On the latest episode of The Viewless Wings Poetry Podcast we interviewed Ruchi Acharya is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Wingless Dreamer, a global platform for those passionate about writing, art, and design; a space where authors and artists are free to express themselves. Ruchi is an Oxford University summer graduate in English Literature. She has been a contributor to multiple journals The Pangolin Review, Muddy River Poetry, Borderless Journal, and Mulberry Literary review among 50 others.
James Morehead: So describe wingless dreamer for listeners, hearing about the organization you’ve created for the first time.
Ruchi Acharya: “Where I come from writing is considered as a cute hobby, instead of a passion, a commitment that writers make to themselves. Writers don’t receive the same respect that other professions do. From my past experience, I realized that this issue needs to be addressed. People need to understand that writing is a hard business, it is time consuming. And after dedicating late-night hours, a roller coaster of emotions, finally a writer produces a piece of literary work.
“I envisioned a community where writers and artists would be invited solely based on the merit of their writing and creative skills. Wingless Dreamer connects all the elements of writing: illustrating, editing, marketing and promoting on a single platform so that authors and artists don’t have to go through the hardship of the publishing process. Unlike traditional publishing companies, at Wingless Dreamer you get access to free critiques, reviews and promotions, and in some cases funding for their work.”
James Morehead: What’s your earliest earliest memory of writing poetry?
Ruchi: “I was 14 years old and had lost someone. I didn’t have anyone around me apart from a pen and paper. I wrote a song actually, (I’m not a good singer), and that was my first time writing poetry, writing something on a piece of paper, describing my emotions, connecting my sentiments and expressing myself. Ever since then a pen and paper have been my best friend.”
James: What’s your approach to writing? Do you have a set routine?
Ruchi: “Right now I’m juggling between two jobs. I work as a full-time business analyst to pay my bills, so it’s a struggle to find the time to write. I definitely take out time for writing poems because it gives me immense pleasure. I do find time, mostly at night, or after work, or sometimes I just close my laptop and write some poetry.”
James Morehead: Because of Wingless Dreamer you and your team read and review hundreds of unpublished works. How do you make the difficult choices between what is selected to be published, and what is declined?
Ruchi: “It gets difficult at times. My editors and I work online and there are criteria in order to judge poetry: the structure, the literary devices, the poet’s point of view, what he or she is trying to say. We come up with a short list among hundreds of submissions, come together with our final entries, discuss each one by one, and make a decision.”
James: As a published poet you’ve also, inevitably, had poems rejected many times. How have those experiences as a writer informed your approach as an editor?
Ruchi: “It’s a great influence. To judge a writer’s work, you have to be a writer yourself first. I’ve been through the same experiences as any other writer or a poet: the curiosity to enter a writing contest, articulating your poem according to the theme, the suspense of the results. It’s very important for an editor to understand the essence of poetry writing. And definitely, Every time I read a submission I make I’m giving my complete time to it because the writer will be expecting good news. I don’t discard a poem even if it’s not relevant to the theme. I make an effort to look if it fits our other themed contests or general publishing contests. If there are some grammatical mistakes, or some corrections, I do send the poem back for reviewing. We don’t generally just discard a submission, we try to give it a second chance. We believe in second chances and we try to encourage and motivate as much as we can.”
James: That’s really refreshing. I’ve been impressed at the high quality of Wingless Dreamer anthologies, and how quickly the art and poetry are edited into books. What have you learned about that publishing industry since founding Wingless Dreamer?
Ruchi: “I founded this community back in 2019 and it developed over time. Earlier it was just a travelogue, I used to write travel articles. Slowly new ideas came in and the site started developing into a publishing company. We try to come up with different themes every month, a different aesthetic for content. My team is full of creative people.”
James: What role do you see poetry playing in the world today?
Ruchi: “Poetry plays a very important role in today’s world. We are all, basically, corporate hamsters. We have built this life where it’s all about the concrete, classes and power. But what about sentiments? What about emotions? What about expressing yourself to the world? This is something we live for, to live a beautiful life, to be comfortable with our beloved ones, to try to gain recognition and appreciation from society. I think that poetry open that door for us. Writing poetry is one of the major sources of happiness in my life right now.”
Hear Ruchi recite two of her poems, and the rest of the interview, on The Viewless Wings Poetry Podcast.
Interested in appearing on The Viewless Wings Poetry Podcast? Submit your poetry for consideration: https://viewlesswings.submittable.com/.