Perhaps the most daunting aspect of organising a local poetry-festival for the third year running is this: But when will we run out of poets? Luckily for the organisers and for us, their cup continues to runneth over and the third edition of the Bengaluru Poetry Festival, which will take place next weekend, is bigger and better than ever.
The secret poetic side of Bengaluru cops is one of the highlights of the festival by far, despite the star-studded lineup which includes Ramachandra Guha, former Ambassador Nirupama Rao, Perumal Murugan and Shabana Azmi. D.C. Rajappa, a policeman from Bengaluru will join his colleagues in a performance they have curated and put together themselves, according to Lakshmi Shankar, founder, Atta Galatta, who is part of the founding team of the Poetry Festival. "They're going to perform in Kannada and they're extremely excited about it! That is one of the most special parts of the programming, for us."
More performances, bigger acts and multi-disciplinary approaches define the festival this year, with the monotony of poetry broken with art and music from across the spectrum. A local artist plans to collect waste from within a kilometer of the Old Airport Road venue to create an installation especially for the festival. "We also have the Tamil actress Andrea join us for a reading - she is an actress who really does write poetry!" Closer home, literary giant Chandrashekar Kambara, a regular participant at local festivals, will abandon his serious side to burst into song. "Again, it's a new side to Dr Kambara and we're looking forward to it," says Lakshmi!
"We get a new aha moment with each festival," says author and festival director Shinie Antony. "Whether it's during programme or during the festival itself, we're always due for a surprise, either by a well-known name or an underrated poet!" That, she says, has become the theme of the festival, which touches on a broad spectrum of topics, voices and forms in its extensive lineup.
The festival isn't without its lineup of stars, of course! Shabana Azmi and Vishal Bhardwaj will take the stage this year and renowned singer Kavitha Seth will be in conversation with her son Kavish, along with an extensive lineup of musicians that includes local-boy and 'walking violinist' Aneesh Vidya Shankar. Poetry readings will be interspersed with musical performances. Acclaimed writer and poet Perumal Murugan will take the state along with other stalwarts like Andrea Jeremiah and Michael Creighton.
That apart, the festival will provide its usual lineup of workshops for adults and kids, where they can learn about various forms of poetry from some of the best, opportunities to meet with people from the publishing industry and a dedicated book store!
What: Bengaluru Poetry Festival
When: August 4 and 5
Where: The Leela Palace, Old Airport Road