Vikram Seth on love, loss and writer’s block



the great devotional poet George Herbert lived here in the 17th century that's why Vikram Seth bought it Seth himself is a remarkable poet in his own right inspired in part by living here outside Salisbury and in India on the edge of Delhi today his life is dominated by vodka no not the drink the cat the cat belongs to his lost love the violinist Philippe honoré seth is a polymath sculptor calligrapher painter and above all has his kitchen table boasts writer it's laden with files the larder too full of detail about characters and places and this is where he writes but ominously no sign of pen paper nor laptop it seems I must undergo a rite of passage before we talk public in the river nada which runs through his garden getting our feet used to the little round pebbles it is a beautiful collection of poems but but it is sad it's about loss isn't it probably a loss of the most important relationship in their life yes I think that's true however I would I mean we talk about my friendship and love with Philippe I'm well Philippe Andre the wonderful violinist to whom I dedicated and equal music and who's been inspired of a great great deal of of what I've written and a stimulant your muse and indeed a great stimulus stimulant and stimulus to my muse he and I get along wonderfully well together probably I would say all the better for for what's gone on the past but we are the closest of friends and in fact as we speak vodka the cat the British blue who so upset by what's been happening in the English team the respective cricket yes um he um he is the I'm house-sitting Oh I'm cat-sitting him or maybe he is human sitting me because when Philippe's got a busy week he feels it's a nice place for vodka to roam around and brings vodka over we can't produce this and say there's no writer's block in this man I didn't get the implication but the implication is that people are hungry for a suitable girl hi honey they see a publication of a book of poems is how he's writing but now you tell me it's taken 20 years anyway to put this lot together that's right but I mean you can treat it as a sort of canopy if you're minded to I wouldn't read anything into it in fact I'm not sure I would read anything into books anyway where is a suitable girl suitable girl is progressing um she's uh she occupies all my thoughts and to some extent my publishers had to say to me look um you've got to do a little talking about the current book but uh I was rather not by your wonderful present John or anything particular but by the fact that I was drawn little away from my muse honestly there is this extraordinary poem here I defy you to tell me you haven't just written it this is it please read the first couple of verses it's headed God can't I find I simply can't get out of bed I shiver and procrastinate and stare I'll press the reset button in my head I hate my work but I am in the red I'd put it all if I could live on air I find I simply can't get out of bed my joints have rusted and my brain is led I drank too much last night but now I swear I'll press the reset button in my when did you write that I gotta be recent oh yeah within the last 33 years huh I'm going to take the fish is it a product of love writer's block it is the writer the product of many sorts of Locke as you can see but writer's block partly and indeed writer's block does come and writer's block can has its genesis and also so but it's not here at the moment far from are you on track for publishing next year then um I'm not publishing next yeah yeah I'm true I'm delivering next yeah I'm on track for that is it going to be as big a book as a suitable boy which was after all a very big book um so far doesn't seem to be but do remember that suitable boy originally was intended as a 200 or 300 page book I mean basically you mean you not yet even aware of how long this book will be that's right I mean you talked of India being a different place from that of a suitable boy sixty years ago is it a different place with Prime Minister Modi when I consider what's happened in the in the last 12 months now or 14 months it would be I'm not as all my worst fears have not come to pass I will say that secondly one has to judge a government on several on social changes on economic changes on foreign policy changes and and judge each category in its own rights while not losing sight of the fact that the idea that that if I were born a Muslim I would be somewhat less of an Indian or more suspect can I in conclusion make a journalistic observation um you want me to vet it first or do just one audition I would like to say that you observe you seem to be yeah in very fine fettle thank you somebody that people say oh he had to have his advanced back it was a million pounds he's got writer's block I'm going to put my order in for a suitable girl listen thank you are these last orders then you

5 thoughts on “Vikram Seth on love, loss and writer’s block

  1. I agree. I wish the interview had been longer. I have read A Suitable Boy and An Equal Music and I can thoroughly recommend these books.

  2. oh wish the interview were longer. Mr. Seth you are one Indian writer who is certainly a giant in the field of Literature. God Bless You.

  3. There is a river that flows by his house?!!!!!!!!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️💯💯💯

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