Write your own verse

Sejal Gupta
Monday, 13 August 2018

Terribly tiny tales held writing workshop ‘140 & beyond’ in the city. Organisers and participants of the workshop tell us how poetry is catching the attention of more and more youngsters

That you are here — that life exists and identity, 
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
— Walt Whitman

Poetry is a beautiful art, an essence and a way of expression. Contrary to many arguments, the finesse and art of poetry is not lost on millennials. In fact, newer technology and applications have only helped poetry reach a wider, global audience. 

Terribly tiny tales is one such forum where people, both old and young, male and female, write tiny tales to express what they feel. Some are happy notes, some witty and some sarcastic. Recently, the forum held a writing workshop titled ‘140 & beyond’ in Pune  to help people learn the art of expressing themselves. We caught up with a few of the participants and organisers.  

Hardik Nagar, who is a talented poet and has a huge fan following, said, “My most natural state of expression is poetry. I’ve been writing since I was 12; it gives me a sense of comfort. Social media has been a tremendous tool for me to reach out and connect with so many people. I believe that the only way to write good poetry is consistent practice. The poet community is growing in India and it’s an enduring form of art. I do hope we foster these young minds.”

Ashwath Narayanan, an 18-year-old who has taken a gap year before pursuing a degree in Journalism and Political Science in the USA, has been writing poetry for over four years. He is the founder of Pune-based spoken word community called A Writer’s Haven. Sharing his views, Narayanan said, “Poetry has always been a medium through which I express myself and my go to when times are bad. I’ve been writing for a long time, and there’s something super therapeutic about it. I run A Writer’s Haven where we organise events relating to literature. Being around like-minded people I learnt a lot and discovered my own voice. Social media has influenced my art by allowing me to observe and explore other artists as well as art forms, and has helped me grow as a person and a poet. For me, some major influences have been Rudy Francisco and Shantanu Anand, he’s done a marvellous job for the poetry scene in India. A lot of organisations and poets are coming up in India and I’m thrilled to see how this community is growing. Aspiring poets must find comfort in their art, stay true to their art and not get lost in its commercial value.”

Yashodhaan Burange has been writing for the past eight years and is a talented upcoming poet with a huge fan following. A freelance content writer, his first poetry book will be published in September. Talking about this medium of expression, he said, “Poetry is the door to a room within me I’m trying to get into. It’s ironic, but I found my voice when I had lost it. You understand the importance of expression when you’re in a room with people who have the same things to say as you do, but can put it in a better way. Through social media, several artists have given me an opportunity to develop and assess my growth. All the poets from the past have been massive influences. Knowing what they did when they had fewer resources than me helps me better understand the path I’m taking. Poetry is going to spread in India — I only hope it doesn’t spread like an epidemic. The future is bright, but there needs to be some sort of quality control. More exposure means more mediocrity, we need to filter it out.” For youngsters who are keen on writing poetry, Burange has this piece of advice, “I would like to quote Angel Nafis, author of BlackGirl Mansion, who said in an interview — ‘Reading is writing, too’.”

In this age of dwindling attention span, the micro fiction platform terribly tiny tales manages to catch your attention. The stories are under 2,000 characters, quick to read, but hard to forget. Reaching over 12 million people every week, it gives a platform to young readers as well as writers to have a community feeling and a sense of belonging. It gives space to young writers to publish their work and get their story out in the world. It’s an immense opportunity for young readers and writers out there.

Organisers share a few writing tips:
- Don’t be under pressure to write. Let the writing and emotions flow.
- Practice everyday — read and write and read. That’s how you get better at it.
- Let writing be a safe space where you can express yourself and if there comes a time when you are confident to share your work with the world, then do it. 
- Small details about the character make them more real and human.
- Being vulnerable to oneself and to look at one thing from different angles is important.

All these rules are there but, most importantly, have fun!

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