The past few months we have been exploring Poetry at Bookworm. For brief moments of time, during our weekly team meetings, we suspend everything to allow words, line by line to unfold and overtake our senses. We seep ourselves into the poem being read, asking sometimes for it to be read again, or passed around, to allow ourselves the savouring that good poetry demands, until we meet again to listen to more poetry.
This was hardly natural for the Bookworm team, whose prior experience with poetry rested firmly with the school text book. We have slowly been immersed into the world of poetry by a steady diet of fine poems, startling good poetry picture books, poetry talk, poetry walks, poetry writing workshops, poet meetings and more. Almost a constant hailstorm of poetry. This has resulted in a team who are alive to the possibilities of poetry and we brought this to a head, on World Poetry Day.
The Bookworm way is to go slightly crazy and do things that have never been done before. We spent a fortnight identifying poems in different formats that we would like to share with people. We made copies of them, over one hundred poems were piled into baskets. We chose a few poems to dramatise and for readings and we were off.
The Panjim bus stand, the Panjim market, unsuspecting police men on the road, the Dempo College of Commerce at Altinho, the Goa University canteen, the Ferry point, a cafe and Miramar Beach. People joined us for some of the events and through out the day, we shared poetry. It was exhilarating to say the least and each and every participant had something to say.
Some responses are here
When you have a brave team together you can pull off anything.
World Poetry Day was one of the highlight events we have done recently and there was lots of preparation done for finding poetry and to do the performances. There was great teamwork and while we were distributing poems, some people were hesitant to take it but some of them really knew about the event. As we were doing something new, it was a great effort when everything came together.
The telephone conversation sometimes repeats itself in my head – including Leeja’s soft-voiced, ‘Kavi, Manoharrai Sardessai’.
The vegetable market scene was a hit as many known vendors told me last week but the ladies near the fruits stall side could not hear us. One gentleman Bhau wanted to know why we did not read any Marathi poem.
I feel our morning session with the public was just marvelous except our visit at Goa University. That was a complete disappointment.It was nice to see that parent and youths had joined to celebrate the world poetry day. The memorable moment for me was at the beach where all of us read laud our poem to everyone. We got to hear all the voices that were present over there. Everybody was enjoying the moment and cherishing poem. Poem which was read out was selected by the poem lovers which included all of us. Public who were present on the beach were cherishing the poem which was handled by them. it was a lovely moment spent with the team and with the poetry lover. Nobody devalued or discarded our poem. Everybody took it respected, READ it.
Some of my favorite moments were when we gave haikus through the car windows- to a traffic policeman, to some school children, to an elderly shopper, to some German tourists. All of them, without fail, took the poems and the wishes ‘Happy Poetry Day!’, with surprise, smiling. The elderly shopper wished us back. This, to me, summed up the spirit of the day.
One of my best moment was when I wished people “Happy World Poetry Day” and distributed poems to them, they asked me if the poems were for them? They smiled and took it happily when I replied affirmatively.
I liked the most the presentation of Melcom of the poem where the old woman goes to the feast of Mapusa; Especially his presentation of the last stanza, he really acted it out well. By the end of the session at the beach, everywhere we looked, we found people with our poems in their hands and they were reading them, It was really a nice sight to see!
Bright and early on a sultry Monday morning, in a corner of the Panjim bus stand a merry band of ten (?) amid peals of laughter and reassuring encouragement gathered to fly two glorious flags high- its zari shimmering in the sun.
Drum in hand, baskets of poems firmly by the waist, in a procession that gathered much curiosity, a day of poems had begun.
The magic was in the novelty of the idea and in the words. After each performance, for a few wondrous moments, the crowd had their noses in a poem. Strangers shared, smiled in bewilderment at each other and perhaps went back home with a bit of magic to talk about.
In the market, fruit sellers looked on as elephants trumpeted,and kisses and green grass blew.
Patients in intimidating dental chairs chilled to Manohar Rai Sardessai as wonderful Ferdie grinned from ear to ear.