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Poetry faces challenge of freedom: K. Satchidanandan

Poetry faces challenge of freedom: K. Satchidanandan

New Delhi: Does poetry seem impossible in an age grabbling with terrorism and wars? Can poetry resist the temptations of the market? How has our poetry fared in the contemporary time marked with the internet revolution?

"The biggest challenges faced by poetry today is the challenge of freedom. No way of writing is sancrosanct. The challenge lies in remaining true to yourself and create something original, rather than to contrive, a practise that is usually seen in contemporaray poems," eminent poet, K Satchidananadan said.

He was part of a distinguished panel of poets from different cultural backgrounds who discussed and debated the theats faced by the form of poetry at the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Poetry Festival at a just concluded event at the Sahitya Akademi today.

Satchidanandan, a seven time recipient of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi award and a widely translated poet in several languages, talked about the increasing pressure on the poets to write for market" and "to write in times of violence".

"Writing for the market is not a sin. But a poet should never commit the suicidal compromise of lowering one's standards for fear of ambiguity or have the dread that no publisher will be ready to accept one's work," Satchidanandan said.

"Violence leads to death of poetry sources. An act of violence that believes in homogenisation kills the nature, people and the vibrant culture of our land; entities on whom poems are based," he added.

Hailing the Internet as "democratising the space for culture", Arundhathi Subramaniam, poetry editor and journalist and best known for her bestselling biography of a contemporary mystic ‘Sadhguru: More Than a Life’ has no qualms admitting that poetry is limited to few.

"Poetry has few takers. An American study recently claimed that the poets die sooner, but poetry has always found its own strategy for survival," Arundhathi said.

Adding the touch of varied cultural experiences to the panel was a poet from Sri Lanka; Parvathi Arasanayagam who narrated the experience of penning down her first poem in a refugee camp.

"My tryst with poetry began during the ethnic riots of Sri Lanka in the 80s. I wrote my first poem sitting in a refugee camp. I have faced the challenges of censorship and the risk of hurting other's sentiments. I chose to document rather than remain silent. Though the war has ended in my country, there are many issues that remain unseen, unheard," Parvathi says.

The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Poetry Festival, featured 50 poets from 19 counties.


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