One rhyme at a time
As part of a global movement, a three-day festival at a city bookstore will feature poetry performances, book launches as well as readings by school kids
In 2011, poets Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion started a global movement in the United States. Titled 100 Thousand Poets for Change (100TPC), it began as an event to highlight issues related to peace and sustainability but later started addressing diverse issues in the city. And similarly, its Mumbai chapter slated for this week, curated by city-based poet Menka Shivdasani, features performances, readings and book launches touching upon subjects ranging from cancer and beauty to languages and their translation — encapsulating poetry that delves beyond its romantic identity.
Vibha Rani. Pic/Shashikant Patil
A three-day festival at Fort's Kitab Khana, 100TPC will kick-start with the launch of Vibha Rani's book of poems titled I Must, which is themed around life post-cancer. The 60-year-old who writes in Hindi and Maithili was diagnosed with the disease in 2013. Today, she calls herself a "cancer achiever", as opposed to a survivor. "This is a collection of 56 poems written in a span of seven to eight months. It's an extension of my previous book titled Can, which was published in 2016 based on my 10-month experience with cancer," she shares. In I Must, she hopes to convey the fact that surviving cancer is just a question of grit. The book is divided into five sections, each of which have been translated into English by separate translators; Rani wanted it to reflect a group effort and sale proceeds will go towards cancer care. "I want people to know that this is not a mental disease. We have to free ourselves from the fear of it and fight back," she adds.
While the second day comprises an evening with renowned publisher and poet Hemant Divate along with Smruti Divate, the programme also taps into young talent. Coordinated by former school principal Rati Wadia and children's book author Katie Bagli, The Smiling Face, the Child and Bird Song is a session that will feature a poem recital by schoolchildren on the theme of beauty.
Kimaya D'souza, nine, and Kaabir Jaisingh, 10, who will be performing tell us that they wish to pursue poetry as a hobby in the future. They also share their inspiration for the same. "My mother wasn't at home, and so I asked my father what I should write about. He suggested I write a poem on animals and started making jokes on animals. So, my poem is called The Beauty of Comedy," D'souza tells us, while Jaisingh — an avid writer, who wrote an autobiography of an old bag of his after getting a new one from the US — embarks on a rather humourous tale. "When they mentioned beauty, I was confused between writing about my new shoes or my baby sister. But I chose to write about my sister because she is indeed beautiful and I would walk a mile [for her] when she smiles."
ON October 3 to 6, 5. 30 pm to 7.30 pm (Thursday and Friday); 11 am onwards (Sunday)
AT Kitab Khana, Somaiya Bhavan, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort.
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