The view below is to answer a question from Professor Sudhir Arora. This question appeared in Professor Arora’s book The Poetic Corpus of Stephen Gill that was released in 2009 by Sarup Book, a prominent international publishing house. Dr. Arora is an established literary critic with several books to his credit. This question has been selected for Stephen Gill’s forthcoming book My Conversations.
QUESTION: You have written criticism, edited books, composed poems and sung songs of peace in different languages. How far do you adjust with all these roles? Which role out of the various roles—critic, reviewer, poet, novelist and prose writer—attracts you most?
ANSWER: What attracts me the most is my role as a creative writer, particularly the role of a poet.
ADDENDUM: My answer was brief because I was asked to answer in one sentence. I would like to add that I am invited mostly as a poet in Canada to present my poems. I have several quotable lines from a multitude of my poems. I have heard readers saying that I am a poet also in my prose.
A few comments from respectable media and literary critics who are also professors of English Literature are noted below. These comments speak for themselves:
---” Stephen Gill writes concisely, gracefully of commonplace things and contemporary concerns, suggesting thoughts and feelings of depth without forcing them on the reader”.
(The Ottawa Citizen)
---“What is apparent in all of Stephen Gill' work is his generous use of imagery, the substance of all poetry to allow to comprehend the shadow, form and content inseparable as always but in a contemporary, un abstruse and most relevant fashion that remain timeless and universal…”
(The Pilot, USA)
--- “Stephen Gill expresses his thoughts and hopes for a peaceful and beautiful world” …
---“Gill builds bridges with his books”,
(The Daily Expositor, Canada)
---“His magic pen creates a unique metaphor raising his poetry above the common crowd”
(Maryanne Raphael in Bridge-in-Making, India)
---“Stephen Gill’s poetry is like tasting a strange dish, not quite sure whether one likes it but certainly one must taste again to make sure. I tasted several times and found the dish very much to my liking”.
(Bluebell S. Phillips in The Canadian India Times)
---“Gill’s gift of language, the immediacy of his wit and word-play combined with a command of imagery which not only capture his readers in a freeze-frame, but hustles them through time and space to another dimension, places him in the forefront of contemporary Indian poets writing in English,”
(Patricia Prime in Canopy, India, and Mawaheb International, Canada)
---“Poets such as Stephen Gill are certainly doing their utmost to promote world unity...”
(Daily Sarnia Observer, Canada)
---“A reputable poet, sensitive to the anguish of the oppressed and suffering human beings...”
(Paul Yuzyk, Ph.D., a Canadian Senator, introducing The Discovery of Bangladesh)
---“...depth in knowledge of humanity and understanding of the human condition in its everyday ritual of survival on a planet whose beauties are marred by soul suffering, soul seeking, meaning longing men.”
(Dr. Richard N. Pollard, former head & prof. Eng. Lit. University of Ottawa)
--“highly individual and pleasing style is at once admirably simple and deeply penetrating...”
(The Link, Canada)
---“Global peace and social concerns are the primary themes of Gill’s work. That is why his poetry has traversed global literary circles and continues to gain appreciative audiences.”
(Virginia Love Song in Poetcrit, India)
---“There is in Tennyson's poems and Mr. Gill's volumes a hierarchy of values. The first and most important is, as John Henry Newman insisted, growth from within. This growth requires spiritual priority. These principal leads man to personal, national and international harmony through an understanding that comes from love...”
(Dr. Frank Tierney, Professor of English Literature, University of Ottawa, in The Canadian India Times)
---“Stephen Gill is a poet of values---universal peace and love, oneness and wholeness of human race, respect for human right, and a social structure designed to produce and promote justice. The poet, who considers his poems part of his spiritual self, urges abolition of racial, religious, political and economic prejudices and seeks equal opportunities and privileges for men and women, adoption of a world code of human rights and responsibilities, and creation of a world federal government to heal the dissensions that divide people. He knows religious fanaticism and hatred are a world-devouring fire whose violence none can quench. God alone can deliver humanity from this desolating affliction...”.
(Dr. R.K. Singh, Prof. and Head; and Dr. Mitali De Sarkar in The Mawaheb International, Canada)
-- “For Stephen Gill, poetry is the language of peace...”
(Laurel McCosham, staff writer, in daily Standard-Freeholder, Canada)
--“An indefatigable crusader for peace and champion of literary causes”
(Poetry in the Arts, USA)
--“Gill’s poems are capsuled feelings and meanings, gross stripped experience speaking for itself in an era of similar experiences, but unique in the personality and expression of their author.”
(Dr. Richard N. Pollard, Prof. of English & Chairman, the Ph.D. Committee of the University of Ottawa, in preface to Reflections.)
--“The message in the poetry of Stephen Gill is harmony. This is the message in the mythologies of the Ojibway people. This is also the message of the Government of Canada that promotes multiculturalism actively. In other words, the official policy of the Government of Canada is to create harmony through multiculturalism. Harmony leads to live and let live.”
(Lino Leitao in Seva Bharati Journal of English Studies)
--“The metaphors and similes are fresh as well as effective.”
(I. D. Tiwari, author, Ph.D., Prof., Head, Dept. of English Lit., IKS University, India).
--“Sonnets of Stephen Gill are very metaphoric and full of deep thoughts and feelings. They transform ordinary "prose of life" in the lyrical Song of Songs of King Solomon, if a person is able to see divine beauty in the world.
(back cover of Singer of Life, Adolf P. Shvedchikov, PhD, author, nominee for Nobel Prize, Russia)
--“The poetry of Stephen Gill provides a graphic glance of the present-day world and suggests love as the first religion of man to be followed by uprooting the weeds of hate and terrorism from the hearts and sowing the seeds of hopes and aspirations…
(The Coexistentia, Prof. Olimpia Iacob, Romania, p. 161)
--“The dominant themes in Gill’s poems relate to love and its absence...the predominant emotion throughout the corpus of poems is love. As a result of love, there is hope for the world.
(Dr. George Hines, Canada, Stephen Gill and his Works, Author’s press, p.97-98).
About Stephen Gill:
Stephen Gill, a multiple award-winning Indo/Canadian self-exiled poet, fiction-writer and essayist, has authored more than thirty books. He is the subject of doctoral dissertations, and research papers. Thirteen books of critical studies have been released by book publishers on his works and more are on the way. His poetry and prose have appeared in nearly one thousand publications. The focus of his writing is love and peace.
--twitter: Stephen Gill@poetste @poetstephengill