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India’s first poetry biennale in Delhi is a celebration for poets from across the country

It is a celebration of the outstanding works by leading poets from across the country as their recitals set the tone for an exciting weekend here at the opening of the countrys first poetry biennale.

In what was a preview of things to come at VAK: The Raza Biennale of Indian Poetry, renowned poets Haraprasad Das (Odia), Nilim Kumar (Assamese), Salma (Tamil), Ratan Thiyam (Manipuri) and Majrooh Rashid (Kashmiri) enchanted the audience with their poetry readings at an engrossing near two-hour recitation on Friday, according to a report by IANS.

The three-day celebration of verses, which will see a further 40 invited poets read their works — spread across 15 languages — during ten sessions over the weekend, has been conceived and organised by the Raza Foundation, said the report.

Instituted by the late master artist Sayed Haider Raza and helmed by eminent Hindi poet Ashok Vajpeyi, the Raza foundation is among the leading institutions dedicated to promoting arts and culture in the country.

The poets took the podium after inaugurating the Biennale and launching the poetry anthology “Vak,” which contains contributions by all 45 participating poets.

The publication, edited by Vajpeyi and art writer Shruthi Issac, explores diverse social and political concerns of the country’s poets like freedom of expression, violence, language, love, exile, hope, nature and of the human condition.

Among the notable poets participating in the Biennale are K. Satchidanandan (Malayalam), Sharmila Ray (English), Kanji Patel (Gujarati), H.S. Sivaprakash (Kannada), Mangalesh Dabral (Hindi), Pratim Baruah (Assamese), Arundhathi Subramaniam (English), and Subodh Sarkar (Bengali).

“It is hoped that the Biennale will bring forth the vibrant and furious creativity; the dynamic imagination; the plurality of visions, styles and idioms; the surprising resonances and disturbing memories; the darings and aesthetic risks; the merging of time with the timeless; the immediacy and urgency; the socio-cultural and political reach of contemporary poetry of India in its full range and complexity,” Vajpeyi said.

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