Kolkata: Kolkata got a feast of poetry in the recently concluded Chair Poetry Evenings, organised by Chair Literary Trust from 23rd to 25th November. The inaugural day on 23rd November saw eminent poet Sankha Ghosh and actor Victor Banerjee opening the event welcoming 14 acclaimed local, national and international poets.
Speaking to the audience , Victor Banerjee stated, “I seriously applaud the efforts of Directors , Chair Literary Trust, Tushar Dhawal Singh and Sonnet Mondal for for organising something like this in these days and age of of ramps and stage shows . Addressing the visiting poets the actor welcomed them to Calcutta-a city which he said “ will always give you the applause you need and deserve . Kolkata bleeds for art and poetry and Bengal breathes poetry and culture.
The international festival curated by the trust looks to start off the tradition of holding such a convergence of poets each year in an effort to share human reflections, conditions, thoughts and struggles through the medium of poetry by inviting each year poets from different corners of the globe.
The Chair Literary trust also declared a ‘Poet in residence program’ to be hosted in Kolkata from December to January. Two to three selected poets from across the globe would be offered a stay for a month in the city with a scholarship to cover up their expenses in the city. The poets would be working on their latest manuscript and will be offered an opportunity to present public readings in the city.
All the 14 attending poets during the inaugural day recited their own compositions choosing to do so in their native tongue followed by English recitations of their poems. The poets in attendance were Vladimir Martinovski (Macedonia), Miriam Van hee (Belgium), Les Wicks (Australia), Barbara Pogacnik (Slovenia), Alfred Schaffer (Netherlands), Yekta (France), Rajesh Joshi (India), Arun Kamal (India), Mangalesh Dabral (India), K. Satchidanandan (India), Nitoo Das (India), Subodh Sarkar (India) and Binayak Bandyopadhyay (India). John W Sexton (Ireland) could not attend but his poetry was read.
Well known poet Subodh Sarkar congratulated Chair Poetry Literary trust for this great initiative and said that unlike other festivals this was unique in itself as the poet founders themselves chose to stay away from their own personal readings and leave it open for the others to be on stage.
A two minute silence was observed in honour and in the memory of recently departed celebrated poets like Vishnu Khare, Fahmida Riaz and Meena Alexander.
The festival had been creatively spread over different locales and moods by the Trust members with reading sessions and talks by the visiting poets at the Calcutta Heritage Bungalow and Sasha studio on 24th November. The festival finale was a Poetry on Cruise, the first of its kind ever to be included in a Lit fest, as reading sessions over the Ganges added a poetic sign off to mark the end of this festival on 25th November.
While on sail, the cruise included individual recitation of all 12 poets in their native language, many having chosen the theme of water.To add to the mood there was instrumental music in the background and a surprise performance by All India Radio anchor Ujjwal Bhattacharya , who enacted the skit Mahishashur Mardini.
“The festival was highly successful and was bigger than our imagination and all the participating poets not only had a fulfilling experience of the city but they also added that these three days felt like three years of togetherness. They commented that they felt like a family and the festival was warm, family like yet extremely professionally executed. On behalf of Chair Literary Trust we would do more wonders related to poetry in future and our future plan is also to have a Chair Poetry House in Kolkata that would archive poets and poetry from across the world”, stated Poet and Founder Chair Poetry Evenings, Sonnet Mondal at the closing session of the festival.
“We plan to increase social awareness through the medium of poetry. Our aim was fulfilled and the festival was a greater success than we imagined and we would take this success further and work on it so that Kolkata emerges as a pilgrimage for poets through Chair Poetry Evenings’, stated Tushar Dhawal Singh, Poet and Founder Chair Poetry Evenings.