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Bengaluru Poetry Festival: A verse for the weekend

LiveMint logoLiveMint 03-08-2017 Sohini Sen

“A weekend listening to great poets talking about their life experiences through poetry is always a good idea,” says Subodh Sankar, co-founder of Bengaluru’s Atta Galatta book store and performance space. It is with this thought that Sankar and Lakshmi Subodh started the Bengaluru Poetry Festival last year. In its second year, the focus remains on recitals and performances, and sharing the art of poetry creation through workshops and camps.

The two-day Bengaluru Poetry Festival, starting Saturday, will see a number of established poets like Gulzar, sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan, author Amit Chaudhuri and playwright Girish Karnad take the stage along with upcoming poets like Medha Singh, Mani Rao, Neeraj Pandey and Ranjani Murali. “We launched the event last year with the aim of giving a platform to the art of poetry. While there are certain show-stealers, there will also be a number of young and upcoming poets who we think need to be heard by people,” explains Sankar.

Sankar says there will also be a discussion on how music has been influenced by poetry, as well as talks on how feminism has been influenced by, and in turn influenced, poets in the country.

“We were sure that we did not want to have an overarching theme for the festival, which would restrict it to just one segment of people. However, while discussing the topics, we realized that we do have a lot of strong feminine voices in this year’s line-up. Be it Margaret Mascarenhas, Rochelle D’silva or Salma. These are strong voices, impacted by experiences of their gender, and therefore many of the poems and discussions will be on feminism,” adds Sankar.

Poet Piyush Mishra.

Salma, who uses only one name, is a Tamil poet known for the articulation of desire and sexuality in her poems, which comes from her own experience of being a child bride. Mascarenhas is a transnational novelist and poet whose work focuses on pushing the boundaries of race, gender and genre. D’silva is a spoken-word poet who writes about her travels, cultural influences and personal experiences. On Sunday, she will also conduct a workshop on spoken-word poetry.

Also look out for North-Eastern poet Shalim Hussain, who will perform Miya poetry (a traditional style that resembles Sufi poetry) and lyricist Niranjan Iyengar, who will speak about the connection between poetry and songs.

“While the artists all have their individual styles, we hope that it will let our audience discover more facets of poetry, and arts, through them,” says Sankar.

The Bengaluru Poetry Festival will be held on 5-6 August, 10am-9pm, at The Leela Palace, Old Airport Road. Seating is on first-come, first-served basis. Workshop tickets, Rs500, available at www.eventshigh.com

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