Life and poetry – when you get the two right, you feel a sense of compassion and love. Otherwise, life isn’t worth living if not filled with beauty. Because some of the best poets emerge from India, there is a strong association of the culture and the people of our country. We spontaneously jump into a sing song session in the second-class compartment, and other times we recite poetry to our friends at the park. Our country loves poetry and our poets are some of the most inspirational ones changing the way we view culture –
1. Meena Kandasamy
One of the most versatile poets in the country, she got her break as a writer and translator with her book Touch (2006). She’s performed the world over, and her speaking gigs at Jaipur Lit Fest have earned here a lot of respect. As a Dalit woman, she wanted to talk about the issues of her community, and her experience as a minority in the country. She’s voiced issues such as caste oppression, discrimination and gender relations. The best part about her poetry is that its related to her own truth that she wants to share with the world.
2. Tishani Doshi
Tishani is one of the few Indian poets that combines love, life and expression in her writings. She’s a poet, writer and dancer who wrote her first book more than 10 years ago. She’s won multiple accolades for her writing prowess, and she’s also participated in global competitions. Her poetry focuses on making the eclectic divine. Essentially, she likes to take a lot of different experiences and make it her own. Her poetry makes you feel self-illuminated and alive!
3. Vyomesh Shukla
He’s a poet of the resistance movement and calls upon his experiences with the right-wing era of the 90s. When certain political parties enforced their will on minorities, Vyomesh wanted to help out through poetry and writing. It was his tool for empowerment. He’s written two books, Phir Bhi Kuch Log and Hona Ab Jyada Hoga, to his credit, and his poem “Bahut Sare Sangharsh Sthaniya Reh Jate Hain” won the Bharat Bhushan Agrawal award in 2009.
4. Geet Chaturvedi
Geet’s poetry has had flavours of Borges and Shankaracharya, and he reenergizes their work through his poetic expressions. He knows that a writer and poet reside inside what is “absent”. That’s because the emptiness is where the creative work comes from. One of his best poetry comes from Ubhaychar, which reads a seminal line –
“Vah apni prajati ka pehla tha jiski vyapak utpatti ke liye sarkar ki manjuri darkaar thi (He was the first of his creed who needed government permission for his large-scale production).”
5. S Thenmozhi
She’s a poet that doesn’t have a name for her unique style. She’s been called the future of Tamil poetry and has several stories and poems to her name. She loves to write about rural life and provide attention to the life of the poor farmer. She’s also graduated with a PhD in Chemistry, and she’s infused practicality with the effervescent.
6. Che Brindha
A poet with a magical quality to her, Che has a sense of beauty in every word written. She wrote her first poetry collection Mazhai Patriya Pakirthalkal (Matters of Rain Shared) in 1999 and then 10 years later wrote her next publication called Veedu Muzhukka Vaanam (A House Full of Sky). The journey she’s travelled on, the roads she’s traversed, all speak to a larger point about being fulfilled and satisfied in life. Her poetry brings fresh perspectives where there were none before.
7. M Harikrishnan
Harikrishnan has a true writers’ bend, where he focuses on each word and makes sure that his poetry has an impact on India’s future. He started his journey as an electrician in a Jindal Steel plant and has made a mark in the art of Koothu – a Tamil rural street theatre. He’s an editor’s writer and keeps his poetry deep and impactful.
8. KR Meera
KR focused on delivering the truth, whether that be through contemporary writing or traditional poetry. Her piece on Ave Maria, won her the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award in 2009, and accolades internationally as well.
9. Sonnet Mondal
With a name like Sonnet, he knew he had to be a poet. He’s been called the young bard of India, and loves creating new worlds with his writing skills. His poems touch upon a deeper notion of love, happiness and longing. He’s also the founder of The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, and published 8 books on poetry, receiving international accolades.
10. Akhil Katyal
One of the most well-educated poets of our modern times, Akhil has published many great works with undertones of politics, people, and scholarship. He’s given a lot of attention to the conflicts in Kashmir, and he doesn’t mince words when it comes to LGBTQ rights.