Grand slam, in poetry

Everyday words, contemporary topics from body image to breaking stereotypes and a teenage girl's thoughts on her future husband to homosexuality - a poetry slam hosted by a bunch of city students recently saw enthusiastic participation from budding poets.

By Tanisha Bagchi and Bedika Chattopadhyay
  • Published 3.08.15
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Everyday words, contemporary topics from body image to breaking stereotypes and a teenage girl's thoughts on her future husband to homosexuality - a poetry slam hosted by a bunch of city students recently saw enthusiastic participation from budding poets.

The Exclamation Point Poetry Slam, organised by Bros4Lyf and held at Ground Zero, was the brainchild of a small group of "chaotically organised school pass-outs looking to create something in the interim before college begins". It started off as an initiative to create a unique vibe among budding poets in a city known for its intellect and irreverence.

"We had organised our first slam poetry competition in Mumbai. Slams like these are common in Mumbai but the topics that were dealt with in both the cities were very different. Mumbai saw more of social issues whereas students of Calcutta chose to speak on both the social and political scenario," said Kumarjeet Ray, a member of Bros4Lyf.

The city did not disappoint. Anushka Dasgupta, a Class XI student of Mahadevi Birla World Academy, read out a poem titled Future Husband. "It is a poem very close to a teenage girl's feelings and aspirations. I write from my heart and I believe that poetry must have a deeper meaning. Slam poetry brings the youth closer to poems," she said.

For Sana Khan of La Martiniere for Girls, this was her first time at a slam poetry event. "I loved the experience. I recited a piece titled Cracks, which depicted how the actions of men and their repercussions leave them tired and broken," said the Class XI student.

Poetry slams have received recognition in India only in the last decade. Calcutta has been slow to catch on, but has finally embraced this art. One of the city's first poetry slam contests was hosted by Seagull bookstore in an effort to bring together stories, thoughts, poems and rap in Bengali and English from poets of all age groups.