Bangalore got its own Poetry Festival this year. Considering the fact that the city has a strong and vibrant poetry community that thrives in the bookstores, cafes, and parks; a poetry festival was in fact due and perhaps should have even come earlier than now. The festival was liked by most of the attendants. I must most sincerely thank the organizers for such a Herculean effort.
There is one more thing that must be spoken about. A book was specially commissioned to be unveiled at the festival. Po’try was released as an anthology of poems that were shortlisted from the entries that were received in response to the poetry contest conducted as part of the festival. The entries were supposed to be in English, Hindi, or Kannada and required the number of lines to be more than 25.
As per the claim made by the publishers, some 300 poems were received out of which 159 were shortlisted to be published. The selected poets were asked to pay a sum of 1000 INR for 5 copies of the book. They were given a transaction code upon payment and were told to collect their copies after the unveiling of the book during the last session of Day-1 of the festival. 159 poets – 5 copies each, this amounts to a bare minimum of 795 copies of the book. However, the publisher company brought only about 50 copies to the festival. What followed reeked of complete absence of professionalism, humility, or any kind of empathy for the poets who had gathered to collect their copies. At this point, I must disclose the name of the publishing partner of the BPF 2016 – Raindrops Company headed by one Mr. Bernard Dsa. Though such a company must be ignored and not be given any kind of reading space on social media, I thought it prudent to write about the experience I had with them so that the people who are coming next are aware of the narcissism of the company. Rest of the evening of the festival was spent in remorseless series of selfies by the publisher while the poets stood by another poet who somehow had volunteered to keep 2 copies of the book on display so that people could come and get a photo clicked with the publisher holding their book.
Click. Done. Return the book. Next!
I got hold of the book 2 weeks after I had forgotten about it. Though I was never much excited about my poem getting published in the book, it was still a good feeling to have the book in my hands. However, after having a glimpse of the inside pages, that feeling was short-lived. The book stands out for its shoddy editing, floundering the rules of the contest laid down by the organizers themselves, publishing same poem multiple number of times under different poets’s names and titles. Horrid editing will be an understatement. This book has not been edited at all. There are poems that are in Hindi but published in Roman script without any transliteration marks. In spite of all these blunders, the biggest irony of this book would be the strong-arming of the contributing poets to pay up 1000 INR in advance without giving them a control on the number of copies they wanted. Raindrops Company sent a sermon that the poets would need 5 copies each and hence they must pay 1000 INR in advance to receive those 5 copies. The company didn’t stop there. It wanted to spit in our face, so it priced the book at 180 INR on Amazon.
I still had sympathy for the poets who had landed up in the hands of such a terrible publisher and hence went on to read all the poems except 3 or 4 poems written in Kannada. Well, I found a silver lining. Please find below the list of 58 poems that I loved from the book. If you have already decided to not buy the book, try looking for the poets on facebook, they might be kind enough to share their published poems with you. Please note that this is not a ranked list.
Hark! - Abhishek Kumar Singh
Empty Piece of Paper Flutters Around - Dr. Aakash Dhruva
Cracked & Splintered - Aishwarya Soni
प्रतिबिंबित - Akanksha Bumb
Distant Vespers - Amrendra Pandey
I am Indeed - Ankit Mishra
These Kindnesses - Ankush Banerjee
पहाड़ और समंदर - Anshul Nagori
Unfettered - Apoorva Viji Shivaram
Aquarium - M. Ashitha
Deathwish - Ashvani Sachdev
Scatterbrain Syndrome - Avani Jain
The Unchanted Souls - Dr. Debashish Sengupta
She-An Unparalleled Work of Art - Debarati Saha
वाद विवाद - Gaurav B Gothi
Antarctica - Gaurav Chauhan
खून पतला हो चला - Gaurav Tiwari
Ice'scapades - Gayathri Rao
Sun's Story - Ilu
प्रकृति हूँ मैं ही - Jaya Srinivasan
A Cuckoo Calls - Lovie D'sa
Does a Bonsai Tree Dare Dream? - Lynessa Coutto
Theatre du Reve - Praveen Dhawan
जन्मदिन - Priyank Anand
It was a Dream - Mahima Prasanna
Bliss in solitude - Mahua Sen
Back Home - Maitrayee
Twilight - Mallika Bhaumik
The Pendulum Heart - Mihika Shankar Shivni
All Things Put Aside - Nishu Mathur
Pacification - Nitish Nair
The Impossibility of Us - Purnima Gopalakrishnan
Sitting There - Rahul Raghunath
कर्ण का धर्म - Rajesh Joshi
याद है सिर्फ - Ranjana Tripathi
A Trilogy of Musings - Rashmi Jejurikar
Circling into the Center - Reshma Mudirakkal
Us and Them - Rohit Nand
Journey to You - Aimey Maggie Augustine
Chikku Mara - Sandip Mondal
No filter - Shachi Srivastava
Death - Shruthi Vishwanath
The Oracle - Shyni kp
Meet - Srinivasacharya Darbhasayanam
Disclaimer - Siddharth Shukla
On My Grandmother - Sihi Nagathihalli
A Disjointed Symphony - Simran Sethi
Father - Sindhu Verma
The Earth you Fought - Soujanya K.
Cry of Wicked Souls - Sarala Balachandran
Saudade - Sreeparna Chattopadhyay
Inheritance - Suganya Lakshmi
थोड़ा और पकने दो - Tarundeep Kaur
तलाश - विभूति/Vibhuti
निशब्द - Vidya Krishna
A gloomy rose - Vignesh
H.O.M.E - Yamini Acharya
Declarative Memory - Yumna Harisingh Jawa
This is not to suggest other poets were not good. Yes, there were a few who should have been more serious with their contributions but perhaps the publishers didn’t deserve better. Nevertheless, congratulations to every poet who has got published. Good Edit-Bad Edit – You are a published poet now and you have our best wishes.
Mandatory Disclosure – Writer’s poem was also published in the Anthology.