While the pandemic has brought in a sea of changes some things have continued to thrive, survive and take new forms and mediums. Chair Poetry Evenings-Kolkata’s International Poetry festival is about to host its third edition after two successful stints in the previous two years.
An eclectic line of poets from all across the world would be engaging in a virtual congregation spread over five days of the festival from 1st to 5th November. Prestigious names from the UK, Italy, USA, Israel, Macedonia, Estonia, Netherlands and other parts of India will engage in discussions and poetic recitations. The festival this year has been brought forward in early November to keep the Puja fervor and pace extended.
The stellar line up of poets include Booker prize winning writer Ben Okri, Pulitzer Prize winning poet Vijay Seshadri, Padma Shri Keki Daruwalla, Ashok Vajpeyi, Poet laureate of the Netherlands Tsead Bruinja, Kaveh Akbar, 2020 Golden Wreath laureate Amir Or, TS Eliot prize winner George Szirtes, Nikola Madzirov, TriinSoomets, Elisa Biagini, Harry Man, Helene Cardona, Ajmer Rode and Christopher Merrill. From India the names who would be participating are Neelesh Raghuwanshi, Nabina Das, Ganesh Visputay, Manohar Shetty, Christina Davis, Bibhas Roy Chowdhury, Prabal Kumar Basu, Nilim Kumar, A.J. Thomas and Priya Sarukkai Chabria.
The festival true to its tradition has included a musical interlude with the performance of Singer and Music composer Prajna Dutta.Each day ‘s session would be hosted by poets Sarabjeet Garcha, Ashwani Kumar, Saima Afreen and Sunil Bhandari.
Although the pandemic has halted and upset normal living, it has made poetry come alive perhaps in more ways than ever before with greater participation and interest. Sonnet Mondal, poet and festival Director , Chair Poetry Evenings, adds, “It is indeed painful to go online this year but I believe that the poetry that will be shared in the 3rd edition of this festival will be no less than a festival of human realization. Festivals all over the world have been hosting their events online this year and we are happy to have been able to keep the show going.”
Fellow festival Director ,Tushar Dhawal Singh joins in “Our emphasis is on promising poetry from around the globe. The hard work is on and the allure is guaranteed. The world has seen enough this year but such a crisis shall not be able to bind our thoughts. It’s high time the real human voice is heard though poetry that has sustained us through the ages,”
The event would be available for viewing through live streams on the YouTube and Facebook pages of the Chair Poetry Evenings for a global audience on all five days.