The three day festival hosted by Chair Literary trust came to an end with Poetry on the Cruise today. The inaugural ceremony of Chair Poetry Evenings-Kolkata’s International Poetry Festival took place on 26 November 2022 in ICCR Kolkata and continued till 28th November. The festival was inaugurated by renowned Indian poet Padmasri Mamang Dai in presence of festival directors Sonnet Mondal and Tushar Dhawal Singh. Some of the greatest poets from around the world performed inside the walls of Satyajit Ray Auditorium on the first day followed by Samilton Hotel cloud tavern on the second day and on the cruise on its last day. The poets who performed in this edition include Sholeh Wolpé (Iran/U.S.A.), Erik Lindner (the Netherlands), Sandeep Parmar (U.K.), Endre Ruset (Norway), Jesús Sepúlveda (Chile), Anne Vegter (the Netherlands), Iryna Vikyrchak (Ukraine), and Jennifer Jean (U.S.A.). Indian poets reading in the festival were Ranajit Das, Neelesh Raghuwanshi, Kumar Ambuj, Shikhandin, Badrinarayan, Sutapa Sengupta, Kynpham Singh Nongkynrih, and Hindol Bhattacharjee.
The only poetry festival in the world to have a Poetry on the Cruise event at present enchanted the city audience with beautiful presentations of music and poetry during the course of this 3 day festival.
Poetry in over 8 languages were read during the course of this festival. Festival directors Tushar Dhawal and Sonnet Mondal echoed, ‘Making it bigger with poets from more languages around the world in its coming edition.’
Poet and festival director Sonnet Mondal said, ‘ Appreciation of poetry and art remains crucial to mankind, especially in a world where we are going through wars, conflicts, the demonization of democratic rights, and the curtailment of basic freedom in most parts of the world. Kolkata, the cultural capital of India, has been consistently hosting various literature and art events, and our endeavour is to add the flavour and importance of poetry to them. Poetry has always set the base fire of national and international discourses, and through this festival, we wish to present voices that remain obstinate in the face of anything that comes against humanity. I hope this year’s festival, with the efforts of our core festival team members, especially Suroopa Chatterjee, Satyaki Mukherjee, Anindita Bose, Amit Das, and Namrota Purakayastha, will be able to present poems and thoughts that one can take along and keep with them in times to come.’
Eminent Hindi poet and Festival director Tushar Dhawal Singh said, ‘In today’s tormented times when wars and terrorist activities, fanatic and radicalised mindsets, weaponisation of ideologies and greed, all are working in tandem to annihilate the human expression of life and living, I see poetry and creative ideas as a ‘push back’ against all these forces working against humanity. Through its primary engagement with the idea of being more and more human, poetry tends to permeate the minds of its readers with more fertile ideas of living and expressing. The Chair Poetry Evenings celebrates life, creation and humanity in all its diversities and hues. We look forward to presenting the humane voice of people who are being tormented by inhuman ideas and forces.’