The Glass House Poetry Festival gives voice to African-American, Dalit, feminist, Beary, Kodava and other distinct forms of the art
THE PANDEMIC, AND the resulting quarantine, has made us all reflect on life and become more introspective. And poetry, as a medium of expression, has been gaining steam online with new poets dabbling in the art. The Glass House Poetry Festival by the ArtMantram trust, comes at a time like this and aims to celebrate poetry from around the world.
“The intimacy and the conversations sparked by our online events, reminded us of the power of festivals. Poetry magnifies the power of words to tell stories of the soul. That’s why we chose to host a poetry festival,” says Yumna Harisingh Jawa, the curator. The four-day digital festival is a platform for Indian as well as international poets. It covers everything from queer poetry, Dalit voices and African-Ameri-can themes to regional Indian poetry.
Poet and professor Somrita Urni Ganguly will be moderating a session titled Disobedient Women: Feminist Poetry Today. The pertinent topic will be discussed by Tiffany Atkinson, Nurduran Duman, and Natalie Ann Holborow. Somrita explains, “When I thought of the panel, I considered having a conversation with other female writers about what it means to be a woman who writes in an industry and a society that is still intrinsically patriarchal. What is the price that we pay for our disobedience? Where does feminist poetry stand today? Can it be a form of social activism, or are our words drowning in echo chambers?” Some other sessions include Wounded Republic: Dalit Voices (with speakers MB Manoj, Ramesh Karthick Nayak and Yazhan Athi) and Memory is a Stranger: Voices from Europe (with poets Nagy Hajnal Csilla, Rui Coias and Chris Agee).
Even lovers of classical music and poetry can find something of interest in the festival. Beethoven Variations: Poetry Reading and Music is a session with Ruth Padel and Karl Lutchmayer. Ruth is also the author of the book Beethoven Variations, and feels her session is very relevant. “Beethoven’s life was a kind of lockdown really, an increasing isolation — which he surmounted through his art,” she says. The British poet also adds, “Poetry is vital today. Even though some poems can take a long time to write, poetry is the quickestresponse art form. This is the art of saying the most important thing in the fewest words possible. And as the world is engulfed in a pandemic, poets all over the world are responding by encapsulating their reactions in words that matter.”
KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Chandrashekar Kambar. July 23, 3.45 pm
SINGING IN THE DARK, POETS ON COVID: K. Satchidanandan, Nishi Chawla, Najwan Darwish, George Szirtes, Amir Or and Elizabeth Kuruvilla. July 23, 4.30 pm
KANNADA POETRY: Vanamala Viswanatha and Prathibha Nandakumar. July 25, 11.30 am
BLACK (AF), AMERIPOETIC FUTURES: Taylor Johnson, Rickey Laurentiis, Dante Micheaux and Simone White. July 24, 5 pm
ANCIENT MARKET OF THE FUTURE, SUBCONTINENTAL POETRY: Tenzin Tsundue, Kuladhar Saikia, Mamang Dei and Kamal Kumar Tanti. July 26, 10 am
Entry free. July 23 - 26. Details: artmantram.org