Vajpeyi, Satchidanandan read out from their works

Two poets of eminence, brought together to read out from their latest collections on the penultimate day of the Jaipur Literature Festival here on Monday, spoke of different kinds of love, in different languages.

The twosome, long in the service of the muse, expressed confidence about the survival of poetry as a form of expression and felt that the audience was getting larger and more responsive, thanks to technology.

Ashok Vajpeyi, Hindi poet-critic, and K. Satchidanandan, who writes in Malayalam, recited their intense verses on the theme, “Poetry in the time of love and torment.”

“I am rather unabashed about writing love poems. And all the individuals in my poems are not imaginary. They are real,” Mr. Vajpeyi, septuagenarian chairman of the Lalit Kala Akademi in New Delhi, asserted. “Over a period ‘shringar' has gone out from our poetry. They have apparently included it in the category of pornography,” he rued.

“Poems on love and torment are fine as long as the poetry itself does not torment you,” said Mr. Satchidanandan, perhaps the most translated contemporary Indian poet, in a lighter vein. His While I write: New and selected Poems was brought out recently.

“I thought I could recite love poems while Vajpeyiji would present the torment pieces. But I am now left with no option but to choose the latter category,” he said. Mr. Vajpeyi had started off earlier after a brief introduction by Arundhathi Subramaniam, poet and cultural curator.

The international art magazine, Gallerie, on the theme “Art in poetry and poetry in art,” was released during the session. Both Mr. Vajpeyi and Mr. Satchidanandan, besides Ms. Subramaniam, have contributed to it.

Mr. Vajpeyi read out from his Pacchas Kavitaein (Fifty poems) and Ab Yahan Nahin, a collection released just recently, to the delight of the listeners at the Darbar Hall at the Diggi Palace here.

Mr. Satchidanandan presented English translations of his all-time favourites, Stammer and The Mad and recited his hugely popular poem on the rooster in the original Malayalam for its “sound effect.”

Both the poets, interacting with the audience later, stressed the importance of sound in poetry. “Sound is an important element,” Mr. Satchidanandan said.

“The poem assumes a different significance when it is read out. The intonations and stress bring new meaning to the poem,” Mr. Vajpeyi said.

Asked to comment on the way poetry is received by the present generation, Mr. Vajpeyi said: “I was mocked at when I started off writing poetry in the new idiom. Over a period, the situation has changed.”

Mr. Satchidanandan said that his confidence in the art of poetry had grown. “There is a sudden intimacy between the poet and the listener.”