The Prakriti Poetry Festival, brought to us by Ranvir Shah and VR Devika, launched yesterday at the Oxford Bookstore. The Oxford Bookstore’s Cha-Bar actually ran out of space; the audience was that large!
The playwright and poet from Mauritius – Yusuf Kadel – was the first to read, and we were suddenly transported to another culture with its nimbus of angst which sounded disarmingly like our own. Yusuf Kadel also edits the Mauritian Magazine Point Barre. He has published Indian poets in his magazine. And at the end of his reading, he invited Indian poets to send their work to him. Those interested may email Mary Paul : firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Some articles of interest on Yusuf Kadel:-
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yusuf_Kadel – For those who understand French
http://www.speedylook.com/Yusuf_Kadel.html – a short article on Yusuf Kadel
http://www.hindu.com/mp/2008/12/16/stories/2008121650520100.htm – a more comprehensible article on the poet and his poetry.
The second poet to read was Salma. She is a revolutionary Tamil poet whose searing verses literally burn through the skin into your soul. I don’t speak Tamil so had to rely on the translation read out by VR Devika, but that hardly diluted the power of Salma’s poetry, which had me grasped by the collar in no time. Another thing that charmed me about Salma was her gentle demeanor. For a poet of her stature, she carries herself with such quiet dignity, almost self effacing; her diction is clear and sweet – that much I could comprehend when she read. But Salma is a fighter; it blazes in her poetry. We, non Tamil speakers need to read more of her works.
Lovers of Indian poetry are no stranger to Robin Ngangom’s name. But a ready reckoner is here, anyway: http://india.poetryinternationalweb.org/piw_cms/cms/cms_module/index.php?obj_id=11771. His over view of manipuri poetry is also of interest: http://www.museindia.com/showfocus5.asp?id=735.
Watching Robin Ngangom standing before the mike, I felt that he would have been more at ease elsewhere, in a quiet corner. Many poets are like that, but then their poetry literally sings out to the people listening, and after a while the poet forgets he is before an audience and gets immersed in his voice – what else can I say but that its a beautiful experience. Afterwards I went up to him to pay my respects and he gave me a copy of his book “The Desire of Roots.” I will write about it at a later time, after this flurry of poetry is over and I am back at my reading desk again. Robin Ngangom’s poetry instantly touched the people listening to him, my teen aged son included. I look forward to returning again with his poetry on my blog.
The last poet of the evening was Bhoopathy M. A senior poet on the Indian poetry scene, with over eighteen books to his credit. he read out from some of his earliest poems published by Writers Workshop. More about him at the Prakriti website: http://www.poetrywithprakriti.in/08bhoopathy.html
And yes, there was little old me too – the penultimate reader, but time has run out for me now because I want to run off to one of the several poetry readings happening in the city today. I’ll get back later and devote a whole new post – oh I must! After all it was my first day out as far as reading poetry goes! :-)