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Updated: January 13, 2012 19:20 IST

Celebrating poetry

Liza George
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Rati Saxena Photo: S. Gopakumar
The Hindu Rati Saxena Photo: S. Gopakumar

Rati Saxena, director of Kritya 2012, an international poetry festival that starts on January 16, talks about the fete

Poetry is food for the soul, and providing citizens with this manna is Kritya Literary Foundation, established to promote poetry and the arts. Kritya is organising its annual international poetry festival in the city starting from January 16 to January 18, 2012 at Vyloppilly Samskriti Bhavan, followed by an extension of the festival at Asan Smarakam, Thonnakkal, and Sameeksha Ashram, Kalady, on January 19 and January 20.

Dedicated to Tagore

This year, the festival is dedicated to Rabindranath Tagore. Says Rati Saxena, festival director of Kritya 2012: “Additional Chief Secretary K. Jayakumar will be holding an exhibition of his paintings based on Tagore's Gitanjali starting January 16, while, on January 18, artist B.D. Dethan will let his paintbrush flow to the lines of Tagore's poem Stray Birds. The verses have been translated into Malayalam by former Chief Secretary of Kerala, Lizzie Jacob, an artist and writer herself. Taking cue from Tagore's The Gardener, poems on peace will be one of the highlights of the festival.”

But that is not all. Bringing to life a Chinese proverb: in every picture there is a poem, and in every poem there is a picture, is a ‘photo poetry' by Odveig Klyve from Norway. Through photography, the artiste describes what goes through her mind when she reads a particular poem.

“There are films on poetry, in which movies that interpret poetry through the camera lens will be screened. Gitanjali Rao's poetic work will be screened and also films based on poetry like those by Kari Klyve Gulbrandsen and Odveig Klyve respectively.

Kunjedathi, a short film based on ONV Kurup's poem of the same name, by Prasad Nooranad, will be shown at 7 p.m. on January 17. Poetry recitals to the accompaniment of instrumental music are something to look forward to.”

Started in 2005 as a national poetry festival in Kerala, the Kritya festival turned international in 2007. Says Rati: “The first international festival was held in Kerala.” Essentially a nomadic festival, the festival has since travelled to Punjab and Mysore, to name a few States, before returning to Kerala once again.

As in previous editions of the festival, Kritya 2012 will have both Indian and international poets in attendance. “There are 20 international poets, 20 national poets, and 20 local poets. Our idea is to promote all kinds of poetry in different language, and the Kritya poetry festival provides poets a platform to meet and interact with poets from different backgrounds, and a place for them to showcase their work.” A major highlight of the festival, says Rati, is the fact that they have translated each and every poem that will be presented at the festival. “There must be around 200 poems.These translated poems will be available as books at the fete. The books have been published by Kerala Sahitya Akademi.”

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