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Coffee sessions over poetry

This Thursday, a new initiative in Mumbai, Cappuccino Readings, will host a book launch of Suvarnarekha — An Anthology of Indian Women Poets Writing in English

Grabbing hold of the steaming cuppa has become more worthwhile in Mumbai’s cafés as a new initiative called Cappuccino Readings (CR) combines your love for caffeine and literature. This Thursday, Dr Nandini Sahu will launch her book, Suvarnarekha (An Anthology of Indian Women Poets Writing in English) in association with the Cappuccino Readings as well as Culture Beat of the Press Club.

The motive is to include amateur poets read alongside (second right) Ranjit Hoskote, Jane Bhandari, Hemant Divate, Annie Zaidi (with mic), Dominic Alapat and Jennifer Robertson, as in this previous session
The motive is to include amateur poets read alongside (second right) Ranjit Hoskote, Jane Bhandari, Hemant Divate, Annie Zaidi (with mic), Dominic Alapat and Jennifer Robertson, as in this previous session

Anjali Purohit, a writer and a painter, and the brain behind CR, shares, “Café readings by writers is not a novel concept. However, we do not have such a tradition in our city. There are, of course, many cultural programmes that are held in pubs, restaurants and restobars.” Jaded with the usage of such spaces, she shares, “I needed a space that would have literary reading in focus with the ‘something’ (coffee) on the side. Thus, the name ‘Cappuccino Readings’.”

Dr Nandini Sahu
Dr Nandini Sahu

Dr Sahu, editor of this anthology, informs, “Poets from Toru Dutt and Sarojini Naidu to the contemporary poets, which means mid-19th century to the 21st century poets,” have been covered in the anthology. Being the keynote speaker at the National Poets’ Meet, last year, she was approached by the publisher and founder of The Poetry Society of India, Yayati Madan G Gandhi to edit this anthology. “I consented, being a poet myself and keeping in view women’s poor representation in Indian poetry anthologies. Contemporary Indian women poets in English have been exploring the female consciousness with eloquence, confidently expressing their selves with their ability and uniqueness — and my intention was to pinpoint that.” The anthology contains 103 poets.

Purohit who is also a contributing poet, relates, “I’m happy to share space in this anthology with poets such as Imtiaz Dharker, Priya Sarukai Chabria, Anju Makhija and Menka Shivdasani, among others. I have two poems in this collection on the two predominant concerns that have featured in most of my work — women’s issues and the experience of being a woman and two, my reaction to Mumbai and its transformations.” Speaking of her work, she says, “the poem, Peeling the Onion deals with the former in as much as it speaks of the demands made on women to shed every layer that doesn’t suit the ‘ideal’ laid down for her; When the Moon is Full is about looking for innocence in a city that is in the throes of a mindless and frenzied moulting.”

On: June 19, 6 pm onwards
At: Seminar Room, Press Club, Glass House, opposite Azad Maidan Police Station, Mahapalika Marg.
Call: 22621828/22622988

Of state truths and ghazals

“Maharashtra has a long and intimate relation with poetry.

Anjali Purohit
Anjali Purohit

Even today if you go to its interiors and ask an illiterate peasant about Tukaram or Janabai or relate a line from one of their popular abhangs, they will recognise it and perhaps, even complete the verse for you.

The popularisation of poetry through the ghazal and also through Hindi cinema brought into mass consciousness the poetry of so many fine Hindi and Urdu poets,” shares Purohit.

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