A crucible of ideas
“If the poet turns teacher
Students would turn orphans...
The poet hanging on to a line
Would go fly like a kite
In the endless sky...
The poor students
Without ever seeing
Or having a kite,
Bored and tired,
Would make a hubbub...
As a reminder
That “there’s no world for us”...
Till the bell rings
In the world of waifs,
The mystic’s class
Continues on and on ....
Lopa’s poem translated by Dr. Sandhya Pai
Kavi Adhyapakanayal, Samakalika Malayalam Weekly 2011
(1) & (2) Lopa receiving O. V. Vijayan Award 2017
Lopa is a poet and a teacher. It’s an uncommon blend. A 2012 Sahitya Award Yuva Puraskar winner, Lopamudra Renuka urges poets to probe, and question those untouched, unapproached paradigms of human tapestry. She has been conquering hearts with her unique poetry style --- which is a blend of classicism and contemporariness. This was pointed out by poet Vijayalakshmi for the first time in an article that appeared in the Mathrubhoomi Malayalam newspaper in 2000 when Lopa was barely 20 years old. Vijayalakshmi and other well-known poets N V Krishna Warrier, M T Vasudevan Nair too were in the panel of judges who selected Lopamudra’s poem. Lopa won the first prize for her poem ‘Manasu’ (mind) in this competition. She was pursuing her Masters at Bishop Moor College that year. Lopa’s poem touched the poet Vijayalakshmi that the latter even wrote a poem on Lopa titled “Lopakku” (For Lopa) the following year, which also a became the title of Vijayalakshmi’s biography called “Lopakku.” This was a life-changing moment for Lopa.
Born in Harippad 1978 April 26, Ayaparambu Kottaram, she is the daughter of late Muralidharan and Renuka. She inherited the poetic charm from her grandfather R K Kottarathil, who too was a poet and introduced her granddaughter to the world of poetry and expression. But tragedy struck the family when Lopa lost her father, when she was barely three-years-old. Her father died very young at age 32. Lopa’s mother and grandparents had been a great support throughout her life.
She started with writing parody songs--blended with wit and humour- mostly about her friends. But inside she was punctured by the grief suffered from the loss of her father. She would often turn into a recluse, and in private, she would write poems expressing her sorrow emanating from the loss. She is married to Manoj Haripad (Kaarikkaamadom) and has a son named Harishankar.
Lopa serves as an English teacher at the Alagappa Nagar Panchayat Government Higher Secondary School in Thrissur. Most of her poems these days are based on pressing social issues.
Sasikumar Menon Achuvath, who is the proprietor of Keerthi Films, commented about Lopa that her poems hold the proud history of Malayalam poetry with its traditional roots. The tone and rhythm which Lopa’s poem holds gives a uniqueness and varied her writing from the new-generation poets.
Lopa believes strongly that poets and their works are not meant to be elevated to massive bookshelves. She has been actively participating in movements pertaining to equal rights for men and women in the government employment sector and has been at the forefront when raising voice through her articles in ‘Navamalayali Magazine’ against government rules that tend to be discriminatory towards talented people in their respective fields. Lopa’s articles on social issues are equally captivating. It focuses on philosophical thoughts that ask existential questions and one such article was on flood and how the people in Kuttanad were affected by it. In this article the author masterfully establishes the trustworthiness as an observer but to report as accurately as possible, the life and the sufferings caused due to the floods. She ends one such article quoting JM Synge’s Riders to the Sea, where the mother challenges the Sea, “What else can you do to me?”
Most of her poems are a reminder, constantly drawing the attention of the reader towards responsibilities towards social issues. Her poem ‘Where the mind is’ published in 2016 in a regional newspaper Deshabhimani, is an example worth citing. Her another poem ‘Atmahatyayude Divasom’ (On The Day of the Suicide) in which a Malayalam ‘Kavita’ (poem) the character, homing on the message that nothing is eternal.
Dr. Sandhya Pai
Lopa was featured in ‘Thasrak’ Magazine on Women’s Day 2018. She was invited to the Razalkhaima, Dubai 2016 “Kavya Salapam” programme where she addressed a gathering of students. In her speech, she urged them to read poems of Mahakavi Ezhuthachan. She pointed to them how in these poems nature is seen depicted inspiring us to develop tenets of humanism, empathy and understanding. That same year, Lopa visited Dubai as a representative from the Sahitya Akademi for the “Aksharakootam” (Sahitya Silpasala, Year of Reading) programme and attended a three-day seminar. This was a collaborative event conducted by the Sahitya Akademi and Dubai Government. The programme was hosted by the Arab poet Shihab Ghanim.
Lopa also wrote an article “Bhoomiyile muzhuvan manushyarum pranayinikalaakatte” (let the world be populated by lovers), on Valentine’s Day in Mathrubhumi.
Some of Lopa’s poems have been translated into English by Dr Sandhya Pai for the 2015 edition of the bi-monthly journal of Kendra Sahitya Akademi. The cover page of the journal highlighted under-40 of “Indian Literature”. Dr Pai is now a retired associate professor and a professional translator in English and Malayalam.
Her poems include pranayabedangal, thottavadi, nammal chumbikumbol, ‘where the mind is (2016),’ vrithastitha, renuka, aatmahatyayude divasom, vritastitha – were included in her poem collections ‘parasparom’ and ‘vaikolpaava’. ‘Parasparom’ received Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar Award 2012 and ‘Vaikolpava’ received Edasseri Award in 2018.
2018 Edasseri Award (Vaikolpava)
2017 O. V. Vijayan Sahitya Puraskaram (parasparam and Vaikolpava)
2016 Malayatoor Prize
2012 Sahitya Akademi Award (parasparam)
2009 Tapasya Durgadatta Award
2003 Geetahiranyan Smaraka Ankanom Award
2002 V. T. Kumaran Master Smaraka Award
2001 Kunjupilla Award