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Mangaluru: Prabodh Parikh reflects on poetry as way of life at Kavita Trust's Endowment Lecture

James and Shobha Mendonca – VII Endowment Lecture on Poetry

Sandhya D'Souza

Pics: Dayanand Kukkaje

Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru

Mangaluru, Sep 16: In an unique attempt to understand ‘poetry as the way of life’, renowned Gujarati and English poet and fiction writer Prabodh Parikh reflected on works of poets Pablo Neruda, Andre Breton, persecuted Russian poet Osip Mandelstam, Dilip Chitre, John Cage and others at James and Shobha Mendonca – VII Endowment Lecture on Poetry.

The enlightening session organised by Kavita Trust in association with St Agnes College was held on Saturday, September 15 at 5 pm at St Agnes Conference Hall.

Quoting Andre Breton who wrote 'one can be a poet without writing a single line of poetry', Parikh said that feeling like a poet and not being able to write is a traumatic feeling which leads to different distresses in life.

“What counts is to have one’s own voice. Do we before we die, make that journey to arrive at one’s own voice? If we do that, our language, neighbourhood, country, world and everything surrounding us is in good shape,” he said.

“While reflections mostly deal with one’s own self, in poetry it’s not the poetry that matters but the person who receives it. Hence at the heart of all conversations, while sharing joys and sorrows, it’s important you are yourself and once in a way everyone needs a good song,” he said.

Parikh explained that poetry has something more to do than the languages involved. “Poetry is a meta language which is shared by all the languages of the world. Poetry is the ringing in ones ears. It leaves behind something after it is over similar to music whose melody continues even after the last note is played,” he opined.

Speaking about poetry being dangerous in reference to persecuted poet Osip Mandelstam, Parikh said, “Writing poetry is not an act of innocence. It can become a matter of life and death. Imagine if you are roaming around with a book on ‘anthology of naxalite poetry’ won’t it become questionable,” he asked.

Mandelstam in his work has spoken about poetry being that meta language, said Parikh quoting one of his work in which he said “Don’t compare: everything that is alive is matchless.”

“This absolute singleness of every human voice from the richest to the poorest, from the purest to the evilest don’t compare. Well this is the voice of Meta language. Mandelstam spoke to the rest of humanity and paid with his life for saying it in a tyrannical fascist society. Poetry can become a matter of life and death. The one who tries to stop a poet knows the impact poetry can have on a human psyche,” he explained.

Parikh then tried to analyse ‘the poet’. “Who is this poet? It is not necessary for a poet to look like a poet,” he said. Trying to elaborate he quoted John Cage who said “I have nothing to say and I am saying it and that is poetry”.

“Many poets are angry and have many things to say, but poets can also be relaxed. Many poets carry the burden of their likes and dislikes and this is reflected in their poetry, but then there are also the ones who are at peace with everything as it is. This is called as ‘shanthras’ and poetry that emerges from being relaxed is poetry of non-resentment,” he explained.

Parikh then highlighted another unique feature of poets and poetry with regard to being witnesses.

Quoting Dilp Chitre’s poem ‘Witness’, “I am here to see what others do not, to hear what others cannot, to touch what anybody can but no one cares to feel, to taste what perishes, to smell the withering events of life and to preserve it all and to even go on adding tender wrinkles inside a stone head,” Parikh explained that a poet witnesses and adds more to what he has seen and felt. “A poet has the courage to look into the eye of what others try to avoid,” he said.

Trying to sum up, he put in simple words that poetry is nothing else but desperation of making sense of two events that is being born in this world and dying. Poetry records all the emotions and happenings between these two events.

Prabodh Parikh was honoured by Kavita Trust founder president Melvyn Rodrigues, president Kishore Gonsalves and trustee William Pais with book ‘Land called South Canara’.

Eminent Konkani writer Basti Vaman Shenoy, Shobha Mendonca, St Agnes College Principal Sr Jeswina AC among other dignitaries were present. St Agnes College English Lecturer Malani Hebbar compered the event.

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Comment on this article

  • Vincent Rodrigues, Katapadi/Bangalore

    Sun, Sep 16 2018

    Nice to have these intellectuals to promote our wisdom and attitude.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • R Bhandarkar, Mangaluru

    Sun, Sep 16 2018

    Trust Kavitha Trust to do the most pleasant and conduct .the most relevant event in accordance with it's name during the James and Shobha Mendonca Endowment
    Lecture on Poetry !
    The likes of Gulzar,Arundathi Subramaniam ,Jerry Pinto ,Ashok.Bajpai,and Yesterday Prabodh Parikh ! Astounding experience just listening to the word flow
    that just cannot be re related! And I maintain that many Mangaloreans do not know
    just do not know what they are missing inclined to poetry or otherwise....
    Keep up the good work all organisers and office bearers of the Kavitha Trust.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Hemant Shah, Mumbai

    Sun, Sep 16 2018

    Prabhadevi is sadhyant ( Gujarati word for total poet)
    I can see his deep dives in poetry of across geographical and across historical
    Period. Time and space that he knows, feels and conveys is itself a poetic living as he does..

    DisAgree [1] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ronald D, Udupi

    Sun, Sep 16 2018

    Keep it up Kavata Trust, you have been doing a wonderful job!

    DisAgree [1] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Sun, Sep 16 2018

    Karnataka welcomes all Intellectuals like Prabodh Parikh ...

    DisAgree [1] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

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Title : Mangaluru: Prabodh Parikh reflects on poetry as way of life at Kavita Trust's Endowment Lecture


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