The Poetry Scene in Bangalore

Via Citizen Matters

Bangalore has a small group of poetry enthusiasts with the numbers slowly growing. But with the rise of the internet, there are more avenues for poets to reach out, share their work and get feedback.

According to Mohammed Fakhruddin, the founder of Poets International, a 27-year old poetry appreciation society, poetry is a form of wisdom. Fakhruddin, a well-accomplished poet and writer himself, believes that poetry is a form of lifestyle. Most poetry has its origin in topics of daily life – love, life, death or nature. “Poetry can be taken up at any age. What matters is the inspiration and this can be triggered off at any time.”

Started as a quarterly journal in 1983, Poets International has gained popularity over the years, prompting Fakhruddin to expand it, first into a monthly journal and as of the year 2000, a website. It has since become a popular platform for poets all over the world. Although the print journal has been largely confined to Indian writers, the website is open to all poets around the world to both enjoy others poetry as well as show case their own. The team also conducts a yearly poetry festival in Bangalore.

Caferati, another forum for writers and poets, with a Bangalore chapter, has also had poetry conventions as well as workshops on writing. Their website, though primarily for Indian writers, is read and critiqued for the content by writers and poets all over the world, allowing for people to both read and share their works.

Kala Ramesh, a poetry enthusiast and teacher of Communication Studies at Mount Carmel College believes that the past five years has seen a very positive change in the world of poetry.

“The internet really helps because in addition to providing a platform, there’s also that much more feedback coming in because it’s in public spaces. Also, the internet makes it possible to display newer, non-print forms of poetry.”

Kala feels that the art would do much better with more public platforms in the city. “Bangalore does have a few poetry enthusiasts but really it needs to give more time in the spotlight before people actually catch on to the trend,” she says. Even Vasudha Murthy, one of the earliest members of Poets International and Board Member of the Haiku Society of India, believes that Bangalore is lagging behind in the field of poetry.

Initiated by M S Venkatramaiah, M Nagaraja and Vasudha Murthy, the Garden City Poetry Circle was formed earlier this decade, with poetry sessions every second Saturday in Nagaraja’s house in Jayanagar 5th block, but soon faded away. Beginning on a rather promising note, the Poetry Circle built up quite a following only to disband when fewer people had time to come together for the appreciation of the art. However Vasudha says, “we are planning to revive it again”.

Even as Bangalore has a vibrant scene for arts like music, dance, theatre and film, it really does, fall short of being a poetry hub. Although there is a market for writing, scope for poetry is still small and will certainly have to break out of its shell if it is to have a wider appeal.

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