Poetry comes alive in the city  

Many like Lynessa Coutto (second from right) enjoy being a part of poetry sessions in the open.

Poetry, often considered an elite and complex form of literature, is a growing passion among youngsters in Bengaluru.

Perry Menzies, owner of ‘Urban Solace’, says that their ‘Tuesday With the Bard’ has completed 264 sessions. “We hold a ‘Limca Book of Records’ title for the longest running poetry event in the country. This shows that the interest in poetry still exists,” he says.

At their event, a featured poet reads out his work and tells the audience about what emotion triggered the piece, and when and where it happened. “We also feature an open mic session for visiting poets. Our sessions see anything from 20 to 40 people regularly. There seems to be a surge of youngsters coming in as there is no structure to poetry nowadays and there is a lot of free work seen now,” he says.

“Our venue often opens up space for bold writing, like how our recent event on International Women’s Day was where poets presented a lot of personal content out. We have had poets from 16 to 84 years participate in our events, though we do see a lot of people in their 20s and 30s,” Perry adds. 

Lakshmi Sankar, co-owner of Atta Galatta, says the venue hosts two poetry event in a month. “We have ‘Anjuman’ for Hindi and Urdu poetry lovers and ‘Let Poetry Be’ for the English enthusiasts. We include themes like rape, social injustice, ‘namma ooru’ and even traffic. Many young professionals and are seen at the event,” she says.

So, what makes poetry popular? “Poetry is very self-motivating. For those who cannot write it, listening to it might motivate them to something else,” adds Lakshmi. 

Mansee Thard, co-owner of Lahe Lahe, says, “The themes could vary from nostalgia and childhood to love. We’ve covered works by Rumi, Shakespeare, Rudyard Kipling etc.”

‘Mehfil’, a monthly meeting by Lahe Lahe, is a platform for Hindustani and English poetry. “We see a mixed crowd for this event but for ‘Write Out Loud’, 20 to 35-year-olds throng the space. There is a definite interest in poetry still, be it to learn its nuances or explore the field,” adds Mansee. 

And there are poetry sessions held outdoors for those who like to listen to beautiful lines amidst nature. ‘Poetry In The Park’, is an initiative by Lynessa Coutto. “We discuss different eras and forms of poetry and volunteers hold these sessions,” she says.

The group gets together on Saturdays, between 4 to 6 pm. “We do not have an open mic session; the idea behind the event was to create a sharing space. We wanted to create a community for anyone from a poetry enthusiast to someone just inquisitive about poetry,” she says.

A lot of youngsters, aged between 16 to 22, who were interested in writing poetry slowly started coming to the event. “They weren’t reading a lot of poetry. It can be quite overwhelming to know where to start. This is when we thought that if there was a way for them to access poetry. We read out poems, head for a short coffee break and come back to a session about themes of poetry. This is to introduce people to various styles of poetry.” 

One could be introduced to minimalistic poetry, confessionalism, ghazals, Bob Dylan etc here. “The interest among people has grown. We have 50 percent of new faces and 50 percent of regulars, at every session,” she adds.  

“Poetry takes a whole different dimension when read out in the open. When you are listening to some lines and have old and nostalgic trees to look at, there is so much happening which can affect your thought process. We also wanted to break the stereotype that poetry was for the elite,” says Lynessa Coutto, poetry enthusiast.

 

Want to jam with poets?

Urban Solace: 
98450 13055

Atta Galatta: 
96325 10126

Poetry In The Park: 98801 76926

Lahe Lahe: 98862 94444

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Poetry comes alive in the city  

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