On March 27,a group of poetry enthusiasts gathered for a special first show in the city. It was the launch of an informal poetry appreciation club called ‘Anandvaneey’. The event featured the recitation of the late social worker,Baba Amte’s popular as well as little-known poems. Verse from his book,Jwala ani Fule ,were read out by the participants,while vocalist Ravindra Sathe even put a few of the poems to song. “Our intentions are two-fold,” says Sachin Joshi,a playwright and poetry enthusiast who was a participant. “The first is of course that people should get to know about his poetry. Second is to drive the work that Anandvan is doing,by collecting money for it.”
Anandvaneey is the newest addition in the still active poetry landscape of Pune. Along with book clubs,theatre plays,and online magazines,poetry has fostered in the city’s literature-conscious community. A varied set of people have organised events and performances that have emphasised recitation of classic as well as original verses,and also in-depth discussion over its form and meaning. Poetry has survived in its more traditional form here,even as more modern takes like spoken word find firmer ground in the city.
“I was first exposed to spoken word through a workshop that was held at a city cafe. I loved the concept,and it has pushed me to write more poems,” recalls Shraddha Rai,a freelance writer. Egging people on to write more poetry and inspiring discussions has been the most significant outfall of these efforts. In December last year,the British Council Library organised a first-ever ‘Poetry Slam’,a competition where amateur poets could come and present their work. “It was a big hit,I was surprised by the number of people who came. They didn’t just listen,they also participated,” says Mukta Patil,who was one of the participants.
Patil is also part of the team which brings out the literary magazine,Blu Slate . The second issue of the magazine will feature the works of about eight poets,including that of budding writers like Anusha Gopinath and Natasha Hemarajini. The recently-concluded ‘Pulotsav’ is an annual celebration of the rich Marathi poetic legacy,while the ‘Free Voices’ group on Facebook tries to bring together the works of writers of all profiles on one page. For the followers of this form,poetry’s appeal is in its effectiveness of message. Baba Amte’s poems were not products of his imagination,they spoke about his struggles with social work. Poetry is the best medium of expression of his work and ideals, says Joshi.