Saturday, February 9, 2008

Changes and GLF continued

Three weeks away from home and it's not really obvious that so much has changed in my life. I look the same. I talk the same. I think the same. But nothing is really the same cus I feel different. Thanks to Saturday evenings at church. It's funny, I wanted things to change, I always wanted things to change, but nothing changed 'til the time was right. Now nothing has changed but I feel right.

I still don't know where my life is headed, I still don't get along with my mum, I still don't wanna be home, I still can't understand him, but I'm happy. I am aware that "everything's gonna be alright…" and that nothing can go seriously wrong, and that's good enough for me. Too good, really.

Coming back home to an over-protective mum is pretty traumatic after spending three weeks with a really cool grand-aunt who sees you for an independent individual, and I'm not really taking it too well. But it's all good. I've been designated 'celebrity' in a sarcastic tone by a certain bitter individual and so I'm living the life. I'm back home, I've got places to go and people to see, that I will go and see.

Okay, cut (the crap) to the chase, I started dissecting GLF and must finish. Thus we travel back in time to Friday the 18th of January, Galle Fort:


Event 018:    The Power of Poetry with John Mateer, Tishani Doshi, Jeet Thayil, Indran Amirthanayagam, Sophie Hannah & Vivimatrie VanderPoorten

Some of the events at the festival found the attendees disappointed that the special guests were not present due to personal/security reasons. Yet this was one event that I would have been glad to learn a speaker (or maybe even two!) absent. There's this tiny stage at the Maritime Museum and seven people stuffed on a stage is NOT pretty. The conversation was a bit random, and some of the poets (noticeably Indran!) were caught going off at tangents at length, making it rather dull.

Tishani attempted to connect the conversation with the title of the event and eloquently put forward the idea that poetry arises from a feeling of powerlessness. Some agreed, some didn't, and there were too many opinions to keep track of.

Sophie kept telling us how modern 'poetry' was not poetry. The basis of her argument was that poetry is essentially a branch of music, and music, essentially consists of regular rhythm and melody. Thus it follows that since poetry cannot have a 'melody' as such, it MUST have a regular rhythm. I argue that in the modern sense of the word, rhythm is rhythm, whether it is regular or irregular. Modern music sometimes has no set time-signature OR key, but it is nonetheless, music. Most beautiful music at that! Her argument is then continued by John, who writes free-verse. The no-rhythm man reveals that some 'poets' write prose, break it up and arrange it in lines of different lengths, then call it poetry. True. Yours truly is an addicted felon! But is that a reason to lash out against free-verse as a whole?

Jeet remains blissfully ignorant of the whole conversation, and when asked for an opinion goes "I'm sorry, I was drifting, can we read our poetry now?". Every time. But hey! He's clean-shaven (bald?), wears a sarong with hiking boots and has a geometrically constructed face. He looks arty enough to be excused. So he read. This was the first of six readings with left most of us with a striking revelation about poets: not all can read as effectively as they write. Tishani especially (no offence) killed the poem she read. The poem itself was amazing, but one had to ignore the voice and imagine seeing the words on paper to enjoy the experience the poem had to offer. Sophie, on the other hand, was an absolute treat. Being a performance poet obviously helped. At the end of the poem there wasn't a soul not laughing, at least smiling!

I went to see these people expecting inspiration. Sadly, I got a lot less, but still, the tiny brilliant moments were worth the disappointment.

Friday, February 8, 2008


"Seek the Lord while He may be found,

call upon Him while He is near"

Isaiah 55:6