Was at the inaugural session of the Raza Poetry Biennale last evening and attended all sessions today. Also read five poems ( Self, The Mad, Whispers, Synonyms, Pardon) and spoke in the panel on Poetry as Freedom. The Festival is going on well. As in every such festival there are poets and poets here too though the general level of poetry is not all that bad. I have seen four kinds of poets in all such festivals held in India ( not outside: there poets know how to present their poems): Poets who write well and read well; poets who write well but read badly, poets who write badly, but read well and poets who write badly and read badly too. We had all these kinds of poets here too, but I found many in the second category in this Festival who perhaps can be given some kind of training in intonation, pauses, emphases and modulations capturing the emotions the lines carry- without making the reading too theatrical which can look very artificial. Sadly many poets, self-destructively, insist on reading their English/ Hindi translations too , which others can certainly do better. Am looking forward to the readings and panels on the last day, tomorrow. No doubt it has been a celebration of freedom and diversity in our suffocating times of cultural standardisation. The panels so far have succeeded in articulating the democratic politics of the Biennale.
(K . Satchidanandan ‘s Face book post )