Marissa Bell Toffoli

Interview With Writer Bhuwan Thapaliya

In fiction, poetry, writing on February 17, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Bhuwan Thapaliya

Bhuwan Thapaliya. Photo by Rehal Kharel.

An introduction to Nepalese writer Bhuwan Thapaliya, who works as an economist, and is the author of four poetry collections. Thapaliya’s books include the recently released Safa Tempo: Poems New and Selected (Nirala Publication, New Delhi), and Our Nepal, Our Pride ( Poetry by Thapaliya has been included in The New Pleiades Anthology of Poetry and Tonight: An Anthology of World Love Poetry, as well as in literary journals such as Urhalpool, MahMag, Kritya, FOLLY, The Vallance Review, Nuvein Magazine, Foundling Review, Poetry Life and Times, Poets Against the War, Voices in Wartime, Taj Mahal Review, and more. When asked if there is a quote that motivates him, Thapaliya shared these lines: “Luck lies in bed and wishes somebody to bring him his tea every morning when he wakes up after a long sleep. Labor wakes up from his bed and heads towards the kitchen to make his own cup of tea every day after a brief slumber in peace.”

Quick Facts on Bhuwan Thapaliya

  • Bhuwan Thapaliya’s website
  • Home: In the lap of the Himalayas. Kathmandu, Nepal.
  • Comfort food: Most Nepalese food followed by pizza, burgers, chicken sizzler, and pasta.
  • Top reads: A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins, Annapurna Poems by Yuyutsu RD Sharma, The Idea of Justice by Amartya Sen, Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
  • Current reads: Naked Economics by Charles Wheelan, Grand Pursuit by Sylvia Nasar

What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently working on my debut Novel, Nepal Dreams, based on the positive power of thought and its practical implementation in the contemporary world. The book will hit the market in 2013. In the book, I aim to strengthen some of the economic responsibilities of the individual as an important service to mankind in a nation trodden by massive unemployment and psychological poverty. I am trying to practically prove that the chain of negative thought cannot be allowed to go astray, as I believe that positive thoughts are needed if we are ever to build up a healthy global society. To sum it up, I argue in the book that for many people the future of Nepal looks dismal, and they tag Nepal as an underdeveloped nation, but in the contemporary world the word “underdeveloped” doesn’t only denote the poor nations; it also implies that economic growth is promising in these nations too. Nepal has potential, however, Nepalese people must refresh, unlock, and stretch themselves against all odds to explore new avenues of thought so that more ideas can pop in to make Nepal prosperous in the future.

What do you hope readers will take away from your work?

“There is an urge toward social progress,

toward peace and solidarity,

toward global love and understanding.”

Anyone who reads my work may notice that there is an urge toward social progress, toward peace and solidarity, toward global love and understanding. I believe that the globalization of love is the cry of this century. You may well exclaim in astonishment: can the globalization of love ever be realized? My answer is, yes.

What does poetry mean to you?

Poetry is, to me, the blood that circulates in my veins. It is the very foundation of my survival. Writing poetry is not only a mere hobby for me, it is my way of life. It is not merely a transient desire of my mind. It is the eternal desire of my heart. Writing takes me into a different world, and I share my visions and my opinions with all in order to boost the morale of the Earth. I have a unique love for poetry, and my works are symbolic of my utmost devotion to poetry.

Poetry is not the product of my solitude. I write poetry to liven up my spirits. It inspires me to sing, laugh, hope, and dream. I believe in poetry, and poetry is an important part of my personal belief system—to me, this is what a poet’s life is all about. Furthermore, I think poetry is the medium of the emotional cooperation from one heart to another, from one soul to another, from one truth to another, from one dream to another, from one race to another, from one religion to another, from one generation to another, from one language to another, from one nation to another.

Where and when do you prefer to write?

“I get off my comfy couch,

get out of my room,

and go out into the real world.”

I don’t belong to the brood of poets who write regularly while sitting in a drawing room. I write in different places and locations. I believe in reaching out for something larger rather than waiting for it to come to me, and considering so I get off my comfy couch, get out of my room, and go out into the real world. Hence my poems are an examination of the world around me, and my poems evoke characters, events, and landscape with rich use of visual details. I write most of the time because I have a one-track mind and the only vehicle that runs on it is poetry.

It’s been said writers can do their work from any place, where would you most want to live and write?

I agree with you here. But most writers don’t live life the stereotypical way. A true writer lives beyond the confines of mystery, remote from the womb of destiny, above the landmines of race, caste, religion, history, and nationality, in the salubrious garden of humanity, and they breathe through the medium of writing.

I live in Kathmandu, Nepal, and I feel quite lucky to have been born here. I would love to live and write here forever if my job as an economist permits me to do so. I don’t loathe villages; the glimpses of everyday city life fascinate me. Children going to school, a smile on the face of a woman tempo driver, an elderly man having tea at a roadside tea stall, a dog basking in the sun—I could continue on and on. Fortunately for a person like me, Nepal has it all—from urban bustle to a rural retreat. Nepal is a historical adventure, an ancient nation with a big, friendly heart. It’s very vibrant and full of life. It’s always on the move. It twists and turns. It surprises. No matter where you look out the window, there is some attraction. People are everywhere, and so are the dogs.

Do you listen to anything while you write?

I am a diehard music fan, and most of the time I listen to songs from Iron Maiden and Megadeth while I write at home.

When you’re having trouble getting started on a poem, where do you look for inspiration?

My struggles in life are my biggest inspiration. This gives me the determination to work harder in life, and fortunately I don’t have to look further than myself to start a poem or two. Furthermore, I mingle with common people a lot, and from them I also draw inspiration. Sometimes I stroll alone in the narrow lanes of Kathmandu, and find inspiration from lonely hearts, jagged and crestfallen, which vibrate with humanity’s offbeat vigor, defining it in constrained demeanors.

How do you balance content with form in your poems?

Poetry is not only about meter and rhyme; to me it is more about people and their lives, their tears and smiles. I look more at the content than the form, but I do attempt to justify the substance in the content through the form of my poems. A conflict arises at times between content and form; there exists between the two a strong reciprocal relationship with dependencies.

Do you write poetry only in English, or do you write in another language first and then translate your poems?

I generally write in English.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

“Don’t be intimidated by darkness.”

Don’t be intimidated by darkness. Darkness has some light of its own. Doesn’t a dragonfly use the cover of the darkness to emerge from its larval skin and dry its wings to fly by morning?

What’s the best advice you’ve been given as a writer?

“Paint the canvas of your dreams with the blood of your sweat, for you are the Picasso of your own life.” My dad gave me this advice a long time ago, and it’s my mantra for success.

What do you find most challenging about writing?

For me, one of the biggest challenges is finding a balance between a full-time job and writing. Most of the time I am busy with my economics work, and I am not at all an organized person, so finding time to write in the midst of a hectic schedule has been a challenge all these years. Gathering enthusiasm to write between the constant demands of work isn’t easy to do.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

Most of the time I am writing, but I spend my rare free time watching sports, listening to music, and being with my small core circle of friends and family.

About Bhuwan Thapaliya

Bhuwan Thapaliya was born in Kathmandu, Nepal and is one of the most widely read Nepali poets writing in English today. Thapaliya, who works as an economist, is the author of four poetry collections. His books include the recently released Safa Tempo: Poems New and Selected (Nirala Publication, New Delhi), and Our Nepal, Our Pride ( narrative verses of love, peace, and human understanding. Poetry by Thapaliya has been included in The New Pleiades Anthology of Poetry and Tonight: An Anthology of World Love Poetry, as well as in literary journals such as UrhalpoolMahMag, Kritya, FOLLY, The Vallance Review, Nuvein Magazine, Foundling Review, Poetry Life and Times, Poets Against the War, Voices in Wartime, Taj Mahal Review, and more. Thapaliya has read his poetry and attended seminars in venues around the world, including South Korea, the United States, Thailand, Cambodia, and Nepal.

[Toffoli, Marissa B. “Interview With Writer Bhuwan Thapaliya.” Words With Writers (February 17, 2012),

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