It was at the Kolkata Pride March in the year 2016 that I met the Brazilian troubadour, Italo Rovere. He was holding up a placard that read “All love in the world to change the world”, which I spotted from a distance. He was an old gentleman, with long salt and paper hair, an unkempt goatee and the most amusing spectacles, with a wooden round frame on one side and a rectangular one on the other. Forget love at first sight, it was a wonderful friendship from the moment we spoke our first words to each other.
He was in the City of Joy for a month, where I enthusiastically took up the role of an unofficial tour guide. We rode on metros, walked throughout the city and had long discussions on poetry, language, politics and so much more. Before he left, he gifted me a beautiful pocketbook of his poetry, which is one of my most cherished possessions till date. It features some of his minimalist yet vibrant drawings, along with his poetry in English, some of which are translations of his poems, originally composed in Spanish.
When I was asked by my editors to write an article on a Mumbai workshop on making pocketbooks of poetry, I couldn’t help reminiscing about Italo, his diverse collection of miniature poetry books and especially, the one he had gifted me. But without digressing any further, let me tell you more about this unique and creative workshop organized by Mumbai poet, writer and theatre practitioner, Saranya Subramanian where participants will learn to synergetically blend the art of minimalist poetry and bookmaking.
The Making Pocketbooks of Poetry workshop will be an immersive experience with an interactive, creative and generative writing structure. Participants will delve into minimalist poetry, crafting five short poems that will be compiled into unique, tiny clusters. This workshop promises to be a unique and enriching experience for poetry enthusiasts and aspiring writers alike.
One of the most intriguing aspects of this workshop is the innovative presentation of poetry. Participants will have the opportunity to experiment with diverse forms such as chits, secret notes in bundled clothes, writings on necklaces, painted dried leaves, or folded into tiny zines. This unconventional approach challenges conventional notions of poetry, adding an element of creativity and surprise to the workshop's creative process.
The workshop encourages participants to explore the concept of pocketing and preserving poetry through everyday objects. This expands perceptions of what is deemed worthy in the realm of poetic expression, adding a new dimension to the creative process. By incorporating everyday objects into their poetry, participants will discover new ways to infuse their writing with meaning and creativity.
A key focus of the workshop is the subversion of traditional page structures with the written word. Drawing inspiration from historical and modernist poets, participants will explore innovative ways to alter perceptions of poetry's form and presentation. This approach encourages participants to think outside the box and experiment with unconventional methods of poetic expression.
The workshop offers a wide literary exploration, with participants reading and discussing poems from various literary traditions during the first half. This provides a rich foundation of inspiration and discussion for the creation of personalized pocketbooks in the second half. The combination of literary exploration and hands-on creation promises to enrich the participants' understanding of minimalist poetry and its diverse forms.
While poetry can be a grand epic like Homer’s Odyssey, sometimes it can be simple yet powerful contained within four lines by Ezra Pound. That’s the beauty of minimalist poetry. Come explore it for yourself!
Making Pocketbooks of Poetry Workshop
For Ages 15+
Date: Nov 19th, 2023 (Sunday)
Time: 12:00 pm-3 pm
Duration: 3 hours
Venue: Method Kala Ghoda
Click here to register.
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