Monday, December 15, 2014

Poetry With Prakriti

Being a part of ‘Poetry with Prakriti’, organised by Chennai-based Prakriti Foundation, is an honour, a privilege, not just because it is one-of-its-kind poetry festival in the country, but also, for what the Prakriti Foundation is doing to promote poetry in the city, and by turn, in the country.

For starters, it is not just a place where poets and poetry aficionados meet and share each other’s work. What the Prakriti Foundation is doing is taking poetry to the people, to the grassroots. An Asomiya poet once wrote, ‘Poetry is for those who do not read poetry.’ This is what the Prakriti Foundation is doing, taking poetry to those who doesn’t read poetry.

So, we had readings in two schools and a college. Oh, there was also a fancy bistro, if you like that kind of stuff.

Unfortunately for me, I arrived late to the party (December 9-10, 2014). By this time, most of the poets had already left. My loss. Yet, it was a wonderful experience to be in the same page with the great Manohar Shetty, the Goa-based poet, famous for his ingenious use of animal imagery.

I was terrified at first, but Mr Shetty appeared to be a great sport, as we traversed the city together, reading poems before school and college students, and listened to their poems, with everyone gung-ho about poetry… and the Prakriti guys, God bless them, their generosity knew no bounds. In short, they treated us like royalties, not that we complained. They were the charming hosts. Thank you all, Nadia, Santosh, Prabhu, Mithun, Meera… and Mr Ranvir Shah.

Oh, there was also a poetry slam event for school and college students, both in English, and Tamil, which was attended by more than 90 participants. What a wonderful experience!

On the last day, I was lucky to catch the sound-poetry performance by German Dirk Huelstrunk, whose unearthly performance of man-made and machine-enhanced sounds was a surreal adventure, at once intimate and disconcerting. I was there and I was everywhere else.

[Then, an old friend, whom I hadn’t met in five years, dropped by and offered me to show his city. Driving though a new city in a two-wheeler with an old friend is, I think, the best way to explore, which I did. He took me to the sea, and though he was pucca vegetarian, he took me too a fancy restaurant to try the fish; they were awesome, hot and spicy.]

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