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Updated: October 15, 2013 19:24 IST

Opening it to people

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A poet reciting at Urban Solace.
The Hindu
A poet reciting at Urban Solace.

The 150th edition of Tuesdays with the Bard was a huge success

A flurry of poets and their aficionados exchange greetings over the raucous resonance of a microphone being set up. It’s been almost three years now and they’re still going strong. The ghosts of verses past linger in the corners of the quaint little café while new ones traipse into the room, whispering, “There’s still room for more.” Times may have changed since Shakespeare’s sonnets rocked the world, but thankfully the need to find poetry in everyday life hasn’t yet died.

Memories, laughter, tears, smiles, greetings, dreams and hope — that was essentially what the 150th edition of Tuesdays with the Bard at Urban Solace was all about. To mark this occasion, three groups of poets namely, The Great Shakes, BWW - Bangalore Writers Workshop and Cafereti shared forum in the first-ever collaboration on poetry at the café, making the evening a brilliant success.

“We are overjoyed and humbled that we have managed to sustain a random idea like this for so long,” says owner Perry Menzies, who started with a notion of making the café a cultural hub in the city. “We wanted to provide a space for art, music, theatre etc and poetry went with it. Before we launched Tuesday with the Bard, we shared the idea with patrons of the café and the response was good.”

Dominic, one of the patrons with whom Perry discussed this idea with who went on to become the first poet who performed at the cafe says, “I make sure I come each time I am in the city. It is a free for all — anyone can perform here. You get the good, the bad and the ugly.”

Bhumika Anand, co- founder of the Bangalore’s Writers Workshop who is compering the event says, “There is no sense of connect of people anymore, and avenues like this are great places for different art forms to come together. I have come here almost every Tuesday since the initiative began, and I’m very excited to see it having reached its 150th edition.”

For Amulya, also of the BWW, such initiatives also make poetry more mainstream. “Poetry has always been an inaccessible thing. Performance poetry breaks down barriers and opens it out to people.”

Ranjani Rao of The Great Shakes agrees, “I think even the closet poets in some of us will agree that reading to an audience means instant gratification. We’re happy to stir out of the folds of the internet, where we mostly operate from, for an event like this.”

“Poetry writing is an art where emotions have first to be translated into thoughts, and thoughts in turn have to be translated into words. These words have to be chosen for their sound and for the images and ideas they suggest, and not just for their obvious meaning. To create opportunities where such spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings expressed through poetry are shared by the poets and cherished by the audience for a sustained period, speaks volumes about the dedication and love of Urban Solace to this art form,” adds Manoj Mittal of Caferati.

It certainly is a labour of love and Perry hopes to sustain it. “Many people who write poetry are very alone and it’s a dismal situation. We want to continue getting and keeping talent and finding audience for them.”

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