The Power of Poetry
Sushila Mendonca and Priyal Woodpecker among others enthralled the audience at the poetry gig, that was held at 6 Assagao Goa
A poetry gig held at 6 Assagao recently saw the coming together of two fantastic poets and exchange of ideas. It was a beautiful evening of rhythm and poetry. The kind of intimacy, focus and emotional texture that music and the spoken-word can create together, is almost too mystical to ignore. All the participants, Priyal, Sushila, Reggie and Shayne, agreed on these points. They mentioned that to see a sea of closed eyes in an intimate audience is the most fulfilling experience for someone, whose intent to share their poetry, is to essentially make people feel first, and maybe consider empathy.
The first poet at the gig, Sushila Mendonca, is someone who chooses to write in a simple “dear-diary” style. Her poetry has an underlying thread of what it means to be a woman under the spell of patriarchy. This collection of poems touches on themes of religion and other highs, but primarily on relationships, aging and sexuality. While questioning society’s impositions, Sushila wonders why it is easier to be judgmental than supportive. To her, poetry is a process of catharsis and healing. “I consider the poems I read at ‘The Politics of Dissent’ to be rebellious,confrontational, hard hitting and real. They are an attempt to challenge the sanitised narrative of womanhood spouted by a dominant patriarchy. Some are meant to be disturbing and in your face, in order to raise questions on topics we conveniently sweep under the carpet,” says Sushila. “I draw inspiration for my writing from real life, largely from my own but also from marginalized communities with whom I have worked with for over 20 years. Since I use poetry for catharsis and healing, I will rant and rave until I find peace! Presenting my poems for the first time at a thus event was exciting fun and liberating all at the same time. The audience was brilliant! adds Sushila. The second poet at the gig was Priyal Woodpecker, someone who identifies herself as a multiverse gypsy clown. She explores and interprets Anthropological Storytelling through writing, visual arts and handicrafts. She has performed poetry in Vietnam, Cambodia, Egypt, Nepal, Uganda and India. Her poetry is a provocative vomit of existential truths; exploring the nature of identity, gender, violence, sexuality, dissent, love and freedom. Wildly queer, her poetry is futility’s purpose and equality’s dream. Poet Priyal says “I don’t count claps. I count your sighs”. Her focus while writing is essentially on storytelling rather than the craft of language. For the craft is only her tool to communicate better, the intangibility of poetry. She writes from the place as from where she loves. Her new set of poems is called ‘politics of dissent’. As of now, she believes that, hardly any dissent going on and that ‘we are becoming slaves of capitalism and patriarchy and all other injustice that follows, instead of being the torchbearers of love, human-hood, and freedom, we are feeding on each other’s wounds like it was an ideal recipe of peace’. “Programs at 6 Assagao and other venues have been the most fertile ground for sharing work. The pace and patience of this space and Nilankur Das’s ever-expanding support can make, both the artist and the audience - feel at home and thrive together collectively, in the claustrophobic times that we are living in,” adds Priyal. The event also featured Reggie Goveas and Shayne.
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