Monday, October 13, 2014

Poetry Reading – Oct 10, 2014


Ten of us met in the verandah outside the dining hall of the CYC, for the Library was still stowed with furniture. The variety of poems was amazing.

Pablo Neruda  was the pen name, later assumed name, of the Chilean poet-diplomat

Six readers chose British poets, two American, one Finnish, and one Chilean. Since Oct 2014 was the month of Dylan Thomas’s centenary, three readers decided in his favour.

Dylan Thomas portrait 1934 by Alfred Janes

One of the happy outcomes of our poetry sessions is to make the readers aware of the great wealth of poetry and the unusual people who follow the generally unremunerative profession of poetry. Particularly, when that profession is pursued to the exclusion of sidelines, as happened in the case of Dylan Thomas.

Sunil, Joe, Pamela, Thommo, Talitha, KumKum, Sreelatha, Preeti, Sujatha
(Mathew unseen behind the lens)

We had the experience for the first time of encountering poets who wrote poems primarily for children. For a full account of what we read and the discussions, click below.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham – Sep 29, 2014

Of Human Bondage, by W. Somerset Maugham first edition,

Regarding Somerset Maugham, the critic, Cyril Connolly, wrote: "If all else perish, there will remain a story-teller's world from Singapore to the Marquesas that is exclusively and for ever Maugham, a world of verandah and prahu which we enter, as we do that of Conan Doyle's Baker Street, with a sense of happy and eternal homecoming." (Sunday Times, 19 December 1965).

Ten readers gathered in the Lounge of the Yacht Club to read passages from Of Human Bondage that gave them insights into the wounded psychology of the hero, Philip Carey, and at the same time, provided searing picture portraits of life in all the places he lived.

Sujatha, Pamela, & KumKum

The hero ceaselessly adventures in quest of meaning in life and pursues his early passion to draw and paint in Paris. En route he encounters numerous women, all different, all capable of attracting (and repelling) Philip. His education in life continues, and he fails at almost everything he tries. His torment at the hands of women, are as torturous as the buffets of fortune he suffers.

Sunil, Thommo, Govind, Mathew, & Gopa

Readers discussed Maugham’s other novels and short stories. Nearly everyone had read some Maugham story or novel in the time of youth, but returning to it in maturity gave completely new insights. What was only a story became a saga of self-discovery.

Here we are at the end of the session.

 Pamela, Sunil, Govind, Thommo, Mathew, Priya, Gopa, Joe, KumKum, Sujatha

 To read the full account, click here.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Poetry Reading – Aug 22, 2014


Poetry sessions offer the widest variety of imaginative expression for our readers. They pose problems, as well, for the mind wants to get to the bottom of things, and often the poems are elusive as to their meaning. They suggest different things for different readers.

Elusive

Poems in translation are even more difficult to appreciate for they have been shorn of their original sounds, and perhaps had their language conventions turned upside down by the process of translation. Does Azmi's Urdu formalism make sense in English? Does Césaire's prose poem convey the nostalgia of the French when translated? Can Akhmatova be divorced from her soft Russian inflections and yet yield her treasures?


Nine readers try to show what can be achieved, mixing American and British writers with a variety of poets from all over the world.

Vijay, Thommo, Talitha, Priya, Gopa, Pamela, 
Divya Singh, Sujatha, Sreelatha, Ankush