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Five things you must not miss at the Bengaluru Poetry Festival this weekend

Over a span of two days, 10 workshops, 34 reading and Q&A sessions with noted poets, four performances, and a photo exhibition, the Bengaluru Poetry Festival will explore the art of writing poems, translating them, and getting them published. If that’s not enough, you can also get your hands on the latest books, and even those that are out of print. With eminent authors included in the list of speakers, you can get these valuable volumes signed by them too! “The aim is to celebrate poetry in its different forms, and throw the Romanticists’ idea that poetry belongs to a particular group of people out the window,” says Lakshmi Subodh of Atta Galatta, who conceptualised the fest with her husband, Subodh Shankar, and writer Shinie Antony (festival director).

Poet extraordinaire and lyricist
Javed Akhtar will open the fest with the session, Poetry His Art His Heritage. He will read out poems by his grandfather Muztar Khairabadi, and talk about his journey as a poet. Then BJP MP Feroze Varun Gandhi, who has written two poem books —The Otherness of Self, and Stillness, will highlight the  importance of pauses and silences in verses in the session, Stillness. Music mix

Music mix
A song is nothing but poetry set to music. Poet-musician Anand Thakore,
singer Vasundhara Das, jazz artiste Radha Thomas, and music manager Simon Napier-Bell will explore this liaison at the session, Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head. Then, Bollywood lyricist Raj Shekhar will recite his verse, Majnoo Ki Teela to the tunes of a guitar. The multi-talented Piyush Mishra, who will hold a talk about his film career, might have a musical surprise in store.

Folk factor
Day one will conclude with a Pandavani recital, Ektara Ditties,
by Padma Bhushan awardee Teejan Bai. The folk singer has traveled all over the world, from her home state, Chhattisgarh, to Paris, keeping alive the tradition of Pandavani — narration of tales from Mahabharata.
Bai is particularly known for her
powerful voice.

Just out
Two anthologies will be launched at the fest. The first one is 40 Under 40, and collates the works of 40 poets, aged 40 or under. It covers topics such as media, culture, music, aspirations and capitalism. The other, titled Po’try, is a
collection of 157 poems,
shortlisted from a contest that the team ran last month. Maithili
folk-poet, Vibha Rani will also release her new book, Samrath, about cancer survivors.

Fishy tales
The venue will include a photo
exhibition by Selvaprakash Lakshman. Titled Life In Troubled Waters, it offers a glimpse into the deplorable lives of the fishing community of South India. To go along with the black and white photographs, writer Amruta Dongray
has drafted an English-Malayalam poem that talks about similar themes.

August 6-7. At The Leela Palace. Details:
bengalurupoetryfestival.org

— Barkha Kumari

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