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Book Interview: The Heart is an Attic by Srividya Sivakumar

Srividya Sivakumar is a poet, teacher, speaker, and columnist. Her first solo collection of verse, The Blue Note was published by Writers Workshop, Kolkata in December 2012. Srividya’s poems are featured in The Peacock’s Cry, The Kritya Anthology, Samyukta- A Journal of Women’s Studies, and 40 Under 40: An Anthology of Post-Globalisation Poetry. Her work is also at MuseIndia, Kritya, Rebellesociety, and Noble/Gas Qtrly. Srividya wrote a weekend column, “Running on Poetry,” for The Hindu’s Metroplus from February 2014 to December 2016. Srividya holds an MS in Education Management, postgraduate diploma in Advertising and Communication and a Ph.D. in English Literature in ‘The Image of Women in the Novels of Salman Rushdie.’ The Heart is an Attic is her second book.

The Heart is an Attic by Srividya Sivakumar

1. Why The Heart is an Attic?

The attic is a space with things we don’t use but don’t have the heart to throw away. The heart is often filled with memories we have no use for but are unable to forget or let go of.

2. Your poetry has evolved over the years. Do you agree? Explain.

I sure hope so! I was partial to rhyme; now I experiment with form and word. Also, there’s little self-censoring. Less fear of what people might think. In some ways, it’s the same — I am still drawn to love and to the feminine experience. And I am now more vocal about the same.

3. Srividya, what are your three favorite poems in the book?

Ooh, that’s tough! I’ll have to say — Eggs, Bromidic and Waterboarding.


  1. Srividya, talk about one particular memory that is buried in the pages of the book.

School days and learning without knowing then what was being learned.

  1. Did you work toward any particular theme?

No. I didn’t. But when I was arranging the poems for the book, I realized they are mostly poems of the woman and love. But no, no theme.

  1. How did you know your manuscript is ready for publication?

Well, I thought I was ready in 2016. Only to be told, a year later, that I needed a ‘ poetry editor.’ That was the right wake-up call. I took a hard look at my work and culled quite a few. Looked at some others and thought of how they sounded their musicality. Then I felt better. I found my publisher by accident. And a happy one at that. Even in the editing stage, I removed two poems. That’s why the arbitrary 48, rather than an even 50 poems.

  1. Srividya, which contemporary poets are you reading now? 

Keki Daruwala, Arundhathi Subramaniam and Charles Bukowski among others. 

  1. Any book/s of poems, in particular, you would recommend? 

When God is a Traveller by Arundhathi Subramaniam, The Norton Anthology of Modern Verse and The Collected Poems by Vikram Seth.

  1. If you had a chance for bartering your poems for anything, what would that be?

A chance to meet some of my favorite writers. I’d give a lot for that. 

10. Three reasons why people should buy The Heart is an Attic?

Reasons why people should buy the book, would be-

i) because their purchase will encourage the poetic cause
because it’s about the specific in the universal
And yet, it will tell you that we are all similar, rather than separate.

International buyers can grab a copy of The Heart is an Attic by Srividya Sivakumar, here. Buyers from India, grab a copy here.

If you wish to be interviewed on P&P for your recent book of poems, email at mail @ poetryandpoets.com.

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