Q2. Very true. As you said, this is why it is said that poetry has been with us since the beginnings of civilisation. However, some people would say that today, this ‘traditional’ genre is under threat. One such threat is posed by the fast-paced, quick reward media such as cinema, television, the Internet. How do you see the future of poetry charting out in this context?
Q3. Another threat has to do with poetry’s relationship with power. Poets writing in Arabic or Persian and other contexts are often silenced when they speak of politics. Is this proof that poetry matters – or rather, that it has become marginal for most people because poetry that engages with the ‘real world’ in these contexts simply cannot survive?
Q4. On a more personal level, you have quite a reputation yourself both as an advocate of poetry – with your work on Attar and Rumi, for example – and as a practising poet. You are also associated with PEN, which campaigns for writers’ rights. Does taking poetry seriously actually shape who we are, as individuals and societies?
Q5. Some thinkers like Heidegger favoured poetry amongst the arts and identified it as the highest form of art. What are your views on this subject and on poetry being considered among the highest form of thinking?