Saturday, 12 December 2015

Poets in Conversation


                                                       Goa Arts and Literature Festival 
                                                       11 December 2015, ICG, Goa

To be given an opportunity to hold two of the finest poets in conversation might seem a bit daunting. But that is exactly what the organizers of the Goa Arts and Literature Festival 2015 did. Of course I did have the conversation I did with Australian poet Kathryn Hummel behind me (also at the behest of GALF 2014) but still . . . Here I was to hold the fort with Sadaf Saaz  (seated extreme left in pix) and Pooja Nansi  (seated centre of pix), both distinguished literary ambassadors from Bangladesh and Singapore, the countries in focus for GALF this year. I met the poets in the hall seconds before we were invited on stage by friend and curator Damodar Mauzo. As it happens I was seated in the wrong hall. When I noticed it was packed to overflowing I was wondering if there was a sea-change in the response to poetry! When I enquired sotto voce I learnt  those assembled had come for a session on sexuality!

'What would you do if you were not writing poetry' was the first question I lobbed to my guests. Sadaf is into textile designing so she would be very busy doing that. Pooja had been a teacher so she would have plenty to read. After both read from their work what came across was that how Sadaf's poetry sheared off the veils of hypocrisy in society and declaimed her feminist poetry laced with outrage. The one about the prostitute describing the men who come to her left no doubt as to her commitment to the marginalized and dispossessed. Pooja described her grandfather in her poem, as he tried to assimilate his life in the final years. Since she said she was fascinated by Mumbai, I obliged by reading a poem of mine 'Evening in Paris' written in Mumbai inspired by my wife when we were courting. Pooja was drawn to confessional poetry both poets being influenced by Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath. 'I am not trying to change the world' said Pooja decidedly.
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Pix of Sadaf Saaz (Bangladesh) and Pooja Nansi (Singapore) in conversation with Brian Mendonca (Goa) in the opening session  of Day 2 of GALF 2015 in the Zuari Hall, ICG at 10 A.M;Pix of book release of  B(r)oken Moon and other Poems by Indu Mallah by Brian Mendonca in the post-lunch session of Day 2 of GALF 2015 in the Abolim Hall, ICG at 2.45.P.M.

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