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!  

SheThePeople.TV checked in with Shahnaz Munni, a poet, writer, and a journalist from Bangladesh to know her take on poetry. 

I want to follow my feelings and I am a reporter of myself which is called my soul  

Being a television journalist, do you think poetry can be a mode of information around topics like politics, gender, social issues? 

The answer is, YES and NO at the same time.

Poetry likes to talk allegorically. Information must be clean, clear and direct, there is no room for mystery. In that sense, answer to the question is NO. But poetry does not come from heaven or hell. It’s a social phenomenon. Poetry comes from the root of society. So, image or symbol of poetry represents the core expression of politics, gender, social issues. In that sense, YES, poetry can be one of the deepest modes of information.

How do you think poetry can help cross-cultural interaction? 

Poetry is the language of emotions. The human race has beautiful diversity. So I think, poetry can create a common bridge for the planet.

Tell us about your inspirations…

I think every poet is inspired by his/her own loneliness. He or she always tries to bring out his/her soul from the emptiness. This is the real inspiration. I’m not an exception.

Shahnaz Munni - Poet, Writer, Journalist from Bangladesh.
Shahnaz Munni – Poet, Writer, Journalist from Bangladesh. Picture Credit: Poets Translating Poets

An excerpt from one of her works:


What you take for a mirror
Is not a mirror really, 
It’s a ruthless cruel glass
No use blaming the mirror
There is blue blood running inside the mirror.
Better ask the basking sun
Ask the autumn clouds
Who is fairer than me in this world?
We have made out soul into a canned prisoner,
Who is drawing a perfect circle around it?
Who is standing on the cruel dock at noon?
Who calls out there like the birds?
Who plucks out his soul and shows the way
To those who have lost their way, 
Tell me WHO?

Translation Harunur Rashid

Poem Reproduced Courtesy: Poets Translating Poets

Feature Image Courtesy: Like Success