2020 Winners' Interviews 

Tamil Category

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

Mohanapriya Chandrasekaran

Winning Poem:

"கடலுக்குள் புரளும் கால நிலம் " (“The land of time that rolled into the Sea”)

(19-Year-Old and Above Category, First Prize)

1. What is your philosophy towards your poetry works?

Poetry to me is the best language to express my thoughts and feelings. The philosophy of poetry for me is to record the context of modernity, inward and outwards, through its themes. It should talk about the needs, deeds and thoughts from the depth of the mind. I believe that registering the lives of ordinary people would create an awareness in the society.

2. Where do you get your inspirations from?

“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity.” 

— William Wordsworth, from "Preface to Lyrical Ballads"

I get inspiration at any moment. Most times I get the theme or words at my stressful moments, and lots of such poems were always dear to me. It has given me feeling similar to the joy and pain that a mother faces during childbirth.

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

 “It is a test [that] genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” 

— T. S. Eliot, from the essay "Dante."


I wish my poems give a good reading pleasure, comfort and relief to the reader. I’d be happier if my poems give a different perspective to the reader, or a minor change in their attitude towards life. 


"The poet is the priest of the invisible.” 

— Wallace Stevens, from "Opus Posthumous."


When my poems focus on individual or social issues, I wish that’s rightly consumed.

4. Do you have a favourite poet/author?

It’s hard to pick one among the lots of great poets/authors that I read. Poets that I read changes based on my mood and mindset. When I’m feeling low, the poems of Kalyanji and Devadevan offer great comfort. I’ve felt a similar comfort even with poems of pioneer poets or the new-gen poets. I would like to make a special mention to writer S. Ramakrishnan, who inspired my early reading habits.

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

The younger me, like a kid’s drawing, used to write about all thing’s nature. With lots of motivation by friends, I’ve improved on my language and poetry skills. Though with my increased reading habit in the later days, I believe I’ve improved a bit on the poetry forms. I wish I’d read a lot, especially the great pioneer poets, during my younger days so that could have helped me improve the skills sooner. 


The language skills improve only with dedication and perseverance. I wouldn’t have to always rely on people’s motivation. Be self-motivated. Try to bring all your

thoughts to words, and language will take its own form – be it poems or stories. Always pay attention to life, society and surroundings. Approach people with open-mind. Be keen on all news and world literature. 

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


That’s a question that I constantly ask myself. As like most writers, I would like to see my words printed, well received and recognized by the readers and other great poets. I probably am not there yet and maybe a long way to go. I desire to become a better poet and writer in a few more years.

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

Singapore has always produced a lot of good poets and writers, and I’ve seen the best works in the genres of fiction, non-fiction and poetry in the Singapore literary world One proof would the books that are submitted for the Singapore literature prize that’s awarded every two years. The events that take place here are set to give good motivation to budding poets. I hope to see increase in readership of tamil literature in Singapore.

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

 “We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.” — William Butler Yeats, from PER AMICA SILENTIA LUNAE


The emotions in the mind roar and melt into poems in the form of language. The smartness of a language is called poetry, and it’s an experience and lesson as it allows the reader to traverse through worlds, in minutes.

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

It’s a fact that success and recognition motivate any budding writer to constantly redefine their writings. However, I believe that an elite creator should pivot to the point the creative works stay over time. Be it success or failure, I would like to take it as a lesson. Rather than chasing just the success, I would like to read my reflections at frequent intervals.