Kolkata, India, was recently treated to a feast of poetic musings late last month with the foray of the Chair Literary Trust that made its debut with the Chair Poetry Evenings – the first international poetry festival that saw an impressive collection of acclaimed poets both from India and abroad. Khmer Times was one of the media sponsors.
The Chair Literary Trust was founded by Tushar Dhawal Singh and Sonnet Mondal in August 2018. The two poets chose Kolkata to host their inaugural festival as a natural option, as the city is known to be a haven for writers, poets and artists.
The festival opened on November 23 at Rotary Sadan with poet Shankha Ghosh and actor Victor Banerjee inaugurating the fest.
Speaking at the gathering, the actor applauded the efforts of directors, Chair Literary Trust, Sonnet Mondal and Tushar Dhawal Singh. He stated they needed to be lauded for organising an event like this something like this in the age of ramps and stage shows. Addressing the visiting poets, the actor welcomed them to Kolkata – a city which he said, “Will always give you the applause you need and deserve. Kolkata bleeds for art and poetry and Bengal breathes poetry and culture.”
All the 14 attending poets recited their poems in their native tongue followed by English recitations. The poets in attendance were Vladimir Martinovski (Macedonia), Miriam Van Hee (Belgium), Les Wicks (Australia), Barbara Pogacnik (Slovenia), Alfred Schaffer (Netherlands), Yekta (France), Rajesh Joshi (India), Arun Kamal (India), Mangalesh Dabral (India), K. Satchidanandan (India), Nitoo Das (India), Subodh Sarkar (India) and Binayak Bandyopadhyay (India). John W Sexton (Ireland) could not attend but his poetry was read.
The festival then moved on November 24 to Calcutta Bungalow with heritage walks, poetry readings and talks and also more reading sessions at Sasha Studio in the evening. The fest ended in a unique way with Poetry on Cruise on November 25, the first of its kind in any fest so far where poets, guests, organizers sailed over the Ganges on an early winter evening with music, poetry readings and conversations.
The Chair Literary trust also declared the Poet in Residence programme to be hosted in Kolkata from December to January. Two to three selected poets from across the globe would be offered a stay for a month in the city with a scholarship to cover up their expenses in the city. The poets would be working on their latest manuscript and will be offered an opportunity to present public readings in the city.
“We are overwhelmed by the response of people and poets towards the inaugural Chair Poetry Evenings,” stated poet and founder director of Chair Poetry Evenings, Sonnet Mondal.
“We wanted this festival to start in a way that would make Kolkata a pilgrimage for poets across the world and I am happy that the event took place in the most appropriate way. I hope poetry would continue to bloom in the city through future endeavors of Chair Poetry Evenings.”