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Poetry struggling to survive: Ashok Vajpeyi

Staff Correspondent
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Ashok Vajpeyi
Ashok Vajpeyi

Poetry is struggling to survive in this age of ‘instant information’ where language is being assaulted from both technology and the media, said Hindi poet, and cultural and literary critic Ashok Vajpeyi here on Saturday. He was speaking at the second annual James and Shobha Mendonca Endowment Lecture on Poetry at SDM College here on Saturday.

Mr. Vajpeyi said poetry loses its existence as the world turns more materialistic.

“People are in a great hurry now, and need things quickly. Poetry, though, cannot be done in a hurry… With excessive television watching, people are beginning to think less. This has also led to a trend of copying, a tyranny of uniformity. But a poet’s job is to make people think and dream, and to tell people they are distinct and unique,” he said.

However, Mr. Vajpeyi emphasised that language takes its true form in poetry. “It isn’t by accident that almost all religious text books – from the Vedas to the Bible – are written in poetic form,” he said.

Earlier on Saturday, Mr. Vajpeyi inaugurated an art exhibition by Nemiraj Shetty at Orchid Art Gallery here and voiced his ideas on art. According to him, the mundane world looks far different when seen through the eyes of an artist. Through their imagination, artists take you to the realm of the unknown, making you notice what had gone unnoticed and leave you a better human being, Mr. Vajpeyi said.

Stating that art is a measure of one’s patience, he said people tend to just see the displays in an exhibition and go away. “We don’t look (at them). We have been reduced to watching (without trying to understand).”

The art exhibition at Orchid Art Gallery, to be on until July 23, brings the little known form of graphic art – prints taken in the old hand-driven printing presses after creating designs on zink sheets, wooden blocks of linoleum sheets.

The creator, Nemiraj Shetty, is a Mangalorean by birth. He is now settled in Bangalore where he runs an art gallery and teaches art in Bangalore University.

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