. So I adapt a technique to connecting things with histories to today’s societal convictions.

Human issues are the same in every sphere. It’s like the water in different bowls and a writer should understand the real value of the water and they can inject the feelings of ‘other’ from all over the globe to the intended readers.

I noticed you are involved in gender studies and have a more open viewpoint about female sexuality. Are there a particular set of social goals you are attempting to achieve through the arts?

 Of course, I’m strongly attracted and interested in Gender Studies. Gender politics is still a confusing or undiscovered island to many communities. In India, I witnessed people are often afraid of the true means of ‘gender’ and blindly labeled the social constructions to persons. And I think it is because of the lack of both proper awareness and acceptance.

When it comes to female sexuality, people are ashamed of talking about it and most people in my country considered it as inappropriate for an unmarried woman to talk about sex and her bodily cravings, even women are not allowed to opine publicly. Not surprisingly, this society just normalizes the domestic violence and substantiates sexual harassment towards women with the absurd question “What were you wearing?” So I have to write about it. My words are my politics. I discovered it as a revolution, a rebellion. As a writer,

I have to deconstruct my ‘self’. That’s why I can’t conceal my sexuality from my expressions and I’m not ashamed of it. It is my true identity.


Do you have certain writing role models or other artistic figures you feel speak to your soul or talent? Please tell us who and why. 

I love the works of Kamala Suraiya, an Indian poet in English as well as an author in Malayalam from Kerala, India. She used the confessional mode of poetry to explore her true self. Explosive and assertive in exposing women’s body politics and sexuality. Language, to her, is not just a means of expression; it is a weapon in challenging the language of patriarchy.


I quote “The language I speak, Becomes mine, it’s distortions, it’s queernesses

All mine, mine alone”    


Diya Saji is a poet and writer in English as well as in Malayalam, lives in Kerala, India. Her thoughts explore Women and Gender issues, Patriarchy, Psychology and Marginalized communities. She holds a master's degree from the University of Kerala, India in English Literature and is now pursuing another masters in Women and Gender Studies from Indira Gandhi National Open University, India. She is currently working on her first poetry collection. 


  1. fab interview. wished she spoke more about india. incredible mysterious land.

    1. i am going to try to tackle India on the global affairs show Mindspeak soon. i usually keep even international interviews on the literary focus unless their work directly refers to their culture. There are 22 major languages in India each representing a distinct culture. If it weren't for Hindi, the national language and English, the government, postal service and military would find it very difficult to function. MAR

    2. Definitely..🙌Thank you for reading this one❤

  2. three cheers for brave girls speaking their mind in a world still terribly run by men. hope to see more of your work.

    1. thanks for your comments and support. not sure about the world run terribly by men. we have had a number of female leaders in the world in the past fifty years and their record's aren't so wonderful either with the exception of Thatcher in England. Maybe we need more to make a better comparison, but so far women leadership hasn't been a vast improvement. Does lend evidence to equality of men and women. Apparently neither knows what the heck they are doing on the world stage.

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