There is magic in poetry, magic woven from words that tumble out of personal experiences and resonate in the hearts of innumerable others, some strangers, some known.
As the famed Italian poet, Salvatore Quasimodo said, ‘poetry… is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own’.
Poetry, after all, is a reflection of our emotions, our passion, our grief, our love and longing; it is a mirror to the society we live in.
The second season of Insperante’s online Open Mic Poetry was a celebration of this art form with poetry narrations by 19 poets –amateurs and veterans. Hosted by the charming Sangeeta Bhattacharya and overseen by Sakshi Jain of Insperante, it was a joyous meeting of word weavers who came together to share, learn, inspire.
The poems were expressions! Love notes written to the self during a time of adversity, pondering over the essence of a single cup of chai, the longing to meet a loved one, the joy of love… or words that struggle to encompass personal suffering, nostalgic recognitions of memories and some, weaving memories for the future generation. Noteworthy were the hard-hitting record about mental health issues from a young voice and two generations narrating their perspectives on feminism. The most popular and engaging topics that saw poets being quirky and insightful, romantic and lovelorn were ‘lockdown’ and ‘monsoon’ – the flavours of the season!
Narrations by the budding poets were beautifully interspersed with conversations with the more established poets – like the multi-faceted Abhinav Nagar, crime reporter Shams Tahir Khan, marketing professional Abhin Suresh Khare, poetess Dr Harshali Singh – who arrived as guests to talk about their respective journeys but remained as vivid viewers to listen to fellow poets. Amid the variety of topics the guests spoke about – some of them worth taking notes from – one of the most insightful discussions was on the balance of contemporary poetry vis-à-vis more traditional form of poetry at a time when language, unfortunately, is not a subject of interest. Citing the example of peers who write in chaste Urdu and have ardent admirers for the way they preserve the particular style of writing, experts explained that every poet must discover their writing style. Then, and only then, will a poet have control over words. “You need to be aware of what you are writing, be it contemporary or traditional. Only then will it be relatable,” a guest added, commending Insperante for providing a platform to poets, especially those who were sharing their words on a public platform for the first time.
For those who came in late, an Open Mic is a live platform for amateur poets and spoken word artists (among others), allowing them a chance to perform before a live audience. Traditionally, Open Mic events are organised at a coffeehouse, pub, nightclub of comedy club with a dedicated host and each performer allotted time. The ‘budding’ or ‘amateur’ part of a traditional Open Mic, however, did not apply to the participants of Insperante’s session as each poet, irrespective of the number of years they’ve been writing, gave their online audience a glimpse at unique perspectives. As someone rightly said, “A poet’s heart is gentle and soft, giving us a view of the world through different glasses.”
Benefits of taking part in an Open Mic
- Builds confidence level
- Helps develop oral narration skills
- Compels you to peruse work from a critical point of view
- Enables networking and learning
- A great way to share your work!