Poetry: A month long, largest celebration of life and words… and more!

Sunil Sharma

April.

Famously cruel for T.S. Eliot and his global fans, even today.

A 30-day-long celebration of poetry, in the very month of April, for others----the largest fest dedicated to words that make you smile or cry.

What started in America in the last century--- April,1996, as a small movement. The American Academy of Poets first introduced the idea as a homage to a form unique and the wealth of ideas, imagery, emotions and musicality---later caught on, in the rest of the world.

From North America, Canada, Central Americas, Poetry as a queen travelled slowly but surely to other parts of the world; winning devotees, hard-core loyalists---Poetry, as a sovereign ruling hearts-n-minds!

Who does not bow down to the majesty and sway of the Muses, especially Calliope; in thrall of the "Beautiful Voice" or, "Lovely", the other name of Erato, another sister.

The sacred not only in Greco-Roman culture but in the other centres of early civilizations going back to the mythic times, when the gods and humans conversed, often through oracles in special temples, and heroes walked the earth, guided by the gods, under star-lit skies and calmer seas.

In the age of industrialization and dehumanisation, the sacred got a new nomenclature and Mammon was/is the presiding deity.

But her reign continued.

Post-pandemic, her uninterrupted rule continues, unchallenged.

Poetry is on the rise!

Instagrammable.

A tweet.

Or a social-media quote.

To lift, uplift moods, distress the stress caused by social anxieties and traumas of the pandemic.

And, give solace.

Sample these inspiring words of the Nobel Laureate, Tomas Transtromer, the Swedish poet, lauded for his “translucent images” and remarkable metaphors, among other traits:

Tired of all who come with words, words but no language
I went to the snow-covered island.
The wild does not have words.
The unwritten pages spread themselves out in all directions!
I come across the marks of roe-deer's hooves in the snow.
Language, but no words.

Talking of the transformational property of poetry, the winner of the Bollingen Prize for American Poetry, 20233, Joy Harjo observes: “There’s always a poem out there that can change your life.”

The only provision: You should see it and listen!

About the power of the lyrical words, Harjo, the activist proclaims: “For me, poetry is a way to speak when you have no words."

On the other hand of the spectrum, away from the state and private honours, the quiet voice of dissidence; a voice that gives moral courage and hope for the readers; the inimitable voice of Dushyant Kumar, the iconic Hindi poet.

Look at this clarion call by him that resonates so well with the new-millennia audience across a harsh corporate culture: 

kaise ākāsh meñ sūrāḳh nahīñ ho saktā
ek patthar to tabī.at se uchhālo yaaro
(Rough translation: Who says a hole cannot be drilled in the sky?
Send up a stone with enthusiasm, buddy!)

Talking of April and poetry, eminent poet and senior editor Robert Maddox- Harle says in this month’s focus on April as the month of Poetry:

April returns in its cyclic journey

poets become nervous and agitated

contemplating the cruellest month,

the words attack us from beyond

is there solace in their cadence and flow?

is there any salvation in the metrical incantations?

 

That is poetry in its splendour.

April: Cruel and kind, both.

We thank the contributing poets for the themed call and other contributors for their kind support.

This month Setu crossed 35-lakh views.

Thanks to you, dear readers!

Enjoy!

Sunil Sharma

Editor, Setu (English)
Toronto, Canada

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