Calling all Indian English poets: The Quarantine Train is picking up steam

Ayesha Tabassum Published :  02nd July 2020 04:12 PM   |   Published :   |  02nd July 2020 04:12 PM

Arjun Rajendran is the man behind TQT

What started as an activity during the early days of the lockdown, has now evolved into an online Indian English poetry campaign. The Quarantine Train (TQT) founded by poet Arjun Rajendran, was only about conducting workshops and appreciation of diverse poetry initially. But today, the weekly sessions include guest poets from across the world sharing their insights and work with this virtual group.

A screen grab of a TQT session

Aswin Vijayan, one of the core group members explains, “The purpose of TQT is to build a community. The history of Indian English poets is scattered and it’s not often that you meet such poets as a community. TQT welcomes everyone who aspires to be a poet or is enthusiastic about the art. We have a motley group of people now, some of whom are Charles Wallace scholars, a few others are published poets and others are students and journalists.”

Aswin Vijayan

The sessions are held every Tuesday and Saturday through a Zoom call. The Tuesday session is usually the critiquing session and poems submitted by the participants are analysed. “Arjun gives the prompt usually once in two weeks and about three poems are chosen to be critiqued during the session. It’s because of lack of time that we pick only a few for the session,” says Aswin.

Saturday sessions are when renowned poets are invited to share their work and appreciate other exceptional work, based on a theme. Previous sessions witnessed poet Vivek Narayanan speak on imaginary translations and Shalim M Hussain speak on Miya poetry. This week, one of the members, Prashant Parvataneni, will lead the discussion on the topic Poetry and Cinema Walk Into a Bar. Prashant is the winner of Srinivas Rayaprol Prize 2019 and is an independent writer. Those who want to be a part of these sessions can get in touch with TQT through their Facebook and Instagram page.