Poetry often acts as an escapade from the mundanities of reality. It actually paints the face of a reality we try hard not to see. A poet stirs the souls of millions and pens down even the most short-lived human emotions. This year Dhaka Lit Fest was truly a celebration of poetry. In a very short span of time and in a sea of panels and sessions going around, poetry managed to capture the limelight. Poets from all over the country and across the border came together to reflect on their collective strength and resilience. The versatility of Bengali poetry was put forth to be savoured by a global audience.
The programme titled “Somoyer Kobita Somoyanter Kobita” (poetry of transition) was the beginning of a poetic excursion comprising both emerging and established voices of Bengali poetry. It was mostly significant for young poets who have just embarked on the road as they got a rare opportunity to read their poetry out to their predecessors at the beautiful lawn of the academy. Quazi Rosy, Habibullah Sirajee, Asad Mannan, Shihab Shahriar, Jewel Mazhar, Obayed Akash, Audity Falguni, Zafir Setu, Hasan Mahmud, Kumar Chakroborty, Pablo Shahi and Mahmud Shawon, among many others, charmed the audience with their verses. The session was moderated by poet Mohammad Nurul Huda.
On the second day, poet Nirmalendu Goon appeared before a crowded lawn. A noted poet from the 1960s, he is widely known as the poet of love and revolution. At the age of 72, he evinced an astonishingly sharp memory and a gift of oration. Titled “Kobi Jibon: Jiboner Kobita“, moderated by poet Shamim Reza, the session unfolded some not-so-known facets of his life. He impressed the audience with his wit and marvelous sense of humour. He shared quite a few anecdotes from his early life. When he realised he had a penchant for versifying life, he began to view the world from the lens of a poet. He humorously disclosed how his first few attempts to get his poems published went unsuccessful, how he was caught red-handed by a then-prominent editor while plagiarising Madhusudan. He concluded his eloquent speech with the burning issue of violence against the Hindus. His recitation of a poem on the same topic pierced through the hearts of the audience.
[caption id="attachment_38257" align="alignright" width="300"]
Photo: Sazzad Hossain[/caption]
On the third day of the festival, the second part of “Somoyer Kobita Somoyanter Kobita-2” took place at the same place. Mohammad Nurul Huda started the event quoting Wordsworth who defined poetry as “spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions.” Then came the renowned poet of the 1970s Muhammad Sadique who took the audience on a voyage to rediscover romance with legendary singer, lyricist Hason Raja and his beloved. Shakira parvin captured modern-day romance in her poems and the satirical undertone was very powerful in Altaf Shahnewaz’s portrayal of modern life. Poets from across the border, Jahar Sen Majumder and Akber Ahmed, delighted the audience with their soulful recitation. Poets like Shahnaz Parvin , Mostak Ahmed and Asad Chowdhury were also present with their compositions. They discussed how a poem stands the test of time to be termed “classic” that is embraced by people through ages.
Dhaka Lit Fest definitely was a big event for poetry lovers as well as for those who are not big fans of this genre. Younger poets met their predecessors and they, together, cast a spell over the audience. A wonderful poetic expedition came to an end and both the audience and the poets parted ways with the hope of meeting again next year.