The expansive Cubbon Park seamlessly transforms into a cultural melting pot of the city on weekends. There are so many events happening at any particular time that one shouldn’t be surprised to find a couple of poetry events underway in two different corners of the park at the same time. However, when one is faced by the question – how much is enough? it becomes clear that no number of such events would be enough. Imagine a city, a village or a town with lines of the named and unnamed poets and vacillating voices of various developmental philosophies of the time, floating in the air. What pleasure it would be to see people discussing ideas and just ideas everywhere! Utopian dream? Maybe, but this group doesn’t care.
Yard of the Bards conducted their third poetry meetup last Sunday. Yard of the Bards or YOTB is a movement that aims to establish a loosely bound group of poets, writers, and thinkers without necessarily having a head or a convener. Irrespective of the city or country, this open group can have members join in depending upon their availability to discuss and deliberate. Starting from Bangalore, the movement aims to organize such meetups across the country.
Last Sunday, the meetup theme happened to be Poetry and Politics. There couldn’t have been a more relevant theme given the time and recent political developments around us. With elections nearing in multiple states, the movement of Jallikattu enunciating several significant facts about people of India and people’s movements in India, the event was aptly timed. The meetup started with a short introduction of attendees at around 11am. Poems on politics and poems by politicians were recited and discussed at length. The first poem recited was ‘To the Fourth of July’, a poem written by Swami Vivekananda whose birthday was celebrated the world over on the 12th of Jan. The poem was composed marking America’s Independence Day. The session intensified as there were poems recited that spoke of the sand mafia excesses on Tamil Nadu rivers and spoke of the dead conscience of the society. Invariably, debate after debate ensued. Right vs the left in Indian context, geographical identities and linked discriminatory practices, the New Year eve mishap in the city, the Jallikattu protests, and various myriad issues were spoken of.
A pleasant addition to the event was the merger of another poetry event slated for a parallel duration, themed on nature organized by Zero Budget Poetry group. The second leg of Yard of the Bards also saw the same poets reciting poems touching upon various realms of nature. When a Wordsworth recital follows the recital of Paash- one cannot not feel the two extremes of human emotions, seeping through their skin. It was an incredible coming together of poets and patrons.
When a public space in the city is put to such use by the enlightened citizenry, it becomes incumbent upon us to give more strength to the movement. Yard of the Bards is meeting again to discuss ‘Ayn Rand and Her Manifesto’. If you’re from a different city than Bangalore and would like to organize a YOTB meet in your city, you may get in touch with us through our facebook page.
The article was originally published on EventsHigh.