New Delhi : With the global movement 100 Thousand Poets for Change having entered its 11th year in 2021, Kitab Khana, the popular bookstore in Mumbai, gets set to host its poetry festival for the 10th time, with the generous support of Mrs Amrita Somaiya, Director, Kitab Khana, and her team. The three-day event, curated by Menka Shivdasani and presented by Source Strategic Communication Pvt Ltd, takes place on September 24 (7 p.m. IST), September 25 (6 p.m IST) and September 26 (6.00 p.m. IST).
The inaugural day, September 24, will feature Poets Across Borders, with readings by global organisers. The participants include Faruk Buzhala (Kosovo), Lisa Vihos (Wisconsin), Illya Sumanto (China), Dennis Formento (Louisiana) and Jameela Nishat (Hyderabad). Menka Shivdasani will read poems by 100TPC co-founder Michael Rothenberg.
The second day, September 25, 2021 is the global day for 100 Thousand Poets for Change, when poets around the world will organise events under the 100 Thousand Poets for Change banner. In Mumbai, the NGO, SPROUTS, will present poetry by members, and the programme will feature as a pre-event to the second edition of the International Sustainability Conference (November 12 – 14, 2021), co-organised by SPROUTS and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES-India). “Poetry, Music, Art and Nature not only brighten your canvas of life but also express the deepest anguish of humanity, and are sometimes even a form of activism!” says Anand Pendharkar, Ecologist and CEO, SPROUTS. “’The Seeds of Change – An Evening with SPROUTS’ intends to be a kaleidoscope of poetry and nature, with the backdrop of conversations about sustainability and resilience, between Menka Shivdasani (Founder, 100TPC) and me.” The participants include Shruti Kulkarni, Jayshree Murali, Teesha Thomas, Col. Ashwin Baindur (Retd), Cdr. Pravin Tulpule (Retd.), Kavita Gunderia, Rahul Palekar, Subodh Khanolkar and other talented poets from different walks of life.
The final day, September 26, 2021, will feature ‘Happiness – A State of Mind’, with poetry, music, dance and drama by schoolchildren in Mumbai. The event is coordinated by Mrs. Rati Dady Wadia, former Principal, Queen Mary School, with Katie Bagli, the well-known children’s author. There will also be performances by Vareeja Thakkar and Commodore Sadashiv Vombatkere, along with a special song composed by Jyothi Ramachandran, former Head Principal, Mahapragya Public School. Ms. Pratima Shrivastav, Management and Financial Consultant, Founder, HalloHappiness, author of the newly released book, You Talk I Listen: Healing Through Conversations will be Chief Guest. Participating schools and organisations include Cathedral and John Connon School, J.B. Petit High School for Girls, The Somaiya School and Fun Ki Pathshaala (FKP). The Logistics Sponsor is FKP.
The global movement, 100 Thousand Poets for Change, was founded in the United States in 2011 by Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion, to highlight issues related to peace and sustainability, with a focus on local concerns. “Local issues are still key to this massive global event as communities around the world raise their voices on issues such as homelessness, global warming, education, racism and censorship, through concerts, readings, lectures, workshops, flash mobs, theatre performances and other actions,” say Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion. The movement has now grown to include round-the-year multi-disciplinary activities that feature mime, music, theatre, art and photography, among several other creative pursuits. Events form part of the Stanford University’s permanent archives; the University refers to this as the ‘largest poetry reading in history’.
In 2018, in a collaboration with Florida State University (FSU) Libraries, 100TPC introduced a new initiative—Read A Poem to A Child’. Co-founder Terri Carrion explains: “All you have to do is read a poem to a child in any setting that is convenient, and you can sign up on our website at http://100tpc.org/sign-up/” FSU’s poetry compilation for the initiative, with selections from The John MacKay Shaw Childhood in Poetry Collection of Florida State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives, is available for free download at: https://100tpc.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/READ-A-POEM_Jul20.pdf.
Michael Rothenberg says: “We are in a world where it isn’t just one issue that needs to be addressed. A common ground is built through this global compilation of local stories, which is how we create a true narrative for discourse to inform the future.”
Menka Shivdasani, who has been organising programmes for 100 Thousand Poets for Change since the inception of the movement, says: “I have been associated with this movement since it began in 2011 and am delighted to find that support has been growing over the years.
“In the first year, we organised an event at the Mumbai Press Club and a workshop for tribal children in Bandanwadi in Raigad district,” she adds. “Since then, over the last ten years, Kitab Khana has whole-heartedly supported the event, and their support has been invaluable. Other organisations such as Laadli, SPARROW, Natural Streets for Performing Arts, Women Empowered (WE), Paperwall Media and Publishing Pvt. Ltd., Cappuccino Readings (now Cappuccino Adda) and Calm Space have also lent their support to previous editions of the festival, and so have individuals such as late Deepankar Khiwani. The movement has helped to build a global community of artistes who share the common language of peace and sustainability. In a previous edition, a contribution was also made to the Naam Foundation for drought-hit farmers.”