SheThePeople.TV is partnering with the Poets Translating Poets Festival to be held on November 25-27 across Mumbai. Fifty poets have participated in a two year long project which aimed to provide a forum to contemporary poets from India and other South Asian countries and Germany to translate poetry across several languages. The festival in Mumbai will comprise poetry readings, discussions, photo exhibitions and exciting performances, including jazz poetry performances, and readings in unexpected parts of the city!  

Also Read: Meet the Poets: Pradnya Daya Pawar

SheThePeople.TV checked in with Dawngi Chawngthu, a poet and educationist from Mizoram, to understand her inspirations, how music has been a part of poetry, and her love for The Beatles. 

An introvert by nature, Dawngi says writing has been an outlet for her. “Poetry adds colour to my life! I love reading poetry just as much as I enjoy writing it.”

Poets Translate Poets
For people who don’t read poetry, we ask her what would be the purpose of it?

She says, “Poetry continues to be an influential medium to register historical facts, social norms and lifestyle and an important means of documentation. In the digital age that we are living in today, life has become fast-paced in a virtual world. This has brought on new language norms that require crisp, compact and effective use of language for quick communication. Economy of words is a virtue in writing poetry as well as a survival kit in this digital world. Anyone would benefit from reading poetry even though they may miss the artistic pleasure inherent in a poem.”

Anyone would benefit from reading poetry even though they may miss the artistic pleasure inherent in a poem

Recently, the literary world got riled up with the recent news of Bob Dylan getting the Nobel Prize. Dawngi, who grew up in the era of Beatles and The Seekers, gives us her two cents: “Bob Dylan ruled through our days at the University, words of his songs scribbled on our desks and notebooks. I believe he truly deserved the Nobel Prize, for who can contradict the fact that his ballads are sheer poetry. They have stood the test of time and the appeal of ‘Blowing in the Wind’ still blows strong.”

Dawngi - The poet from Mizoram
Dawngi Chawngthu- A poet from Mizoram. Picture Credit: Poets Translating Poets

She also mentions that some of the fast rap we listen to today also has poetry in motion, we just need to lend an ear to it. It’s different, for sure, but a poem with a tune for sure. Take Adele’s “Someone Like You” for example!

Relishing clever world play is something that attracts Dawngi’s attention. “I am attracted to poems that are not over-burdened with high sounding words and are not controlled by rhyme schemes. As for subject-matter I particularly enjoy poems that bring out new dimensions of things other than what already exists, that leave space for readers to wonder.”

Read one of Dawngi Chawngthu’s poems 

the other side

he circles his pond
the pond he lives in
the pond that raised him
the pond that sustains him
the pond that at times
suffocates him
looking up at the
beautiful water lily
he wonders….
what it would be like
living on the other side…

Poem reproduced courtesy the Poets Translating Poets Festival. You can read more of her poetry here

Her poems itself are inspired from life and Mother Nature in all its forms. She adds, “A fallen flower, a bird on a tree-top, a banana skin on the ground, a sad song, a dead butterfly, a picture all come handy in making poetry for me. And of course I need to tell my story and the story of mankind.”

Poetic, for sure. Don’t you think?

Also Read: Meet the Poets: Sylvia Geist

Feature Image Credit: Poets Translating Poets

The Poets Translating Poets festival is open to all — For a full schedule of events log on here

Read More Stories by Sukanya Sharma