Emerging contemporary poets hope to tackle socio-political issues via 21st Century Poetry
The dirty secret of poetry is that it is loved by some, loathed by many, and bought by almost no one. Literary critic William Logan, pricked a lot of nerves when he wrote that statement. Still, when compared to other parts of Kerala, our city does have its fair share of amateur poetry cliques. Most of these enthusiasts occasionally gather at Circuit Creative, Ledhi Art Cafe, and Forplay. However, apart from the rare exhibit at Durbar Hall or Kochi-Muziris Biennale, poetry hasn’t amassed the widespread recognition it deserves.
21st Century Poetry (21CP) is a pan-Indian platform—initiated by three published Malayalam poets: S Kalesh, Latheesh Mohan, and M R Vishnuprasad—which intends to augment the underappreciated literary form. “We live in an age where freethinkers and folks from subaltern communities are often attacked and sometimes incarcerated for exercising their right to speech. Therefore, to stimulate, encourage, and foster expressions of young Indian poets we need to form a core group; 21CP is our nationwide attempt at doing so. The idea behind this collective is to combine the aesthetics of contemporary poetry with politically-viable actions,” shares poet Latheesh, an IIT Delhi-based research scholar.
The group recently organised their debut event at Delhi’s Asia Studio Collective, featuring nine Indian poets from five different languages. “At 21CP, we intend to encourage the participation and development of new poets from a broad range of styles (think performance poetry), conduct live sessions, help publish promising works, organise community recitals, and host poetry workshops,” says 35-year-old Kalesh. At the upcoming Kochi event titled Kavitha Chollal, in addition to the aforementioned trio, six other published artistes namely Ajeesh Dasan, Prabha Zacharias, Shanthi, Vijila Chirappadu, Shyam Sudhakar, and R Sangeetha, will also be presenting their poems.
“The idea is not just to write, publish, and speak in cafés or studios—but to get out in the streets and reach the common man. We hope that our varied forms of poetry can plant the seed of thought and ultimately reform diverse listeners,” concludes Kalesh, whose poem Plavinte Katha is a part of the MG University syllabus.
On March 4 at Café Papaya.
From 6 pm onwards