Monday, December 5, 2016

Poetry Session — Dec 2, 2016

There were nine of us at the reading of poems by an assortment of authors. Vikram Seth was the token Indian; the other poets were from England, America, Ireland, and France. Almost four centuries of poetry were covered.

KumKum, Saras, Sunil, Thommo, Priya enjoying sandwiches, cupcakes and coffee

We had no singing this time, but had Joe learnt to rap, his poet could have been rendered in her original voice. Pamela could not attend for some obligation she had to fulfil on behalf of her husband.

Sunil, Thommo, Priya, Hemjit, Shoba

It is unusual in modern times for poetry to be crafted to adhere to a form and structure. Unusually, we had a triolet, a sonnet, and an Alexandrine mixed with hymn meter, iambic tetrameters, and modern rap.

Sunil, Thommo, Priya, Hemjit

This was the last session of the year and a new set of novel selections has been made for 2017. We start off with Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier on Jan 13, and the following month Kavita has invited the crew with their dearly beloveds to her estate in Thodupuzha, about 2 hours journey by road. It will be poetry in a pastoral setting.

KumKum & Saras

Here we are at the end of the session, after enjoying cucumber and cheese sandwiches (KumKum) and cupcakes (Shoba).
Hemjit, Thommo, Priya, Saras, Shoba, KumKum, Sunil, Kavita, Joe

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Evelyn Waugh – Brideshead Revisited

It was the last novel of the year, Evelyn Waugh's languorous attempt to capture the nostalgia of youth. The deep friendship between Charles Ryder and Sebastian Flyte, the son of an aristocratic family, is at the centre of the novel in the first half of the book; it leaves its shadowy bitter scent in the final section as Sebastian descends into incurable alcoholism.

 Castle Howard – location of Brideshead Revisited, the 1981 TV series with Jeremy Irons as Charles Ryder

Meanwhile, Charles with an artistic bent goes off to study art in Paris and paints pictures, full of charm, for the English public. Later, he seeks adventure in the New World and returns in triumph to an exhibition of his exotic paintings of Mexico and S America, arranged by his wife, Celia. At about this time, Julia, the sister of Sebastian enters his life and both have an extramarital fling. The love is short-lived.

Brideshead Revisited (1981, ITV) is one of television’s greatest literary adaptations. It's utterly faithful to Evelyn Waugh's novel yet it's somehow more than that, too

All this takes place against the impending crisis of a war to come, and it is the billet of Charles’ battalion at Brideshead, the home of the Flytes he knew so well, that starts off the novel as a re-visit. It's impossible not to fall in love with the Oxford University described in the early scenes, although there is very little about studies and much more about escapades, dining, going for rides, encounters with women, and so on; the only don in the novel is venal and comic.

 Brideshead Revisited – Jeremy Irons (left) pictured as Charles Ryder, with Anthony Andrews as Sebastian Flyte

There are many snatches of comedy in a satirical vein: Charles’ father Edward Ryder, Lord Marchmain in Venice, Rex Mottram taking Catholic instruction, the absurdity of an aristocratic Catholic family marooned in Anglican England, and so on. But above all it is Oxford we remember:
still a city of aquatint’,
her autumnal mists, her grey springtime, and the rare glory of her summer days’,

exhaling the soft vapours of a thousand years of learning’.

Christchurch College, the setting of Evelyn Waugh’s 
Brideshead Revisited

Preeti, Priya, Hemjith, Saras, KumKum, Pamela, Zakia, Joe

Friday, October 21, 2016

Poetry Session – Oct 18, 2016

 Pamela, KumKum, Saras

Eight of us met for a session of poetry with the keen anticipation of celebrating the award of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Bob Dylan, announced only a week before. The singer, songwriter, and composer has not responded to the Swedish Academy as of this writing, but his many admirers were thrilled.

 Pamela, Saras, Priya, Thommo

Thommo came along with his guitar promising to sing some Bob Dylan numbers at the session and lead the group in a sing-along of his most well-known song, Blowin' in the Wind. This we did and you have clips of the singing linked to this post below.

Kavita, Thommo, Shoba having cake & Samosas to celebrate Sunil's birthday in absentia

We were glad to use the session to wish Sunil for his fifty-fifth birthday. The readers were treated to samosas, cake and coffee. Sunil could not be present as he had to go on tour to their estate in Kodagu.

Kavita, Thommo, Shoba, Pamela, KumKum, Saras having cake & Samosas to celebrate Sunil's birthday in absentia

We are eleven members now. It's a convivial group and all of us try our best to prepare for the readings and attend the sessions for the sheer enjoyment they provide. The question was posed by KumKum whether we could find two more faithful members to attend, since two regulars, Gopa and Talitha, have left town.

Kavita, Thommo, Shoba

Once again we encourage everyone to consult the lists of Poems and Poets recited to-date when choosing selections. Besides, there is a very powerful feature provided by Google in the Search this blog facility at the right of the main page.

The group at the end – Pamela & Kavita had to leave early