Many on-court fixtures have resumed as the pandemic appears to have shown signs of slowing down. Ahead of “World Poetry Day” on March 21, poetry groups share planned activities.
Open to all languages
Bangalore Poetry Circle started as a WhatsApp group with poets from all over the country in 2017. Poets in the city later showed interest in meeting and reading poetry. “We started meeting every second or third Saturday of the month in a cafe,” says Saranya Francis, curator of the circle.
“We wanted to keep the group open to everyone. In 2019 we started chatting and reading poetry in all languages. People from all over the country participated in the sessions,” she recalls.
The pandemic forced the team to explore online support. “We continued to meet monthly,” she says. Saranya misses ‘the inclusivity of offline dating’. “A lot of eye contact and body language also goes into offline readings and discussions. We plan to move to offline dating soon,” she says.
Poets of Bangalore, which started in 2019, held meetups once a month. “During the pandemic, we moved to virtual meetings. We are now resuming physical meetings, twice a month. Our meetups, open to all languages, last between one and three hours,” explains Ravi, the founder. “We always work with themes. For example, at our last meeting, we only invited female poets,” he says.
Hindi and Urdu poetry
Anjuman Literary Club, formed in 2011, is a group where like-minded Hindi and Urdu poetry lovers met at each other’s homes. Sourav Roy, one of the core members of the club, says: “As the group grew, we moved to bookshops and cafes, where we met almost every month.
The idea of the group was to be open and non-judgmental. “Our meetings last 1 to 2 hours. At the end of a meeting, we decide on topics and themes for the next one. It pushes poets to write about new subjects and new ideas,” he says.
Club meetings are currently online. “Our members include housewives, activists, artists, scientists, startup founders, theaters, engineers, teachers, and writers,” Sourav says.
Lahe Lahe, Indiranagar used to host ‘Write Out Loud’. It is due to restart in April. Mansee Shah Thard, the co-founder, says, “Unlike open-mic events, this is an inner circle of poetry lovers.” Poetry reading sessions are thematic.
“Mehfil”, an evening of poetry organized every third Sunday of the month, presents three poets, followed by an open microphone by 10 poets from the public. This program will also restart in April.
Urban Solace, Ulsoor, will resume its poetry events with ‘Pay With a Poem’, March 20, 9am-11pm.
Perry Menzies, the founder, says, “This is a growing global campaign where a poet or non-poet can walk into a café, write a poem and have a cup of coffee.
“Tuesdays with a Bard,” a poetry event that used to take place weekly at the cafe, will resume in April. “Each week, a poet is in the spotlight. Poets have one hour to talk about their works, after which an open mic follows,” he adds. It will restart with poems written during the pandemic.
“People wrote extensively over those two years, expressing emotions such as sadness, regret, love and loss,” he explains.