#TEOP (The Exile Of Poets, March 05, 2016):
Are there happy poets? Can one write poetry without having suffered (some) exile? Why has there been deep pessimism about poets, & might poets cause wars and genocide? How is deeply personal poetry dangerous? Does poetry represent perfect, universal and eternal truth? How is a poet different from a philosopher? Does poetry find its foothold in a good society, when philosophical truth is understood as a process, & not a product? How might limitless (anarchic) emotions be expressed given the limits of language? Can one ‘suggest’ that which cannot be written? How do ‘word’ and ‘meaning’ come together in poetry? What is the relationship between form and content? Is poetry a very personal use of language for the poet (and the reader)? What is the link between the ethical and the aesthetic? How might bhava become rasa? What happens the moment you come in contact with yourself? Is poem something whose essence cannot be removed from it? How & when do poems get exhausted? Should poetry be history? How did the ‘first’ poetry come to be? Is an exile always asked for? Might an exile be a voyage? Will ‘mistakes of intellect’ continue to happen? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from political theory & poetry (Prof. Ashwani Kumar, TISS, Mumbai), literature (Udayan Vajpeyi, Bhopal), & literary theory and philosophy (Prof. Sitanshu Yashaschandra, ex-M.S. University, Vadodara).
SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TEOP show.
Prof. Ashwani Kumar (political theory, poetry) is Professor & Chairperson, Centre for Public Policy, Habitat & Human Development, School of Development Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai). He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from University of Oklahoma (USA). He grew up in the shadows of Emergency India while chasing mythical shape-shifting snakes in smaller towns in undivided Bihar. He is author of ‘Community Warriors: State, Peasants and Caste Armies in Bihar’ (Anthem Press; London) and was one of the chief-editors of London School of Economics’ Year Book on ‘Global Civil Society; Poverty and Activism’ (International Sage; London) and also co-editor of German Development Institute’s publication ‘Power Shifts and Global Governance’ (Anthem Press; London). Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) has recently awarded him the Senior Fellowship. Exiled between what he calls ‘home and memory’, his poems are noted for ‘lyrical celebration’ of adolescent fantasies, unclaimed memories and subversive ‘whimsy’ quality. His anthology of poems ‘My Grandfather’s Imaginary Typewriter’ with a prolegomena by Ashis Nandy, has been published by T.P. Rajeevan in 2015. His poems have appeared in Indian Literature, Little Magazine, International Galleria, Post-Colonial Text, The India Quarterly, Muse India and Dhauli Review among others. He is currently working on his next anthology of poems and an academic manuscript on welfare regimes in India. He also writes for Financial Express, Business Standard, The Hindu, Indian Express, Open Democracy, Outlook, & Prabhat Khabar.
Udayan Vajpeyi (literature) is an essayist, poet, translator & short fiction and script writer and also teaches Physiology in Gandhi Medical College, Bhopal. He has recently written a book (‘Theatre of Grandeur’) on the theatre of Ratan Rhiyam. He has translated texts of Octavio Paz (Mexico), Borges (Argentina), Anton Chekhov (Russia), Joseph Brodsky (USSR), Tadeuz Rozewicz (Poland), Phillipe Jaccottee (France), Balchandran Chullikad (Malayalam), Nilim Kumar (Assamese), Shuntaro Tanikawa (Japan), & Frank Andre Jamme (France), among others, into Hindi. He has also translated Indian philosopher Ramachandra Gandhi’s book ‘Sita’s Kitchen’ into Hindi. A few of his published works include ‘Sudeshna’ (a short-story collection), ‘Abhed Aakash’ (a book of conversation with film maker Mani Kaul), & ‘Jangarh Kalam’ (a long essay on Pardhaan paintings along with the retold folk tales of Pardhaans). He was invited as writer-in-residence in Lavigny (Switzerland, 2000) and in Les Balles Etrangenres (France, 2002). He lectured at Bibliotheque Nationale (National Library), Paris (2003) and was a fellow at Institute of Advanced Studies in Nantes (France) in 2011. He has participated in various poetry festivals in India and abroad, including Biennale International de poetes in Val-de-Maurne (France,1997) and Kavita Shati (Century of Hindi poetry, Bhopal, 1999), & in Marche de la poesie (Paris, 2008). He was awarded Krishna Baldev Vaid award in 2001, and the Raza Foundation Fellowship in 2003.
Prof. Sitanshu Yashaschandra (literary theory, philosophy) is a leading representative of contemporary Gujarati literature. He has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Indiana University (USA) and another Ph.D. in Indian poetic from Mumbai University. A poet and playwright, he is also a critical theorist, translator and an academic. Some of his published poetry & plays include ‘Odysseusnu-n Halesu-n’ (1975), ‘Jatayu’ (1986), ‘Mohen-jo-dado’ (Audio-book, 1990), ‘Vakhaar’ (2008), ‘Kem Makanji kyan chalya’ (1999), ‘Nakkamo Manas Chhe Narasimha Maheta’ (2008), & ‘Akhaani Olakhaano’ (2009). He has read from his poems and plays at Paris, Berlin, Jaipur, Frankfurt, Delhi, Stuttgart, Chandigarh, Moscow, Riga, New York, Shimla, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seoul, & Zagreb, among others. He is a Fulbright Scholar and also a Ford West European Fellowship recipient. He has been the Vice Chancellor of Saurashtra University, an UGC Emeritus Professor and a National Lecturer, as well as Chief Editor of the Encyclopedia of Indian Literature (Sahitya Akademi). He has taught, as Professor and Chair of Gujarati, at M. S. University (Baroda) from 1972, and has been a visiting Professor at the Sorbonne University (Paris), University of Pennsylvania, the Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles), and Jadavpur University (Kolkata). He has received several awards including National Sahitya Akademi Award (1987), Narmad Suvarna Chandrak (Surat) (2002), Kavi Kusumagraj National Award (Maharashtra) (2013), and Gujarat Gaurav Award (2014).
Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.
#TEOP mentions: Kalidasa, Plato, Aristotle, Dante Alighieri, Ovid, Bhamaha, Abhinavagupta, Dandin, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Freud, Bergson, Antonio Porchia, Namdeo Dhasal, & Ben Okri, among others.