International poetry Festival -Kritya2007
KRITYA–2007- An Introduction
Creativity arises out of the tension between spontaneity and limitations, the latter – like the river banks – forcing spontaneity into the various forms which are essential to the work for art or poetry.
– Rollo May
poetry is more than words arranged in aesthetic form; it is a quality, and a state of mind. And so in our search for poetry we have also looked at visual art, theatre and dance which contain the essential poetic ingredient. And while we ventured forward thus, radical and experimental work came our way from people willing to work for the cause of promoting poetry. As a result of excellent response over the past two years, it was decided to continue the adventure and help establish the Kritya Poetry Festival with voices from different parts of the world as well as from the local community.
The third edition of Festival of Poetry held from July 21 to 23, 2007; and this time it was an International Festival of Poetry. To capture the Festival distinctively, a number of poets and cultural activists from all over the world participated. To promote the voice of poetry, we revived diverse voices in art and culture. Nothing comparable is going on in the south of India. While we aspire to create widespread interest in poetry, we are also putting our emotional and financial necks on the block…so to speak!
Kritya, has grown and thrived in the last few years in almost every way – there are more events, bigger venues, larger readership and audiences and more awareness –thanks to the faith and hard work of the Kritya team.
Around 60 poets, from India and abroad will assemble in Thiruvananthap
uram to present their work. Performance poets and artists will add to the Festival’s cultural dimensions.
For further details and bookings, please contact the editors at
By Suma V S
A story behind the curtain-kritya2007
A story behind the curtain-kritya2007
Some times I feel that Kritya has its own magic which reveals itself in its name. In the Vedic age, people used Kritya as word power. It saved them from all sorts of evil. It was a weapon to save lives, also a weapon to destroy. Later, Kritya changed its meaning as an evil power. In reality, Kritya is a power which could also be used negatively by some of us. Poetry has the same fate as it changes every negative aspect of life in positive ways. That is why when Kritya and poetry work together, they work as very strong positive powers. Poetry filters the negative aspect of life and makes it extensive, when gets concentrated, it changes into Kritya.
That’s why I feel that Kritya chooses its own path; I just follow it and think ignorantly that I am following my own dreams. The plan of Kritya 2007 was taking shape in the month of February 2007 but I was unaware of its shape and plan. While talking to friends, the idea of an international festival came to my mind. I do not know, what was behind this thought, but I decided to follow it like a child who follows a butterfly without bothering about other obstacles which could prevent her. Time passed, the festival was only on paper. I talked to a number of people, but I wasn’t sure about its shape and plans. The message about the festival reached a number of poets from different countries. This was a very difficult time for me, as I felt that my dream has reached a number of people, but my dream was yet to become concrete. General Secretary of Kritya and I wrote a number of letters to different institutions, and we also had some hope. But soon my mail box was filed with negative responses. I still had a hope. I was seeing huge boards for advertisement of jewelers and clothes on the road side while traveling between Trivandrum and Kalady. I thought that if Kritya could manage to get a big Jeweler as a main sponsor, things will be easy. I wrote to a number of Jewelers, but positive reply was nowhere.
It was the month of April, the heat in Kalady was in its peak, and the trees standing both ways to the road were naked. Instead of flying, birds were hopping on the grass, as the grass was still not very dry. I was walking on the road with a very heavy heart. The next morning, I was a little surprised to see the tiny red leaves on few branches of most of the trees. They were so beautiful as if a number of flowers blossom on the branches. I was astonished as on the previous day, all the trees were naked. Oh it rained for a few minutes last night, I remembered. A big lesson by the nature. A drop of rain is a bunch of life.
month of May, my university was closed, so I decided to start in a big way. With my other trusties – DR. V.P. Mohammed Kunju Mettaru and Shri Bal Krishna Pillai, I started working in two directions – collection of funds and public relations. We succeeded in gaining the interest of Governor of Kerala, Princess and the culture minister of Kerala Government, but we could not get any sponsorship. I could understand that poetry does not have any stand in the society, so no public sector can provide money for it in any form. This was also the time when my mother-in-law was brought here in a serious condition and I was running between two poles- hospital and Kritya sponsorship hunt.
After a long hunt I got a letter from ICCR, which gave me hope. On the other front, few poets like Shyamala Nair and Argo Spier, offered their services like writing the mails etc. Some friends like Suma, Nikhila and Samir came forward with small help. Some friends like Ashwini and others were guiding from a distance.
At the end of May, Mr Metteru wanted to change his home, so he took leave for some time, I came back to Kalady and Mr Balkrishna Pillai was busy in his own way. My work was not in good shape, I was in need of a good secretary, and I could not find one. After a while, I found Prason, my student who accepted this responsibility. First, I started working from Kalady, soon I understood that I have to shift to Trivandrum as soon as possible. I was thinking that as soon as I would reach Trivandrum, Mr Mettaru and Balkrishna Pillaiji will join me again. But problems were waiting for me. Mr. Metteru had to go for an international seminar and Balkrishna pillia ji was not free from his family problems. I was feeling so lonely. Mr Metteru introduced a lecturer, Dr. Sanal to help me. Dr Sanal is a very dedicated person but he had his limitations as he goes quite far to teach, so he could be available only in late evenings.
Prason and I were the only people left. My scientist husband Dr. Pradeep Kumar was helping us in his own way, sometimes driving for us and some time guiding in technical issues. Dr. Sanal used to come in the evenings and help us to solve food and accommodation issues. Seeing me struggling, Mr. Raveendra Nair, a senior journalist came forward for a press release. Dr. Shyamala Nair was writing our letters, and Argo Spier was advising us in his own way. He was interested to display his links, photo and other things on Kritya’s page. Finally Dr. Shashidharan a professor in philosophy helped us too.
On 18th of July, our first guest, Argo Spier arrived. Here, we had a new problem. Although he was western counselor, he did not give us his flight number and his real name. We only knew his airplane number. When our receiving party reached the airport, they could not find his name in the passenger’s list. Moreover, while coming out he did not bother about Kritya’s display. Dr Shashidharan and Prason were looking for him in a big crowd, but authorities said that they did not have any passenger by that name. Somehow, Dr Shashidharan could locate a person who was coming out talking to a woman without bothering about Kritya’s display. After this experience, Dr. Shashidharan checked the internet sites to find the photos of poets who were coming from outside.
On 19th July, we had a Press release. Prof. Mettaru was back and he took his job with all perfection. 20th July was the day of confusion, a number of flights were late, and the poets who came before time had to change their rooms. At the same time, the Governor’s ADC called us and asked us to provide a new staircase for the governor as the original steps were too high for him. We could not work on a few important things like registration, so we were busy until midnight. Thus, a few guests felt left alone, as we could not go and meet them in time.
Oh, what a tough time. The next day was 21st July. I couldn’t sleep the whole night as a number of things problems attacked my brain.
The next day, when I was coming out of the house, I got a phone call from Mani that Leanne from Ireland was sick. She was vomiting the whole night. I was in dilemma, whether to go to auditorium or to go to see Leanne, but at the same time, Dr Agni Shekhar took charge and took Leanne to the hospital.
At last, the program started with in a graceful manner. We sang the national anthem. I gave the opening speech. I spoke about the journey of Kritya and its friends and welcomed all the poets. Then, Mr. Argo Spier spoke a few words as representative of poets from other countries. Her highness Ashwathy Thirunal Gowri Lekshmi Bayi read a beautiful poem, which she had written on the death anniversary of her maternal uncle. All the eyes welled up with tears at the end of the poetry reading. Then, his Excellency, Governor of Kerala gave a speech. He remembered great poets of the country and appreciated the work of Kritya in this field. He ended his speech with Urdu couplets. At the end, General Secretary of Kritya, Prof. V.P. Mohammed Kunju Mettaru thanked everyone.
Soon after International Poetry session began. Mahnaz Badihian, an Iranian-American poet read her new poem written on Kerala. Massimo Sannelli from Italy, who stressed that poetry, is not a series of lies. He read 3 small poems in extremely soft voice. His presentation gave a beautiful dimension to his poetry. Than came Mani Rao from Hong Kong who read poems in her presentable style. She said that she has taken part in a number of poetry festivals, but this was the first time she was invited to India. Irish poets Gerry Murphy, Leanne O’Sullivan, Patrick Cotter and Billy Ramsell had given a rich flavor to western poetry. Korean poets Tae Ho Han and Shin were appealing people because of their Buddhist flavor. Argo Spier from Belgium and Roberto Piperno from Italy also read at the occasion. Roberto was a friend of Ayyappa Paniker , so he remembered him too. Peter Waugh from Vienna was most popular because of his sound poems. The session was quiet interesting.
In the afternoon, we had the Indian poetry session. The first poet was Chandrakant Devatale, a senior poet in the Hindi belt. Then, a number of poets recited poetry, mostly in their own language. A number of poets presented their poetry in two sessions. Some of them were- Vijay Kumar from Mumbai, Utpal Basu from Kolkatta, Agni Shekhar – (Jammu & Kashmir), Ajey -( Himachal Pradesh),), Ashwini Kumar (Mumbai), Aju Mukhopadhyay (Puducherry), M.R Kamala ( Bangalore), Mohan Kishor Divan, Loknath ( Nagpur) ( Kolkatta), Mohan Kumar (TVMShyamala Nair ( Maharashtra) and Rati Saxena .
The Malayalam session was also important. Various important poets like ONV Kurup, (TVM), K K Satchidanandan (Delhi), Vinaya chandran and Deshmangalam Ramkrishnan, Anitha Thambi and others read their poetry.
The next day, we had a reading of Dr. Ayyappa Paniker’s poem, along which prominent artists B.D, Dethen, Dr. Ajay and Sajitha painted portfolios on the stage. After that, we had second poetry session. Few poets in that session were- Anita Thambi ( TVM), Annie George (Kozhikod), , Anupama R. (TVM), Chandra Mouli ( Hydarabad) , G.N Paniker (TVM), Jasbir Chawla (Chandigarh) , J.T.Jayasingh, ), Mary Nirmala (TVM), R Purshottam Rao ( Guntur-Andhra P radesh], Nikhila Naik (Hydrabad), John Matthew, Shree Vidya Shiva kumar, Pramod Mathew, and Kiran Meshram. (Nagpur)
The evening session was the most important. We had Poetry in performance. The honorable culture minister of Kerala, M. A Baby inaugurated the function. Peter Cotter from Ireland represented the western poets. The session began with the Buddhist prayer by the Korean poets, Tae Ho Han and Shin followed by a speech by the minister and few words from Peter Cotter.
Anupama Raju and Paul Chandy Kayalackakom started session with their performances. Both of them took care of the whole program and had impressed audiences with their compeering. Their performances in the session were equally impressive. Next Massimo Sanelli recited a poem in such a mysterious voice that the poetry became a sort of enchantment. This was followed by the beautiful performance by Mani Rao. Peter Waugh again came with a sound poetry and this time he presented it along with pure Indian instruments. Two sharp artists, Jemima and her brother presented mridangam and shahanai with poetry. The highlight of the session was the folk poetry and Kuttiyattam. The rhythm of poetry increased bit by bit and reached to its peak. In this half an hour programme, everyone was thrilled and happy.
The third day was for freedom of poetry. We went to the space museum. There, we could see the poetry of the universe. The next stop was at an institute made for a great Malayali poet, Asan. Asan was a great poet who started a social movement. We had a small function and special Kerala meals. Our next stop was at the Boat Club. We all enjoyed boating on the backwaters. Some of us went shopping and others preferred to be left to themselves.
By the next day, most of the poets left the place. Mohammed Kunju Mettaru, Prason Dr Pradeep and I visited places and settled the bills. I remembered my daughter’s marriage – a mixed feeling, sweet and bitter experience. Many complaints and a number of compliments. The poetry festival ended and a new relation was born.
Now we are eagerly waiting for the next festival- Kritya2008. We will meet again. Where and when? We will let you know soon.