For the love of verse

For the love of verse
Reading poetry is an adventure in renewal,’ said the American poet Edward Hirsch. The members of ‘Write Out Loud’ agree with him. A platform dedicated to the lovers of verse, this is one of the artistic meetups that happens at ‘Lahe Lahe’, the rooftop expression space. Come every Tuesday, 7.30 pm, one can see a small group of people gathering in the open space and reading out exquisite literary works, either of their own creation or of the lyrical wordsmiths.

“We have conducted about 47 sessions of our poetry evenings till now,” says Mansee Thard, co-founder of ‘Lahe Lahe’ and one of the brains behind ‘Write out Loud’. “It is an informal gathering where there is a lot of discussion and sharing of words and ideas. Though most of the sessions have a theme, we don’t restrict ourselves to just that. And there is no barrier in terms of language too — anything from English to Hindi to Kannada is welcome.”

Olivier Normandin, the ‘goal keeper’ and in-charge of the meetings, “It is a platform for people to share their art and their passion for that art. It is a very informal meetup where we sit on the floor in a circle and discuss anything and everything related to poetry. We start the session as soon as five members are there and depending upon the situation, extend the time. Every week there is a theme and we have also invited featured poets for readings.”

Says Hamsini Hariharan, a regular at the sessions, “I’ve been writing poetry for a very long time and now it’s the only way for me to even sound out my thoughts. I’m trying spoken word poetry and this for me is difficult because I don’t think I can talk to people. But with poetry, I feel like people can understand me and even empathise and that’s a brilliant feeling. It’s a rush of adrenaline.”

Says Jay Malaga, “‘Write Out Loud’ has given me the space and platform to express my art in an unassuming and encouraging manner. The weekly sessions have made me creative and productive; something that I may have not been able to do had I remained a poet at home.  Being with other poets and artistes has helped me come out of my shell and share my thoughts; not only in the artistic journey but also in life in general. Malcolm Carvalho talks about how the place sees representation from all age groups which brings about a good mix of perspectives. “There is no pressure on anyone; you can read anything you want. I joined because I was looking to connect and interact with other poets. This group has given me so much more than that.”

It was the realisation that people don’t have enough space for themselves that led real-estate developer Nikhil Thard to launch such an initiative. “We wanted a non-judgemental, non-intimidating space where people can express themselves. There is no pressure to look good or write something brilliant, or even write something at all. There are people who come for 4-5 sessions without saying a word and then open up their book and read out something; their first-ever public appearance,” says Nikhil with a laugh.

Hamsini agrees with the fact that ‘Write Out Loud’ is a safe haven for people who want a break from their everyday life. “Poetry is about your love life or work or childhood and it’s nice to have a place to come to every week and talk about all these.”

It these personal recollections and varied interpretations that make poetry one of the most powerful mediums known to humankind. For example, Ranjitha Sankleshpur talks about the poem she is writing for the latest theme ‘Search’. “I was walking down Bannerghatta Road two days back when a man started making very vulgar catcalls. It was pitch dark and I kind of felt scared and walked away quickly. Now I feel that I should have looked at him, made some sort of an eye contact, tried to connect to the human in him. I search for that man all the time now and this is the basis of my poem.”

(The club can be contacted at 9986533337)
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