Being a poet yet living in a practical world can be a daunting task. As poets are dreamers, idealists and creatively inspired, while the world is a lesson in realism! In today’s world, even more so, as claiming to be a poet gets surprised looks from all quarters. From the days of yore when writing poetry was a hobby, the changing times have been a respite for these artistic souls as poets have gained in popularity at open mics, poetry festivals happening in and around the city. With the Bengaluru Poetry Festival to be held on August 4 and 5 at Leela Palace right around the corner, we talk to upcoming Bengaluru-based poets and find out what it means to be a poet in the city.
Poetry has evolved, and a diverse city like the Ooru is bustling with venues that celebrate poets. Loreto Basumatary or “Lolo” explains, “Poetry has found a permanent place in the city. There are so many venues, new poets emerging and shows being held every week. With all the open mics in the city, it’s a great platform for people to express themselves. It’s a great time to be a poet in the city as youngsters are coming back to it rather than considering it an old people’s hobby.” However, Veerendra Shivhare, a poetry enthusiast, disagrees, feeling that the level of verse has come down as people are not reading and listening enough.
A market for poetry certainly exists... but it’s an eclectic endeavour. With all the things being done to promote this form of creativity, the market is booming. Chandrama Deshmukh says, “I have often heard people say that there is no market for poetry. But like most artforms, things are changing. I have recently published a book of English poems Moonlit Monochrome, and it is doing pretty well. I have faith in poetry and would like to believe that things are changing and so us the market.”
While some are awe-struck, many worry about the practicality of being a poet. Veerendra adds, “I get two reactions when I tell people I write poems. A lot say that it’s good to be passionate about your hobby but artforms like these don’t have a future. We are also perceived to be super emotional, which is not the case. Poets are just ordinary people with a creative streak that they aren’t afraid to unleash. ”
It is a community in itself: The various venues have led to the formation of communities where like minded people can meet and share ideas. Another poet, Philip John says, “The Bangalore’s Writer Workshop conducts various workshops and poetry readings. What started of as a workshop has progressed into a community for poets, and all types of writers. On Tuesdays, certain places have poets meeting up and sharing their work. This is also an opportunity for poets to meet other poets.”...