Aunt Ruth Wildes Schuler has been a guiding force in my life,she has inspired me to stay indomitable.She's one of the best contemporary living poets in the World, who inspires the poet in me to express myself thru poetry.Kudos to Sweet Aunt who despite an injured leg and many shortcomings has weathered every hurricane wid grace and a chirpy smile.I was delectably touched and honored wen she penned a poem for me,I shall b discussing in my next blog.I'm grateful to my Papa without whose blessing I wuldnot have known this Feminist Iconic Poet who continues the legacy of Sylvia Plath in this Techno,IT Age,where poetry has taken backseat for many,but people like her inspire poets within us to writeon.Eliot,Wordsworth,Ted Hughes shall be so proud.Till then Namaste to Uncle Charles,Aunt Ruth and all adorable members of Schuler family.Below is an interview of the Feminist American Poet,my Aunt Ruth,who has been honourably chosen by Poets International as ''Poet of The Month''.
Poet of the Month
© By Mohammed Fakhruddin,
RUTH WILDES SCHULER
By Dr. Mohammed Fakhruddin
Ruth Wildes Schuler, born in 1933, received her M.A. degree from San Francisco State University. She has published over 1,000 poems, short stories and literary essays in 22 countries and translated in 16 languages. She awarded numerous literary prizes and commendations for her work in USA and India. She published an International Literary Journal, Prophetic Voices for 11 years, and published books of poetry under her press, Heritage & Trails Press, but gave it up to devote full time to her revolution , The Turbulent Tide, and is working on a collection of poetry about writers, artists, musicians and the creative experience.
Tying The Threads Of The Earth And The Sea
Waves lap gently against
the Asian seacoast,
storms now far out
past the horizon.
Schools of herring
New England’s seashore,
neon tetras light the waters off
the edge of Mexico’s coast,
and multitudes of salmon
fight their way from the ocean
to Pacific coast rivers.
The sea hatches treasures
To nourish man in his land-locked paradise,
sun-kissed by the ever-flowing seasons of beauty.
Within the oceans,
the might mammoth whale
triumphs in size and grace,
while his cousin, the dolphin
dances his own inspirational saga.
It is only man though that can venture
out in the sea, up in space,
to unit all the elements
in a single poetic harmony
of knowledge and love.
-- Ruth Wildes Schuler
Q. What’s the poetry scene today? What kind of poetry is being written by contemporary living poets the world over?
A. All kinds of poems are being written the world over, but free verse is the dominant form in this decade. Poetry’s survival is more difficult than in ages past, as it is no longer studied in school as it once was. Instead of poetry, art, and music, children today start to study computers and other technical machines from the time they enter school. We live in the age of technology and science now. Mathematics and physics are the courses emphasized in our space age. Added to these new difficulties is also the economic factor. The rising cause of paper, printing and postage has caused many small poetry presses around the world to fold.
Q. Will poetry survive in this century? If so, in what form and style do you predict?
A. Yes, I think poetry will survive as it always has. The poet always has been both the historian and the prophet throughout the ages from Homer in Greece to Ovid in Rome. I think free verse will prevail, as it is easier for poets to write. There are many poets whom seem to have a natural inborn sense of rhyme and rhythm for tradition forms such as Dr. H. Tulsi and Dr. Mohammed Fakhruddin in India and Pamela Constantine and Bernard Jackson in England. My magazine partner, Goldie Morales also had this gift. However with free verse being easier to write, I think it will prevail as it has from the time the great religious works of the world were written.
Q. Poetry is not a saleable product and, what made you establish a poetry magazine some years ago and close it?
A. I started my magazine with my partner Goldie L. Morales as a vehicle for women’s voices, as there was so much discrimination against them at that time. Most of the editors were men and published only one or two poems by women as tokens. Many men felt women had nothing important to say at that time. However, I published men and poets of all nationalities and faiths as well. I folded it after 11 years as my partner died after 9 years, and I could no longer continue to fund it alone. Also I wanted more time to pursue my own writing.
Q. Who inspired you to be a poet?
A. Growing up in New England, I was exposed to the great writers from the time I entered school. Emerson, Thoreau. The Alcotts, Hawthorn, Whittier, Melville, were but a few. Poetry was important in our education and we were required to memorize long passages of poems. However, when my family moved to California, I was never exposed to poetry again in my high school years. When I entered graduate school to get my Master’s Degree, I started out to be a novelist. However, I was informed in order to get my degree, I had to be proficient in another genre also, so I choose poetry over drama.
So it was at this time that I started writing poetry. However prose was still my main interest. It was only when my father was dying of a brain tumor that I turned to poetry seriously. Poetry helped me to deal with the pain and trauma of that period. After visiting my father in the hospital, I would often come home and write 7 poems in a single night. My friends called this my pain period of poetry. I have never stopped writing poetry since that time, and though I still write prose, poetry is my main genre now.
Q. What kind of poetry is being written in the USA today?
A. Mostly Free Verse. In a poetry class that I took, the teacher got violently angry when one student wrote a traditional poem. She shouted that no student of hers should ever turn in such an archaic form of poetry again.
Q. Which regional poetry has impressed you the most and why?
A. I identify more with American and Indian poetry. It seems to be more universal to me.
I also love Chinese and Taiwanese poetry. It seems to have a special beautiful quality in describing nature and human relationships. I feel some regions are too restricted in their poetry and not open to the larger world outside. Some of Great Britain’s poetry magazines are exceptionally regional.
Q. Could you name at least one Indian living poet and a poem, which impressed you the most?
A. It would be impossible for me to choose one Indian poet or poem because so many of them have impressed me and are such outstanding poets. Among my favorite deceased poets are Dr. Krishna Srinivas, Rabindranath Tagore & O.P. Bhatnagar. Just to mention a few of the contemporary poets that I admire are Ravi Nandan Sinha, Dr. I. H. Rizvi, Dr. Mohammed Fakhruddin, Dr. D.C. Chambial, Dr. I.K. Sharma, Prasanna Kumari, Dr. Sailendra Narayan Tripathy, Permamada Panda, Dr. P. Raja, Dr. R.K. Singh, Pronab Kumar Majudar, Dr. Mahasweta Chaturvedi, Harekrushna Mahanta & Udayanth Majhi.
Q. Do you find any difference between Indian poets and Western poets when they express the same thought in verse form in English language?
A. I think Indian poets probably express more religious philosophy in their poems. There are also many word differences. For instance Indian poets tend to use the word “sans”, whereas western poets use the word “without.” Some Indian poets use archaic words like “Thee, Thou, Doth” ect, which many western publications would not accept. I think though Indians poets think more like Americans than those in many European countries. Perhaps it is because both nations are large in physical area and have such a variety of many kinds of people and religions. I think they are more open than some of the smaller countries whose population is more similar for the most part.
Q. What is poetry for you?
A. It gives meaning to my life. It helps me to express sadness and joy. However, it also allows me to express my anger, political, ecological, and other world concerns. It is the vehicle for sharing my strongest feelings with others in the world.
Q. Could you throw light on your personal life, poetry and poetics?
A. I was born and spent my childhood in New England and was fused with a deep feeling for history, as I lived on the sites of our American Revolution where the first shots for freedom were fired. The aura of freedom was part of the veneer that I formed early and I have always longed for freedom for all humans. I was also exposed to the thoughts of some of the greatest writers in American history. My family moved to California when I was a teen-ager. Here I was exposed to many more kinds of people and their thoughts from Asia, the Latino Countries and Africa. Our country is truly a melting pot in the world, much as India is also. With my education while working my way through college, I developed hatred for the terrible prejudices that many humans had and felt human apathy was one of the worse crimes, and felt all men had a duty to fight against it in this world.
Q. Why did you choose Free Verse as a means of our expression?
A. Because it is free. I do not have to use improper words in order to fit a rhyme scheme or a syllable beat. I have always felt the message is more important than the form. I strive to use unusual symbolism and alliteration to keep my messages in the poetic realm.
Q. What images and symbolism do you usual use to convey your thoughts and feelings?
A. I use many images and symbolism from my childhood and life. I use literary and historical images also as well as physical landmarks from areas I have seen or read about.
Q. Do you confine yourself to being a poet? If not please explain?
A. No. I write short stories, articles, letters, and have written two novels and a short one-act play? I have not yet found a publisher for my novels, but have had over 1000 poems and short stories published around the world.
Q. Could you please comment on Japanese forms of poetry?
A. I find them very interesting and challenging. It is an accomplishment to say something beautiful or important in just a few words. I have mainly written haiku myself. Japanese poetry has been taken up by world now, although it has changed in form in many places. Many poets do not confine themselves to the 5-7-5-syllable count of the original haiku form. I also like the Tanka form.
Q. You have been reading haiku contributed by poets from all over the world in Poets International every month. What do you find in them?
A. A wide assortment of thought and beauty. It is interesting to see how varied haiku is from different countries in subject matter and thought.
Q. You also have been writing Haiku. What inspired you to take up Haiku writing? How do you read a Haiku and rate it?
A. At a couple of poetry retreats that I attended, we were asked to write haiku and later in poetry groups, the poets all wrote in this form as a discipline. I found it challenging and have continued to write them often now.
Q. According to you, what makes a Haiku powerful and meaningful?
A. I rate a haiku excellent when it makes an impact on me and I think of the beautiful words, thoughts or philosophy at later times after I have read it.
Q. A Haiku has to be written in 17 syllables in the order, form and structure of 5,7,5. If it is written in less than 17 syllables, in any order and form, it may be called Zen poetry. Do you agree?
A. Yes, I think that term is an excellent one for non-traditional poems called now called Haiku.
Q. Countries like Croatia and Serbia have become Haiku countries where poets write only Haiku poetry. What made poets opt for such this kind of expression? Is there any historical background or any specific reason for such a phenomenal upsurge?
A. I can only guess at the reason. The Haiku requires fewer words in its short form and this would be easier for non-fluent-English speaking poets in these countries. Also being war torn countries, the shorter form is easier to use and can express powerful thoughts in a much quicker form. I have found the haiku from these countries outstanding.
Q. Which are the other countries in which you find Haiku poetry is written in large numbers?
A. Besides Japan, the USA, Canada, Taiwan, and India.
Q. Your comments on “1st Taiwan World Poetry Festival 2005” in which you participated as a poet-delegate from the USA?
A. I found it one of the most enlightening experiences in my life. It was a wonder to meet poets from so many different countries. All of them were fascinating, as were their
poems and their papers. I have made enduring friendships, which continue today by e-mail. And these poets continue to bring beauty and wisdom into my life.
Q. Your comments on “Poets International” monthly journal of short verse?
A. I think it is one of the leading magazines of its kind in the world today. It is far reaching around the globe with poets from so many nations and presenting a wide variety of forms of poetry. The young and aged are all in its pages, so we get such a great stretch of thought. It brings together poets so widely scattered and opens them to views that they might never had come in contact with otherwise. From its pages I not only gather knowledge about India, but about other countries in Asia, Europe and around the world.
Dr. Mohammed Fakhruddin is a poet, journalist and Founder-editor of "POETS INTERNATIONAL", a monthly journal of short verse being published from India.