"At the 21st Medellin Poetry Festival, directors of 37 Poetry Festivals worldwide discussed the relationship between poetry and peace and reconstruction of the human spirit, nature reconciliation and recovery, unity and cultural diversity of the peoples, material misery and poetic justice, and actions to take towards the globalization of  poetry."

I, from my Indian background still don't understand it very well. Can poetry change the world, or at least the hearts of a few people? Did we ever use word power against any type of crime in modern times (especially in India)? Isn't it true that very often the wrong words used indiscriminately are the root cause of most of the problems we encounter? Is it possible that the right words spoken in the right manner at the opportune moment bring about positive outcomes?

Can we create at least peace through poetry, though we have a number of spiritual poets in different languages? The poetry is used as prayers in our society, but are we able to bring peace through poems? Forget about unity, we poets do not have unity in our country; we talk about our different ideologies, but never try to search for and identify a common thread linking all the ideologies. We have cultural diversity, which is the most beautiful thing in the world, but do we have unity? Globalization for us means money or blind technology. Can we change this attitude through poetry....?

Is it possible...?

Is it impossible ....? 

It is possible; just take the example of Medellin. The city which was called the most dangerous city in the world for a long time ... the city, which still carries the embers of those bad days in her heart .... The city which is still struggling with a number of issues, welcomes the poetry from all around the world with an open heart. 

How come thousands and thousands of people gather in an open ground and enjoy poetry? Because of fear? Yes, that was what Fernando Rendon, Director Festival International de Poesia de Medellin (Colombia) acknowledged.  When I asked him, how he could believe in poetry, even when his city was passing through such bad times, he replied-I was afraid, I was afraid of cruelty, unkindness and darkness of the heart. Poetry was the sacred sanctum for me and other poetry lovers like me. We were not allowed to go out in the evenings, we were very much afraid, and then to fight against the all consuming fear, we started poetry reading in public places - where people could come out from the grip of fear and interact with each other.  

I read the words from history, where Fernando Rendon says-

 "Pain sensitizes us. Poetry enables us to cope with the crisis and to identify with our city despite the hostilities of the war.  People welcome poetry because it is a way of living life again. It also reminds us of the past, when poets spoke directly to a community rather than through the print media. Poetry is a real test: the search for the unknown and the resurrection of humankind.  It also provides certainty that life has not been completely lost or destroyed. That is why the people who live in and around Medellin heed the call of poetry." 

I was astonished- I asked Fernando Rendon, how come you have faith in poetry, and he replied - I got this faith from poetry

And his faith took 20 years to grow and bear fruit in the form of such an amazing social moment. It is said that Medellin is not so difficult these days (though people still harbor the fear of old days in their hearts) but it is true that poetry festivals over these 20 years have definitely made an impact on the people. It has instilled in the common people the passion to understand poetry and make it an effective medium for constructive social interaction. People do not want to go back to the dark hours they had recently experienced. .... 

 

One has to acknowledge that the full credit for this remarkable achievement has to be given to Fernando Rendon and his team, the amount of hard work they put in and the pain and agony they experienced in the process. But as Rendon himself says, the most important factor here is poetry,  its live, breathing spirit which gave them the strength they needed so desperately.

So?

Why should I doubt at all about the immense power of poetry?

Why should I feel insecure about the future of poetry? 

Poetry does have an intrinsic social connection, and undoubtedly the power of poetry can bring about many essential social transformations, but it requires a lot of pain and selfless hard work on the part of the poets with a social obligation.  

It is important that poetry is brought to the mainstream and within easy reach of the common people. The present system in which the world of glit and glamour occupies a front seat and poetry is confined to an insignificant corner has to change. The sooner that change is ushered in, the better. 

This road is not an easy one to tread, but we can with committed team effort, driven by genuine love for poetry.

Kritya is learning from each moment and each experience thrown in her path, and trying to work along those lines that will bring the best results for poetry.  

Kritya works in a humble manner, but tries to club together all the art forms and go hand in hand with them in search of the right direction, in search of that welcoming beacon of light.

Kritya still has faith in poetry . . .

The artist of this issue is Ms. Bhavana Cowdhari..

Ameen

Rati Saxena

Please check the report from medellin about kritya- 

 

http://www.eltiempo.com/colombia/medellin/los-festivales-de-poesia-para-que_9862324-

 

letters to editor
 

My Voice | Poetry In Our Time | In The Name Of Poetry | Editor's Choice | Our Masters
 
Who We Are | Back Issues | Submission | Contact Us | Home