The autumn evening of October 31 summoned poets, budding and published, at Roastery Coffee House who created pieces pure and raw, prompted by their hearts and free from all their inhibitions. Over 30 participants, varying in age groups, from college students to middle-aged men and women, all lovers of verses took part in the poetry workshop helmed by Rohini Kejriwal of The Alipore Post. Rohini provided different tools to help the participants break out of the traditional method of writing poetry and they tried their lands on Limerick writing, black out poetry and magnetic poetry.
“We started the workshop in Jaipur last month and this is the second poetry workshop and with it we are trying to develop a signature property called Poetry with Roastery Coffee. There couldn’t have been a better collaborator than The Alipore Post who are known for their lively workshops and Rohini does an incredible job. This is just a start to a poetry festival and the response has been overwhelming. We usually close the entry with 25 participants but we had to extend it to 30 this time. It’s so good to see the participants having so much fun while building a community,” said Nishant Sinha of the Roastery Coffee House.
Nikita Sangai, who will be launching her debut collection of poems very soon, enjoyed thoroughly with other poets in company. She said, “For budding poets like us, it’s always exciting to face new challenges. The workshop was on spot and Rohini was very supportive. My book is a mixed bag. It’s about nature, motherhood — against and for, falling out of love and in love and about the wounds that life gives you and how you dress them up with flowers.”
Silpi Bhaumik, a student of literature, said, “Poetry, to me, has always meant travelling beyond the boundaries and finding myself beyond all limitations. For starters, it was a unique experience with no walls restricting our thoughts. Though from different spheres of life, we all remained connected by poetry, our love for it and our desire to provide each other that space where we just let our emotions flow without any inhibition.”
Indrani Banerjee, who works with an MNC, and is also a queer activist, loved every segment of the session. She said, “It was a perfect autumn evening in Calcutta within the set-up of a beautiful café and like-minded people. I think we are all layered, emotional, complex beings, struggling and journeying through life, and art, music and poetry help. I am looking forward to more such evenings.”
Rohini Kejriwal, who started The Alipore Post, tells us, “Roastery and I are trying to create a world around poetry and coffee. I have done this in Bangalore and Jaipur and this is probably one of the larger groups. It was funnier and raw-er than I expected. I loved that people were free with the kind of subjects that they wrote about and shared. In other places people are not this free. The whole idea is to democratise the writing process.”
Saoirse, a poet and freelancer, added another dimension to the workshop with her book-art project. She said, “The experience was amazing as I really enjoy being in community. Usually, we think of writers as these reclusive people but we are not. We write in community. So I really enjoyed it. Writing in community inspires you.”
Pictures: Rashbehari Das