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Everybody loves a little bit of poetry

Everybody loves a little bit of poetry
FOR BETTER OR VERSE: (Left to right) Performers Kunnal, Khufu and Sonu at a poetry night hosted by Written Word Society

Get ready to snap your fingers in appreciation



By Purva Grover

Published: Fri 11 Oct 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 11 Oct 2019, 2:00 AM

In March 2016, I hosted my first Open Mic Poetry Night. I'd just started a group on Meetup for DXB's creative fraternity, Written Word Society, and was looking forward to connecting the wordsmiths in the city with one another, and perhaps their craft too. A kind friend, Ravi Sabnani, lent (complimentary) a mic and sound system for a couple of hours and dear husband offered to fix it for me and even play the photographer for the evening. We were in a café in Downtown and were set to welcome the poets and poetesses. Would anyone even turn up? I was anxious. The theme for the evening was Exploring Love. A handful of local poets had signed up to perform so we were assured of an audience of at least six. Not bad.

For the uninitiated, (most) open mic poetry nights are free to attend. Do you get paid to perform? No. Do you get judged? Big no. Do you get inspired? Yes. Do you walk home with confidence in your words? Big yes. How are they put together? With the help of the community. Just like this particular one was. These are events hosted at lounges, coffee shops, and even parks. Whilst the mic is an important part of the same, they can be held without the equipment as well. Who attends them? All you awesome poets - amateur, professionals, and beyond. Is nationality a barrier? Big no. Is language one? No.

I recall how the particular evening began with most of the 'poets' confessing to being 'non-poets', followed by another confession of how the words they'd scribbled weren't really 'poetry'! "Oh, but I am not a poet," said one voice. "I am not that good," said another. "Sometimes, I scribble a few words on a paper napkin as I wait for my coffee," whispered the next. However, soon enough, everyone said goodbye to nervousness and the coffee shop was full of 53 performers eager to share their words with strangers. The rest, as they say, is history. We continue to meet, once a month.

There are many reasons to attend one such evening. There's usually good tea or coffee. There is an emotional rush, irrespective of the poetry you hear - sad to funny. You could be inspired to write your own, read out yours or simply start to read more poetry. Each person who walks in is there to encourage the closet poet in the other. You learn about the poetic code of appreciation: you don't clap, instead, you snap your fingers. Think of it as karaoke night, sans pressure to perform and you can narrate your words or that of the one you admire. Sounds like a must-attend to me.

Fortunately, the city is full of groups running them. If your neighbourhood doesn't host one, you could start it. You'll be amazed by how the community will come together to make it happen.
Follow these groups on Facebook or MeetUp to attend your first session.
Dubai Poetry Slam
Rooftop Rhythms
The Noble
Poetry Club
PUNCH: Dubai-based Poetry
Written Word Society

purva@khaleejtimes.com


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