2019 Winners' Interviews 

Tamil Category

Find out more about our winning poets and the inspiration behind their writing and works!

Thameem An

Winning Poem: "Urumaatram" (19 and Above, First Prize)

1. What is your philosophy towards your poetry works?

The magic of poetry happens when it strikes the same chord inside the heart of the poet and the hearts of the readers.

2. Where do you get your inspirations from?

I get inspirations from almost everywhere. The primary source of inspirations is when I observe peoples emotions, challenges, sufferings, reflect on my own actions. It is a matter of slowing down the pace in which we move and pay some quality attention to life’s most beautiful things, sufferings, challenges of every being.

3. Do you have a favourite poet/author?


My favourite poet is Vairamuthu, in the Tamil language.

4.  If you could tell your younger writer self anything, what would it be?

I would tell my younger writer to read as many books, poetries and literature as possible, 

5.  Where do you see yourself in the future in terms of writing and poetry? 

I would like to write more songs!

7. What do you wish to see more in the literary world in Singapore?

I would like to see more community engagement, reading poetries to the general public and encourage the general audience to appreciate poetry in its art form.

Chitra Ramesh

Winning Poem: "Metamorphosis" (19 and Above, Second Prize)

1. What is your philosophy towards your poetry works?

Poetry is a landscape and our words fill in the landscape to create the scenery. Poems should always depict the nuances in words and satisfy our aesthetics.

2. What do you wish for people to take away from your poem?

Poem moves a reader, physically or emotionally to tears and may be sometimes invisible feelings sometimes. Some feelings cannot be expressed by everyone and they will be lacking in those words.But after they read a poem, they might get that unique feeling from my poems. 

3. If you could tell your younger writer self anything, what would it be?

For the younger generation, becoming a journalist, poet, novelist or a writer is far away from their dreams. In an Idealistic society, becoming a writer could have been an ultimate profession. But now the younger generation is not keen taking writing as profession or passion. For a younger generation writer, my advice will be first they should become a good reader. Read as many books as you can. Then try writing. Try with simple words and concept. It could be very elementary. But start writing. Then you become your own editor. Edit it. Then forget about it for a week or two. Again, take it and review. Fine tune your writing. By doing this self-analysis, you can improve your creativity and skills. Experiences sharpen the writings. So keep looking at the people and world around you rather than looking at your handphone or computer. 

4.  Describe what a poem means/is to you.

A poem a home for deep feelings, stunning images, beautiful lyricism, tender reflections and sometimes bitterness. The poem allows the reader to make multiple connections between phrases and lines—reading across, down, in combination, I imagine as a reader, you have a certain amount of “freedom” in navigating the poem. The caveat is that freedom often requires more work, more self-motivation, and a certain degree of confusion. But, again, other arts or technologies seem better at those jobs—novels offer us real or imaginary worlds to explore or escape to, tweets offer us poignant epigrams, painting and design offer us eye candy, and music—well, face it, poetry has never been able to compete with that sublime combo of lyrics, instruments, and melody.

5.  How does a literary success look like to you? 

I am very neutral about success. Success is a very relative and deceiving word. Success doesn’t mean that you reached the peak. After reaching the peak, what next? Sometimes, it does give me a recognition from a stranger’s eyes. Then I will think that I made my day. Happiness and success are not always working in combination. Ultimately, I can define success as a sweet nectar and only people around us makes the nectar to honey. So, success is not enjoyed by self and success should lead you to get recognition and that is what gives you your own sense of purpose and motivation to conquer the obstacles that are ahead.

Anjali Elankovan

Winning Poem: "இறக்கை மொழியும் மெய்மை" (15 to 18 Years Old, Third Prize)

1. When did you first encounter poetry?

I first encountered poetry in literature lessons, when we were given opportunities to write our own. It wasn’t my cup of tea at first but it took me a few years to come to terms with it and eventually fall in love with it. My school had encouraged some of us to participate in several poetry writing competitions some time back and ever since then, the writing process has stuck with me.

2. Who or what inspired you to start writing your own poems?

My inspirations to start writing my own poems were my teachers and peers who were already writing poetry and that gave me a comfortable space to start my own writing journey. The idea that I could use poetry to vocalise my thoughts and feelings in an indirect manner struck me as a safer way to do self-reflection, and that got me to start writing poetry.

3. What is the process of you coming up with a poem?

Whenever I face a turning point in my life or go through a new experience, I would let myself free write as a form of self-reflection. That piece of writing later takes the form of a poem as I use imagery to conceal the directness of the reflection, include a tempo to my writing and carefully pick certain words to use for my writing. In some other cases, I take inspiration from events or themes in books, movies or songs that I have come across to write my poems.

4. What excites you when you write a poem?

Crafting my poem in a style that is ambiguous and open to the interpretations of the readers is what excites me the most. I personally believe that the beauty of poetry is the ambiguity of it and that it is open to even the creativity of the readers. The fact that readers can explore their own feelings and experiences through my poem is what excites me.

5. Do you see yourself writing stories/poems in the future?

Yes, I definitely do see myself continue to write, whether it is stories or poems in the future. It may or may not be something which I take up as my career but I would definitely see myself writing as a form of personal reflection and continue it as my hobby well into the future.

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