Maria Fernandes|NT Kuriocity
‘Together we stood, together we fell. Tossed into a wishing well. Hit rock bottom and into pieces broke.
Laughed it off, knowing it wasn’t a joke’ are the lines from Luanna Fernandes’ poem ‘Two Pennies’ and book by the same name which was released recently. Funded under the scheme to provide financial assistance to Goan authors by the Department of Art and Culture, Government of Goa, the book comprises of 50 poems, the tone and form of which differ from her earlier collection that was released in 2014 but still communicate the same message.
“My earlier book, ‘A Face in the Crowd’, was written when I was a teen, in fact I started when I was in class seven and it went on till class twelve. This book however was completed in a shorter period of time. In my earlier poems I used quartets and rhymes whereas this collection is not as structured. The poems reflect my views of the world and the people in it,” she says with regards to the difference between her old and new collection. “Two Pennies is about people and life, and my main inspirations came from experiences with both people and life,” she says.
An ex-student of St Xavier’s College, Mapusa, Luanna has been writing since the age of seven. “Writing came naturally to me,” she says. “I did not make a conscious effort to sit and write; words just flowed and I penned it down. And as Wordsworth rightly said: ‘Poetry is a spontaneous flow of powerful emotions, recalled in tranquility’.” Her first attempt at poetry was ‘My House’. Recognising her talent and in an attempt to encourage the budding writer-daughter, her parents, Blasco and Sylvia, sent her poem to the local daily and since then she has written more than a hundred poems.
Following in the steps of her favourite poet Robert Frost who used everyday words to describe everyday experiences, she uses simplicity in her poetry. “Simple words, deeper feeling, that’s how I write poetry and I feel it would be better to understate than overstate,” she says. “I do not compel myself to follow any rigid form or style and write whatever I feel and this works best for me,” she says. Drawing inspiration from everyday life, her poems are about romance, nature, thoughts and values, her favourite however being nature. “Poetry is not developed in a vacuum, the poet’s views on everything from culture; politics to society and environment all manifest themselves in their poetry. I get inspiration from everything and sometimes nothing seems to work and this can be rather frustrating, you just have to go with the flow. Sometimes ideas just tumble out in quick succession and there is no fixed time or place. In fact I have even gotten ideas while sitting in the classroom for a (boring) lecture and at another time I wrote an entire poem from Campal to the Mandovi bridge,” she says.
About her latest books she says: “This book is about people and life, and my main inspirations came from my personal experiences. I am a realistic person and I believe the world is a harsh place but one has to do their best and survive and this calls for compromise, negotiation and understanding. My poems reflect this view clearly.”
Speaking on getting her books published, she says: “Both my books have been funded by the Directorate of Art and Culture under the scheme for Goan authors. For my first book I was stressed out as it was a new experience for me but this time round it was much easier. I knew what was required and how to go about it. I have to say a special thanks to the Directorate of Art and Culture for funding both my books and giving me a platform and to Broadway for publishing my books. In fact I would encourage all Goan youngsters to get acquainted with the various schemes that are available from the government and utilise it accordingly.”
Feedback, Luanna believes is important for everyone but more important she stresses is taking it positively. “After my first book, I got a lot of feedback and not all was positive. Many found my poems very structured but I have used this feedback to improve my work and am grateful to the people who took the time and trouble to give me feedback, good as well as bad.”
Besides Robert Frost, she likes reading Walt Whitman, C S Lewis and Khaled Hosseini. “Reading has always been my passion and I cannot remember myself without a book in hand. I just have to read. Reading, I believe expands the mind and gives you ideas to write, create characters and plots or even improve your grammar which is important for a poet or writer. Here I would also like to add that reading quality matter does not necessarily mean you will become a good writer, there has to be talent and a desire to write.”
Luanna’s plans for the future include writing more poetry and maybe even a novel besides completing her Masters in psychology and research in the field. “I chose psychology over English literature because I love reading literature but not studying it. The human mind has always fascinated me and the subject is so interesting that you can never really get bored,” she says explaining her choice of subject.
Signing off she says to all aspiring poets and writers: “Writing is what makes you a poet/writer. Not a book contract or an award, so don’t let anyone make you feel less. And don’t quit when you get negative feedback, instead use it effectively and constructively to improve your work.”