Meet the Poet: Smitha Vishwanath

Welcome to Meet the Poet, a Word Craft Poetry feature written to introduce you to the poets in our writing community.

This is a way to get to know more about the poets and their work. Many of our poets have written both fiction and non-fiction and published and self-published their works.

Some of our poets are also artists, crafting their magic through watercolors or other artistic means along with the written word. There are even a few musicians in our poetic community!

Our guest this month is Smitha Vishwanath

Smitha Vishwanath is your quintessential ‘bored banker’ turned writer. After a rewarding career of two decades in banking in Dubai, where she worked for leading banks in senior positions, she quit and moved to India in July 2018 with her husband and two daughters. Therein, she began her writing journey, which she did through her blog: She currently resides with her husband in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Her poems and writing reflect the experiences that come with having lived in different countries and states in India.

Smitha’s poem, ‘Omid’, was nominated ‘Best of the Net’ in 2019. Her poems, ‘Do you have Dreams’ and ‘Forgotten’ written for the National Poetry Writing Month challenge hosted by Maureen Thompson, won recognition on an international level for two consecutive years, 2021 and 2022. She was nominated as Author of the month by SpillWords Press for her poem ‘Ye Birds on my Window Sill’ in May 2022. She was recently voted Author of the month for the months of January and February 2023, for her poem, ‘Two years since you left’ by Spillwords Press. Her poetry has been published by several online publications including Thieving Magpies, Spillwords Press, MasticadoresUS, Silverbirch Press, Rebelle Society and has found a place in several noteworthy anthologies.

‘Roads’ was the first book she co-authored, which was published in July 2019 and received positive reviews. She’s working on her latest novel.

‘Coming Home’ is her debut novel released in March, 2023.

When she’s not writing, you’ll find her reading, writing book reviews, painting, travelling, or just being.

👩🏻‍🦳 Hi Smitha. Welcome. What is your favorite syllabic poetry form?

Hi, Colleen. Thank you for having me here. I have written little syllabic poetry but of the ones I’ve tried, I enjoy writing haibun for my travelogues and tanka, as you get two extra lines and more syllables, as compared to haiku.

👩🏻‍🦳 How does writing syllabic poetry enhance your life or writing practice?

Syllabic poetry, like haiku or tanka, is easier to remember when one is walking. I like that. As a writing practice, it’s great because it teaches you to express your thoughts using limited words, and leaving a lot unsaid and up to the imagination of the reader.

👩🏻‍🦳 So, how important is the accessibility of your poem’s meaning? Should one have to work hard to ‘solve’ the problem of the poem?

One thing that people who’ve read my blog often say is that my poetry or prose is simple and easy to understand. In fact, that’s how I introduce myself on my ‘About’ page. I say, ‘If you’re looking for extensive vocabulary or writing that takes the form of serious literature, then this place isn’t for you.’ I’d like to keep it that way without losing the depth or range of emotions but, without making it lacklustre. I don’t believe in using sesquipedalia. It means a ‘very long word’. I may have impressed a few by using the word but would have turned many away, too.

👩🏻‍🦳 Smitha, many people believe poetry is dying. Do you agree or disagree with this statement, and why?

I don’t think poetry is dying, yet. Thanks to social media, there has been a revival of poetry. Poetry challenges likes yours, NaPoWriMo, and a group I follow on Facebook, keep the love for poetry alive. With so much chaos happening in this world, a lot of people have started turning inwards now in reflection, and that’s a good thing.

That said, with people’s attention span reducing and the constant need to scroll, poetry and literature often struggle to survive. If it dies, then humanity will die. I think the responsibility lies with people like us who love poetry, to make people appreciate it so it’s not seen as a dying art, or something so complicated that it is unattainable.

👩🏻‍🦳 Smitha, what are the most interesting or important things that you learned about syllabic poetry writing/publishing as a poet?

I had no idea until 2017 that there were so many different forms of syllabic writing. The rigidity of syllable count and structure is a wonderful practice for saying what you want to without beating about the bush. It’s also quicker to read and if it’s good, you retain it far more easily.

👩🏻‍🦳 Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing syllabic poems?

I began writing syllabic poetry in 2017, because of a blog titled ‘Carpe Diem Haiku Kai’. The beauty of being able to describe a picture in three lines or five, as per the prompt, enthralled me. However, the blog stopped being active, and I moved on to writing other forms of poetry. I hope to begin again by participating in Tanka Tuesday. I did a few at the beginning of the year, but got busy with my novel and had to stop.

👩🏻‍🦳 Smitha, does social media help your standing as a poet? How?

Social media has helped me beyond words. People only saw me as a banker until 2016. My colleagues had no idea that I even wrote. I hadn’t shared my writing with anyone until then, and it remained in my diary. In 2016, I started sharing my writing through my blog. In 2017, I participated in my first NaPoWriMo challenge and began sharing my poems on social media. The responses my poetry received was encouraging, and that gave me the confidence to call myself a poet. This post ‘Meet the poet’ kind of stamps it 😊.

👩🏻‍🦳 What creative ways have you devised to share your poetry other than writing poetry books or blogs?

I submit my poetry to online literary journals and challenges like NaPoWriMo to help me share my poetry amongst poets outside of WordPress.

👩🏻‍🦳 Smitha, do you have any goals you hope to achieve with your poetry?

When I started writing poetry, I wrote for myself.  But, after years of writing poetry, my goal has changed. I’d like to publish my poetry. I’ve written some poems that need some polishing before publishing. Hopefully, by next year, I should have another book of poetry ready to publish.

👩🏻‍🦳 Share a favorite poem you’ve written.

© Carpe Diem blog by Jan

This picture was taken by Jan, from the blog, Carpe Diem, in Portugal. It reminded me of the flight of stairs we climbed in Monterosa (Cinqué Terra) in Italy to reach a chapel on the top.

These mountain steps,
I wonder where they lead
Moss covered rocks,
I tread, each step with care,
Puffing and panting, I mount.

What lies beyond this?
Breathless, a fleeting thought cuts
What does my soul seek?
Past wildflowers- pink, yellow,
Green grass and fallen leaves.

 Known roads, known faces,
Tiny specks from above
I leave behind,
Eight and Four hundred steep stairs,
The sky white, the sea blue.

At the very top,
A chapel solo, quiet, still
I before it,
Exhausted, exuberant,
At peace; content I stand

This is a picture of the chapel on the top.

👩🏻‍🦳 Do you use other mediums, such as photography or artwork in your poetry? What message do you want your readers to receive from this kind of collaborative effort?

I don’t use photography or artwork, although I paint. I’ve even been told by a few friends to put some of my paintings together in a book. Initially, I thought my poetry should be able to stand on its own, and that’s why I didn’t do it. But now I realize how a photograph or a painting can complement a poem and vice-versa.

© Smitha Vishwanath

‘Steps to paradise’ my latest painting. With the rains lashing the city, we’ve not been able to step outdoors, so brought the green indoors. #acrylicpainting #acryliconcanvas (From Smitha’s FaceBook images)

👩🏻‍🦳 Can you share any tips with poets looking to get their poetry published in literary journals or on other websites?

Select the magazine you want to share your work with. Read their previous publications to see the kind of poems they publish. Then, submit poems which have a similar flavour. If you haven’t written it, but want to be part of the magazine because it’s prestigious, then shape your poems according to their taste.

👩🏻‍🦳 Have you written a poetry book? Tell us about the book and why you wrote it.

I co-authored a book, ‘Roads- A journey with Verses’ in 2018, with a fellow blogger. I had just quit my job and moved countries. So, when Vandana, my co-author, suggested writing a book together, I agreed instantly. It helped keep me occupied and gave me a sense of purpose after quitting my job of 20 years.

‘Roads’ has poems that are categorized under ‘Courage, Wisdom, Serenity, Love, Strength, Compassion, Joy, Hope, and Gratitude’. But it was a very early book. Although there are some poems in the book that I’m proud of, my poetry has changed over the years.

👩🏻‍🦳 Has writing and publishing a novel changed you as a poet? Explain how.

I don’t want to believe writing a novel has changed me as a poet. I’m hoping my muse is only playing hard to get because the publishing process drained me. I think I just need to get into a quiet space for a while, to begin writing again.

👩🏻‍🦳 What spiritual or therapeutic practices help you get into the right headspace to write syllabic poetry?

I generally do light exercises, yoga, or go for a morning walk. It helps me clear my head. I also meditate for 10 minutes everyday to bring myself to the present moment.

👩🏻‍🦳 One more thing, Smitha. Please share something about yourself that your readers don’t know (yet)?

Let me see. Okay…I hate online shopping. It makes me dizzy. I only order books online.

Unicorn Cats Publishing Services had the pleasure of formatting the ePub and print versions of Smitha’s newest release, Coming Home. We also created the print cover of her book, to her specifications.

Find the book on the Amazon link below:

Twenty-six-year-old, Shanaya, finds her idea of home and family ripped apart when she loses her mother. Her effort to drown herself in her job proves to be financially rewarding and her work is recognized by the organisation. But, even this is not enough to fill the vacuum in her heart or answer the questions, her mother’s sudden death had given rise to. In her quest for peace and the need to hold her family together, she leaves her job in the Middle East and moves to India. The story finds Shanaya journeying across geographical planes and inner landscapes to finally reach ‘home’. Coming Home is a heartwarming story about self-discovery, relationships, loss, love, destiny, the choices we make, and how these choices eventually lead to what we are destined for.

Media Connections for Smitha Vishwanath

Blog: Eúnoia

Amazon Author Page

Thanks for stopping by to meet Smitha. See you next time, for another opportunity to Meet the Poet!

Published by Colleen M. Chesebro

An avid reader, Colleen M. Chesebro rekindled her love of writing poetry after years spent working in the accounting industry. These days, she loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction. In addition to poetry books, Chesebro’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of her writing community on Word Craft by organizing and sponsoring a weekly syllabic poetry challenge, called #TankaTuesday, where participants experiment with traditional and current forms of Japanese and American syllabic poetry. Chesebro is an assistant editor of The Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology & Gitty Up Press, a micro-press founded by Charli Mills and Carrot Ranch. In January 2022, Colleen founded Unicorn Cats Publishing Services to assist poets and authors in creating eBooks and print books for publication. In addition, she creates affordable book covers for Kindle and print books. Chesebro lives in the house of her dreams in mid-Michigan surrounded by the Great Lakes with her husband and two (unicorn) cats, Chloe & Sophie.

43 thoughts on “Meet the Poet: Smitha Vishwanath

    1. Hi Robbie, Thank you for your kind words. You’ve read my writing since the time I began blogging. I appreciate you being with me on my writing journey and never failing to encourage and support my work. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great interview 🙂 I loved the poem and the painting! Congrats on your latest release. I will check it out.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much, Denise, for taking the time to read the interview. I enjoyed Colleen’s questions. It made me delve deeper into my writing. I’m happy to know you’ll check out ‘Coming Home’. I hope you enjoy reading it. X

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you, Colleen, for your questions and for putting this together beautifully. You did the same with my book and helped it reach readers across the shore. Thank you for that.
    I love the painting you chose to highlight here; its sale proceeds went to a lovely cause so it gives me a lot of satisfaction to see it. Thank you! X

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Colleen, Thank you. You made my writing journey memorable for all the right reasons. I had such a terrible time before I began working with you that I wondered if I could or would ever muster the strength to go through it again. Thank you for everything. Huge hugs to you, too❤️🤗

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Colleen and Smitha a lovely interview.
    It’s great to learn more about you Smitha and your so talented! I love your painting and your poetry and now we have a novel to look forward to. 🥴💜

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Willow, Thank you so much for your kind words of appreciation. Colleen’s done an amazing job of putting this interview together. I had no idea she would be showing my artwork, too. I’m very glad you liked the painting and the poem. I hope you enjoy reading the novel.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi Willow, Thank you so much for your kind words of appreciation. Colleen’s done an amazing job of putting this interview together. I had no idea she would be showing my artwork, too. I’m very glad you liked the painting and the poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smitha’s poetry is also in Poetry Treasures III which just published by Kaye Lynn Booth and Robbie Cheadle. I like her take on the world. Her paintings are so beautiful! Thanks so much, Gwen.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi Gwen, Thank you for your warm words and for taking the time to read the interview. I’m very grateful to Colleen for the opportunity.
      I, too, would love to visit the place again. It stole my heart. I hope something comes from wishing at the Trevis fountain❤️🙂


      1. Thanks Yvette, for taking the time to read the post. Colleen’s questions gave me an opportunity to delve deeper into myself. And it’s amazing how she thought of putting my art and book altogether here. Happy to meet you through this🙂.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Yvette, for taking the time to read the post. Colleen’s questions gave me an opportunity to delve deeper into myself. And it’s amazing how she thought of putting my art and book altogether here. Happy to meet you through this🙂.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Liz, Thank you for taking the time to read the post. I’m glad to know you enjoyed the interview. Colleen’s questions were interesting and made me think of things that I had long forgotten. I’m honored she decided to feature me and share my work here.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Colleen and Smitha,

    Thank you for sharing questions and answers. One thing that caught my attention is ‘Keeping words simple’ – I used to do more word list prompts, but some of the words were odd. Though I used them (at the time). I think if I were to go back to those poems I would put in a simple word that meant the same thing.

    I have been writing poetry for decades. My goals change too. The best advice I recieved was to write about what you know. I like it when someone reads what I write and can understand what I was drawing from.

    Smitha, continued success with all your writing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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