Q&A: Suresh Thripunithura, Author of 'The Return: Pictorial Poems'

Suresh Thripunithura is a writer, nature photographer, botanist, script writer, and a versatile multi-talented person from Kerala. He lives in Thiruvankulam with his wife Veena Venu, and two daughters Mia Quince and Stheervi Yosha. He is working as an officer in the Agricultural Development and Farmers Welfare Department, Kerala. He is a member of the state secretariat of Kerala Agricultural Ministerial Staff Federation (KAMSF) and a member of the Joint Council State Service Organisation (JCSSO). He has written two novels in Malayalam (Chitrodam, and Gramyam) and four poetry books in English. He has recently come out with the book The Return: Pictorial Poems.

I chat with him about his book The Return: Pictorial Poems, his inspiration for writing the book, the themes that he has discussed in the poems in this book, book recommendations, and much more.

Hello! Tell us a bit about yourself!

I was born in Thiruvankulam of Ernakulam District in Kerala. I did post graduation in Botany from Union Christian College, Aluva, and also hold a bachelor’s degree in Education, and a Post graduate Diploma in Journalism and Communication from Kerala Press Academy. Now I am working as an officer in Agricultural Development and Farmers Welfare Department, Kerala. I write poems and novels in my local language Malayalam and also in English.

If you could only describe your poetry book The Return: Pictorial Poems in one sentence, what would it be?

These poems symbolise the inevitable return of human beings to nature and environmentally sustainable ways, as in many situations the destruction of nature and environment is posing a threat to us globally.

Now tell us a little more about the book! What can readers expect?

Kerala is so scenic, and the greenery and the diversity of the plants prompted me to write poems. The return to nature is inherent in most lines of the poems in this book, and the poems describe that returns are inevitable for people going through many conflicts in their life, with symbolic descriptions of mysterious psychics.

'The Return: Pictorial Poems', published by Notion Press

What was the moment when the idea of this book first came to be? What made you pursue it?

Pictorial poems are a rarity nowadays. In this, one takes beautiful pictures and writes poems about it. This needs efforts and thus, the publisher Notion Press has published it under a new category of poetry. When the lines of poetry are accompanied with pictures of nature, they will stick in the minds of the readers. The Return is my fourth pictorial poetry book published by Notion Press.

What different themes and topics have you discussed in the poems in this book?

This book highlights the need to return to nature. Kerala is a state that is beginning to see the bitter consequences of natural disasters. There were floods and landslides in God’s own country, due to man’s interference in the ecology of forests. I have also copied this into the devaluation happening in the relationships of people here. Everyone is in a hurry and running for nothing.

When did you start writing poetry? Which poets have been your inspirations?

I used to take photographs of plants and nature, and posted it on my Facebook and Instagram account. I would write two or three lines as captions for each picture. One of my friends, Sunildas, an employee of Kochi refinery, liked it and inspired me to write such poems and publish them. I am inspired by the poetry of Marieke Lucas Rijneveld.

How have you been coping with the current pandemic and what will be the new normal for you post it?

I wrote a pictorial poetry book The Garden Quarantine during the pandemic. When the world was shut, I was busy amidst greenery nurturing my garden and penning my poems. I, along with my daughters Mia Quince and Stheervi Yosha, had converted ‘Home quarantine’ into ‘Garden quarantine’ during the lockdown.

Lastly, are you currently reading anything and do you have any book recommendations for our readers?

I am currently reading the book The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld. This book has won the Booker International Prize 2020. Marieke Lucas Rijneveld is a poetic novelist and my FB friend. After this, I would read her next novel My Heavenly Favourite.

The book ‘The Return: Pictorial Poems’ is available online and at your nearest bookstore.

From Jammu, J&K; Studied in DPS, Jammu.