Monday, April 10, 2017
Seven readers attended, but several more would have come but for last-minute exigencies.
KumKum brought halwa to offer readers for the forthcoming Vishu celebration; Easter too is around the corner. Thommo ordered coffee for us and we were seated this time around two tables covered with elegant white tablecloths in a boardroom setting.
Two of the choices were novelists who turned their hand to poetry. Poets ancient and modern, famous and unknown, excited the senses of our readers.
Readers bring their wide experience to the poems and provide insights and appreciation. It is rare that a finely turned line misses an expression of relish. Often there are humorous sidelights to add a topical flavour to the readings.
From the relaxed comfort of the boardroom setting Joe forgot to use his camera to go around and capture the readers. Hence, there is only this final group picture:
Joe, Shoba, Thommo, Zakia, (seated) Saras, Hemjit, KumKum
Posted by Management - Learning from Experiences by Reflection at 2:12 PM
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Americanah cover, first edition May 2013
Chimamanda Adichie says in one of her talks that she did not realise she was black until she went to America. The fact that this novel says a lot about race is primarily on account of Ifemelu's similar journey to America as part of her growing up, and Obinze's experience of England as a migrant without papers. Some of the most thoughtful writing is within the posts of Ifemelu on her blog Raceteenth or Curious Observations by a Non-American Black on the Subject of Blackness in America.
Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
But it was the author's goal to write an old-fashioned love story too. Ifemelu takes a shine to this cool guy, Obinze, at school and over time he completely falls for her, and she becomes the first and last love of his life. This overhang is always in the background of the novel, but in the foreground she obtains her liberation in America, all but forgets Obinze, and lives with two other men in succession. They too hold our interest. Meanwhile the reader thinks: what will happen in the end?
Pamela, Kavita, KumKum
It ends a little too fast as though the publisher had a deadline and the author had to come up with the best ending she could in the time available. In the process she forgets the cardinal rule of classic love stories: they have to end tragically, or at least unsatisfactorily.
There are many memorable quotes:
You can love without making love.
Race matters because of racism. And racism is absurd because it’s about how you look.
I feel like I got off the plane in Lagos and stopped being black.
Ankush, Thommo, Shoba, Kavita, KumKum, Pamela, Joe
Posted by Management - Learning from Experiences by Reflection at 4:08 PM
Saturday, March 4, 2017
Eight of us met for a session of poetry and we had a guest, Martin Enckell, a poet from Finland who was spending time in India. Priya met him for an interview and invited him to join.
The Dropbox is gaining ground as a way of sharing poems so everybody has an electronic copy before the session. In case anyone is having a problem, please send the links to the poems, if not, just the titles of the poems and the poet name to Joe and he will try to scare up the poems from somewhere and put them in the folders of the KRG Dropbox.
Martin Enckell, Pamela, KumKum, Priya
We had some all-time favourite poets like Vikram Seth, and some lesser known performance poets who are making the current scene in England and elsewhere. Amid them we had a novelist and a playwright trying their hand at poetry.
Poetry gives us a wide sampling of writers and enables us to enjoy at a single session the cultural contributions of a diverse group. Invariably, in coming to grips with new writers there is a difficulty but the readers advance ideas to clarify points, and others come up with alternate interpretations. Poetry with its characteristic requirement that the sound and the sense amplify each other, offers an open field for the human voice.
Martin Enckell, Pamela, KumKum
We heard from one of our old readers, Ankush Banerjee, that he is back in town and may put in an appearance soon. Old readers are welcome to drop in if they are in town. We miss them all.
KumKum, Pamela, Priya, Thommo, Preeti, Martin Enckell, Joe, Hemjit (seated)
Posted by Management - Learning from Experiences by Reflection at 3:16 PM