Anyone who has sat through a night of jazz along with poetry will only come to a conclusion that “collaboration” is most definitely the only way to a better world. With this poetic thought, let us introduce to you to Mumbai-based poet, Rochelle D’silva, who spoke to us about her love for writing and performing. Collaborating with a German Jazz band, Melt Trio, Rochelle brought the Poets Translating Poets festival to a lyrical end.

Rochelle is the brain behind ‘Mumbai Poetry Slam’, which is the first of its kind in the city. She also organises a monthly poetry open mic called ‘Words Tell Stories’, which features local and international poets, as well as musicians. She is also a mentor for many who come for her poetry workshops, where the upcoming poets are assisted with writing and editing.

She has worked with various musicians and has collaborated with Jazz bands like Kit Kat Club (Delhi) and Melt Trio (Germany). Adding to the list, she has also performed with violinists, guitar players and percussionists.

Rochelle D'silva, Mumbai based poet.
Rochelle D’silva, Mumbai based poet.

A fascination with trees inspired her to write her first poem at the age of six. “I’ve had a love for nature and for trees in particular since I was very young,” says Rochelle, “I still write poems for/about trees”.

‘I joke about how I am more poet than human, but there is too much truth in it’

Her inspiration knows no limit; “I write about what I know and what I’m going through. My poems are indicative of my cultural influences, travels and other experiences I’ve had,” Rochelle tells us.

The most common question that haunts artists is the creative block that limits work and keeps them from giving their best shot. Just like everyone else, Rochelle too has her own way of overcoming this dead end: “I personally believe that poetry happens when it needs to happen, so I don’t have a strict writing regimen or force myself to write every day. In the rare situations that I am commissioned to write something and feel a lack of inspiration, I read poems by my favourite authors to feel inspired. I also paint or make collages as an alternative creative outlet while the poems percolate in my brain.”

Her inspirations range from John Dunne and Wordsworth to Arundhathi Subramaniam, Kevin Brophey, Buckowski, Rumi, Buddy Wakefield

Her tips to our young readers:

Poetry is a beautiful tool for dialogue and to effect change. It can transcend the realm of ‘just a hobby’ if you let it. Read as much poetry as you can, absorb the beautiful things that people have already written and said and appreciate poetry as much as you want others to appreciate your own.