International Poetry Festival returns to Kolkata with its Sixth edition to start today

One of the biggest poetry events of the world, the sixth edition of the Kolkata’s International Poetry Festival – Chair Poetry Evenings is once again here and it will start from Friday. As in previous years, this three-day festival to be held from November 24 to 26 will bring together a diverse group of poets, writers, and thinkers from about eight countries for poetry enthusiasts and city dwellers to enjoy hearing some of the greatest voices and verses from the literary world.International participants from eight countries include Guy Helminger, Sabine Venaruzzo, Amir Or, Annie Finch, Diti Ronen, Dominique De Groen, Iduna Paalman, Marwan Makhoul, Mary Jean Chan and Jen Campbell. Indian poets to perform at the festival include Mani Rao, Robin Ngangom, Sarabjeet Garcha, Dipika Mukherjee, Mandakranta Sen, Udayan Vajpeyi, Shubhabrata Banerjee, and Swami Antar Nirav, according to a media release.The festival will take place in Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad auditorium, followed by various events at Alliance Française du Bengale, Samilton Hotel Could Tavern, and will culminate with its signature event ‘Poetry on the Cruise’ on river Hooghly.

Folk and Sufi musical rendition ‘Multiverse’ will be presented in the opening ceremony of the festival by Urmi Choudhury, Soumya Shankar Roy, and Prajna Dutta.This year’s festival will also witness the launch of Chair Literary Trust’s publishing imprint Chair Poetry Books. Two books of poetry, titled ‘All We have’ by Sarabjeet Garcha and ‘Echo of a Stone’ by Estonian poet Mathura aka Margus Lattik will be launched from Chair Poetry Books on November 25. Youthful Elegies, an anthology of college and school students edited by Anindita Bose will also be launched during the festival.The event hosted by Chair Literary Trust has been made possible with the cooperation and support of the Dutch Foundation for Literature, Flanders, Belgium, Luxembourg Cultural Institute, Alliance française, Samilton Hotel, and Vivada Cruises Pvt. Ltd. among others.Previous participants in Chair Poetry Evenings include literary stalwarts like booker prize winning author Ben Okri, Pulitzer Prize award winning poets Forrest Gander and Vijay Sheshadri, Ruth Padel, Nikola Madzirov, Ashok Vajpeyi, Sahitya Akademi award winning poets like ManagaleshDabral, K Satchidanandan, Rajesh Joshi among others. The festival in the course of five years has presented poetry from poets from more than 22 countries and languages.Eminent poet and festival director Sonnet Mondal said, ‘Poetry and art appreciation continue to be vital for humanity, particularly in a world where most of the world is experiencing war, conflicts, demonisation of democratic rights, and restrictions on basic freedoms.

Our mission is to infuse poetry’s significance and flavour into the many literary and artistic events that Kolkata, India’s cultural capital, has been regularly organising.”“Through this festival, we hope to present voices that are resolute in the face of anything that threatens humanity. Poetry has always been the foundation of national and international discourses. With the help of our core festival team members, especially Amit Das, Anindita Bose, and Namrota Purakayastha, I hope that this year’s festival will be able to present poems and ideas that people will be able to carry with them for a long time,” Mondal said.Hindi poet and Festival director Tushar Dhawal Singh said, ‘Poetry and creative ideas, in my opinion, are a “push back” against all these forces that are working against humanity in these troubled times of war and terrorism, radicalised and fanatical mindsets, weaponization of ideologies, and greed. Poetry tends to instil in its readers’ minds more fertile notions of living and expressing because of its central concern with the idea of becoming more and more human.” “The Chair Poetry Evenings honours all the hues and diversity of life, creation, and humanity. We are excited to share the compassionate voices of those suffering from cruel ideologies and influences,” Singh added.