‘From the womb of life’s tumultuous storms, a soulful verse of words is born;
For poetry travels where nothing else can, making a monk of an ordinary man’
(Kiran Sandhu, city-based poet)
These verses reflect how poetry can be the language of soul. Amritsar has a rich legacy of nurturing and giving not just Indian but international poetry-scape some notable names including Saifuddin Saif, Bhai Vir Singh, MD Taseer, Shiv Kumar Batalvi. Once an epicentre of literary movements, especially the writers and poets who were part of the Progressive Writers’ Movement of India, before Partition, Amritsar has had a long tradition of nurturing poets, who have added to the national literary pool. But with changing times, the scope of poetry and those, who carry its baton find themselves diminishing.
Small steps like hosting open mic session can go a long way in getting enough visibility to upcoming poets. The city which was always known for poetic verses and versatility of literature is sans the essence of literature-hood now. We just lost ourselves first to agriculture and then to the materials of the world. The poets through their poetry try to establish that connection with thyself and here, we need to put all efforts from all corners to revive this beautiful art of expression. Open mic sessions might just provide that pinch of hope. More platforms for budding artists need to be encouraged, without thinking of material gains — Arvinder Chamak, an Urdu poet
Padma Shri awardee Punjabi poet Surjit Patar had once shared at the literary event that young generation needs to be re-introduced to poetry and the creative ideology behind it.
On World Poetry Day, a few noted poets from the city share their bits on the progression of poetry in current times and its makeover in a technology-driven world. Kiran Sandhu, an English poet from the city, who is also an academician, feels, “Indeed poetry is the most beautiful, most delicate, most sensual and yet the most authoritative medium of expression that has the power to ignite emotions as nothing else can. In this digital age and fast paced world, this beautiful word art has been losing its voice for dearth of readers and perhaps a time has come when its revival must be sought through multiple mediums including digital space and the good old paperback.” Celebrating classic poets like John Keats, Rumi, William Wordsworth, Lord Byron along with the modern, she says, is the way to go forward. “Classic poetry needs to be brought back to limelight and popularised. Amritsar with its rich cultural heritage has the potential to engage its citizens with different genres of poetry. Internationally however, there is a revival of poetry with the rise of free verse poets as Lang Leav, Rupi Kaur and Amanda Gorman.”
Attempt to revive the poetry movement through new-age genres and platforms has been underway in city, although, most fade away after a while. Insane-iat, a open mike forum that a group of young artistes from city began a few years ago, inclduing Himanshu Khurana and Vaibhav Gupta, is one such platform. The live performances mostly include poetry, singing, rapping and stand-up comedy. There is no age restriction of any kind, so artistes from the age 15 to 50 years have performed at their stage.— Neha Saini
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