One day I sauntered into a writing workshop headed by Ellen after I talked with Shikha. It was a lovely magical experience. Ellen’s workshops are a treat.
I had just happened to meet a Poetry Collective in the making.
When you think that you are alone in your love for poetry, an alternative world filled with poetry love opens up. It’s that simple. I talked to the lovely ladies about their campaign to support Indian poets.
Why is a collective is good for poets?
Starting this poetry collective has been nothing short of transformational. We often think of writing as a solitary practice, and part of it is: a writer has to contend with the blank page again and again and grapple with words. It’s magical, fulfilling, and at times requires a good dose of bravery. The other piece about being a writer is that we all need support, and this is what the collective offers: support and outreach.
Under our peer mentorship model, new poets are paired with published poets to hone and fine-tune their manuscripts through a rigorous editorial process, leading to publication. Once a manuscript is ready, the poet is involved in all aspects of layout and design, working with talented graphic designers and artists.
In addition, our workshops, talks and readings reach hundreds of aspiring poets as well as poetry lovers. We’ve held wildly popular workshops at literary festivals, colleges, and bookstores in India as well as in the United States. Our app, inPoetry, will launch next month, bringing contemporary Indian poets directly to smartphone readers everywhere. Poets emerge from working with us — whether in a one-day workshop or during a two-year commitment as a collective member — more confident and empowered to bring their skills to the wider poetry world.
The kind of books you are planning to bring out?
We are hard at work to bring out the most diverse voices from global India. We are publishing only first and second books, ensuring that we’re discovering the most vital new voices.
One book per year will always be by a poet living in India, and at least one book will always be by a woman. We also have anthologies in the pipeline, including a teaching anthology for teachers to share contemporary Indian poetry with their students, and a groundbreaking collection of living women poets from India and the diaspora. Our app, inPoetry, will include a new Indian poem every week, introducing readers to some of the freshest and most exciting writing in India today.
A ‘Collective’ secret!
Minal’s dog Champi is an honorary collective member and has the title of Chief Morale Officer. She is working on her own collection of poems that all rhyme with the word “dog.”
Also a link to your prompts. The prompts are poetry in themselves!
Right now, all of the prompts are on our Facebook page as part of our indiegogo campaign to raise funds for the press. One of the PERKS available is a PDF of all 40 inspiring writing prompts! Please visit our campaign to see all the goodies, including some book raffle/giveaways in the countdown to the end of our campaign on December 19! http://igg.me/at/gr8indianpoetry
Thank you so much for talking poetry with us, Neelima!
For your readers who are interested in joining our collective, we’ll be choosing new members based on book-length manuscripts during our open reading period in February 2015. Please keep up with us on our website www.greatindianpoetrycollective.org, our Facebook page www.facebook.com/indianpoetrycollective, and our Twitter account www.twitter.com/gr8indianpoetry for open calls, workshops, new releases and more.
© neelthemuse, 2014
Check out my book Unsettled @ Amazon