Published: 02nd June 2021
Why Sourav Roy's poetry workshops will make you fall in love with verse, for better or worse
Sourav Roy along with other poet has been conducting unique poetry workshops in a bid to get more people involved in the literary form. This can also motivate others to write poetry
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
These are the last lines of Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken — a poem that symbolises life's many choices and how our lives and experiences our shaped by these very choices we make. In the poem, the author chooses the path of nonconformity, the 'road less traveled'. Much like Frost, 33-year-old poet, teacher and Founding-Editor of the online literary journal Bengaluru Review, Sourav Roy also chose the road less traveled — poetry.
"Poetry is not actually a subject as it cannot be taught," believes Sourav, who is ironically a visiting faculty at the Azim Premji University where he teaches PG students an open course on 'Perspectives in Indian Poetry'. He continues to explain, "No two poems are the same but to truly understand the voice of the poet, one needs to approach these poems through different perspectives and analyse them systematically. Only then can poetry as a part of literature make a difference."
So why are we introducing Sourav to you? Because he and a few other poets have been conducting poetry workshops for high school students during this lockdown. He believes in giving teenagers a poetic outlet for their emotions. Sourav, who had previously conducted offline workshops, pre-pandemic, says, "Not everyone who participates in our poetry workshop necessarily knows how to write poems. The idea behind conducting these workshops is to bridge the gap between the poet and the people who read their work so that more people can be encouraged to consume, analyse and comprehend the deep meaning behind some of these poems."
Sourav Roy while teaching students
But a single workshop, how many ever hours it might be, to teach a form of literature as fluidic as poetry seems a tad unbelievable, we state to Sourav. He laughs and replies, "One workshop? Not at all. We are currently organising ten online workshops for high school students. Each workshop is about two hours long and is different from each other. These workshops have already begun from May 30 — they take place every Sunday and will end on August 1. Over the course of these ten workshops, we will be teaching participants how to analyse different genres and styles. For instance, if we want to understand imagery, we will study a Japanese haiku. We will also be picking a poem in the course of the workshops and discussing it in detail so that the participants can get a better understanding of it."
What makes Sourav's workshops more special is that by the end of the seventh workshop, students will have learnt enough to write their own poems. Sourav sincerely hopes to read some of these poems one day. "By the time I turned 23, I had three poetry collections published — Yayavar, Uthishta Bharath and Anabra Rathri Ki Anupama. I have also served as the editor of Karnakavita, an anthology of Hindi-Urdu poetry. I will be releasing a new collection of poems soon," concludes this engineer-turned-poet, hoping that his students turn into avid poets just like him.