An engaging session on poetry ‘Mystical Poetry from Tagore to Yeats’ was moderated by city-based theatre person Nisha Luthra, who is also the founder of The Narrators, a performing arts society. Nisha interacted with Emer Davis from Ireland who is a published poetess & is currently serving as Head of Visa Office, Embassy of Ireland, New Delhi. Recently two of her poems were published in the COVID 19 anthology, ‘Poetry in the Plague Year’. The other panelist was Dr. Reba Som who has been the director of Indian Council for Cultural Relations’ Rabindranath Tagore Centre in Kolkata & has to her credit books like Margot: Sister Nivedita of Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore: The Singer and His Song & many more.
It is pertinent to state here that this year Ireland has been associated with Chandigarh Literary Society (CLS) as a country partner through the Embassy of Ireland. The Literati 2020 is being held under the banner of CLS.
Meanwhile, Emer Davis and Reba Som lit up the virtual world by talking about and even reciting the poems of Tagore and Yeats. To a question raised by Nisha on renowned poet Yeat’s attachment with India, Emer Davis said, “Yeats was always interested in India. In fact, it will not be wrong to say that he was in awe of Hinduism and the rich cultural ethos of India.”
Another aspect which was revealed during the discussion was that both these poets were against British rule’s oppression. And both were in a way disillusioned with modern civilization and celebrated simple living.
Reba Som shared details about the relation between both the poets who were contemporaries of the19th and the 20th centuries. Reba said, “Tagore had met Yeats in 1912 in London. Both the poets were into spirituality and not really ‘religiosity’ as both believed in the God within. ” Davis added, “It is quite interesting that imagery from Hinduism has been reflected in Irish poetry. As far as Yeat’s poetry is concerned, he did use rural imagery and showcased Irish legends in his poetry.”
On Nisha’s question to Emer Davis that if Yeats is still a cultural ambassador of Ireland Davis responded by informing that the National Library of Ireland has a full-time exhibition of Yeats.
Reba stated that though Tagore did write in English which was crisp and subtle, she said that Tagore had always been a proponent of one’s mother tongue.
Nisha Luthra’s captivating session ended with the panelists’ concluding that both the poets were quite relevant even today. Literati 2020 concluded today with a host of well-known authors and literary personalities talking on different issues related to literature. The literary extravaganza this year was held online due to the COVID 19 pandemic.