As American poet, Edward Hirsch, recited his work before a small gathering at the American Centre auditoriumAmerican Centre auditorium on Wednesday, all eyes were fixed on a large screen.
Hirsch, sitting in Washington, interacted with the audience in Mumbai via video-conferencing. His deep baritone boomed clear over the speakers as he began reading from his latest collection, The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems.
The reading was followed by an insightful discussion between Hirsch and poets Sampurna Chattarji and Mustansir Dalvi, who also double up as translators. “Although my poems aren’t radically colloquial, I think they’re the most powerful when grounded in the real world,” said Hirsch, adding that a lot of his inspiration came from Sufi poets. Dalvi read out his poem, Sunset at Bardem, which was followed by Chattarji’s recitation of her Dialogue in four parts, between Ivan in Zagreb and Sampurna in Bombay.
Hirsch, a contemporary poet whose work straddles several genres, doled out advice for budding poets.
Reading poetry and writing in response to the poet who means the most to the reader is one of the first steps towards writing good poetry, he asserted. “Poetry lives in the relationship between the poet, the poem and the reader,” he said.