Poetry Slam, a skill lesser known in India, where competitors write their own verse and perform it on stage for the audience to rate and rank them.
What would it take to stand before a gallery and speak for five minutes? A few words and perhaps a little courage. But Theresa Hahl from Germany requires months of preparation and days of practice to gain her five-minute glory. She is into Poetry Slam, a skill lesser known in India, wherein the competitors write their own verse and perform it on stage for the audience to rate and rank them.
Poetry Slam democratises the space for artistes as well as the audience, feels Theresa, as it allows ‘creative fulfilment for the former and choice of judgement for the latter’.
The 23-year-old performed a synthesis of Slam and a Kathak performance by Mangala Bhat on the concluding day of the Hyderabad Literary Festival here on Sunday.
“I use Spoken Word format, and try to provide rhythm and melody to language, and create new images and words,” she said.
Spoken Word is only performed, but never published.
Theresa has so far penned over 30 pieces of Slam poetry, each running into three pages. She has participated in over 700 competitions, and won a third of them. A student of Literature and perhaps the youngest among the delegates to the festival, she is one of the very few active woman Slam poets in her country.
On Sunday, at a reading and introductory session organised by Goethe Zentrum, Theresa shared the stage with two novelists Dorothee Elmiger and Inka Parei, and a translator Katy Derbyshire, all part of German delegation.
While renowned journalist Vinod Mehta captivated the audience in the morning sessions, American poet and translator Bill Wolak and Germain Droogenbroodt from Spain participated in a panel discussion on ‘The India Connection’ during the post-noon sessions at the festival.
Mr. Droogenbroodt, born in Belgium and living in Spain, drew his inspiration of poetic mysticism from Rajasthan.
He published his poetry as a collection titled ‘The Road’, with illustrations from Indian artist Satish Gupta. Bill Wolak, on the other hand, is the co-translator of the ghazals of the Persian poet Hafez.
Other panel discussions were variedly on media, publishing, and Indian literature, while reading sessions and Haiku workshop too were held as part of the festival on Sunday.
The three-day event concluded with a simple valedictory, after which cultural events were held at Taramati Baradari.