Poetry, Poets and the Creative Process

The English Literary Association (ELA), Rajdhani College, University of Delhi, in collaboration with FORTELL organized a one day poetry event, “Let’s Get achnatmac” on 31 October 2017. Dr. Rajesh Giri, Principal of the college welcomed the audience with his motivating words, followed by an introductory note by Ms. Rachna Sethi, Convenor, ELA. 

The day kick-started with a stimulating poetry writing workshop by Dr. Akhil Katyal from Shiv Nadar University. The theme of the workshop was “City Poetry”, and it initiated the young minds into expressing their emotions with relation to the city. Dr. Katyal traced the genealogy of poems on Delhi by taking the participants back to the Mughal era. He began the workshop with a couplet by the poet laureate of the Mughal Court, Sheikh Muhammad Ibrahim Zauk, “Kaun jaye zauk par Dili ki galliyan chhod kar”. He brought everybody back to the present with his reference to the writings of journalist Ravish Kumar, who portrays his relationship with his beloved and the city in his book, Ishq Main Shehar Hona.

The technical aspects of poetry such as enjambment were discussed through a poem by Agha Shahid Ali, in which he describes a conversation in the walled city on the subject of the Urdu language. Following this, the participants were asked to draw a rough map of Delhi and place themselves according to the prompts provided by the resource person. Apart from discussing how the city evokes different emotions in different people, Dr. Katyal asked the participants to pen down their own city poem.

The post-lunch session saw two marvellous poets reading their poems to the audience and discussing the creative process of poetry-writing. The poets for this mesmerising session were Dr. Alka Tyagi from Dyal Singh College (Evening), and Dr. Maaz Bin Bilal from O. P. Jindal Global University. Dr. Alka Tyagi began the session by providing the students with an insight into the creative process and how human sensitivity plays an important role in awakening creativity. Her powerful recitation stirred the soul of everyone present in the room. Dr. Maaz Bin Bilal introduced a different kind of poetry—the Ghazal—in English. He traced his journey as a poet for the benefit of the young listeners. He disclosed that he had grown up in the vicinity of Ghalib’s residence. His recitation of his ghazals and his translations of other eminent poets left everyone spell bound. 

The success of the event was evident as the students were full of exuberance even at the end of the day. The event concluded with a vote of thanks by Dr. Ved Mitra Shukla, Teacher-in-Charge of the Department of English.  

Neha Gaur is Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Rajdhani College, University of Delhi. She writes poetry in both Hindi and English.