Making sense of poetry

Making sense of poetry

One of the events held as a prelude to the Hyderabad Literary Festival (January 23-26) was the release of a book of poems titled ‘Escape Artist’ of...

One of the events held as a prelude to the Hyderabad Literary Festival (January 23-26) was the release of a book of poems titled ‘Escape Artist’ of city-based Sridala Swami by well-known poet-short story writer Keki N Daruwalla at a jam-packed auditorium (rather surprising on a weekday) at the Goethe Zentrum on Tuesday.

A brief introduction of Keki Daruwala by Prof. Vijaykumar who was doing the honours for the third time was followed by the book release. Incidentally Daruwalla was the keynote speaker at the Hyderabad Literary Festival in 2010.

   Sridala Swamy with writer Keki N Daruwalla

By saying, “Nothing would give me greater pleasure,” Daruwalla released the book and then sat along with Sridala Swami and Prof. Vijaykumar for a preliminary talk. Sridala then read her poems and held the question and answer session. Daruwalla began by saying “I am delighted and privileged to be part of the book launch of one of the finest writers in the country.

I have seen Sridala’s graph go up all the time. I reviewed the book in one of national dailies where I was limited by the word count.” Taking examples of the first three poems (where he quoted some lines) ‘Hypersomnia’, ‘Daybreak’ and ‘Chimera’, he said, “Sridala’s poems are nuanced with the state of feeling of what the mind experiences. The imagery is clear and telling.”

Daruwalla pointed out some strands in her poetry.

“One is melancholy/despair though she doesn’t dramatise it. Since she is a photographer there is reference to the camera. Also, Sridala writes about hospitals and post-mortem,” he said.

While talking about post mortem, he wondered why she wrote about it and also read out Gieve Patel’s poem on ‘Post Mortem’. Daruwalla ended by congratulating Sridala for a splendid job.

Sridala thanked Keki Daruwalla by saying, “It was overwhelming. There are even people standing at the back.”

She mentioned her poems are inspired from art and cinema (one of the filmmakers whom she was inspired by was Abbas Kiarostami). She read out ‘The Twinning of Cities’, ‘Mise-en-scene’, ‘Slip Dreams’, ‘Surviving the Fall Meant Using You for Handholds and Synaesthetic’.

The reading was followed by questions and answers which included her choice of difficult subjects, influences, writing in other languages, self-censorship of her works, the title of her book to mention a few themes. All in all, it was an evening of good and profound poetry.

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