Saturday, 22 March 2014

Sabad - World Poetry Festival, Delhi (3)
Poetry and Other Arts, etc

Four more sessions today, all very well atteded. The first involved Nigerian poet Tanure Ojaide, Kamal Vore, Desmond Kharmawphlang and Chandrakant Devtale from India, and Les Wicks with his second session. Readings in various Indian languages with translations on the screen or spoken. The idea of having a 'chair' foir the poetry readings is a little odd and has been adapted here. The chair doesn't have to do all the introductions but does announce each poet and finally reads himself or herself. Tanure had us singing in response, and Les spoke one poem with music. Everyone does a notional 15-17 minutes and, on the whole, most people do.

Both Tanure and Les  were on the next panel, a discussion about Poetry and Other Arts, joined by Norwegian poet and novelist Ingrid Storholmen, and Indian poet and scholar Bhalchandra Nemade. I was in the chair.  I had quickly devised four basic questions to address to the panel though it came down to thre in the end, and made sure to link and ask each poet in turn, and to vary the order of answers. The danger is always that people will set off on long solos because the subject interests them, but this group was very good so we finished with military precision, on the dot, then allowed questions from the floor. It went splendidly. I have now been told I have a future as an entrepreneur something i devoutly wish not to become. The four original questions were about the experience of the various arts in childhood, about practical experiment with other art forms, though this blended into the proposed third question regarding collaboration with other arts, and the last, briefly addressed was essentially about ecphrasis and how far the different art forms constituted a unified field.

These are all huge questions and the occasion was informal so we had to rest content with brief answers tha would have led to many more given time.

I met Bharat Ravikumar, a close Facebook friend, in the intervals, but it was brief as was every other conversation. If you really want conversation you have to stay up late at night.

Two after reding slows, the first with Irish poet Lorna Shaughnessy (chairing), the Oscar Cruz (Cuba), Maram-Al-Masri (Syrian but living in France) and Shafi Shauq, India. After a short break we were back with Sheen Kaaf Nizam (India) Ingrid Storholmen, Moya Cannon (Ireland) and Nikola Madzirov (Macedonia). If I don't comment on the readings at this point it is because this is all present tense and it would be invidious to remark, though after all this is over I will write a book considering highlights and other points of interest.

Having not slept more than a couple of hours the night before, I returned at 6pm missing an apparently marvellous singing performance. I was quickly asleep. Then downstairs and to that longer, more satisfying conversation over Old Monk rum, involving Sudeep Sen, Ranjit Hoskote, Richard Gwyn and, at the end, Nikola, into midnight in the restaurant.

I won't try to put a live photo up here. I'll borrow a generic one until I am home and able to edit a little.

Early tomorrow again.


marly youmans said...

Well, that sounds all very busy and exciting (and tiring.) Your topics sound well-chosen and must have elicited some interesting responses. Did you have a good audience?

You mention a lot of people who are unknown to me, which makes me curious. Hope you are meeting some kindred spirits and getting acquainted with good new poems.

What a lot of subjects for future posts, if you pursue them...

I've been on a "reading panel" that way at the annual West Chester poetry conference--and also have run one there that wasn't strictly readings but involved them to some degree. I don't have much experience with conferences, really, so perhaps it's common. (In the end, maybe it's not all that different from the kind I'm doing next week, where I'm reading with another woman but there's an open mic segment to start the evening... At least, the person introducing/moderating has to be very strict about time or the whole thing will fall apart.)

George S said...

Both busy and exciting, Marly, and, as you may iumagine, a little tiring, but one keeps going because of constant stimulation.

Plenty of kindred spirits in broad ways, and some, posibly in a more restricted but personal way. One meets people one likes beyond the poetry, albeit through the poetry.

These people were mostly unknown to me too, then I discovered they are very well known and highly valued in their own sphere. They have published many books, won many prizes, have been translated into many languages. Very many good poems, though listening six hours of it a day means some gets lost.

This is a festival not a conference so it is open to the public, who have been coming in large numbers, filling a large hall. In conferences writers talk to each other primarily.

Chairing means having some idea as to how things should go, for better or worse. Open mic people should be told how much to read. One poem? Two poems? Length of poem? At my last reading in London the organiser (not me), said open mic readers should read 40 lines. Once that is clear it works. One can be strict but nice.

Have a great reading and I hope the open mic works out.


Kind and objective.While choosing the topic for the panel I had in mind both the exchanges/collaborations among the arts ( yes, primarily that), and also the specificity, the uniqueness, of poetry as a primarily word-art: obviously with the little time each had , they could not have done better. The accent on personal experiences made it different from the usual academic stuff one gets from such panels. Thanks for that.

James said...

On another topic, in the absence of the Jonah of Carrow Road your fellows were rather good yesterday. I recommend seeing your second goal against Sunderland should the chance come along. You'll already have seen Rooney's against West Ham, but this was even better.