Published: 24th January 2019
Meet the 17-year-old Shreetam Swain who's created a performance space for Odisha's aspiring poets
Poetic Imagica is an event which provides platforms to all those artists looking to express themselves
A heartbreak egged Shreetam Swain on to pour his feelings into poetry. The poet, who writes in English and Hindi, says rather dramatically, "I did not find writing, it found me." Shreetam decided that other people, heartbreak or not, should have a platform to express themselves — and the art within. So in a bid to provide them a platform, he organised an open mic event called Poetic Imagica along with two other co-founders in Cuttack. "I even remember the date, it was November 14, 2017," says Shreetam. But the event, in his own words, was a "great failure" as only three people turned up. Turns our heartbreak plus failure can prove to be a potent mixture for success when supplemented with a heavy dose of hard work. So the second time around, the 17-year-old decided to come back bigger and better.
They have conducted about three events till date and have ten members on the core team
In retrospect, Shreetam realised that the event did not work out because they did not do enough on social media to reach out to people. To remedy this, he formed a team of ten people and started their social media promotions in full swing. And the result of this offensive was that more than 90 people turned up — among whom more than 30 were participants. Shreetam is of the opinion that it was not just social media that worked in their favour, but something more practical! They also provided certificates to the winners and snacks for all. "We even earned a profit from the event," exclaims the young man.
All age groups and people from a diverse spectrum come to our events. Even my English teacher came once!
Shreetam Swain, Founder, Poetic Imagica | (Pic: Shreetam Swain)
But what kept him going even when it felt like things were falling apart? "I did not have a platform to feature my work so I wanted to create a platform for myself and for others. I was thinking about everyone," he says. But now, Poetic Imagica is not just an event. Recently, they launched an online contest, asking for contributions — in terms of poems and shayaris. They selected the work of 50 writers from the 400 they received and in the next two months, are going to come out with a book, one in Hindi and one in English. They even launched the book cover at the Rajdhani Book Fair held recently. "We also want to conduct more literary festivals and an art festival. Why must we be restricted to poetry alone? We want to bring all art forms under one roof in the future," says Shreetam ambitiously. For their next event, they have organised a competition called Alfaaz. They invited work which includes literature (both prose and poetry), paintings, photography and cartoons. Three winners in each category will be chosen and invited for the event. Their travel and accommodation will be covered and they will receive a cash prize of Rs 500, trophy, certificate and a pass that will allow them free entry in all Poetic Imagica's events for a year
Smile, please: Shreetam awarding certificate to a winner | (Pic: Poetic Imagica)
But what proves to be a hurdle, in a country the size of India, is getting the people to their event, even now. "People are conducting these kinds of events everywhere. So I need to tell my audience what makes us different," explains the young lad. The bigger goal for Shreetam is more noble than all of this put together. He wants to collaborate with different schools and teach the students the art of writing poetry — something that the schools don't always do and he wants to do for free. "Poetry is a form where your life can be expressed in two lines and everyone ought to know how to express through this art form," he says.
Recent development: This year, they started their YouTube channel
For more on them, click on facebook.com/