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The tenth edition of the Poetry with Prakriti festival features a line-up of stellar performances

After getting cancelled last year due to the floods, the Poetry with Prakriti Festival is back with a host of exciting events lined up for the 16-day affair. Ranvir Shah, founder of the Prakriti Foundation, shares that the tenth edition is much bigger than the earlier ones, and tells us to expect more than just poetry readings. The event will also see contests, a film screening and book launches by senior poets, Sudeep Sen, Priya Sarukkai Chabria and Anupama Raju, in addition to an interactive session with author Perumul Murugan, who will be launching his book of poetry. Opening with 16 translation poets in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut, the festival will also have two poetry-related acts — a theatre performance by Sunil Shanbag based on contemporary poetry, titled Blank Page, and a performance on Sufi poet Hazrat Bulleh Shah’s Maati by Astad Deboo, called Eternal Embrace. We caught up with two international poets who will be presenting their distinct works, on what they are looking forward to at the event.

Taking the mic
Seoul-based poet Hwang Yuwon is pursuing his Phd in Indian Philosophy at Dongguk University, and has over eighty poems published in several literary magazines to his name. Having visited India twice before, Hwang, who is being brought down courtesy InKo Centre and Arts Council Korea, says, “ I never thought I could come there as a Korean poet, and not just as an average Asian backpacker.” The writer, whose first book of poetry Everything in the World, Maximized (2015) was awarded the 34th Kim Soo-young prize, says that he uses a
lot of religious images in his work. As to what he will be reading at the fest, the 34-year-old  says he will be reading translations of his poems. “I’m also thinking that I’d like to read poems in Korean, since poetry is sometimes about its sound, not its meaning.”

Her words’ worth

London-based Rachel Long set up a poetry collective for women of colour called Octavia in September last year, “so that we could meet to read, write, support each other.” Visiting India for the first time, Long says, “I write a lot about my family, love, loss, and the body. I like to track a journey in any set/reading I do.” The poet, who is being brought down in association with the British Council, has a list of favourite writers that includes Kim Addonizio for her honesty; and Sharon Olds, for her stunning exploration of the body and the complicated nature of love, among others. “I love and admire Caroline Bird for being the best mentor  any poet could ask for, but also for the way she plays with myth and fairy tales,” adds Long, who is an alumna of the Jerwood/Arvon Mentorship Scheme.
November 29 to December 14. At multiple venues. Details: poetrywithprakriti.in

—Simar Bhasin


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