Devansh Sampang Rana refrains from calling himself a poet and prefers to be known as a writer. “I keep saying this. I am not even remotely close to the writer that I aspire to be,” he said. Nonetheless, Rana is getting recognition as a poet, especially after his book, Iridescent, was nominated for the Emily Dickinson International Award.
The 29-year-old writer from Sikkim’s Singtam town is probably the first from the North East to be nominated for the prestigious award. Rana’s journey as a writer started with songs when he joined a music band at the age of 16. Though he was the bass guitarist, he was drawn towards writing songs and eventually became a singer and songwriter. “But I would write songs since I was a child,” he said.
Rana formed his first black metal band Doomsday Cult as a teenager and wrote songs for it. “But this band was not quite well-known. Later, we formed another band called Demigods and that is when the ball started rolling. We participated in several band competitions and won a couple of national competitions too. I was associated with this band for seven years,” he said.
Rana does not follow any particular genre and loves to explore all forms of poetry. His first poem was an untitled abstract verse about introspection. But he rues the fact that people often call him a romantic poet. “I do understand why they restrict me to a particular genre. Most of my poems are abstract and swansongs about unrequited love and longings,” he explained.
For him, the inspiration to write poems comes from life and the world around him that he experiences while travelling.
“I am an avid traveller and these are the times when I am the most creative. During those times, I write about anything that catches my imagination,” said the writer, who has written about 100 poems so far.
The online competition for the Emily Dickinson Award mandated all authors to write 21 poems in 21 days. There were more than 25,000 entries from India and 100 were shortlisted from among them.
When asked how challenging the task was, Rana said that “writing becomes tough when there is a deadline pressure”.
“At the same time, I would say it was not a difficult task. The ask was for 21 unpublished poems and I already had about 15 poems which were unpublished,” Rana informed.
The 21 poems have been compiled into Iridescent, which was published by Book Leaf Publication and is now available on Amazon. Of the poems, Rana’s personal favourite is Sempiternal, which was also published by ‘The Write Order’ in ‘Euphoria by the Youth of India’, a collection of poems in all Indian languages from across the country.
Rana is intrigued by literary challenges and loves to explore new forms of writing. Currently, he is writing short stories and looks forward to publishing those on a digital platform. He also aspires to write a novel. One writer that inspires him the most is Chetan Raj Shrestha. His tryst with Shrestha’s novella, The King’s Harvest, was during his post-graduation days and that turned into a love for life.
“I loved the writing and explored more. What I love about his writing is that his characters are set in Sikkim and one can relate to them. I want to write like that,” the excitement in his voice was palpable as he spoke about his favourite author.
Another literary figure that inspires him is Laxmi Prasad Devkota, also known as Mahakabi in Nepali literature. “He was a prolific writer and the greatest of all times,” Rana described his favourite poet.
Music, like literature, is also close to Rana’s heart. Currently, he is working on a solo project called ‘And Beyond’. “It is more like a pop project but there are elements of punk, electronic, hip hop etc. It will be a single and should be out in a couple of days,” said Rana.
When asked whether he wanted to pursue music in the long run, the young writer was quite baffled. “It will be a difficult choice between music and literature. I don’t know what to say. I think I will choose both,” he concluded.
~ Team Sunday Monitor