Monday, December 7, 2009

2009 Campaign PR (28/11):Not silence, but verse: Poetry reading

As part of its 16 Days against Gender Violence Campaign, Prajnya, a Chennai-based centre for research, networking and public education, held a poetry reading titled, “ Not Silence but Verse” at a bookstore Full Circle, here on Saturday.

Poets Susan Hawthorn, Sivakami and “Kutti” Revathi read out some of their work to a spell bound audience. While feminism was the recurring theme in each of the three poets’ works, it was the distinctive approach that each had that made the reading an engrossing one.

Moderating the reading, Professor K.Srilatha from IIT-Madras said, “Feminist poetry is like a double edged sword. Pointing outwards, the sword speaks out at the propogators of violence and those who cause hurt to women, however, pointing inwards, it is like a surgical knife- that heals and soothes.”

Susan Hawthord, a feminist activist and poet from Australia spoke about her interest in the ways in which women were demonised, much of her work revolves around this sphere. Her poem about women prisoners, “In the prisons” struck a chord with the audience. “Women find themselves criminalized for who they are and not always for what they have done,” she said.

Sivagami who is also secretary of the Chennai Poets Circle won the hearts of the audience with her passionate recitation of some of her poems like “An Unaccustomed Custom” and “The Doom of Silence”. Much of her poetry were from scenes she had witnessed in real life, or things she had read about. “ If I don’t read anything, I tend to not find anything to write about!” she confessed.

Tamil Poet ‘Kutti’ Revathi’s poems were a revelation. Mostly revolving around the politics of the female body, her poems have always been subjected to controversy and criticism. “A woman’s body takes the shape of the structure that men allot,” she opined quoting examples from advertising and films.

Earlier, a 2-hour long creative writing workshop held for college students was facilitated by K. Srilatha. It aimed at triggering thought processes and ideas for fiction and poetry writing.

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