Poetry books


Poetry, arguably the most beautiful form of literary expression, has been around for as long as history itself. But, in this age of social media and commercialisation, what has poetry evolved to?

Poetry is a form of literature that strings words together, heavily using literary devices, symbolism, and emotive language. It is an art form as old as language itself: the earliest poetry has been believed to have been sung and recited verbally to remember law, history or genealogy. Gradually, it evolved into a form of emotive self-expression: talking about love, pride, anger, sadness, beauty and everything else you could feel.

French poet Paul Valery once said that while prose is walking, poetry is dancing. The freedom to explore, that the art form gives to its audience, is its most striking feature; possibly the most important reason for the rise in its popularity. From the court poets of the Mughal Era to Slam Poetry meetings of the modern times, Poetry has come a long way.

Poetry has always had the tag of elitism and complexity attached to it. The poetry circles of the medieval ages and the commissions by the royalty to artists and poets have made poetry associated with the nobility.

But, like every other product in a capitalist world, poetry, too, has undergone commercialisation and a change in its consumption.

So, poetry isn’t anything new; accessibility to it is, though. Humans are social animals, and all we ever want is to connect and be understood. In the age of internet and isolation, when there’s a lack of depth in interpersonal relationships, poetry has become a platform people connect to.

Through blogs, online poetry groups, Instagram poets, and slam poetry, poetry has been made accessible to the masses. Poetry, stripped to its core, is just words strung together aesthetically and what makes it attractive is its subjectivity: the understanding of a poem completely depends on the reader. With the internet, a blog post or an Instagram/Twitter update can get you an audience of millions. A very well-known example of the is the famous poet Rupi Kaur. She’s one of the only few poets in recent years to have made it big commercially and has made poetry popular in common perception as well.

“Rupi Kaur seems to be like an oasis the desert of poetry. Honey and Milk have nourished poetry in modern days,” said Priyanshi Banerjee, a first-year student at Lady Sri Ram College.

However, what this age of Instagram poetry and commercialisation has also done is bring about a compromise in its quality. Poetry is produced in easy, consumable bites, and it becomes a tool of gathering ‘likes’ and validation, rather than a true expression of the self. For internet aesthetics, the essence of the art itself might get neglected.

“I have personally never enjoyed Rupi Kaur’s work and never will, there must be people out there who do enjoy that, good for them. I feel that looking at how many much more talented poets died broke and penniless, Rupi Kaur is much more popular and commercially successful because of the internet and because her poetry does not pose any questions, it’s a few short lines on something all of us agree on, there’s no thinking involved when you read her poetry, and that’s why it might appeal to so many people,” says Prabhanu, a first-year student of Kirori Mal College.

“I feel that Rupi Kaur lacks truth, cause few of her verses are from a privileged position. But, on the other hand, it’s her choice to choose her subjects,” adds Chhavi, a first-year student of Sri Venkateswara College.

But I think that’s the beauty in the freedom this art form provides; it is so incredibly forgiving and accepting. No one truly has the power to dictate what poetry is, not when a million others are doing it a million different ways.

Feature Image Credits: Sarthak Singhal for DU Beat

Satviki Sanjay

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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. -Plutarch Words alone cannot express the impact of poetry in our lives. Precisely with that thought in perspective, we got in touch with Harnidh Kaur, the author of the trending book, ‘The Inability of Words’. Packed with hard-hitting insights through thoughtful expressions, Harnidh’s take on life through poetry is reflected through the book. The Inability of Words is one of those books that you would keep next to you to read and re-read, again and again. Every poem in its simplicity is relatable, hard-hitting yet truly honest. The pieces have the ability to draw the reader into the world of the poet’s perspective, where it is clear to see that each poem has a long story behind it. The book follows a unique approach – right from the cover of the book to the content of the poems itself. As you go through the poems, you can see the growth of the poet through her journey, forcing you think about your own perspectives. Each line of the book reflects the author’s personality, wit, observations and emotions. It is definitely an inspiring and motivational for all poetry fans. To know more, Harnidh further tells us about her journey and first book.

1. Could you tell us a little about yourself?

Well. I’m a Bombay-Delhi girl. I live (and love) between the cities. I’m currently pursuing my masters in public policy from St. Xavier’s, Mumbai, and balancing a writing, and policy career side by side. If anyone asks me what I want to do, I say I’m an UPSC aspirant (which I am!), but secretly, I want to be Nigella Lawson.

2. What was the inspiration behind writing this book?

I was in a state of transition in my last year of college. Between shifting cities, entering a new phase of life, and grappling with new paradigms, I found myself writing, furiously so. However, for however much I wrote, the correct expression never quite came together until I actually collated that work into a book. Hence, names it ‘The Inability of Words.’ [caption id="attachment_43947" align="aligncenter" width="512"]Harnidh Kaur Harnidh Kaur[/caption]

3. What was your journey like?

Hectic! Eight drafts, and so many editorials back and forth, fights over which poems to include, grammatical disagreements. All smack dab in the middle of starting a new college, and adjusting into a new city. It’s all worth it, though…all of it.

4. We’ve heard your book has been gaining quick growth. Could you tell us some interesting facts about the same?

Well, it sells out really fast. I ascribe it to the fact that I’m a fairly approachable writer. People can talk to me. And well, I hope it’s because my book isn’t too bad, haha.

5. What’s your typical daily routine?

Currently, I go to office at 8:30 am to 4 pm, then college from 5 pm to 8 pm. But usually, I’m up by 8; I study, read, get college work done, and attend class. I don’t have a specific writing time because I’m always writing. There’s no process. I literally wrote my entire book on my phone. That’s what writing is about for me – an unbridled explosion of observations and thoughts.

6. What advice would you give to your readers?

Firstly, buy poetry. Keep buying it. It’s your contribution to keep a dying art alive. Secondly, fit poems into your context. Don’t try to fathom mine. This book is for you, I promise.]]>