Nineteenth India Poetry Reading At Harvard - Invitation
Chandrakant Shah and Bijoy Misra
Nineteenth India Poetry Reading at Harvard - Invitation
SAPNE (South Asian Poets of New England) Press Release
Chandrakant Shah and Bijoy Misra
“Identity” – Call for participation in 19th India Poetry Reading at Harvard University
An annual India Poetry Reading is arranged at Harvard University every May. The event commenced in 1997 and has continued every year. This year’s program is scheduled for Sunday, May 10 at Harvard University. The meeting is at 2 PM in CGIS Auditorium, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. We will be hosted by Harvard South Asia Institute and the Department of South Asian Studies at Harvard University. http://southasiainitiative.harvard.edu/
The South Asia Institute (SAI) at Harvard University engages faculty and students through interdisciplinary programs to advance and deepen the teaching and research on social, political, cultural and economic issues relevant to South Asia. The Department of South Asian Studies encompasses the older Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies. It deals with language education, philosophy, linguistics and religion in Indian subcontinent.
Our topic this time is "Identity’. You can write a new poem or pick up a poem from the literature. All languages are welcome. We will read all as time would permit. Please do encourage others in the community to join.
An object is known by its identity. Some are sweet, some are bitter, and some could be sour. As the spring comes, some trees get back to form rapidly, some other ones take their own time, some more show broken down injured by the severity of winter. Some flowers look gorgeous and bloom for a short time and some others are not so great, but bloom longer. Everything in nature creates a perception. The way we are perceived by others becomes our identity.
Human beings are identified by their parents, country of origin or cultural roots. There is a social and psychological belief that our genetic roots help create our personality and this personality becomes our identity. We associate values like trust, honesty, openness, friendship and compassion to our identity. Some become scholars, some become soldiers. Some get a calling to help the distressed and some get the calling to develop business. All paths become segments of our identity.
While our identity of recognition is defined by how we look, most often our voice becomes the signature of our identity. Each voice is different and our life force expresses itself in our voice. The voice helps create languages and our language becomes our larger identity. From our individual identity we transcend to a group identity through our languages. Adding geography and climate, the languages help create culture and faith, and we transcend further to a still larger identity of faith.
Larger identities help build boundaries that make nations. These identities clash to establish superiority or to steal resources. A group of men with one identity attack another group professing another identity, so we get to conflict, wars, instability and distress. Human identity does not change, the group identity shatters. It is not clear if we continuously manufacture identity through our internal insecurity. We do not talk about our identity, but try to act on it.
Does planet Earth have an identity? Is it a nice blue dot in the expanse of space? Is life itself an identity? How do we map it? How does our identity compare to that of Mother Earth? Is a mother an ultimate identity? Does identity change in time?
A new group called South Asian Poets of New England (SAPNE) has started few years ago, as an offspring of Harvard Annual Poetry meets. It convenes quarterly as a poetry reading group to listen to languages and voices. More than forty poets from various regions in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal are actively writing and participating in recitations in New England Area.
SAPNE poets write in many Indian languages and in English. Many are published in magazines and have their collections of poems printed in books. Their work is widely recognized here and abroad. Some have been awarded literary prizes and some of the poems are prescribed in the syllabi of Universities in India. You can join the group, (www.sapne.us) to come and read your poems.
Come and explore these and more in our annual India Poetry Reading on Sunday, May 10 at Harvard University. The meeting is at 2 PM in CGIS Auditorium, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge. Please do join. Please contact Dr. Bijoy Misra, He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 781.259.0029. The Gujarati poet of eminence Sri Chandrakant Shah will help coordinate the event. He may be contacted at Bostonwale@gmail.com or by phone at 781.983.4941.
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