When five poetry aficionados from different professions and places discovered a common thread in virtual world, they floated a cause to give podium to passionate poets worldwide. Months later, the bonhomie has given birth to an anthology featuring works of poets from many countries, reports Bilal Handoo
That was a strange poetic rendezvous taking place on virtual platform between five strangers sitting at five different places. Every word they shared revolved around poetry. Among them was an avid Kashmiri poet, whose poem had already made it to a Canadian novel.
Three months after that Facebook interaction, the strangers-turned-friends who never met each other in real world have come up with a poetry anthology—featuring 115 poems of 79 poetry geeks across nine countries.
Things happened so fast that they failed to grasp: Who was writing their script? The answer is still beguiling their brains even when their anthology is a reality now. But what was clear for these poetry buffs from different professions from the word go was their common poetic passion. And the same gusto went on to click camaraderie between Dr Prerna Singla (Delhi), Rupam Goswami (Assam), Farah Naz (Uttar Pradesh), Kalpana Shah (Gujarat) and Dr Waseem A Malla (Kashmir).
But before the virtual trust could transform into an idea, a common consensus eluded the five souls at service of poetry. At first, the group remained shrouded in ambiguity and suspicions about each other. They argued bitterly, had acerbic discussions only to patch up later to bring poets across globe together on a single platform. And the idea was to shake hands to work with integrity for one goal – to promote poetry.
The upshot was not far away. They instantly formed a group – Impact 005 – to feature poems of ‘poets by passion’. The group’s global canvas shortly unplugged a torrent of poems their way. “By bringing poets on one podium,” says Dr Waseem, “we have achieved our goal, our dream.” But before coming together, each group member was serving poetry in their own capacity, capability.
Dr Waseem, a veterinarian by qualification and molecular biologist by specialisation, was more into Fyodor Dostoevsky, Agha Shahid, Mirza Ghalib, Orhan Pamuk than his textbooks. Over the years, this native of Budgam’s Radbugh village created his niche in poetry than laboratory. His poems featured in many anthologies in India and abroad along with writers of repute like Gulzar and Irshad Kaamil. One of his poems also made it to a novel, Intelligence Code (Book 1. Arena of Great Heroes) by a Canadian writer, BJ Avilla. Presently, Waseem is editing an e-Magazine Fragrance.
Another core member of this group is Dr Prerna Singla — a dental surgeon, an entrepreneur, a poly-linguistic poet/writer/blogger. This Delhi girl from Baniya community has almost 12 years of business experience. But more than dentistry and trade, she was/is into poetry. Presently, Dr Prerna is working as the editor-in-chief Hall Of Poets – a global community of poets, besides writing three fiction novels.
From Gujarat, Kalpana Shah is another face of Impact 005. A versatile writer, copywriter and content writer by profession, Kalpana contributes her writings for Woman’s Era magazine. Her works have also been published in Inklink Anthology, Book of Haikus and in many international journals.
And then there is a management postgraduate, Farha Naaz, presently working in IIT- Allahabad. She has been writing research papers in many global journals and conferences. Writing with a pen name, “Ishq Niyazi”, Farha is also a freelancer web content writer and blogger on Nav Bharat Times.
Another member of this group is from Assam — Rupam Goswami, an engineering doctorate student. He works as the editor of an international online magazine, Guwahatian. Rupam has authored a poetry book titled ‘The Moustached Poet’, and co-authored two other anthologies.
Each group member’s rich literary background makes Impact 005 a truly literate undertaking. The group’s main focus is to boost poetry audience in India. For this, the Kashmiri member says, it is mandatory that distinction between love and life (“the driving force of poetry”) must melt—as, he reckons, none is complete sans the other. “Most poems on love and life these days by youngsters, poets hold a common perspective, that is, pain and ruin they face in life,” he says. “But there may be other perspectives to look at, too.”
“Just think about a scene: a husband plans a surprise for his wife on their 25th anniversary. Let me put another: a woman fails to become a mother owing to miscarriage and her husband consoles her. How about this: a mother returns from her hectic day in office, and the father and kids plan her birthday at home. Let’s think of fantasy: a devil of hell falls in love with a girl of earth and changes to good.”
The poems featuring in the anthology mainly revolve around the daily life’s unnoticed feelings. A poem by a Romanian poet Anca Mihaela Bruma – At Your Door, The Night Closed Itself… leaves similar feelings in one’s heart:
At your door, the night closed itself…
In this town, no story remained anymore,
In my words, no chattering disbeliefs…
My wing and your step don’t see the same flight
Yet… I left my hands as a seal on your forehead…
There are many options to think of, continues the bard from Budgam. “I hope everyone shall agree that poetry is a form of art and art should not stay focused on a specific issue,” he says. “That way, thoughts are restricted and the society finds it difficult to understand the problems existing and stories of love and life.” In one of his poems—If Ever We Meet: An English Ghazal—featured in the anthology, Waseem strikes the same feeling:
I will rend open my Heart, if ever we meet,
Emotions will sell their art, if ever we meet…
I tell deceptive gazes to be faithful to my mind,
Hither & thither, they’ll dart, if ever we meet…
Eyes of Beloved will teach heart lessons of loss,
Waseem, those of Life, I’ll impart, if ever we meet…!
But well before the poems poured in, the group ran a blog, calling for poetry submissions worldwide. What followed, they say, was the ‘floodgate of verses’. Apart from India, poets from eight other nations – Pakistan, Bangladesh, US, UK, Hong Kong, Philippines, Romania and Nigeria – contributed for the anthology. After the hectic selecting and sorting phase, more than 115 poems were selected for the final manuscript.
Each of these five members would then sit back, and edit the manuscript before passing it to other to repeat the fresh editing phase. After passing through five-tier editing, the final manuscript was sent to Gujarat-based publishing house. Days later, Impact 005’s ambitious poetry anthology—Roses & Rhymes: Poetry on Love and Life—came out to delight of the editors. “Among the contributors,” says Dr Waseem, “four are from Jammu and Kashmir, including me.”
One among the contributors is a veterinarian-turned-bureaucrat, Dr Shabir Ahmad Mir. This passionate poet from Pulwama’s Gudoora hamlet writes in his poem, Sonnet:
And the echo of music fettered their soul
With rhythm divine and so subtle a tone
That Weaved a charm of haunting enthral
A charm that whispers life to every stone
From Jammu, a poet and story writer, Pallavi Sareen who goes by pseudonym Alex-The Shadow girl has contributed her poem
This Can’t be love:
No… Don’t say a word
You’ll ruin this fantasy
This can’t be love
When it’s pure ecstasy…
And then there is a Pulwama teacher, Perveiz Ali, whose United In Spirit poem is equally riveting:
Miles apart, we are two vessels, yet united,
Even under our own unique conditions…
The spirit of you strengthens me,
This essence we share…wrong or right?
Days before its formal release at Delhi’s Lodi Gardens – a real life rendezvous for the virtual editors’ alliance – the anthology has already reached among the top ranked books on Amazon.in. Already the positive word of mouth and good reviews have seemingly perked up its popularity. “A fascinating compendium of melodies revealing records of intimate personal feelings,” reviews Bhaskaranand Jha Bhasker, a well known poet-critic, “a melange of emotions that unfolds varied facets of love – romantic and platonic, physical and metaphysical, corporeal and ethereal.”
“The poems speak of myriad hues of love – the unadulterated love of a mother, the passionate love of the lovers, the love among siblings, and also what Edgar Allan Poe calls ‘love with a love that is more than love’,” writes Dr Santosh Bakaya, an award-winning Indian poet.
Equally prized praise came from founder of Kaafiya – The Poetry Festival, Yaseen Anwer: “A delightful collection of poems, a classic memoir that holds in its breast a melee of emotions, ecstasy of a lover and submission by a beloved.”
Perhaps the verses of an American poet, Phillip Mathew Roberts, featured in the anthology make one to surmise the reviewers’ take—“it a perfect, suave collection of poetry”:
Cruel memories reinvented as kinder
amalgams that make the past tolerable.
Where would I be without revisions
I ask in a manner not rhetorical…