By S.Rupsha Mitra: South Asia Correspondent
There is nothing in the whole gamut of Indian life that remains un-surveyed by the poet’s observant eye
The contemporary poetry scene across the world surges as interest in India expands. Contemporary poetry often has its origin in Modernism and is capturing the attention of a new audience.
Modernist poetry is prose written between 1890 and 1950 in the tradition of modernist literature. The critic/poet C. H. Sisson observed in his essay Poetry and Sincerity that “Modernity has been going on for a long time. Not within living memory has there ever been a day when young writers were not coming up, in a threat of iconoclasm.”
Contemporary Indian English poetry reflects beautiful designs of a complex world; Literature focuses on life and age. The journey taken by the modern Indian poets is not a very easy task. These laureates have taken a route less travelled, added a dimension to modern Indian literature through profound thought, with remarkable hearts and minds. Their roots may be in India but they possess a vision that encompasses the world. The poets have reinvented their thoughts, imagery, ideas, and content.
What has been contributed, with themes and content ranging from nature, terrorism, hunger, feminism, violence against children, natural disasters, metaphysics, scientific thoughts with their bold nuances of knowledge, with the usual romance and beauty of nature does not interest them all as they reached and seen the problems confronted by humanity and their focus in the complexity of a modern world. Every wound from the personal to political has resulted in acutely beautiful forms of poetry. The compositions are marked by their originality, diverse themes, imagery, and sensitivity.
Poets are the visionaries of the new age. Contemporary poets like Sonnet Mondal and Nibedita Sen try to portray a world humane and modify the present into something beautiful and immensely poetic. There is a touch of sensitivity in the verse. A common thread of failure of humane values and vision sometimes of global influence, and many times of the future. The poets explore the uncharted and undefined and this makes the Contemporary Indian poetry so special.
Predominant themes of the modern poetry encapsulates the anxiety that the world today is facing, the distresses that are felt throughout the world. Thus poets fight, assert, lament, protest, and act to open their hearts to the reader. This is a form of venting out creates visions which are symbolic of utopia and difficult to find, if not driven by the emotional connotations that thread through them.
In the 1980s, Indian society was somewhat lacking in poetry. With the a political ups and downs and churn of transition, it was during this time that Dr. H.K.Kaul started ‘The Poetry Society of India’ in 1984. A group which has played a crucial role in popularizing poetry through its journal and nationwide seminars, and where Dr. Kaul undertook the cause of representation of Indian poetry.
The ultra modern poetic movement has moved into spaces from the deepest scars in Indian history to a worldwide notion of peace and fraternity. Some of the contemporary Indian poets have written verses that are both linguistically appealing and connect with the masses.
Contemporary Indian poets delve in reinventing poetry like music, which speaks directly to the heart and mind of people. Young GenX and GenZ poets are revitalizing poetic forms from rejecting religious politics to eradicating gender stereotypes, these contemporary poets are speaking directly to our deepest fears, worries, innermost feelings, anxieties and terrors. They are talking about taboo and truths in unique ways. Some of these poets include Nikita Gill, Rupi Kaur, Atticus, and Simar Singh.
In different cities of India, contemporary poetry is growing and finding it’s own way. Like Chair Poetry Evenings in Kolkata, the rise of contemporary poetry in Bombay with the establishment of Bombay Poetry Crawl by Saranya Subramaniam. The poetry scene blossoms and is blessed by the establishment of literary magazines which feature poetry from the new and the old poets alike. This includes magazines like Bombay Literary Review, Coldnoon, Guftugu, Aainanagar, and more.
A poem is said to be hope. Contemporary Indian poetry also witnesses ups and down and tumbles onto the reader’s palms so that the reader could feel it. A poem might not be read in a book of poems for it to touch the reader.
The unexpected advent of a single poem can be found in the middle of a book or on a poster, or on an Instagram post or heard over a radio or a podcast or a poetry slam can be enough, to make people ponder about it for days, to give people goosebumps, or to make people laugh and smile.
Becoming Socially Poetic
Over the last few years, contemporary English poetry is being read in social media like never before. Interesting podcasts like Zabaan-e -aam are translating English relatable poems into various Indian languages and reaching more and more people.
Possessing different facets, it diversifies and allows each reader an opportunity to explore. It has pathos and pains, as well as fun and laughter and enlightenment and truth in it. It never leaves to touch upon contemporary issues and highlights important aspects of politics and humanity and life of the commoners. It is magic, it is soothing to indulge in its lyricism and relevance in the present world.