Category Archives: inspiration

Quick bites with Brian Turner

Brian Turner is a writer and musician living in Orlando, Florida. He curates The Kiss series at Guernica, soon to be published as an anthology by W.W. Norton & Company in 2018. He’s written a memoir (My Life as a Foreign Country), two collections of poetry Here, Bullet and Phantom Noise, and co-edited The Strangest of Theatres (McSweeney’s/The Poetry Foundation). He is currently at work on a second memoir, The Wild Delight of Wild Things, and an album of music with The Interplanetary Acoustic Team entitled 11 11 (Me, Smiling). He is the founding director of the MFA program at Sierra Nevada College.

1.Can you say something about what made you write your first poem?

I am not sure that I actually remember writing my very first poem, as I was very young when that took place during elementary school. After that, a number of years passed by and then I began writing poems and song lyrics as a teenager. I loved music and also the ability of language to reach for the inexpressible, the ineffable, the sublime.

2. What does poetry mean to you? What do you feel when writing poetry?

When I am deep in the process of making, and I have wandered far out into the landscape of the imagination, I have a sense of timelessness–and that feeling is addictive! This experience is mirrored in many walks of life, but I normally access it through the meditative practice of writing and contemplation. I often feel connected to something very personal and yet, simultaneously, something far beyond the sense of self when I write. The imagination is a vast ocean of memory and life, and its deepest waters are located within the subconscious. 

3.Do you think poetry speaks to all kinds of people in all walks of life? How do you think we can take poetry out its confined literary circle?

Part of what makes Poetry with Prakriti wonderful is that it answers this very question–by bringing poetry out of the theater and into the streets and communities of the entire city. When I was a student, I would read the poems from my poetry workshop (my own poems and the poems of my classmates) to strangers waiting with me at the bus stop. I wanted to see how poems resonated with people who were not necessarily connected to the institutions where poetry is supported and nurtured and given an academic haven. Furthermore, I wanted to ensure that my poems could be read, heard, enjoyed, and meditated on by anyone who might offer their attention to them.

4. When do you write poetry? Is there a specific time in a day? What makes you write a poem?

There’s no specific time of day, though I am a night-owl and I like to stay up very late–mostly because that’s when the city sleeps. The collective unconscious is deep at work late at night. If I’m lucky, perhaps I can listen well enough to discover images and music arising from the city as it dreams.
 I am normally pulled by an image or phrase that compels my ear with its music. Normally I am driven by curiosity for something mysterious which I do not understand fully. A poem is a meditation, and the meditation is a search through the darkness to further the map of the known. It is an exploration into the unknown, a kind of singing into the dark. A kind of deep listening for the voices that respond to that singing.

5.What do you think of this new wave of insta poetry of today? Would you treat it as poetry too?

As in all forms of poetry, I am moved by poems that enlarge and augment the imagination. Here’s a simple test of the poem: Once you turn the page, is there a reason to turn back and read it again? That is, does the poem continue, like a deep well, to draw water each time we lower the bucket into it? Another way of saying this–I love to read and experience poems that are layered, multivalent, with spokes of fire radiating from a central hub. These are the poems that I love to read and hear aloud, and these are the poets I continue to learn from and enjoy.

6. Where do you want to take your work in d future in terms of poetry?

Each poem and each book is a journey toward something I need to learn. I know that if I am attentive enough to the world within and without, and attentive enough to the musicality of the language, the architecture of form within language–and if I never waver from looking at what must be looked at–then the poems will teach me more about the world I live in and about myself within that world. The world continually surprises me, and poetry is a lens that illuminates that surprise, offering delight and pain, and, when I’m fortunate, a kind of wisdom.

Thanks Prakriti Foundation for organizing such wonderful event.

Thanks Kirbaa karan, Haris and Smita Anand for the pictures.

All images are copy right protected to madras Photo bloggers and Prakriti foundation.

Songs of the Heart – A celebration of love, poetry and music

What happens when two cultures meet?

Some would paint a picture of conflict. But poets and musicians would beg to differ.

To them, the coming together of two cultures is a chance for dialogue, a chance to explore, experiment and reinvent. It’s a chance to create something beautiful to enchant hearts on both sides. And what better way to do that than by exploring each culture’s take on love?

Performing at the Alliance Française of Madras, AKADÊMIA – a renowned French music ensemble – teamed up with Indian artists to perform ‘Songs of the Heart’: a celebration of love through a dialogue between western Renaissance music and the works of Indian classical poets.

Beginning with a joyful choral musical piece, the evening came alive to a series of musical pieces accompanied by classical Indian poems on love.

A dialogue in truth, the performance treated the audience to a conversation between renaissance music as performed by the ensemble and the poems narrated. Throughout this dialogue, each side ‘spoke’ in turn – the musicians through their music, and the narrators through the words of the poems they recited.

Reciting a Yaksha’s loving, longing-filled description of his lover in Kalidasa’s Meghadhuta, Meera Bai’s words in devotion to her Lord Krishna, and other works and passages on longing and desire, the narrators offered the audience a glimpse into various aspects of love. A glimpse that was expanded upon by the musicians, who, under the graceful guidance of Françoise Lasserre, put into melody what words alone could not express.

What set ‘Songs of the Heart’ apart from any other musical performance or poetry reading was not the music or the poems alone. It was the way in which the poems and the musical pieces complemented each other. As the subject of each poem changed, so did the tone of the music, to either match the words and sentiments of the poem, or play a counterpoint to them.

Together, the music and poetry took the audience on a journey from the initial spark of desire and joy to the bittersweet moments of longing, and the deep sorrow of loss. A journey that culminated in poetic commentary on the fleeting nature of life, and the futility and foolishness of clinging to past sorrows. With verses urging the protagonists to let go of their sadness, the performers concluded this journey at the inevitable, final moment of letting go and moving on. A moment of rediscovery of joy, that powered the penultimate musical piece of the night.

After an hour and a half of musical dialogue, this enchanting evening came to an end with a soft musical piece by AKADÊMIA. A fitting, musical end to a magical performance and the tenth edition of Poetry with Prakriti Festival .

Thanks Prakriti foundation for organizing such amazing event.

Thanks to Akash Kapur for the wonderful write up. Thanks to Gopinath & Haris Manian for the Pictures.

All images are copy right protected to Madras Photo Bloggers and Prakriti Foundations.

The streets of Chennai | 9-15 July 2017

As madras day is around the corner, people are curious to explore heritage sites, streets and culture to percieve the knowledge despite informations are available in websites sporadically. Madras Photo bloggers thrive to provide the platform for the artist to showcase their work  in the medium of images, words and videos. We, the team of Curators picked ten pictures from the facebook group pool which have depicted the “streets of Chennai”  The Streets of Chennai reflects  the candid moments, the aroma of the place and life style. We will be coming up with more interesting articles and events in a while. Stay tuned.

Picture Credits : Aron Anderson

Credits : Deepak Sundar

Credits : Lakshmi Raman

Photo Credits : Mustansir M Lokhandwala

Photo Credits : Muthu PSM

Picture Credits : Prabhakar Ramakrishnan.

Picture Credits : Ramesh Raja

Picture Credits : Sanath Kumar

Picture Credits : Saravanan Ekambaram

Picture Credits : Siva Prasad

Thank you participants for submitting the pictures and we will be coming up with more interesting articles from next week. Stay tuned.

Monthly Meet up – May 2017

The first monthly meet-up of the madras photo bloggers was conducted on the breezy evening of Sunday at Besant Nagar, Chennai.

Bloggers and photographers joined along with the members of Madras photo Bloggers to talk about the various objectives and its importance.

The participants were also informed on the advantages of volunteering for Madras Photo blogging. This was followed by a brainstorming session where the methods for the development of a blog was discussed.

  • Importance of photo Blogging.
  • Roles & Responsibilities.
  • Future Events
  • Core Team Expansion

It was a short 1 hour meet-up, which was extremely useful.We member of MPB look forward to more

of this meets with more and more topics to discuss on!⁠⁠⁠⁠

The End of an ERA

We are Amazed, amused and startled by the way the entire city behaved today. The public, the politicians, and the cops. What a relentless job police and Media has been doing? Complete discipline and a peaceful send-off the most admired woman, late Tamilnadu CM Dr. J Jayalalithaa. Paid my last respects. An Era comes to end.

It is a saddening day for Chennaities who prayed for the last seventy four days. Honorable Chief Minister Dr. J Jayalalitha, the fond Chief Minister of the Tamilnadu who ruled the hearts of the lakhs of people is no more. There will and can never be one more like her. Love politics or not, love her or hate her, she, as an impeccable orator and a charismatic leader, has found a place in our hearts. Dear Madam, when I said as soon as I started photography that I want to take some pictures of you atleast once, this was definitely not something that I wanted to. But, being strongly inspired by her, like the rest of the people, I thought that this is the most fitting tribute I could give you. Thanks for being a woman that other women dream of! Thanks for giving a ray of hope.

An article and photographs by Smita Joshi (Focal Frames Photography),Author at Madras Photo Bloggers
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An article and photographs by Smita Joshi (Focal Frames Photography)

Art Exhibition

Art Exhibition by Chennai Weekend Artist | Lalit Kala Academy, Chennai

Chennai Weekend Artists- A group of artists of varying Caliber, ages and styles who select a spot every weekend, and gather to sketch on that location anywhere around chennai. Their love for art and also enjoying that process of creation has what drawn these people together every week.

MuralidharAlagar, the co- founder of CWA says “Together we draw, share tips and skills , find mutual inspiration. We believe that every single drawing done by everyone is unique and special since we welcome all kind of free style. Some members are skilled in oil painting, some scribble with charcoal and few end with pen and Ink. They regularly post the sketch in Facebook to get feedback and improve themselves.

In order to pursue further, they have launched Art exhibition on Madras day which has caught the attention of people across the city. He says “Around 52 participants have attended this exhibition and we have divided it into two segments. First segment represents arts about the localities of Chennai and s second one is theme based arts which depict their own style, imagination and thoughts”

Moreover, a lot of artist talk shows are lined up on the coming weekend and these interaction sessions will help them pursue their skill. Famous artists such as Manohar and Mark Ratnaraj will be visiting the exhibition on 27th August at 10:30 AM and Elango will give a visit on Sunday Morning 10:30 AM.

Exhibition timing – 11 AM to 7:00 PM
Last day of Exhibition – 28th- Aug -2016
Location : Lalit Kala Academy , Chennai
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An article by Srivatsan Sankaran and Edited by Pavithra Swaminathan