A bold exploration of human nature
White Spirit, a collection of twenty poems written over a span of twenty years by Susan Waten was released on Monday by Sangeet Natak Akademi regional director OP Bharati during the four-day theatre festival, Natyanjali, which was held at Dimapur last week.
White Spirit is an experimental work, written and spoken through the lives of many characters – men, women, children, spirits and even silence. It deals with the unending knots of human relationships and is a foray into new age spirituality and mysticism. It is a bold and artistic exploration into human nature, into the psychic universe, and further into the realm far beyond the tangible, that is, into transcendence and eternity. The book also depicts an enquiry into the dark recesses of the human heart and mind in relation to moral, ethical and spiritual links set by transcendental authority. Besides her academic background in English Literature, she has completed a master degree each in theology and advanced Christian studies.
The foreword of the book has been written by eminent theatre educationist and leading director of the National School of Drama (NSD) Robin Das. Robin comments that there is something “sublime” in her poems, capable of evoking a deep nostalgia of something elusive and of stirring the inner spirit self inherent in each one of us. Yet he says that beyond the “mystical curtain,” there is the underlying layer of the living and of life.
The poet is a graduate of St. Xavier’s college, Mumbai and a postgraduate in English Literature from the University of Mumbai. She grew up in a boarding school called Pine Mount in Shillong. A popular writer and newspaper columnist of Nagaland, Susan is also the founder of HAWA, a society for the creative expression of writers and artists. Aiming for a close relationship between art and spirituality, her organization HAWA works in close association with those involved in literary art, performance art and fine art. In fact, HAWA has the heart for just about anybody pursuing creative and aesthetic endeavors, whether as amateurs or professionals, even for individuals seeking artistic self expression in the closet.
Having been contributing regularly to newspapers and magazines on a varied range of issues, including social and humanitarian issues and on music and cultural affairs, Susan also writes scripts for documentary features. Besides her literary pursuits, she had also organized – through her organization HAWA – a workshop on ethnic jewelry and accessory-making for unemployed women, and also the first-ever workshop for upcoming Naga women writers on the theme, “Naga stories of everyday life as seen through the eyes of women.”
Susan has also been collaborating closely with the works of the North East Zone Cultural Centre (NEZCC), Dimapur, which sponsored few of her projects. She is also a theatre enthusiast and has encouraged many young local talents to pursue their life calling in acting and performance arts. She is into creative non-fiction and metaphysical writing, into art, world music, movies, travelling, reading and interacting with people from diverse socio-cultural and spiritual backgrounds.
Her first released book, White Spirit, is small and compact in size and in full color, with appropriate illustrations to each of the twenty poems. It is priced at Rs 200/- and is available at Paradigm Book House, Circular Road, Don Bosco School junction, Dimapur. Her works awaiting publication are evocative of the mystic masters in the exploration of the metaphysical realm and the enquiry into human correlation with transcendence.